As the world opens up, so are many opportunities. Word I am hearing from the salespeople I have been meeting with the past few weeks, is that customers are on the prowl! That’s right, customers are on the lookout for new sourcing opportunities.
Companies are looking for alternative sources for their products, especially PCB and PCBA products and services. The biggest change is in onshoring. More and more of our customers are looking for domestic suppliers. They feel there is just too much uncertainty in the world right now and they want to have the peace and comfort of dealing with a supplier right here in the U.S. Some of these companies are working on moving their entire supply chain back to the United States.
Other companies are not making such a drastic change, but they are going to do all of their NPI (New Product Introduction) here instead of sending it all out to the offshore sources. They feel that their IP (Intellectual property) is safer here than anywhere else. Building their products domestically, also gives them other advantages such as being able to work on their new products with a company that is easier to communicate with and much easier to visit.
And speaking of NPI, as we have been discussing the past few weeks there is a great deal of it going on right now. As I have mentioned a number of times in this column, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste and this crisis is no exception. We have been discussing all of the new medical devices and equipment that companies are developing. This is pretty obvious as we see medical electronics becoming more critical than ever. But there are other products that are going to be required, as we all emerge from our homes and start going out into the world again.
As we have already seen the world will be a very different place in the future. First of all, this pandemic will not end quickly, but rather gradually and we will not get back to work when it is completely over but rather when the numbers of people who have been infected start to wane. This means that we will be going back to work while this pandemic is still with us, which of course means that we will all have to take precautions in the meantime.
These precautions are already causing a demand for new products as I write this. How are we going to open doors without touching them? Sure, supermarkets and stores and airports have automatic doors, but what about companies? How many of the companies that you visit have automatic doors? Think about it, almost every company that invites the public in will be looking for automatic doors.
Then as companies open up again there will be a need for more ways to disinfect the people coming to visit them to do business. What will lobbies look like in the near future…like next Tuesday? Dealing with issues like these is going to require new and innovative products.
How about airplanes? How about airports? How about subways and trains and buses and taxis? These methods of transportation are all going to have to be retrofitted with products and devices that have not even been invented yet…or at least have not come to market yet.
Then there are the places we all congregate. Try to visualize what it’s going to be like to go to the Staples Center to watch the Bulls, or Fenway Park to watch the Sox. How is that going to work? I can guarantee that it is going to take a great deal of innovation and innovative products to come to market before we get to see a sports event, or a concert, or a play, or even a religious service.
When you start thinking of these things and all of the new products that we are going to require to feel safe again, well it boggles the mind doesn’t it? But then again it does provide opportunity for those of us in the electronics business, or practically any other business actually. Which means that those of us in sales have to make sure that we are in front of the right people as all of this need for new and innovative products explodes.
It’s very simple: our customers are looking for new ways to do things, they are looking for new sources, they are open to finding new links to their supply chains, so it is up to us to be right in front of them as they look for these new alternatives.
This is time to be marketing our companies, to be marketing to our current customers who will be building new products, and new potential customers who will be looking for new alternate sources who can handle their NPI needs. They will be looking for companies like yours who can help them develop and produce their new post pandemic products, which means that our job as sales is what it has always been in the end, and that is to be found! It’s only common sense.