The customer of today is much different than they were ten years ago. In the past your customer would place an order for six months of product along with release schedules. Today it is much different. Due to different marketing techniques and cash flow restrictions today's customer is very different. They have grown up expecting everything to be extremely easy for them. They have wonderful ideas that are well suited to today's technologies. They are also good marketers.
The major difference between the customers of today and those of ten years ago is that today's customers are asking the manufacturer to do everything. They would like the product manufactured to an extremely high quality, finished, laser engraved, packed, warehoused, and drop shipped as each individual order arrives. Many customers are even asking manufacturers to delay payment for items they have produced until they are sold. Basically they want to sell their items and get paid but do not want any of the manufacturing responsibilities.
Lean manufacturing has helped manufacturers perfect small quantity production in a way that allows them to remain profitable. But we have been hearing from more and more of these customers who have gotten their idea off the ground and have been purchasing and paying for products. Their ideas are taking off and they are seeking suppliers who can produce their items in larger quantities.
As this trend continues to grow, current manufacturers are going to be forced to re-think their business model to accommodate this new type of customer, or their competition will.
Since 1929 the WPMA has been helping its members to remain competitive in the global economy. The sharing of information is one of the many services we provide to small to medium size woodworking companies.
For more information on customers or other programs/services offered you may call Philip Bibeau, Executive Director at 978/874-5445.