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Suppliers training primes


Friday, June 5, 2009

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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Welcome to the lighter side of Military & Aerospace Electronics. This is where our staff recount tales of the strange, the weird, and the otherwise offbeat. We could put news here, but we have the rest of our Website for that. Enjoy our scribblings, and feel free to add your own opinions. You might also get to know us in the process. Proceed at your own risk.

John Keller for MAE
John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.


Courtney Howard for MAE Courtney E. Howard is senior editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine. She is responsible for writing news stories and feature articles for the print publication, as well as composing daily news for the magazine's Website and assembling the weekly electronic newsletter. Her features have appeared in such high-tech trade publications as Military & Aerospace Electronics, Computer Graphics World, Electronic Publishing, Small Times, and The Audio Amateur.


John McHale for MAE John McHale is executive editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, where he has been covering the defense Industry for more than dozen years. During that time he also led PennWell's launches of magazines and shows on homeland security and a defense publication and website in Europe. Mr. McHale has served as chairman of the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum and its Advisory Council since 2004. He lives in Boston with his golf clubs.