No matter what happens in the world, success is up to you
There are about 230 boards shops left in North America and out of those about 175 of them are at $10 Million or less and out of those about a 100 are at $5 Million or less and out of those 25 are at $1 Million or less. For those who want to do the math, that leaves only about 55 that are doing $25 Million and over.
So, most of the board shops left in North America today are $10 million and under and the majority of those smaller, much smaller than that.
Now, the Global PCB market is just shy of $60 Billion dollars. Considering that the North American market is about $12 Billion dollars with about $4 Billion of that being built here in North American, there is still plenty of business to go around especially for those shops that are under $10 million.
Our North American market still has about $4Billion being built domestically. Which means that those smaller board shops have very little of their success and failure relying on what the rest of the world is doing. Oh, sure there is the trickle-down effect, that cannot be denied but on the same token if you are the sales manager of a $6 Million dollar a year American board shop, stop complaining about China your success is in your hands
If you run a $6 million dollar a year board shop and you are doing defense and aerospace work you are in even better shape because your business cannot be imported thus you are in even better shape than your commercial board shop counterparts who have no protected business.
So, what is my point? Where am, I going with this? It’s simply that the success or failure of most board shops in this country is completely in their own control. The real factors they should be concerned with are simple business factors.
If you find yourself in this space here is what you should to be concerned about:
1. Quality: Is your Quality in the upper 90th percentile? Like 98 or 99%? Are you customer returns minimal somewhere between next and nothing? Because if your Quality is less than that you are throwing your money away faster than you can make it. I can also safely assume that you are burning through customers as well. In this high-performance age, if your company is not performing at peak then your customers are not going to stick around. As Ford likes to say Quality is number one.
2. Delivery: Yes, delivery. Companies, you customers, need their boards on time…all the time and if you can’t do that consistently then you are going to lose customers at an alarming rate.
3. Price: Sorry but we need to talk about price. I know that is tough to hear but the price of something is based on what the market is willing to pay for it. It is not based on anything else. Our job as business owners is to provide a price that is competitive and most importantly marketable. By the way if your Quality and delivery are not where they should be neither will your price. To compete in the world today you have to be as efficient as you can possibly be, that means there is no room for poor performance.
4. Service: Customers are going with vendors who are easy to work with. So much can be overcome by great customer service including the competition. Ours is an industry whose customer service is down around the service level of the department of motor vehicles so it would not take much effort to out-service the competition!
5. And yes of course sales and marketing. You have to tell someone who you are and what you do and you have to have a clear and focused sales strategy.
Think about these five things. There is nothing difficult here. There is nothing extraordinary here. Everything mentioned above will only benefit your business as well as make sure that your company thrives in this economy,
And guess what? If everything mentioned above is working you will not have to worry about the Chinese or your competitors or your demanding customers, you will be ahead of the game and running your own race to success.
It has become too easy to blame outside elements for the difficulties we face but going back to the beginning of this column, if you have a board shop that is currently doing $ 6 Million and you want to get to $7 Million a year it is entirely up to you and based on how well you run your business. Putting things in perspective you are trying to get one more million a year in revenue and that translates to a little over $ 83,000 per month. In a global market place that is $60 Billion a year, in a North American marketplace that is about $4 Billion a year, your one-million-dollar growth is entirely in your hands. It doesn’t matter what the Chinese do, it doesn’t matter what your competition does and sure doesn’t matter what goes on Washington all that matters if what you do, how you perform and how you price and yes, how easy you are to deal with. It’s only common sense