HASTY CLIENTS ARE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT
When I negotiate the machinery supply, immediately after the price the client always asks me:
“AND THE DELIVERY TIME?”
I reply from 3 to 12 months, depending on the type of machine and the workload.
By this time the client starts to become pale, white like a mozzarella and loses his breath like a fish out of water.
After a few minutes he disappears from the chair like one of the best Houdini spells and I am alone in the room.
When I realize that he has collapsed on the ground I try to reanimate him somehow so that he regains consciousness and begins to speak again with clarity.
HOW OFTEN DID YOU LOSE YOUR BREATH AFTER
HEARING ABOUT A VERY LONG DELIVERY TIME?
But this is reality!
You want the perfect solution for your problem, but people like me who produce a system with certain criteria need time to build it.
Time to design, to build, to test, to plan, to test the software and the machine, to verify and check again in order to optimize and improve your process.
It has happened and it will happen again that you’re impatient or you won’t be able to wait, so you finally decide to buy a machine from a competitor of mine.
This makes you feel free as a butterfly and with more money in your wallet for other investments.
More haste, less speed!!
The problem is much more serious
than you can ever imagine!
After my competitor has sold the machine and completed the installation, I meet again with the client who REJECTED, NOT MY SOLUTION but my delivery time and is IN DESPAIR.
My improvised competitor can supply the machine in the near future because he does NOT design, because he does NOT know the problem and he does NOT know what he has to solve.
He buys a standard work unit instead of designing and building a specific one according to his requirements.
And instead of making a machine which is easy to use, he gives you what he wants: only a NASA engineer will be able to use it.
It always happens in these dramatic situations that a competitor of mine delivers a machine starting out at the client’s by doing tests: hoping that he will be satisfied or that the PROBLEMS will start to disappear.
It’s not your fault!
My competitors arm themselves as smoke
screen salesmen, capable of hiding
all the problems.
Then, I again speak to that client who fell off the chair when he heard of my delivery time and who is now one of the walking dead.
At this point the problem
is really large!
The client thought he bought a more economical machine with an earlier delivery, instead he has a series of pieces made of iron with bits of connecting wires, which are not working.
Now he really doesn’t know what to do.
I must produce the pieces, he is paying for the machine and he is unsure whether to kill my competitor or go to Madonna di Caravaggio and ask for a miracle so that the machine works!
In these situations I am really
in difficulty, too.
Then I examine the machine together with my client. First of all I’m a technician and I’m not able to conceal my thoughts: when you question me about my solution or the one of my competitor I will tell you my opinion.
However sometimes, I really cannot give my opinion to the client.
The client shows me the machine and asks for clarity about my competitor’s problems.
Often I would just like to say, throw away
everything because it is all wrong.
When a project arises without knowing where the problems are, you can’t do anything.
If you cook pasta with tomato sauce, you can not decide when everything is ready that you would have preferred plain pasta.
What are you going to do?
Do you take the dough and start
washing it under the water?
With the machine it is the same but
it is also much more complicated.
I’m not talking about a hypothetical situation.
It happens often. Precisely yesterday, I thought of the right words, how I could explain to my client, that if he wants to solve his problems he has to throw everything away.
And these clients have to restart. They have really to throw everything away and start again. I asked for 9 months to solve the client’s problem and he, after 15 months is still in the same situation (he can’t produce) having in addition to pay a debt.
In this dramatic situation I don’t feel up to leaving my client alone.
I try to find a solution, and use what I can.
But I do not have a magic wand!
Although for a layman my machine and my competitor’s are one and the same, actually they are very different.
My machine is composed of many components you can not see (PLC, valves, compensation systems, software) which make the difference.
From my competitor’s machine to be scrapped I can take the robot (assuming it is suitable), I can take the PLC (if there is any), some electrical components (except where he has used too many cheap things)… a thing of small value, then I don’t know what I can use any more. The rest you are going to pay, but it has absolutely no value anymore.
But the situation is even worse
- Time goes by, your production is not working.
- You thought you spent an amount but in reality you spent more.
- On balance you could have saved lots of money if you had just time to wait for me.
- This is what happens to me every day.
If you want to be satisfied with your investment, you have to give me time to build you the perfect machine.
So, the delivery times are always quite long.
In Italy, the latest stability law gives incentives allowing you a sinking plane of 140% of the purchased machine value if bought within 2016.
In practice you save 11%
of the purchase price!
So this year I predict that in September everyone wants me to deliver the impossible within the month of December.
I’ve to tell you that my backlog is already too full.
I’m already taking orders for September. I think that in a couple of months I’ll have to tell you that I I will deliver the machine in 2017.
But I’m trying to do something for you!
I started to build modules to produce some machines in a shorter time. These modules combined with each other machines allow me to deliver a number of machines in shorter time.