For CNC machine tool distributor Productivity Inc., customer service is a core component of the business.
As president of Plymouth-based Productivity Inc., Greg Buck sells a wide variety of computer numerical control (CNC) machine-tool technologies and accessories to precision metalworking companies across Minnesota, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa and western Wisconsin. Companies
purchase Productivity's products in order to manufacture everything from tiny medical parts and devices to large automotive and agricultural equipment components.
Productivity's vast product line makes it a veritable one-stop shop for machine-tooling needs. But Buck says his company's true differentiating factor is a long-term commitment to customer satisfaction and service. The company's focus stems from the knowledge that its job is
to help other businesses excel at theirs, even years after a purchase.
"This is equipment that is people's livelihood," he says. "A machine tool ... is what you make all of your income with, so it's so important to make sure it's up and running and working fast. I often say that we're only as good as our last service call."
Because Productivity's machines can run efficiently for upward of 15 years, half of its 160 workers are dedicated to providing application and service support for the life of each product the company sells. To ensure rapid fixes for machines on the fritz, the company keeps 15
service vans stocked with components. Though many of the components run thousands of dollars a pop, Buck believes it's simply part of doing good business. The well-stocked service vans help Productivity employees fix a machine during the first service trip about 85 percent of the
A new facility remodel allows Productivity to keep even more inventory on hand. By connecting its two buildings, which were previously separated by a parking lot, the company has added many storage and show rooms.
Training investments also are customer-oriented. In a recent session led by two instructors from Enterprise Minnesota, 30 salespeople and engineers learned about manufacturing struggles their customers might be facing and familiarized themselves with lean lingo.
Buck says the course has helped workers to better relate to and communicate with customers to meet their needs. "We wanted our salespeople and engineers to get an overview of what our customers are dealing with on a day-to-day basis," he says.
To that end, Productivity even hosts online auctions for customers' used equipment, complete with pictures taken and descriptions written by Productivity employees. "It's amazing what money is sitting in different machines all around a company's location," Buck says. "It
has brought huge rewards for people who are getting rid of equipment." And, no doubt, repeat customers.