Knowing When to Pass

Every potential customer deserves to be successful.  But does every potential customer relationship present a good fit? 

Our business model has always been to build long-term relationships that help customers succeed.  With a solid track record, it generates a lot of interest from prospective customers, and we’re humbled by this.  But we have also learned that not all relationships are the right fit.  To avoid frustration and risk on both sides, it’s important to understand what capabilities you bring to the table, and what roles are better left to others.

Most of our customers are experts at their core business, e.g. designing capital equipment, producing balance of systems products, designing theme park rides, etc..  But few of them specialize in designing custom control systems.  So we look for ways where our core skills line up perfectly with the problem that each prospective customer brings to the table.  In many cases, that leads to a relationship that helps that company achieve success. But if it’s not a perfect fit, we have learned to say no.  That’s hard sometimes, because we meet a lot of fantastic teams that deserve to be successful.  But in those cases, we wish them well and refer them to a supplier that is a better fit.

We recently had a prospective customer that needed a custom control panel designed and built.  They were pushing aggressively for a volume quote, before they were truly ready with all their requirements.   While an estimate based on a preliminary Bill of Material would have been possible, a truly competitive volume quote based on an incomplete design would either put the customer or AMtec at risk.  So, we passed, at the same time emphasizing the benefits of completing the design and building a working prototype before soliciting competitive bids.  The customer ultimately chose to do the project in-house, avoiding what could have yielded a bumpy relationship for both parties.

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