With RBB celebrating our 45th anniversary this year, I've thought a lot about how we got here and what I wish I knew all those years ago. In order to communicate that, I decided to write a letter to my former self. Here is that letter:
RBB’s whitepaper on how small batch electronics affects the OEM-CM relationship
Very often OEM’s struggle to effectively manage large portfolios of small batches of custom electronic assemblies. That’s why I tackled the topic in the Whitepaper, “Market Dynamics facing OEM’s with Large Portfolios of Ongoing Small Batches.”
To create a strong, rewarding experience with an outsourced manufacturer, we recommend following these 4 tips:
Tip 1: Voice Problems and Concerns
Even though it can be risky/expensive to change CM’s, a common industry practice is to move the business to a new supplier instead of facing a performance concern head-on. So tip #1 is: Just say it. Often it’s not the problem itself but how your supplier responds to it that builds confidence. Weak partners avoid conflict, causing long-term damage to reputations. Good business partnerships are built on mutual honesty, trust and commitment; personal relationships develop.
I recently gave a short talk on leadership transitions—in particular, the handoff from one chief executive to the next—at the Small Giants Summit in Detroit. Since joining RBB in 2000, I’ve been on both sides of this coin. I offered a number of hard-won, personal lessons to this enlightened audience of business founders, owners, CEOs, and up-and-comers.
You have a choice in qualified suppliers you can entrust with your control panel and electronic assembly work. It’s important to look for a panel supplier that will work with you every step of the way and not just for you. Ideal partners will thoughtfully review designs and fix any issue that arises, have strict documentation management protocols, and assemble and test every wire and connection.
Not like Apple
Unlike companies like Apple, Inc. who move all at once from one product generation to the next, many OEMs base their value and reputation on customizing their product offerings to various clients and applications. It’s in their DNA to tweak and expand designs to deliver exactly what their customers need.