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Value Added Modifications: A Horse of a Different Color

| 5/7/2015 12:06:28 PM

Brian FosterAt B&B, part of our business model is to offer low cost customizations. Since we have our own factory here in Ottawa, IL – we can do this at some pretty low quantities also. You may ask, what exactly is a customization? It can be many things; a special connector, labels and packaging branded with your logo, different input power options, or even a different color.
 
We recently modified one of our USB to Serial Converters to match customer’s corporate colors. You might ask yourself why anyone would go to the expense of doing this. Maybe the Marketing Manager has a bag of money and nothing to do with it – probably not the case, but it’s possible. But, there is something to be said about a common look and feel when you are building a larger system. More often than not, the reason is more simplistic – keep your customer from introducing problems. They are much less likely to replace a USB to Serial converter without you being involved if you put your name on it.  This rarely works with the last piece of cake in the refrigerator at home – but it will work with a serial converter in the control panel for your card swipe system.
 
In addition to changing the color to a really ugly green, we also added a few helpful hints for the guy installing the system in the field. Almost all of our products are designed with a number of use cases in mind. This makes them flexible. However, this does require that the person installing it, or using it, have some understanding of how the product works. Great for a service technician is not necessarily good for an installation electrician. So, when we interviewed our customer we found out they had instructions that basically said to hook up the RS-485 cabling the same way all the time…. Red to TDA (-), Blue to TDB (+), … you get the idea. So we said… why not just add color stripes on the label next to the terminal block; an easy thing to do since we were making a new label anyway. Then we figured the configuration switches would always be the same – so we put that on the label to. We could have removed the switch altogether, but that would have required a board spin, and the customer did not want to wait that long. We could even kit it up with cables and other required items to ease the install, as well as the procurement process. The bottom line is, something like this is very cost effective to the customer because it decreases installation time, reduces mistakes, and makes it less likely that the end user will change anything – or if they do, it can easily be changed back. Now that is really a horse of a different color.
 
>> Learn more about our product modification services 

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