My Product, Easy Answer

Specialize in the product environment, be flexible, move fast, be the client’s institutional memory… Pascal Pedrinelli demands a lot. But this is what gives Ensto the competitive edge.

“What will make the difference to the customer?” asks Pascal Pedrinelli.

Pedrinelli is responsible for R&D, manufacturing, and purchasing at Ensto’s Villefranche and Bagnères-de-Bigorre facilities. And despite a business card that reads “Head of Research & Development,” you won’t find Pedrinelli in a laboratory. This is an R&D director whose interest is the customer.

Two mindsets

“If you want to make a difference to the customer you need to be a specialist in your product and your customer’s environment. The customer cannot always make the link between your very good product and his needs. You must work toward making the link: ‘My product, easy answer.’”

Pedrinelli says two different mindsets are critical to serve customers, one for France, the other for export markets.

“For France, we have a very important engineering job to do. We make our product meet specs. After that we get an agreement and a contract. Then deliveries can be planned.”

“But for export markets it means you re-do the story every time. These markets have different requirements, and they may change their mind in two years, due to following the latest innovation or international standards. To serve this market requires huge flexibility on our part.”

CAMEG in Algeria is an excellent example. “The Auguste order was received in June 2014, but we invested three years to get it. The quantity changed three times. You’ve got to stay close, follow, focus, and know the deciding factors of a tender. Know the decision makers. Then you adapt to whatever the final requirements are.”

The institutional memory

Pedrinelli sees a trend of customer decisions being taken later and later, but says this can be turned to Ensto’s advantage.

He sees two reasons for the trend. “First, experienced staff from utility companies retire and are replaced by new people – or not replaced at all. So who can explain the past? The supplier can. Ensto can tell the story of the customer’s network, and why its products will continue to be the solution.”

“Second, budgets get re-prioritized by governments and network automation decisions made later and later. In general, specs change again just before the order. But once order is taken they want the product right away. Ensto needs to be prepared for this process.”

Positive, Creative, Reactive

To exploit this situation, Pedrinelli uses what he calls the PCR attitude: Positive, Creative, Reactive. “You need to be positive, because the specs, quantities, even the deadlines will change. You need to be creative and reactive, because when the decision is taken, you better move fast.”

“No matter how good you are, you can be lacking something, PCR brings added value, improves customer satisfaction. Following specs is not enough, you need to specialize in the product environment.”

Author: Scott Diel