Industrial clients may seem less fickle than consumers, but they have strong opinions on what they want from their machinery. If the equipment doesn’t do what they need, they lose productivity. Consult with your clients to brainstorm new equipment design ideas ranging from additional features to layout of molded keypads.
Be Open To Suggestions
Mass production is cheap and fast. Customization is expensive and slow. However if your mass-produced products don’t provide the features your customers need, they won’t buy. No sales means no profits, no matter how low your expenses are.
Charging a nominal fee for customization protects your profit margin and allows your clients flexibility in their purchases. In many cases the customization doesn’t interfere with the core production process, allowing the unit to be mass-produced inexpensively and then retrofitted. For example, a customer who wants modified controls could be satisfied by taking an existing product and installing new molded keypads.
When profit margins are slim, manufacturers may not be able to offer customization. However they should still listen to client ideas because they may lead to changes in future product development.
Don’t Wait For Your Clients
Most dissatisfied customers don’t bother to complain. They remain unhappy and may buy from a competitor in the future, and you’ll never know why. Think ahead by actively interviewing your clients about features of your equipment and you may discover something as simple as a redesign of the device’s molded keypads make customers happy.
Your contacts in the client company are often the buyers. These aren’t the people using the equipment so they may think everything is fine while the operators are unhappy. If possible, take a trip out to a customer’s work site and watch the equipment in operation. Talk to the people doing the work and ask what they would like to see improved. You will walk away with many new ideas for future development.
Work To Your Strengths
Although you should make every effort to please your customers, don’t take on more than you can deliver. If your company lacks certain capabilities, it does no good to promise those capabilities to a client. When clients wan changes beyond your company’s competencies, you need to make a decision.
The best option is to find a partner who can provide those capabilities. Specialized manufacturers can provide individual components at a level of customization and quality a general manufacturer can’t hope to match. Si Tech specializes in the design and production of molded keypads and we offer a range of function and options you won’t find elsewhere.
However in some cases you can’t realistically meet a client’s expectations. Rather than simply refusing the request, find a compromise. If you can manage some of the changes a client requests, that may be enough to keep a loyal customer.