The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Apr 12, 2022

Below you will find an email that I sent out to our Microchip WW Client Engagement team this weekend. I typically send an email to the global team each week. Most times I am referencing something with respect to the CSUP thread that has been covered here. The message below talks about a concept that our industry and the “sales teams” within the industry have battled, the concept has normally been called “attach”. Within Microchip we have expanded the idea and focused on a broader perspective that we have called Total System Solution. The message addresses a couple of the challenges that exist within this effort. Hopefully you can connect with the specifics of our little semiconductor world below.

OK, LET’S ROLL! Its movie time!

TSS… The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly… (from movie history, well without the TSS part of the title that is).

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Italian: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo, literally “The good, the ugly, the bad”) is a 1966 Italian epic spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood as “the Good”, Lee Van Cleef as “the Bad”, and Eli Wallach as “the Ugly”. This movie is credited with launching Clint Eastwood into stardom. Now if you don’t know who that is, I suggest a trip down Dirty Harry lane via the web..

But for the sake of this “movie” we will tackle the TSS subject in reverse order…

TSS…The Ugly, the Bad, and the Good!

Any well written story has a structure. In terms of a 3 act play they would be..

  1. The Setup
  2. The Confrontation
  3. The Resolution

So let’s tackle Total System Solution in that construct.

What is the TSS Setup? And why is it Ugly?

That is a trip down memory lane and a journey that started decades ago. It is a daily quest by many individuals in the “selling” process of semiconductors. In its early years it was simply called “attach”. You know, that infamous battle to get a client to buy more/different part types from us. For a couple of decades the “attach” battles and wars raged. Everyone selling, expected everyone buying, to buy MORE, MORE, MORE! Sounds reasonable. Makes good sense it seems. What the heck, why not? Why the heck would someone that we have been calling on for years not just simply by MORE of our stuff? That is what it is. Now why is it Ugly?

Well, the harsh reality is that for the last 30-40 years in our world, every electronic system manufacturer in every corner of the world has spent gazillions (that’s a lot) of dollars and applied a nearly infinite amount of human energy and time towards one key task. And that task is making decisions about every component level technology they would ever need and CHOOSING the vendor (folks like us) for that specific product or class of products. They built huge teams around technology analysis, manufacturability, quality, pricing, and dozens of other “score card” elements by which to guide their decision outcomes. And they did, they decided…recall the hundreds of pages of AVL (approved vendor list) that you have had thrown at you.

They made a huge investment in that decision making process and it sticks today as solidly as ever. In most cases these companies and their pool of product engineers, quality engineers, manufacturing engineers and all of their peers did a solid job and that process has stood up to the test of time. Sadly, those decisions are typically used looking forward at next generation of end client products as well as current manufacturing. They are hugely invested in the decisions that they reached and the choices that they made. Moving them from those decisions is damn tough (but it can be done ☺, more under the category of Good).

In the next act of our story we see the Confrontation. The Bad.

Here comes the challenge to all this. Our clients have spent a TON of money and energy that has enabled them to make sourcing decisions for EVERYTHING that they need, to build what they build today. Decided. Done. Documented.

This is where we have to have a solid grasp on the absolute fact that it is what we DO, not what we “sell”, that makes the difference in this entire discussion. AND, it is ONLY what we DO, that is acknowledged by the client as being UNIQUE, that matters at all. Everything else is immaterial, does not count, won’t make a difference. The Confrontation comes now in the form of caring greatly about the client, so much so, that we dig in deep and take the time to UNDERSTAND them better and differently than anyone else. It is that UNDERSTANDING that will allow us to paint a possible picture that reflects an outcome that matters to them that is different and better and enables THEM to CHANGE their thinking. We cannot change their mind, they can, with us as guides in that journey. We have to confront that challenge to change their thinking so that they change their beliefs so that they change their actions…. In our favor of course!!!

Constructive Confrontation!

Now, to the Good and the Resolution!

The challenge is substantial. Changing the way that people think is not for the feint of heart. You must have conviction that you are serving for the betterment of all. And you are!

There is ONE key to making this all happen. And it works well, because we see it all around us.

The one factor that drives the success of a client engagement at this level and under these circumstance greater than ANYTHING else is….

Subject Matter Expert Engagement!

We know this to be true as we have studied the data. You know it to be true because you have experienced the reality directly or indirectly.

Your maximized, structured, planned, use of SME’s makes ALL the difference. 3,4,5 times greater outcome happens in our client engagement metrics when we put the planned SME maximization process into gear.

This one “in process” variable MUST be in every discussion that happens about every client project that we manage. Amongst teams members, when in project reviews, at the over view level, directly with the client, in EVERY discussion, this one point must be critically focused on. Where are we today with SME’s, what is planned next, where are we also looking at going. All questions that need to be DRIVEN.


So… our closing act, the final part of the story…

Our clients have fully made their component decisions. We don’t go tell them they were wrong. We do engage with them and jointly make a unique difference that they acknowledge. We open up the door to change and help them take the steps through it to their benefit.

We do this through the EXTENSIVE use of SME’s (internal and external).

There is nothing more powerful than someone that has “seen the light” and found a new belief. You are that resource that can accomplish that and more.
The End!



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