The Mil & Aero Blog
Friday, June 5, 2009
  Suppliers training primes
Posted by John McHale

During a recent internal meeting a colleague suggested we should "train our customers" on how to better take advantage and keep up with our online media, even posting their own product updates. Some in the audience chuckled or were a bit cynical at the concept -- including me. Perhaps we snarled to soon.

This week I paid a visit to a military electronics supplier in Chatsworth, Calif. -- Aitech Defense Systems, and when I arrived they were in the midst of training one of their major customers/system integrators on how to use their space single-board computers and systems and maintain them.

"It cuts way down on customer support calls," and also gets end-users more involved in the design process, said one Aitech engineer. "We are looking to get them even earlier by going directly to the military academies and training them there," he added.

I was quite surprised when Aitech's vice president of sales and marketing, Doug Patterson, told me that not many of their competitors go this extra step. The "customers in the class" seemed quite enthusiastic.

I don't know if what works for users of space-qualified computer systems will work for those who buy advertising... but maybe it's worth another look.

Aside from the tour of Aitech's fairly new facility -- it opened last year -- one of the highlights of the trip was taking the train to Chatsworth from San Diego where we had just finished up hosting our Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum and Avionics USA conferences.

It's been a long while since I've taken a train because I didn't realize they had power outlets! That along with my wireless card made the train a relaxing spot to do work and catch up on email.

The ocean views didn't hurt either...
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Another fine piece of cinematography worthy of your time would be "Starship Troopers" (1997). On the downside, although they've perfected space travel in this movie's timeframe, they have only seemed to advance handheld weapons technology to roughly the equivalent of a 30-caliber machine gun. On the upside, the military has coed showers.
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