The IDEAL Group hosted their national distribution partners for a two-day event in Rochester, NY on October 18th, and 19th. Attendees included Cathedral Oil Services, Danbro Distributors, Intech Anchoring, Pacific Helix Distributing, and Southeast Helicals. Twelve principals, representing the five companies, joined IDEAL personnel. from all levels of production and management, who explained their roles and answered questions. The goal was to help the customer better understand all aspects of the company’s processes from manufacturing through customer relations and support.
The first day was spent touring the plant and observing the manufacturing process which combines hands-on human activities with sophisticated robotics. The tour began and ended outside, in the yard, starting in the staging area of the raw material and ending in the staging area of the ready-to-be-shipped final product. Not surprisingly given the guest list, distributor reps, like kids gathered around the tree on Christmas morning, wandered around looking for tags on the bundled material, looking for their stuff!
In between the outdoor activities, the guests followed the various stages involved in converting the raw material into a finished product. The leisurely pace allowed for up-close observations and chitchat with personnel. Sales Coordinator Kristin Muscolino waxed poetically at one point that “All the pipe tells a story.” Others answered specific questions about various aspects of the various processes. The processes are constantly monitored and altered or tweaked, as needed, to improve quality control or to increase speed or accuracy. Auto welds for couplers, where the alignment of the holes must be precise, were cited as an example of such an improvement.
One area of particular interest, where the Distributor group lingered, was the Testing Room. A 2 7/8” RS (.276 wall) with a rating of 10,000 ft. lbs. was taken to 13,400 before the coupler holes began to elongate. Similarly, 3 ½” RS (.216 wall) with a 13,000 ft. lbs. rating achieved 16,000 ft. lbs. before deflection. The popular True Force UP bracket (rated at 50K) experienced a very slight deflection at 70K. Despite the Peanut Gallery’s urging to “take it to failure,” all three products survived the test relatively unscathed. This exercise was orchestrated by IDEAL co-founder and helical innovator, Ben Stoyer. Thereafter, proceeding to the shipping yard, Mr. Stroyer, surrounded by inquisitive distributor reps, held court for 45 minutes, sharing his helical history.
Click here to see IDEAL Foundation Systems Helical Piles Products.
Before ending the day with a sumptuous feast at a very popular, lively restaurant, some IDEAL folks and distributor types tried their hand at a golf range, complete with electronic tracking technology. With a few notable exceptions, most proved why we labor in the helical business and are not earning our daily bread on the golf tour.
The second day began with a breakfast meet-and-greet, followed by an office tour with the opportunity to put names to the voices of the various support personnel that distributors deal with regularly. Then, IDEAL GM, Glen Stroyer, and other department team leaders, introduced the “Partner Portal”, a Customer Relations Management tool (in development), and solicited input from the distributors. A lively exchange produced good ideas from all sides and sales, customer relations, and management personnel were busy taking notes. The day ended with a luncheon on a cruise on the Erie Canal with continued informal discussions and good fellowship with our gracious host.
In a post-meeting thank you note, David Frink and Jonathan Goldberg, Customer Experience team leaders, expressed their company’s appreciation to their guests and summarized the overarching goal for Customer Relations. “IDEAL is not IDEAL without you, our trusted partner. The insight, ideas, knowledge, and feedback that you bring are invaluable. Our job and our passion are to provide you with an IDEAL customer experience. If you see a way that we can achieve our goal more completely, then please reach out.”
Speaking for all of IDEAL’s distributors, “the voice of the customer” was heard at this very successful event!