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Charles Razzell

The System Is the Solution

Charles Razzell
Brad Albing
Brad Albing
3/28/2013 11:15:33 AM
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Re: understanding the whole system
And then I switched roles and was on the other side of the table, trying to sell what I had to engineers who knew exactly what they wanted. Tough job.

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Charles Razzell
Charles Razzell
1/27/2013 7:36:50 PM
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Re: understanding the whole system
@eafpres, you sound as though you have seen a very systems-oriented approach to creating value for the customer and you've also seen a very commodity-driven approach. The nature of various technologies dictates to a large degree which of these approaches is most appropriate.

I don't believe we can force the market to appreciate the value of a full-on, highly customized system approach when that value is not inherently there. You probably wouldn't want to try to sell OpAmps or DRAM that way for example.

On the other hand, where the engineering challenge is high, and the burden of meeting that challenge is shared by the semiconductor vendor and the equipment manufacturer, that is where it makes sense to offer the added value of co-creation and system solution thinking.

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eafpres1
eafpres1
1/27/2013 1:26:17 AM
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Re: understanding the whole system
In a previous position, my company had entire business units where 90% of sales were custom solutions.  In particular, EMI (shielding and related products) solutions were mainly designed specifically for customer applications.  The sales process invovled application engineering almost from the start.  In addition, close linkage of sales, application engineering, customer service, and prototyping, among others, were all critical aspects to get customers what they needed.

One of the negatives of the internet-enabled world is many customers become beholden to commodity managers who many not value the work that goes into understanding the custoemrs problems fully an designing really good solutions.  They look at the end product, go on the web, and find dozens of others who make stuff that "looks" the same, then push pricing.

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Charles Razzell
Charles Razzell
1/26/2013 12:21:50 AM
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Re: understanding the whole system
Patrick, I hadn't thought of that before, but what you say makes perfect sense. The internet gives us the power to know at least something about everyone from a distance. A litte knowledge is a dangerous thing since it doesn't come with the same dose of humility as no knowledge does...


It's interesting to see how much money people and companies are spending on managing their web reputation these days -- and with your comment in mind, perhaps they should!

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patrick.mannion
patrick.mannion
1/25/2013 6:59:50 PM
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Re: understanding the whole system
There's another dynamic at play here, that is increasingly influencing this customer/supplier dynamic. In the days of Ma Bell, the Internet wasn't a big factor. Now it is, so customers are becoming much more informed about what they need -- and what a supplier can provide -- even before they get to that supplier. Now, this both good and bad.

It's good because there's less protocol/handshaking required: the customer can get right to the point and ask much more direct questions. The downside is that the customer comes in with expectations -- and assumptions. Those assumptions about a supplier's capabilities and offerings can often prevent a truly productive conversation that encourages the generation of new ideas and a 'holistic' systems solution that may take more time, but in the end could be much more beneficial to the customer, if the skilled supplier contact can get to that level of conversation.

 

 

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Charles Razzell
Charles Razzell
1/25/2013 5:57:04 PM
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Re: understanding the whole system
Brad, I agree that customers respond much more positively when a sales rep shows a true understanding of the problem. Time is valuable, and it doesn't go down well when the paying customer is educating the vendor in things he could or should know already! On the other hand, there are things vendors can't know without having the right conversations with customers and these kinds of interactions are definitely mutually beneficial, assuming the vendor is otherwise well-qualified.

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
1/25/2013 5:47:45 PM
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understanding the whole system
Charles - back when I was a design engineer, I had tech reps and sales guys dropping by to see what I was working on and what components I needed. Too often, these guys were far more interested in getting me to buy what they had to sell rather than to see and understand my project - and then respond accordingly. So I really get what your discussing here.

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