Building and maintaining relationships is vital for a company like ours.
Often times, our team members will view customers as something they just have to deal with. Business becomes impersonal. It is not another person sitting across from them, it is a transaction. In essence, the customer is viewed as a big corporation, rather than a bunch of people just like us that want nothing more than to do a good job and serve their customer base.
Recently, a few of our executives and managers traveled to one of the Caterpillar Engine facilities. Dowding currently supplies multiple components to this facility, but one particular part is a highly critical internal engine component. It gets cast, machined and double disc ground all the way down to the micron level. As we walked out on to the floor our eyes were met with huge diesel engines lined up as far as they could see. The awe on our team’s faces grew as they became acquainted with the vastness of our customers’ operation. Their eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. It was evident that seeing and feeling our product at our customer’s plant was having an impact. We started down the assembly line – first just an engine block, next a huge crank shaft and pistons. Then we arrived to the part that Dowding makes. The engine just kept transforming, getting bigger and bigger, all the while becoming more and more complex. You could see plain as day the team swelling with pride like a balloon was inside of them. An overwhelming sense of responsibility came over them knowing that they were a part of something like this. There was a stark realization that these engines do not get built without them.
As the tour progressed, our guide from Caterpillar explained how critical it was to keep the line moving so the assembly workers can keep performing their tasks. At that moment our team realized that these are people, just like us, that work hard and want to be successful. Now it’s personal. Manufacturing parts for a customer is more than just a transaction. Its more than trading time for money and money for goods or services. There is a shared experience that helps to create a bond, and that makes all future interactions more than just transaction. It means something more from now on.
Dowding’s founder, Skip Dowding had a vision to create a place of work that left a meaningful impact on workers, that would allow them to enjoy their hobbies and passions in their spare time. He wanted our team members to be passionate about something in life, even if that means leaving to pursue a dream. As Richard Branson said, “train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to” which in turn leads to more productivity and happier lives when a group of workers believes in what they are doing.
When is a something more than a transaction? When the transaction involves helping people become the best version of themselves, the end result is priceless.