Most cabinetmakers have experienced the frustration of waiting for a part or a solution to a problem. Distributors and suppliers have met the challenge and provided an extra measure of service to get their customers what they need when they need it.

Big efforts

Some situations require big efforts. Rich Ionta of The Wurth Wood Group says that recently a major customer in Charlotte, N.C., experienced a devastating fire that destroyed their building. "We donated material and equipment to help get them back doing business as soon as they were ready."

Wurth also has a large, extensive inventory so it can deliver on special and unique requirements as well as respond quickly to its customers with next day actions.

C.H. Briggs also has a reputation for helping its customers is. "We ensure that our customers have what they need to meet their production deadlines," says marketing spokesperson Liz Huhn.

When things don't go exactly as planned and a last-minute need crops up, Briggs has processed orders well past standard order cut-off times and modified its internal warehouse picking and packing process to accommodate special requests.

Finally, Briggs has researched and provided supplemental credit information so customers could evaluate new business opportunities, provided flexible credit or payment arrangements and in some cases, document replacement to customers who have faced hardships.

Problem-solving help

Companies also work together to solve end-user issues. ITW TACC, for example, works with its distributors to help end-users deal with adhesive regulatory and quality issues.

Jenn Downes, director of marketing and sales for Westech Aerosol, says the company has found and arranged local recycling pick-ups for empty cylinders, provided an on-the spot, detailed coverage test, researched fire regulations, provided graphic design services and helped one customer perform inventory control.

Kevin Shotbolt from Flakeboard Co. Ltd. says "product development with our customers is on-going. We work with our customers to develop specific products/solutions that meet end-user needs."

Sometimes, it's as simple as a company like Wood Technology and Franklin International providing toll free numbers for its products on the packaging.

Cabinetparts.com provides a European hinge matching service to assist anyone looking for a suitable replacement.

Jeff Swisher Jr., a sales agent for Hera Lighting has focused on the company's LED technology when calling on cabinet shops and the energey advantages of the technology.

Everyone is special

E.B. Bradley says it gets opportunities to help customers every day. One project the company is working on right now is sending overnight shipments of Wilsonart laminate from its three Southern California locations to its West Coast laminating facility to make panels for an extremely hot job in the Bay area.

"All our customers are special," says Mike Steck, president of Alpine Sales Inc. "We try to get the customer what he wants when he wants it."

Nicole Kosheba of Century Hardware says, the company will often help the end user out by making sure a needed product is delivered within one day.

In the same vein, Andrew Wernick, president of Industrial Plywood says, "We do go out of our way in service to make sure the customer gets what he ordered even if it isn't their delivery day."

Kevin Brady, president of Trade Supply Group, says "Every employee in our organization (150 now) works for the customer." TSG will even open on Sunday to help a customer get what he needs.

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