Membrane-Switch production can be challenging work once you get past the roadblocks to production that customers place in your path. Here a panel of experts reveals how they work with clients to arrive at products that satisfy all.
You know the old adage: The customer is always right. Well, whoever coined that phrase must not have manufactured membrane switches. Those who work in the industry know that buyers rarely come fully prepared for a purchase order or armed with the information needed to effectively describe an application. In fact, printers most often find themselves guiding their clients through specifying and ordering so that the switch will perform as expected and meet requirements for pricing, turnaround time, and more.
Screen Printing magazine spoke with a group of membrane-switch producers about the problems they encounter when customers bring in new jobs. The discussion also revealed some of the solutions they employ to streamline the ordering process and enhance their clients’ understanding of the technology. Members of this roundtable discussion include:
• Jeff Arbogast, vice president of operations, VisionMark, Sidney, OH
• Gene Baumgarten, vice president of product development and quality assurance, Dawar Technologies, Pittsburgh, PA
• David Gintzler, president, Bovie Screen Printing Company, Inc., Concord, NH
• Hemant Mistry, president. Jayco Panels, Corona, CA
• Brad Root, president, GM Nameplate, Seattle, WA
• Dennis Webster, Intaq engineering manager, GM Nameplate, Seattle,WA
What are some of the challenges you face with customers in the early stages of membrane-switch production?
Jeff Arbogast We get customers who have a varying degree of experience. Some are just folks from purchasing, others are engineers. We get all kinds of people. Sometimes customers have lofty expectations. In some cases, we’re dealing with electrical engineers who know that industry very well, but now they’re applying their experience to a screenprinted product that has some limitations and strengths, depending on the situation.
Gene Baumgarten Smaller or first-time buyers need more input from my company to establish what their goals and needs are—especially the firsttime buyers. They might be more familiar with printed circuit boards. In general, most customers are not familiar with the requirements for circuit layout for membrane switches. It’s also a challenge to get the correct information and have all of the information there so people can do their jobs.
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