By Mark Inboden
Years ago, I was asked to attend a particular meeting at a customer’s office. The company needed to “fast track” a project and wanted some input as to what we could do to help them.
After understanding the time frame they were asking us to commit to, I agreed that we could get the job done. I had several suggestions on expediting long-lead items; how we could work some staggered shifts; and how we could utilize dedicated driver teams to save a day on deliveries.
For the customer's part, they planned to re-prioritize their panels so we could have them ready as needed, not in the groupings that were originally scheduled. They were going to ask for drop-dead dates for each delivery to the construction site, so deliveries would be immediately installed, and not stored on site.
We were getting ready to wrap things up, when one of the upper management executives asked if we could cut some time off production, by just giving them a workable panel. He went further to explain that the quality of our panels were viewed as “Cadillacs” compared to others, and that with the nature of the schedule, couldn’t we skip some steps and just give them “Chevys”? He said it might even save them some money.
Before I had a chance to respond, one of the more senior management members said, “If we wanted Chevys, we would have asked for Chevys. We are just asking if our order for Cadillacs can be improved." Gratefully, I didn’t even need to respond, as it became apparent that our customer would not sacrifice quality for price or delivery.
At UCEC, our product is a quality one. Skimping corners to save money or speed up production just isn't the way for us. Of course, we'll work with our customers on their scheduling needs as much as possible. But when it comes to quality and craftsmanship, there are no shortcuts.
Mark is the President and CEO of UCEC.