Chad Part 5: Customer Needs VS Customer Wants in Manufacturing

In the conclusion of our Chad Decker interview, we once again return to the topic of “customer’s needs VS customer’s wants” in the field of manufacturing.

Do you let a customer ask for the solution they want – and risk potentially losing business due to lack of results – or do you take the risky option in fixing their issues but risk losing the sale?

As always, it was a fascinating discussion with Chad that you won’t want to miss!


Special thanks once again goes to the DELMIA team for making this series a reality!

Gene: What exactly is the difference between a relationship that starts off based on valid discussions versus one where it’s determined by product features, functions, and price as the main topic?

Chad: Let’s answer that question by using an example. Let’s say you’re trying to buy a car (I’ll use my wife as an example). My wife says “I want an SUV and it’s got to have leather seats that are heated” and all this kind of stuff, whatever.

Chad: So, she goes to the car dealership, and she gets the biggest SUV that they have likes it. She drives it for 2 months and she says “this gets horrible mileage. It’s hard to park. It’s, it’s doesn’t have the best ride. This is terrible!”

Chad: Did she get what she asked for? Absolutely! She went to the dealer and said, “I want a big SUV and I want one with leather and I want with these features and those functions,” etc.

Chad: Again, this doesn’t mean they’re bad cars; I myself have bought a couple of these things and they naturally come with their own sets of problems. But again, if you’ve got the use case, it’s fine.

Chad: This is an illustrative thing of what somebody’s asking for and what they need may not be the same thing.

Chad: As salespeople, it’s an absolute faux pas to go against the customer demand. But, again, the best salespeople see past that and would ask her? “What are you going to be using this for? Oh, she’s a teacher! She need to drive to school daily and, errands and things like that. Oh, okay. Maybe you don’t need the biggest SUV that we sell, right? Maybe you need something, maybe you need a hybrid, maybe you probably need all-wheel drive – because you live up in the places where they get snow.”

Chad: So again, how do you figure out what people need versus what they’re asking for. Once you do that, that’s when you start to bridge those two sets of features and functions and give them the best experience. So, you have say to people, “okay, why don’t we go and see what you’re doing?” Asking that one question will gain some insight as to some of the things you’re struggling on!

Chad: I’ll tell people all my observations are probably not going to be a lightning bolt from the sky. I’m sure somebody’s brought them up before or you’ve even thought of them yourself, but learning of the situation allows me to put them in a different context and I may be able to point out that lacking one feature may be a bigger impediment to your success than you had previously thought or taking a particular approach at this particular time may be a bigger roadblock to your success than you would have thought.

Chad: Again, maybe doing things a certain way would add more value than you had realized.

Chad: And so that’s a lot of how we get past the “features and functions”. Because, again, one of my worst-case scenarios is I gave something to someone that they asked for, and it wasn’t what they needed.

Gene: Sure, and it’s the theme of this discussion right now: what you want in your head versus the reality of the situation, (which is why I assume this value assessment is so crucial). But, just out of curiosity, let’s just say for argument’s sake

Gene: That a company wants to do a value assessment. So, when you’re shopping around for who to trust and so forth, to do a value assessment, what exactly are the qualifications for a team to do this value assessment?

Gene: Is it knowledge? Experience? What should they be looking for?

Chad: I would say those are 2 big things; again, the folks on our US team, we’ve got a fairly small team, but most of us have done this for quite a while. And, again, it probably just comes down to experience and I don’t know who to attribute the quote to, but, as they say, “experience is what you get when you got what you didn’t want.” And it takes a long time to get there, right?

Chad: Again, I had said, “I can notice things on a two-hour shop tour that others don’t”, but again, can I teach someone that? Maybe? People often tell me “How did you notice that?” Well, people didn’t seem to be engaged. They were walking around; they would seem confused.

Chad: Over time, there are just the little things you pick up on. A lot of it’s observational, a lot of it is experience. It’s just things that you learn, things that pop up as you see more companies. Things that maybe work better than other things, right? Sometimes, you work in a different industry where one might be doing things totally differently, and so on.

Chad: So again, I think it ends up being experience.

Chad: Another thing is you really have to enjoy the process! I really enjoy doing this and I think that helps out a lot. I mean, I’m excited to go in and understand what somebody’s doing, what’s going well, what’s not going well; it really helps me learn about the business! Every once and a while, I may see things and say, “oh, wow, you’re doing this particular thing in this particular way. That’s great approach! I never thought of doing it that way!” I may put that up in the in the filing cabinet, so to speak.

Chad: And, as you go on your work journey, you start to see things that work better and some things that don’t work well at all and you can share those with some of your customers.

Chad: Yeah, it just really takes experience, observation and maybe a little bit of passion. All those things really help.

Gene: We’ve just about run out of time. So, in conclusion, do you have any last thoughts regarding how DELMIA could potentially help in the manufacturing field or any words of advice for people based on the amounts of products that Dassault has at their disposal?

Chad: One of the things that we get asked a lot, “does your product do this?” And our answer usually is “yes, it can, or it does out of the box, or you can configure it to do so”. And again, I think the best advice I could give for people is to really understand what is it that they’re trying to solve? What are the issues they have?

Chad: And again, invite someone like us to come in and maybe assist them in that.

Chad: But again, what are you trying to sell? You can’t boil the ocean. You can’t, you’re not going to fix everything all at once. But what are the things you’re trying to solve AND ALSO, what in their mind represents success? Because all of these projects take money, they take people, they take time and when you get to the end, you’ll realize, “oh good gracious! This was expensive, and it took so long,” etc.

Chad: But again, you have to remember, but why did you do the process? You wanted to reduce rework by 5%. But, doing the process went beyond that and actually reduced rework by 12%. You wanted to reduce your work in process inventory by 5%. You actually did 10%, etc.

Chad: Whatever those KPIs are, that’s how you will measure your success.

Chad: KPIs help with two things. One is that it protects projects from losing steam. Since these projects take time, you may want to stop once you get to your fifth implementation, but your KPIs will allow you to say “this may be a lot of great work, but we’re doing a lot of great things.”

Chad: Item 2 is it helps you get additional funding. Again, as these projects are going on, you’re going to go to your folks at your organization in charge of capital and you’re going to say, “I want to X amount of dollars. Oh, and we want to do more of this, or we want to expand it or even, continue down that path.” It’s great to be able to say to them, “Hey, we did well on the first one. We want more money to, we want to do more of this and maybe an expand the scope.”


Chad: So I would say those are the pieces of advice I would give customers; again, having been one myself I would give myself that advice too.

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