The very first major job of my career brought the installation not only of warehouse equipment, but also the instillation of a valuable lesson- namely, always be there for your customer. If your customer has a tiny need, be attentive. If you take care of the little needs, they will trust you even more on the large ones. Be there for the customer’s every call. If they’ve got a concern that goes unanswered, even for a couple of days, they’ll look elsewhere and find a new vendor.
A major appliance retailer in Minnesota opened a new warehouse facility and turned to Storage Equipment (Minneapolis, MN) for its material handling needs. This project was my favorite because it allowed me to form a long-term relationship with an important customer and taughe me what it takes to maintain that relationship.
Relying on product knowledge and sheer persistence, I convinced the customer that it would be more cost-effective to install new shelving instead of moving existing hardware from their previous location. Speaking with the owner, I picked up on his needs. I wanted to be a one-stop shop for him. I was able to create a solution that fulfilled the customer’s requirements: racks and shelving for storage, guard rails for traffic control and security cages for workers’ tools.
With such a wide range of customer needs, I found myself having to manage product from 19 different suppliers. I had to ensure he knew what hardware was arriving and when so the installation could be coordinated properly. It can get stressful when your customer is relying on you for a building to be operational, but I just kept customer commitment foremost in my mind.
Part of the installation involved some innovative thinking. Because part of the customer’s inventory included appliances which had feet, wire decking wasn’t an option. However, the local fire code dictated that the shelving be at least 50 percent open, so I utilized perforated steel decking. Though the steel decking was more expensive that wire decking, I approached the customer honestly, letting them know this was the best solution. The customer appreciated my honesty, and today, Storage Equipment is where the retailer turns for its equipment-handling needs.
|Meet the Author
Aaron Birkeland, 24, is a sales account manager for Storage Equipment (Minneapolis, MN). A 3-year veteran of the material handling industry, Birkeland holds a degree in mechanical drafting from Anoka Hennepin Technical College.