Strategic Planning. Training. Market Positioning.

IPC APEX Expo

I’ll be teaching part of the EMS Program Management Essentials course Feb. 23 and 25, and attending meetings in between, at IPC APEX Expo. Learn more about IPC’s EMS Program Management Certification Program here. It’s a great way to learn new things about the most difficult job in the EMS industry.

There is no question the electronics manufacturing services industry is evolving. One aspect of that evolution is actually hurting the industry, however. As outsourcing has become more commonplace, its salespeople have become less technically competent. At the same time, as outsourcing “experts” at OEMs have retired, they have been replaced by less-experienced personnel. The result is a commodity sale focused on price.

My February Circuits Assembly column looks at ways to change that dynamic.

Medical Product Outsourcing just published a good article on EMS trends in the medical sector. Yes, I’m quoted, but more importantly Managing Editor Michael Barbella did a great job of looking at some interesting product trends.

My December 2014 Circuits Assembly article actually started out as a rant about a furniture store with a bad inventory tracking system. However, it turned out to be one of the most popular articles I’ve written in terms of comments generated. The bottom line is that it is never if you will disappoint a customer. Instead, it is how can you best resolve things when something goes wrong. This article looks at the right way and wrong way to handle things. And, yes, I did finally get the couch–it wasn’t the one I originally ordered but by the time it showed up in mid-December, it was one I was happy with and I felt that the salesperson was as invested as was in resolving the issue the right way because we had gone from a relationship of non-communication and disappointing surprises to one where she was calling me with shipping updates almost weekly.

Part of the reason I’ve been a little lax on my posting is that I’ve had a heavy travel schedule that included teaching segments of the IPC EMS Program Management Certification course as well as co-organizing a session at SMTAI on conflict minerals with Mike Buetow from Circuits Assembly.

My October Circuits Assembly column looks at ways to build a unified program management team and ensure that all program managers understand how best to do their jobs. Program management is truly the most difficult job in EMS and anything that reduces the learning curves of new program managers will generally save your company money.

Amazed at the number of views a recent blog post of mine (The Five Biggest Myths in Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) Sales and Marketing) received, I expanded on the topic in my August Circuits Assembly column: 

EMS companies typically fit into one of three categories:

  • Those that have excellent marketing and make every dollar count.
  • Those that have a marketing budget and waste money without a clear plan.
  • Those that depend entirely on the sales team for marketing.

Not surprisingly, the companies in the first category have the biggest budgets and likely get the best return on investment. Why? Because, like sales, marketing in EMS is a numbers game. People have to be exposed to a message five to seven times before they remember seeing it at all. Develop a marketing plan that schedules a series of activities promoting a consistent message over the course of a year, and your market will remember seeing it. Buy a single ad, book at the last minute at a local trade show, or post an occasional message on your LinkedIn page, and you’ll be in the crowd that complains marketing doesn’t work. Put the entire load on sales and you’ll have a frustrated, overworked team with marginal results.

Read the full article.

One Good Idea

Back when I used to be a member of what was then called IPC’s Electronics Manufacturing Services Industry (EMSI) Council, we used to end each meeting with a round robin session called “one good idea.” Each member would share something his/her company was doing that had saved time or money or solved a common challenge. When I teach IPC’s EMS Program Management Certification course, I usually include that round robin discussion, as well.

Today, I’d like to try an online version of it. Normally I don’t promote my clients in my blog, but one of them had a good idea that is simply too good not to share. A number of folks over at Screaming Circuits are fans of Nikola Tesla, so much so that they commissioned a t-shirt to commemorate Tesla’s contributions to science and technology. The t-shirt also contributes to the preservation of his history by donating all profits to the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe directly. The t-shirt, designed by Portland, Oregon area artist Kyle Devore, offers supporters of Tesla a way to give back to the organization as well as receive a piece of memorabilia. View more about the t-shirt on the teespring.com website: http://teespring.com/HighVoltageMonth2014.

And, while fundraising for the Tesla Museum (or any museum likely to inspire future engineers and scientists) is a great idea; from my perspective, the really interesting idea was the business model used by Teespring, the crowdfunding site that has created the t-shirt. Its model lets organizations fund raise through t-shirt sales with virtually no financial risk, excess inventory risk or logistics headaches. And, that is a great idea worth sharing.

Got a great idea you’d like to share? Feel free to add it to the comments section.

 

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