UCEC is a proud Colorado company. The company was born here and it’s going to stay here. The famous “spirit of the West” is present in our employees: we are hardworking, adventurous and resourceful.
UCEC has no plans to go anywhere. We’re staying put in Colorado. But I’ve noticed that not all companies feel this way. Several vendors we have ordered from for years have moved (or plan to move) out of the U.S. I am sure labor costs are the main reason for these relocations.
Unfortunately, when these vendors move out of the country, lead times for parts delivery stretch out and often quality takes a nosedive. With lead times, we are completely neutral: we tell the customer that their part will now take 22 weeks instead of two or three. We try to get the part the customer requests and needs. It’s not our job to change their mind, but I’ll tell you a little secret: none of our customers want to wait more than four days let alone four months for their parts to come in!
When faced with long lead times that will delay their panel project weeks or months, our customers are choosing to jump from an established brand they’ve used for years to another company of equal quality. It seems that the customer-vendor relationship has changed in recent years. Many of our customers were “married” to certain manufacturers. But now with younger managers and engineers who are used to searching online for anything from paper towels to take-out meals to PLCs, brand loyalty has been thrown out the window.
Like I mentioned, we’re neutral on this matter. We will always help our customers make the best decisions we can with the information we have. The other day, I helped a customer navigate changing enclosure manufacturers. Their longtime enclosure manufacturer moved out of the country. Now, it takes six weeks to get one of the company’s enclosure delivered to our shop. An American-made competitor can get the same panel on my dock, painted, within a week.
Once you lose a customer, it’s very difficult to get them back. UCEC has always subscribed to the old adage: take care of your customers or someone else will.
Being in Colorado suits us. The Colorado “lifestyle” of being in the outdoors and staying active is a plus as we tend to recruit healthy, young workers. Our geographic location is excellent because we can ship east or west and get our panels to their destination in just a few days. Besides, Colorado is downright stunning. We’re definitely here to stay.
Evan is Vice President of Business Operations for UCEC.