Susan Mucha

Strategic conversations are key to sustaining existing business.

The current business environment is creating two significant challenges for mid-tier electronics manufacturing services companies at a strategic planning level. The first is program management workload. Material exceptions have become the norm, and program teams have become highly reactive to respond to changing program variables. Second, material constraints are causing OEMs to keep projects at their current suppliers and push out launch plans on new products. Taken together, planning for account growth beyond what is automatically going in the pipeline based on spikes in existing demand may not be a great use of program management time.

While it is unlikely a significant number of projects will be awarded in the short term, a lot of dynamics in the background make strategically assessing larger accounts an important activity right now. These include:

Given the current workload, the next challenge is determining how this type of analysis can fit into busy schedules. Strategically analyzing larger accounts relative to the dynamics mentioned doesn’t need huge effort.

When a program manager is prepared, discussions on ways to align solutions more closely with short- and long-term customer needs become easier. Analyzing accounts for opportunities is one way to counter the continuous bad news on the materials front. This type of analysis also helps identify potential vulnerabilities and either address the issue or build the assumption of eventual business loss into the forecast. In the current high-inventory business environment, it is always a good idea to understand which accounts have growth potential and which are quietly planning an exit. 

Susan Mucha is president of Powell-Mucha Consulting Inc. (, a consulting firm providing strategic planning, training and market positioning support to EMS companies, and author of Find It. Book It. Grow It. A Robust Process for Account Acquisition in Electronics Manufacturing Services; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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