About competitive advantages for the electronics manufacturer

    Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen!

    Initially, it was a small paragraph in one of the articles about startups ( one , two , three , four ), and then after some thought this small article turned out.

    We briefly consider some competitive advantages that customers can take into account among all sorts of other things (such as prices) and play in favor of choosing a company as a manufacturer of the final product.

    I hope that what is written below can be useful to someone and projected into another field of activity. I want to make a reservation right away that this is not any advertising (open or hidden), because we never worked with ex-USSR, and there are no such plans.

    As I said here, I work as the head of a team of mechanical engineers in a Swiss holding at a factory in China. By the nature of the position I have to intensively communicate with all departments of the plant, offices in Switzerland, Germany, Sri Lanka, as well as with suppliers. Some of the writing below is drawn from the solution of working issues with our sales department, some from conversations with subsidiaries, and some from our own experience and certain moments from direct work with clients.

    Since I love not only bare theory, but also practice, a number of examples will be given below.

    Well, now let's get down to business and see what may be a priority for the client (and for us an advantage), for which the client is ready to pay with hard currency (well, or a soft bill):
    1. One language. It can greatly simplify the life of customers and remove a certain amount of smut from them.

    Example: it is convenient for one client from Germany who can hardly speak English, because the head of the sales department is from the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Soon he will be replaced by a new Seils from Germany, as the client is one of the largest (for the entire holding as a whole) and it is so convenient for them.

    2. Expertise. We can advise on some not obvious issues. Not obvious, especially for those who (a development engineer, offhand) are far from production. For example, how to change the board so that it is easy to test, where to add points for functional testing. Show you how to recycle your device to reduce the price, etc.

    Example: for one client from Switzerland, I analyzed a product that they had already been in production for several years and wanted to reduce the price by 2 times. Not a bad bid for success, yes. I managed to reduce the number of assembly operations from 26 to 11; 2 boards to replace one; 4 plastic parts replaced by 2, plus one rubber. Honestly, if I did it now, the result would be even better. It is noteworthy that the client was only interested in the price of the final device - the cost of injection molds, prototypes and development was purple, he was ready to pay and pay well (if there were more such customers :))

    3. The local market. Typically, our customers use electronic components that are common in Europe. But here in China, we can say what alternative components of local manufacturers can be used to reduce the price of the product.

    4. Speed. Specifically, the speed of response to requests. It is one thing to receive an answer in an hour, another thing in 6 days.

    Example No. 1: It takes an average of 6 days to place a commercial offer. Previously, before the arrival of the new managing director, the average time was 25 days. Feel the difference, what's called.

    Example No. 2. In this case, I will be the client. When you expect an answer from suppliers for many days in a row, it starts to enrage. It infuriates me even more when they meet and then confirm in writing all the agreements, but in fact they simply ignore you and don't do a damn thing. After this, they don’t want to work at all. Last week I received samples of parts from some foundry workers, brought by their manager, who leads our projects. The details were with the jambs that we discussed a week ago and they vowed to fix everything. I could not stand it anymore, went to the procurement manager and said that I would not work with him and let the foundry workers change their manager, because his constant shoals had already gotten me for many months and it was time to stop it.

    5. The transparency of the process. In this case, I mean regular customer feedback on how things are going. Not only they say that everything is according to plan, but also (oh my goodness!) Coverage of problems, as well as the actions being taken. I will tell you frankly that this is not customary in China, and here I strongly stand out against the general background with my approach. Usually you are confronted with the fact that such and such garbage has happened. For example, the day before the delivery of parts you are confronted with the fact that the form has broken. To the question, they say, when this happened honestly answer that the day before yesterday. And do what you want.
    One client from Switzerland, when he hosted our next project, agreed to the proposals of the managing director to appoint me as a manager and famously steer their project.

    Example: time was running out for the production of injection molds and the production of parts for one project that I was developing. As a result, I went to the casters every few days. On the first sample of forms, for fitting and checking colors, etc. Every time I sent the client reports, photos and updates. The customer was still tense (time was still running out), but reacted calmly, because I saw efforts on my part and overall progress.

    6. Accuracy. Or rather, the fashion phrase "5S". For those who are not in the know, the system of maintaining organization. We have this strictly.

    Example: here you come to the factory, and there the molds immediately near the injection machines are rusty. This means that your forms will be treated exactly the same. And, worse, pack the items before sending them to newspapers. Here they love this business, if you do not discuss it additionally. Well, or samples of what they produce are in dusty bags somewhere in the far corners. So your details will be flocked and well if not charred by birds.

    7. The presence of suppliers right with us sideways. Well, it’s clear. If anything, then it is easier for me to rush to the factory and insert the piston for the manufacturer than to call the client frantically and fly from Germany or the USA for the same purpose.

    8. Geographical location. Strongly affects if you are in a 2-hour drive from Hong Kong and you can even rush to the client to meet if he flies with a transfer somewhere through Hong Kong. I didn’t go there myself, because I don’t have a visa, but Seils and the managing director sometimes come to Hong Kong to talk with clients. It would be completely different if we were in some wild fart of Anhui. The production hubs of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan are here very close to us.

    9. Terms of payment. It is one thing when you need to make an advance payment and somewhat different when you pay within 30 days after receiving the goods. Well, here the client needs to be careful, because delays in payment immediately entail various consequences from eating out the brain by the sales department, changing payment terms and before the trial.

    Well, briefly, somehow.

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