From Here to There
From Here to There
When it comes to differentiating yourself in the marketplace, jobsite delivery is an area ripe with customer service opportunities that can make a component manufacturer (CM) stand out from the competition. Here are a few best practices from two CMs in Wisconsin.
Sean Kelly, general manager of Automated Products, says component sequencing is a common request from customers.
“Once we make the trusses, we stage and load them in the order they’re needed for installation,” Kelly said. The challenge is balancing sequencing with proper load distribution, while maximizing the amount of product on the trailer. In a sense, it creates a trailer-sized game of Tetris.
“We stack our trucks tight, and encourage our drivers to pull over and check or adjust things after they drive for a bit. In some cases, if stacking everything on one trailer is too difficult, we’ll send more trucks on the run to help out.”
At Windsor Building Systems, Ben Vadnais, assistant plant manager, says overcoming weather obstacles is a skill his drivers are well-acquainted with and one that helps insure smooth deliveries.
“We can send trucks out to a jobsite that was previously in perfect condition, but they get three-and-a-half inches of rain overnight, and now we have to deal with mud and getting stuck,” Vadnais said.
With a messy jobsite, CMs have limited means of getting proper traction, but there are solutions. Laying sheathing or lumber down, spreading gravel from the jobsite, or unloading some components to lighten the load are some of the ways Windsor’s drivers mitigate jobsite conditions to protect delivered product from less-than-ideal conditions.
Accuracy is another aspect of delivery that sets one CM apart from another. Vadnais said Windsor drivers take pictures of components once they’ve been craned or rolled off the trailer, which confirms for the customer the delivery is accurate. At the same time, the photos serve as documentation for the CM that the full order was delivered and undamaged.
Kelly agrees and says he originally implemented picture-taking in an effort to document the delivery of hangers after framers on several sites unknowingly misplaced the hangers and requested a re-order.
“What happened was, one guy puts the hangers in a truck onsite and then can’t find them, so they’d call back to order more hangers that they didn’t end up needing.” Kelly said they’ve extended the photo documentation practice to trusses with similar success.
“We’ve sent pictures to an untold amount of carpenters showing them the bundles we delivered, and it has the added benefit of proving trusses aren’t broken.”
Kelly added that while these pieces are important to making a delivery, the most important thing is to confirm the delivery address ahead of time.
Framers and general contractors sometimes don’t know the street address of a jobsite. “Getting a map or the actual address from them can be exceedingly difficult. Usually this pertains to houses and not the big commercial jobs we do,” Kelly said. Many times, another subcontractor has already located the jobsite. In those cases, Kelly says, “We’ll call a lumber yard that has delivered to that location before and ask for directions.”
A perfect delivery, the ultimate customer service goal, starts with knowing where that delivery needs to go.