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42 PCB007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2018 to satisfy the customer. Understanding a cus- tomer's needs goes far beyond product and features; it includes a variety of subjective attributes such as service levels, key cus- tomer satisfaction drivers, and the degree of perceived value from your core business activities. Organizations spend a great deal of mon- ey in time and resources on strategic planning to develop the short- and long-term goals that will guide the company going forward. It never ceases to amaze me how often these goals and plans are developed without any input from the customer base. Most senior-level planning sessions are bottom-line focused, with most of the discussions being focused around rev- enues, balance sheet results, head-count, fore- cast, etc. Make no mistake: I fully appreciate the need for a bottom-line mentality at the se- nior management level, but equal time needs to be granted for the underlying foundation that directly affects these numbers: customer satisfaction. When the discussion does turn self-reflective, questions like "What do we make?", "What market are we in?" and "Who are our custom - ers?" are staples of American management strategic planning sessions. Missing are ques- tions like "How do our customers see us?", "What products and markets do our custom- ers want us to be in?", "What do our custom- ers think we do well, and more importantly, not do well?", and "What about our internal cus- tomers?" These are the questions that need to be not only answ ered, but acted upon on a regular basis for an organization to be able to achieve a quantum leap in their level of customer satisfaction. Sage Advice Many companies tend to become complacent over time, especially if they are at the top of their game. I remember having a rather animat - ed conversation many years ago with my good friend Will Rogers about the challenges of un- derstanding and meeting customer needs. My friend Will alw ays had a way of breaking down a complicated situation into its most basic form, and we were discussing the false sense of se - curity many companies have about how happy they feel their customers are. And in his typical, plainspoken way, I think Will hit the nail on the head when he told me, "Steve, if you're ridin' ahead of the herd, look back every now and then to make sure it's still there." PCB007 Steve Williams is the president of The Right Approach Consulting LLC. To read past columns, or to contact Williams, click here. New graphene printing technology can pro- duce electronic circuits that are low-cost, flex- ible, highly conductive and water repellent. The nanotechnology "would lend enormous value to self-cleaning wearable/washable elec- tronics, resistant to stains, ice, and biofilm formation," according to a recently published paper. "We're taking low-cost, inkjet-printed gra- phene and tuning it with a laser to make func- tional materials," said Jonathan Claussen, an Io wa State University assistant professor of mechanical engineering, an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laborato - ry and the corresponding author of the paper recently featured on the cover of the journal Nanoscale. Flexible, Water-Repellent Graphene Circuits for Washable Electronics

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