The Value of Customer Intimacy

Establishing and maintaining a solid relationship with your contract manufacturing (CM) partner is crucial to customer service, cost efficiency, quality and product development. Some manufacturers feel that supplier conversation should be focused on product price and product delivery only. At Fusion, we work hard to make sure that isn’t the case. A relationship that consists of trust and approachability is critical in original equipment manufacturing because it relies on repeat business. In essence, because our customers are trusting us with their products, their success is our success. The key question for any competitive contract manufacturer is how we have earned that trust. The solution is simple yet powerful: focus on building and sustaining Customer Intimacy.

The concept of Customer Intimacy is not new. In fact, a sample of any given industry will show that the most successful companies use this approach, including Marriott, Nordstrom, and your local car mechanic. So what is Customer Intimacy? The phrase first appeared in a 1993 article in the Harvard Business Review and has resonated with me ever since. Every company worth it’s salt has three traits: Product Leadership, Service Excellence, and Customer Intimacy. The challenge for business leaders is deciding which trait will define their product or service offering. While some companies have chosen to excel in Product Leadership (Intel, Nike, Apple), others have opted for Service Excellence (FedEx, Walmart, Southwest). For Fusion, Customer Intimacy has set us apart from other contact manufacturers. Simply put, Customer Intimacy involves anticipating needs, reacting quickly to concerns, and developing innovative solutions to address unique challenges. At Fusion, this approach has strengthened client relationships and transformed them into true partnerships.

Since 2002, we have gone above and beyond to implement the following solutions to establish Customer Intimacy:

Training. For our clients, training opportunities have ranged on everything from lessons on old designs to evolution of products. Viewing the build process firsthand and receiving feedback from our Production Team improves understanding and comprehension and complements any internal training clients offer during their employee onboarding process. This joint effort is successful because it demonstrates that our customers have faith in Fusion’s craftsmanship and experience. It also shows that Fusion is seen as a valuable teaching partner for their teams.

Innovation. We are proud to have developed customized manufacturing programs to address the needs of our clients time and time again. Over the length of our partnership, these solutions have included:

– Housing engineers and technicians on a rotating weekly basis
– Rebuilding and improving products that were not originally manufactured by Fusion
– Renting temporary facilities to accommodate special manufacturing programs

Supply Chain Management. A key aspect of Customer Intimacy has been to reduce the amount of stress our clients encounter so they can focus on building their business. Outsourcing the responsibility of supply chain management to us has ensured that the entire necessary infrastructure is in place, without clients actually having to realize the associated costs. For our customers, it’s not just the product that we consider – consistent lead times, insightful customer support, on-time delivery, and business stability are all critical factors to consider when evaluating which suppliers are a good fit to meet expectations. Customers have also gained access to extensive and relevant vendor networks, providing additional opportunities to establish new supplier relationships.

We have built our business around anticipating and satisfying the needs of our clients. While many contract manufacturers offer similar services, they aren’t created equal when it comes to streamlined solutions. Dependable results with proven records of quality products is how we do business, but at Fusion we take it a step further. We look forward to developing more customer-centric programs to enhance our client relationships in the future.