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What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a common question asked of kids. Firefighters, teachers, and doctors are all examples of responses one might hear. But what if that question was posed to business owners? What type of business do you strive to be? Answers might include best in class in service, product excellence, culture focused, team oriented, etc.; frankly, most businesses would probably desire to achieve all of those, including dozens of more higher-acclaimed qualities. However, it is imperative a business identifies who they are and what they stand for; their ultimate success depends on a clear initiative and awareness of their objectives, strengths, and opportunities.
We are fortunate to realize that in order to “be”, we must have started as something, and have a future vision and goal. At Fusion, our leaders determined early on that we must identify our core values and what qualities it would take to be the leader in our field. We hold a number of things important: quality, on-time delivery, service, and best-in-class value among them all. In order for us to separate us from competitors, we had to examine the strongest, most satisfying arena to compete. The concept of Customer Intimacy, first introduced to me over 20 years ago in Harvard Business Review, is about tailoring and adapting products and services to meet a variety of customer needs, thereby ideally establishing a lifelong loyal relationship. Each day, our team of management, engineers, product developers, machinists, and assemblers work together to best identify a customer’s needs to focus and deliver upon, and consequently, hope to surpass expectations. We realize that any short term growing pains will result in relationship-building and ultimately developing and nurturing a mutual trust. Certainly, there are other values to hold near: Operational Excellence ensures customers of a company’s price and convenience leadership; and companies which embrace Product Leadership are continuously striving for new solutions and ideas that likely exist outside their own organizations – they embrace expertise existing outside of their own company. But the idea of customer intimacy is one that continues to resonate within our organization; we believe in the value of relationships between people which will positively impact business.
For us to succeed in this area, we must provide our people the tools and support they need to provide their service… and then get out of their way to allow them the freedom and autonomy to best do their job. How do we do this? Here are three examples:
- Highly Customized Contract Manufacturing Programs. We are proud to have developed customized manufacturing programs to address the needs of our clients, time and time again. Over the length of our partnership, these solutions have included providing on-site offices for our clients’ engineers to increase speed to market in the development and launch of new products, rebuilding and improving products that were not originally manufactured by Fusion, and accommodating new and truly unique manufacturing techniques.
- Customized Training. For our clients, personalized training opportunities have ranged from lessons on old designs to evolution of products. Viewing the build process firsthand and receiving feedback from our Production Team improves understanding and comprehension and complements any internal training clients offer during their employee onboarding process. This joint effort is successful because it demonstrates that our customers have faith in Fusion’s craftsmanship and experience. It also allows Fusion to be considered a valuable teaching partner for their teams.
- Customized Supply Chain Solutions. A key aspect of Customer Intimacy has been to reduce the amount of stress our clients encounter so they can focus on building their business. Outsourcing the responsibility of supply chain management to us has ensured that the entire necessary infrastructure is in place, without clients actually having to realize the associated costs. For our customers, it’s not just the product that we consider – consistent lead times, insightful customer support, on-time delivery, and supplier business stability are all critical factors to consider when evaluating which suppliers are a good fit to meet expectations.
Without a doubt, our streamlined discipline on how to create value has enabled us to grow, learn, and excel with the customer’s needs identified, met, and ideally exceeded. We certainly recognize the importance of price and convenience. We also know that staying on top of the trends in the marketplace will all positively affect our output and customer satisfaction. However, we respect that creating strong and prosperous relationships will serve us and ultimately our customers best in the long run, ensuring we and they are mutually connected.