A Motor Manufacturer’s Approach to Customer Service
Most businesses describe their devotion to customer satisfaction as a prime benefit of their products and services. Yet, in the business press, surveys of customer satisfaction often reveal this devotion is not always a reality. Too often customer service is compartmentalized to the call center as an after-market business process. We at Ohio Electric Motors approach customer service in a much different way. For OEM, customer service is synonymous to motor quality and is integrated into engineering, production, and order fulfillment using a four step system:
- Analysis of Customer Needs
- Planning for the Accomplishment of Goals
- Implementing the Project
- Evaluating our Customer’s Requirements
- Analysis of Customer Needs
The production of quality DC motors is a complex task that requires a cross-functional team of professionals. The first task our team takes on is first analyzing the customer and determining what he needs. This task ensures that what is produced by OEM really answers our customers needs, which is the first step in the long road of integrating customer service into our motors. After determining what our customers need, our team analyzes what we need to do, as far as our organization, our suppliers and our processes, in order to move the project forward. We then address what our performance processes, such as, benchmarks and metrics. This period of analysis is an on-going process that is revisited throughout the development and production project and forms the first step of integrating customer satisfaction into our products.
Planning for the Accomplishment of Goals
It’s one thing to say you are a customer-focused organization and another to make it a reality that a customer perceives as such. Ohio Electric Motors uses an in-depth planning phase to establish the priorities, mission objectives and roles & responsibilities of each member of our organization. This is perhaps the most involved step of our approach to customer service. Our planning process is much more than an extended management strategy session. Rather, it establishes the project’s organizational structure, resources, training needs (if applicable), project management systems, risk assessments, budgets & cost accounting and supply chain management. Finally, we conclude the planning phase with ways to kick-off the project and build team cohesion. We want our employees to believe in the job they are about to do. And OEM management wants to empower them do the best job possible. When our workers believe they “own” the job, what happens is they improve the quality of the electric motors OEM produces, which is customer service by any other name.
Implementing the Project
A successful planning phase leads to a rapid and efficient implementation of the electric motor manufacturing project. This where we take all the things we learned while analyzing our customers needs and planning for the project and make them a reality. Throughout the implementation phase we are comparing what we thought was necessary for a successful project to what is happening in real-time on the engineer’s CAD station and all the way to the activities on the shop floor. We monitor how our resources are being used. We address problems, conflicts and changes, so we can take immediate corrective action. This is where engineering and production quality meets customer service even before our motors are shipped.
Evaluating Our Customer’s Requirements
The conclusion of our successful project analysis, planning and implementation phases is the final step: evaluating our results relative to customer satisfaction and requirements with quantitative methodologies. We develop reports to document costs, performance and the testing of our motors. We conduct process reviews and meet to see how we can improve them. This type of checks-and-balances evaluation tries to close any gaps, so to speak, and verify that what we are producing is what our customers want. This is the endgame for Ohio Electric Motors: DC electric motors built with quality and answer the requirements of our customers.