Characteristics of a great board shop
I have worked with well over one hundred PCB shops over my twenty years as a sales and marketing consultant. Some have been well run while others, well not so much. But, over that time I have been able to observe and differentiate the great ones from the ones who are merely good, or not even that good. But, there are always characteristics that always stand out with the great ones. I thought it would be interesting to list these and talk a little it about them.
Here are the most common characteristics of great PCB companies
Great PCB companies are:
Easy to deal with: One of the most important features of a successful companies is being easy to deal with. Picture yourself in line at an airline counter, you have missed your flight, and need to reschedule. What kind of person do you want to see behind that counter? Someone who is going to do whatever he can do help you right? Someone easy to deal with, right? Well, the same the same thing goes with board shops, or any business for that matter. Our reputation is one of being difficult to deal with. Our customers think buying PCBs is a pain in the neck. Hence the company that is easy to deal with is considered an outstanding company.
Flexible: Those who embrace change thrive, does who do not, those who hate change, and dread it…die. Enough said.
Embracing of new technology: We are in the technology business. We should be excited about technology, especially new technology. A great PCB shop will not only embrace new technology, it will strive to develop new technology. We are in the process business. Our customers are building products of the future, and they are going to need for us to develop processes that can handle their PCBs, requirements, PCBs that will work well in their products of the future.
In love with sales: Most PCB companies are owned by engineers, or operations people, who do to have a sales and marketing background. Most of them do not understand sales and marketing. If they are going to succeed it is all the more important for them to learn about sales and marketing and to appreciate that those things provide the customers, which in turn are the lifeblood of all companies.
Adoring of its’ customers: Speaking of customers. A great company adores and appreciates its’ customers. You never hear them complain about customers. They never have the attitude that everything would run smoothly, if it weren’t for those darn customers. The management team of a great company has to lead the way when it comes to adoring customers, they should never be caught denigrating or complaining about a customer, especially in front of their troops.
Always investing the future: A great company is always investing in the future. They are constantly buying and investing in new products and new technology. They want to be innovative, so that they can provide their customers with the best and most advanced technology PCBs’ available today. It’s that simple.
In love with employees: They put the employees first. They treat all of their employees as part of one big team. A great owner, of a great company, will never say things like, “This is costing me a fortune” or “This is my company and it’s my way or Trailways.” Instead, they will use words like ours and we. The owner who acts like he is the most important person in the company will get from his employees the loyalty he deserves. None, they will not even follow him across the street to a free buffet.
Financially sound: A great company is a financially sound company. They will engage in good business practices. They will take action, and cut their losses, when they are losing money, and invest in the future when they are making it. They will do whatever it takes to keep the company strong enough to move solidly forward into the future.
Ethical: A great company is a good company. A company that can be counted on to always do the right thing at the right time, yes, even if it’s hurts its, own interest in the long-run. A great company tells the truth, even if it hurts. A great company looks out for its’ customers. In fact, the customers always come first.
Always looking ahead: They are always planning for the future. Looking for ways to make itself better. Always, looking for ways to improve their company and offer better products to their customers.
So, think about it. How many of these characteristics apply to your company? Are you flexible? Do you love your employees? Do you love your customers? Do you embrace change? Answer honestly. If these characteristics describe your company, congratulations. If not, well good luck with that. If you don’t change pretty soon, then you’ll be the next PCB company to go out of business. It’s only common sense.