Customer Service Equals Community Service

Equipment and system vendor selection can have a direct impact on service to your industry as well as to your company.

The latest economic news seems to have gone from bad to worse. A lot of it seems to be based purely on emotion. Many companies are still sitting on a lot of cash, nervously waiting for a good time to invest in capital equipment. Inventories are pretty low right now, so demand is primed for a source of supply. Unfortunately that “all clear” signal buyers are waiting for won’t come until they and their vendors banish self-feeding fears and start doing business to fill real world needs.

Purchasing your needed capital equipment now will not only build your business’s capabilities back up, but it will boost the business of your suppliers. This in turn will allow them to build their service excellence through participation in professional programs like those offered by the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA).

MHEDA is dedicated to improving the proficiency of the independent material handling equipment distributor. It also helps its members become stronger corporate citizens through efforts like the Most Valuable Partner (MVP) program. MVP recognition is available to MHEDA distributor member companies that demonstrate a commitment to business excellence, professionalism and good stewardship. It is not an easy designation to earn and once attained, it must be renewed on a yearly basis. This ensures members are always striving for continued excellence.

MVP status requires an annual demonstration of the material handling distributor’s commitment to excellence in the following areas:

• Industry Relations: Being involved in industry development activities such as speaking at local colleges, providing student internships or company sponsored community service initiatives;

• Customer Relations: Demonstrating ethical and superior business practices through the creation of a corporate ethics policy, customer service program, or documented completion of a certified project management training program;

• Peer-to-Peer Networking: Learning from the best in the material handling industry through participation in MHEDA networking events such as regional “Lunch and Learn” meetings or monthly leadership conferences;

• Training and Continuing Education: Investing in educating and training employees to provide the best solutions to clients, not just commodity “off the shelf” products;

• Best Practices: Participating in recognized industry best practices to consistently improve overall performance and customer satisfaction. These practices include using a strategic business planning process or serving on a material handling dealer council.

A MHEDA MVP is a steward to the industry, their community and their employees. Such a company builds history of customer commitment and an organizational desire to give back to the community.

And when customers in that community support such a company and encourage participation in programs like MVP, they also support ethical and professional business practices.

This not only builds a feeling of security in a purchaser, but it will build an army of corporate citizens to nurse our ailing economy back to solid financial health.

Mark Juelich is the chairman and CEO of American Warehouse Systems LLC (www.aw-systems.com), a material handling systems integrator specializing in U.S. Federal Government distribution and storage facilities. He is also currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (www.mheda.org).

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