[UCEC: Future Ready] Looking Ahead to the Customer of Tomorrow
Editor’s Note: Our new series “Future Ready” captures UCEC’s efforts to prepare for the electrical control panel industry of the future. Read our first installment from CEO and President, Mark Inboden.
By Evan Coulter
What does the UCEC customer of the future look like? One things is sure: they are getting younger! From newly minted engineers to mid-career engineers to factory management teams, our median customer age is skewing downward.
What this means is we need to meet our customers where they are. Our younger customers are used to buying things on the Internet. They rely on Amazon Prime. Accustomed to nearly instant gratification, our customers won’t sit by and continue to work with UCEC if we act as if it’s 1958. (Although that was a really good year…the year UCEC was founded!)
So, how do we do this? Here are a few ways we are getting ready for the future UCEC customer.
The newest advances in panel tech are remote-controlled panels, RFID panels and the Industrial Internet of Things—and that’s just a start. Communication and networks are another big area. With all of these advancements come security issues as cloud-based networks become the norm for oil and gas, recycling, communications and manufacturing industries.
We stay on top of these new tech developments by attending seminars, trade shows and other training opportunities. As our CEO and President Mark Inboden says, we want “to be the first shop to do a wireless control panel.”
Keep up to Date with Safety
Customers are increasingly requesting panels to be UL listed. We used to have a UL-listed panel requested every three to four months. Now, it’s every other panel. People want that extra piece of mind. In the future, we’ll continue to train our staff on UL listings. We will continue to roll out vigorous Quality Assurance processes.
Our customers like to follow their online purchases with a tracking number. They don’t wonder: when will my package get here? We’re exploring a similar feature for UCEC. Although for now, our customers can call or email us and get immediate updates. Our shop door is always open, too.
Digital Can Still Mean Personal
New UCEC customers are increasingly finding us via our website. Online is where the initial vetting occurs and then the potential customer often schedules a shop visit to seal the deal. That’s where the new client can see and touch the panels. They can talk with us and throw around ideas. So, even in the digital age, there’s a place for craft and the human touch.
We’re always working on listening to our customers. We can’t solve their problems if we don’t listen. Our future customers will be the same in this regard. We must first learn to listen.
The customers of the future will demand more and more out of their panel shops. We’ll rise to meet this challenge by continuing to invest in new technologies that save our customers time and money. (We assume these two commodities will still be important in the future!)
A lot of the new tech we’ve embraced (the Steinhauer CNC machine, wire cutting machine, among others) makes our lives easier. This tech takes resources and training, but in the end, it pays off for our customers. We’ll strive to meet our future customers’ expectations in this manner as well.
We can't predict everything about our future customers, but by making smart decisions now, we’re readying UCEC to meet the demands of tomorrow.
Evan is Vice President of Business Operations at UCEC.