No one goes to college and majors in Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) program management. They are typically either hired for the position as a business major or migrate there from a technical position. In short, they typically learn the basics of their job on the job. Prior experience, cultural differences, degree to which processes are documented and robustness of initial training can all impact a program manager’s performance.
A good program manager grows business while preserving profitability. He or she is also trusted by customers to be a champion for their business within the EMS provider. Developing that skills set often takes time. What are the signs that a program manager needs some coaching to reach that level? Here are two of the most common issues:
- The Program Manager is reluctant to negotiate with customers – Customer requests are either completely ignored or agreed to, even when the program manager knows they aren’t achievable.
- Preferred Behavior – Evaluate the request and offer the customer a range of choices if the exact request cannot be fulfilled. For example, while a schedule pull-in for all product might not be possible, it might be possible to pull in the most critical assemblies. Or, the new date could be achieved if the customer was willing to pay expedited freight charges. Let the customer choose the preferred option.
- The Program Manager is reluctant to give bad news – The customer finds out about a missed delivery, the day it doesn’t show up.
- Preferred Behavior – Let the customer know as early as possible if a problem has occurred. Provide a range of alternatives for minimizing the issue.
IPC’s EMS Program Manager Certification Program is one way to help coach and grow new program managers. Learn more: http://www.ipc.org/ContentPage.aspx?pageid=EMS-Program-Manager-Certification.
PMCI also offers training and support resources in this area including:
- EMS Concentric Selling™ – a one-day course focused on the EMS account acquisition and growth process
- Program Team Assessment Audits and Recommendations
- Custom Program Management tool development such as Program Management Handbooks and custom training material
Visit www.powell-muchaconsulting.com to learn more.