Strategic Planning. Training. Market Positioning.

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The Value of Consistency in Customer Service

In EMS, program management is the “face of the company” to many customers. When those customers work with more than one facility, the challenge becomes ensuring that customers see consistency in the way their business is managed. This isn’t an issue for Tier One EMS providers, but can be for companies that have grown by acquisition or smaller EMS firms that are just starting to add facilities. My November 2017 article in Circuits Assembly looks at ways to address this. Read the full article here.

Does your company have issues in this area? PMCI performs customer surveys and program management assessments that can help identify specific areas requiring improvement. PMCI can also create program management handbooks and offer training designed to standardize the program management approach among all facilities.

Five Signs Your EMS Marketing Program Needs Review

Electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers have unique challenges when it comes to marketing. First, there is very little difference among providers in a given size class in terms of equipment and core capabilities. Second, it is an educated, technical sell to a decision team who can lose their jobs if the contractor they select doesn’t perform. And, finally, it is a low margin industry with limited marketing budgets. How can you tell if your program is working or not? Here are five signs you should review it:

  • Your Closest Competitor Could Put Their Name on Your Website or Ads and Not Have to Change Anything Else – Your marketing materials should focus on the aspects of your business that make your company unique.
  • Sales is Having Difficulty Scheduling Appointments – A good marketing program helps inform the market about your company’s particular value proposition and attracts attention from prospects needing the solutions you offer. A weak program doesn’t differentiate your company from the competition and prospects see little need to agree to a sales call.
  • Competitors Close Business at Companies Who Told Your Sales Team That They Weren’t Looking – Competition is heavy enough that out of sight is often out of mind. When a prospect goes into ready to buy mode, he or she often only tells the companies who are staying in touch. A good marketing program can help you stay in touch with periodic informational content such as white papers and emails.
  • Trade Shows Get Zero Results – Does the trade show cater to an audience that buys contract manufacturing? Was pre-show publicity done? Did the booth use traffic-building activities to attract attention? Good trade show results are the result of good strategy. If you are simply going to shows and expecting great leads, you will be disappointed.
  • Prospects Only Want to Talk Price – If all competitors look the same, the safest choice for a buyer is to select the lowest priced option. If one company appears to have a superior solution, price will be a secondary factor.

If you are seeing two or more of these situations happen, chances are it is time to review your marketing strategy. Powell-Mucha Consulting, Inc. can help. Visit our website: for more information on our services.

Having Difficulty with My Links?

Circuits Assembly has just redone its website. The new look is great, but they haven’t finished re-indexing all their articles and apparently it will take some time. If you click on one my article links and get a bad page, just contact me and I’ll get you a copy of the article. Once they’ve fixed their site, I’ll re-index my links but their process may take several months. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Cyber Monday Comes Early

It appears my publisher is joining the rest of the retail industry in starting sales early. Only theirs is also finishing early. If you’ve wanted a copy of “Find It. Book It. Grow It. A Robust Strategy for Account Acquisition in Electronics Manufacturing Services,” but felt the price was too high, now is your chance. Pennwell Books is running its end of the year sale between now and the end of November and the book is now $25. Here is the ordering link:

Have a great Thanksgiving!

IPC EMS Program Management Training

IPC’s EMS Program Management Certification program will have two sessions coming up in September. As many of you know I teach part of the Essentials of Program Management portion. This EMS industry-developed program is a great way to ensure that your program management team has a balanced understanding of both the business and technical aspects of what many call, “the most challenging job in EMS.” The sessions are scheduled Sept. 13-14 at IPC’s headquarters outside Chicago and Sept. 17, 18, and 20, at Hunter Technology in Santa Clara, CA. For more information on course content, cost, all scheduled dates and ways to register visit:

What are You Doing to Sell Young People on a Career in Manufacturing?

While I believe some of the talk of skills shortages is political hype from some employers not wanting to pay market competitive salaries, there is no question that many kids today don’t see a career in manufacturing as an exciting option. My column in Circuits Assembly this month discusses this issue and ways to help grow the available workforce and infrastructure necessary to support returned growth in the manufacturing sector.

Cyber Monday Sale

My publisher, Pennwell Books, has an annual holiday sale where they really slash prices on some of their inventory. This year my book, “Find It. Book It. Grow It. A Robust Process for Account Acquisition in  Electronics Manufacturing Services,” is on sale for $8 (lists for $69). So, if you’ve wanted a copy at a deep discount or wanted to buy several for your team, the sale runs from now through Nov. 30.

Here is the ordering link:

Networking Should be a Two-Way Street

I learned the value of having a strong network early in my career. It opened the door to the right job opportunities, helped me help friends and business associates, close accounts back when I was in EMS sales, start and grow my consulting business, and get my first book publishing contract. One of the reasons my network has been helpful is that I’ve always viewed networking as a two-way street. The person helped today should be prepared to return the favor when asked, or better yet, return the favor unasked.

That isn’t always the case in our exit strategy-driven, social networking, twittering society. I have two examples to make the point. When a former client contact lost his job, he contacted me and other people in his Linked In network to let us know he was looking and pass along his resume. He offered to make recommendations on our Linked In sites and asked for recommendations on his in return. He had a job in a less than month. I’ve seen that phenomenon with several other friends who approach networking in that positive a fashion, and while not always able to point someone to a job opening, I do make an effort to try.

Comparatively, I had a recruiter contact me via email requesting that I call her about an operations position she was trying to fill. Given that I didn’t know her, I ignored the email. When she called a few days after looking for names I wasn’t very helpful. When she asked me to email her if a name came to mind; I was pretty clear in telling her that wasn’t going to happen. Why? The reason is because over the years when I’ve been helpful in providing recruiters names I’ve never gotten so much as a thank you note in follow-up. Yes, I know some recruiters do provide consultants with finder’s fees if they place a candidate based on recommendation, but in my experience most are trying to get names for free. They only network when they need something. Since I see far more value in sharing candidate names directly with my client base with no fees involved, I’m not very helpful when unknown recruiters call. If I were still in corporate life, I’d take a different perspective because maintaining recruiter relationships can be good if looking for work. But as a consultant, I’m a professional who is paid for services rendered. Therefore, if I’m asked to help a consultant in another field earn a commission, I’d like to understand what benefit I receive in return.

As you network, don’t just think about what you need today. Those who network best instead think about   maintaining relationships which may be beneficial to both parties over time. This is true in job hunting, but it is even more true in sales relationships.   Do you only call customer contacts when you are trying to sell them something? In the OEM world, most outsourcing decision teams are pretty overworked right now. They are more likely to talk to salespeople with whom they have a relationship that provides value beyond services sold, than to those who are   only interested in closing a new deal. One of the best salespeople I know actually calls every contact in his database twice a year just to touch base and see what is going on. Sometimes it is just a casual call, other times it   opens the door to new opportunities that grow out of the conversation. Still other times, what he learns in one conversation allows him to introduce an opportunity to another member of his network.  In short, two-way   networking builds synergistic relationships that create outstanding opportunities. One way networking leads to closed doors.

Don’t forget my free PCB Chat:  Effective EMS Program Management and Strategies for Growing Accounts. It will be held online this coming Wed., March 28th, from 2-3 pm ET.

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