The 56th Annual MHEDA Convention was themed “The Customer Convention.” To celebrate that notion of customer service, The MHEDA Journal is speaking to end-users to find out what they look for in their material handling distributors. This quarterly feature discusses how distributors can have a positive impact on their customer’s businesses and the end-user’s expectations for the partnership.
Who Is Olé Mexican Foods?
Olé Mexican Foods is a Norcross, Georgia-based producer and distributor of Mexican tortillas, tostadas, tortilla chips, chicharrones and much more. The company began in 1988 as a family-run business with one tortilla press and has since grown into a corporation with facilities in nine states throughout the United States. Maurice Carter, transportation manager at the Norcross distribution center, depends on his local MHEDA distributor to provide him with the highest-quality material handling equipment to keep the operation moving smoothly and efficiently.
Timely Repairs — One of our biggest concerns is the timeliness of our deliveries and making sure that our products are in excellent condition when they arrive at the stores. We run three shifts in our warehouse, so if our material handling equipment ever breaks down, we need it to be fixed or replaced as quickly as possible in order for us to operate. We can’t be hindered by broken equipment; we need to be constantly performing at full capacity.
Quality Equipment — We have 17 3,000-pound-capacity sit-down electric forklifts with 217-inch triple masts, four pallet jacks and a variety of scissor lifts and floor sweepers in our warehouse and production area. We have been using the same brands of forklifts for a long time, and their excellent reputations are very important to us. Because our equipment plays such a major role in our operation, we have to know going in that it will be able to hold up. Having a product that we can depend on makes life much easier.
Competitive Pricing — Service and quality products are the two most important things that we consider when buying equipment. But, especially given the current economic climate, we can’t ignore price. We look at the most cost-efficient equipment, taking into consideration the possible maintenance and upkeep costs that we might accrue down the road.
Effective Communication — To ensure that everything is running smoothly at all times, we keep an open line of communication with our distributor. We have had instances in the past where we needed something and communication broke down. If a distributor can’t get a certain piece of equipment for us, we have to know that up front. Communication has to be a two-way street. We have to effectively communicate exactly what we need, and we need our distributor to be able to tell us if they can do it for us.
Knowledge of our Requirements — Besides our more-than-200,000 sq. ft. warehouse, we also have a production area that is not as conducive to operating large machinery. Our material handling distributor comes in and actually scopes out our area before making equipment recommendations. It helps us determine what equipment can maneuver in each area so that our workers can use it safely and properly.