Connecting with Customers. Brazil Style.

The Road Warriors (from left to right): Renato, Celia, Rebecca, Anson and Fabio

Recently, I spent five days in Brazil with four of my talented colleagues—Anson Martin,  Renato Pantoja, Celia Zacchi and Fabio Scarpari.  Our mission:

  • Get face time with seven of our very important customers –the world’s largest consumer electronics and mobile phone OEMs—for whom we develop battery packs, notebook AC Adapters and WIFI cards
  • Better understand what’s currently happening in their businesses in order to better serve their needs
  • Reinforce and build stronger relationships
  • Talk about our customer satisfaction efforts and how we are innovating our business to innovate theirs

Southern Brazil lush countryside at a customer’s site

The trip started in Sao Paulo, Brazil—where we visited four customers over 1.5 days. On top of being 85 degrees plus (I was not prepared for summer!), we saw some amazing, lush countryside surrounded by beautiful lakes, horses and cows. Then we hopped back on a plane and headed to Manaus. There, we had a great WIFI card prospect meeting and had two other OEM customer meetings.

My key takeaways from our eight, intense meetings? Connecting with customers and adding value can be more challenging than you may think. It’s more than simply developing quality battery packs, power supplies and other modules. It’s more than meeting lead times and offering cost-effective solutions. It requires those things and an organization-wide dedication to truly partnering with your customer.

I witnessed connecting and adding value first hand—Brazil style (which includes lots of strong coffee and/or eating lots of red meat very late at night). Our customers there find value in the fact that we:

  1. Listen
  2. Are flexible and will work with them in the way THEY prefer
  3. Are willing to collaborate on different levels of the business in order to be an “innovation” partner
  4. Know how to do business in Brazil—navigate the complex rules and regulations; understand and impact the local content laws (PPB); can deal with the ever fluctuating exchange rate and even will help customers understand HOW to set up and operate THEIR business in Brazil

None of the above is rocket science, but again, it’s a lot harder to do than you think. In conjunction with our global customer satisfaction efforts, our Brazil team has worked very hard to ensure our customers there are delighted. I honestly saw that we had deep relationships with true “give and take,” which is vital because being part of the consumer electronics supply chain (primarily in Brazil) can be a rollercoaster, especially when we are still in a worldwide recession.

Renato’s birthday celebration in Manaus

Just as it’s important to connect with and delight our customers—it’s also very important to take care of our talented people. We ended the week with a birthday celebration at our Manaus facility for Renato who has been with Palladium for more than 10 years now! Cheers, Renato!

Rebecca Kritzman

– Rebecca Kritzman, director of global marketing


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