Listening Tours

Really Listening

tom_travelingOver the past year, our CEO, Tom Schabel, traveled to meet with 34 customers, listening closely to understand how things are going for them and the challenges they may be experiencing. During these listening tours, we learned many things about the struggles of today’s manufacturers. Regardless of the location (Tom traveled to 17 different states), our customers’ top recurring struggle is finding a skilled workforce.

Because we also struggle with this issue at Alexandria Industries, we wanted to share our experiences in building a skilled workforce. We incorporated this topic at our annual Customer Leadership Conference by hosting a panel discussion last September. The panel included representatives from the National Guard, local technical college and high school, and two members of our leadership team. The panel discussed our combined efforts to implement innovative learning opportunities, programs and services that would help build a skilled workforce in our community. The initiatives shared may help provide some insight into strategies that can be implemented in your communities. Contact Lynette Kluver for more details about these efforts and beneficial relationships.

Tom also heard from our customers that their two top goals include cost reduction and product development process improvements, so we developed presentations focused on these topics, which are now offered as options within our customized training opportunities geared to help our customers be more successful. Our training topics range from aluminum extrusions and machining to finishing, molding, stretch-forming and bending. If your team could benefit from training, please contact us to schedule a free on-site seminar at your facility.

During the listening tour, we learned that another focus for our customers is improving their product quality. At Alexandria Industries, we proactively review our data for systemic issues that may affect our customers product quality. We also regularly review our quality procedures to help ensure we manage any problems with care and the urgency to resolve them quickly.

We understand that when the products we manufacture do not meet a customer's requirements, there is failure in our relationship. Our goal is to resolve problems and implement processes and procedures to be sure they will not happen again.

We also have learned that quality issues seem to drop when customers are able to obtain multiple components from one supplier. This is why we chose to add complementary services, such as precision machining, plastic injection molding and welding, to our aluminum extrusion capabilities.

In Tom’s closing remarks at the Customer Leadership Conference, he made a point to tell customers that “The future of Alexandria Industries is defined by the needs of our customers today and in the future. And we are grateful for the opportunity to listen.”

Our goal is, and always will be, to do what we can to see our customers be successful every step of the way.