Valuing Your Customer Yields More Business

Valuing Your Customer Yields More Business

All business owners and managers say, "We greatly value our customers. Without them we wouldn't be in business."

But we all know companies who fall short – be it in attitude, professionalism, product quality, customer relations, or delivery. When it happens once, or on occasion, a customer may overlook it. When it happens repeatedly, the customer will likely seek comparable services elsewhere, often to the seller's surprise. ("I had no idea they were so unhappy. I wish they had spoken up.")

Last year Geist Plastics received proof positive that we successfully, continually demonstrate how much we value our customers and effectively meet their needs. In September and again in October, while attending the supplier summits of two customers, we were told to get ready to gear up – that they anticipated 25% growth in 2013 and the product we supplied them would be an integral part of their growth.

Naturally, we were excited about the growth our customers anticipated for their sake. We've served as a supplier for these two customers for 10 and 15 years, respectively. It's no secret they've depended on us as a key supplier. We've worked hard to ensure they have inventory when they need it and according to their preferred schedule. But to be given this news was a testament to the strength of our relationship – that they knew they could rely on us for significantly more product than ever before.

On our way home from these summits, our reality hit: to meet the growing needs of these longtime, valued customers, it was time to expand. We needed to add a third shift!

The trepidation we could have experience was minimized by our past experiences. After all, we've operated two shifts off and on for years. And last spring, due to an increase in demand for the products we manufacture, we tested adding a third shift to our manufacturing schedule. Plus, with the advance notice given by the two key clients mentioned above, we had plenty of time to gear up.

The entire Geist Plastics team was excited about adding the third shift. Everyone worked together to ensure the new employees were properly trained and got up to speed quickly. A few of our most seasoned first and second shift employees moved to the third shift to help streamline operations from the start. This additional Monday through Friday shift put us closer to capacity. Once we then added three shifts on Saturday, we were able to increase our output by 25%. By adding a third shift and running 24 hours a day, we eliminated the daily start up and shut down procedures, resulting in the monthly reduction of dozens of labor hours and thousands of pounds of scrap.

As we operate our three shifts Monday-Saturday, we all keep in mind that it's directly due to how much we value our customers and can meet their expectations. It's a powerful feeling.