“We try to serve customers in a way that makes us easy to do
business with and makes them think twice about leaving us when a
competitor offers them the same item for a nickel less.” –J. Zeiser
If a customer calls with an emergency request the answer
is always, “If we have the art and the board, we can do it,” he
says, adding that Siklosi and Terral are the keys to getting
emergency orders out the door – they have turned around
orders in a day before.
Miller also says that he likes to side with the customer
on any issues where there’s a gray area.
“Two weeks ago a customer was here to do a press check
for a new product roll-out,” he says, noting that 12 pallets of
cartons were already produced. “The customers discovered
a detail they’d missed. So we redid it for them. Of course it
cost us time and board, but I’m not dumb. They’re doing
a roll-out, and I know they’re going to grow. We want to
grow with them.
Jim Miller, general manager of Southern Cham- pion Tray’s custom packaging division, describes the company as a “values-centered” one, which
he attributes to its owners, the Zeiser family.
“We try to give our people the benefits of everything we can,” he says, pointing to a bevy of feel-good
employee programs, including hosting Weight
Watchers meetings, financial expert Dave Ramsey
classes, and providing access to a counselor and
nurse who are on site several days a week.
“The only time it hurts is when you sacrifice for them and
they end up leaving for a better price. But that’s going to happen.
And that’s who they are, not who we are,” Miller says.
In addition to getting them out of a jam or two, Miller
says the best way his plant can add value for customers is to
know their needs before they do. Small acts like reminding
customers that they’ve forgotten to place their orders can
pay off. He says customers sometimes forget to place their
board orders, and his reps will call to remind them.
There are other ways SCT-Texas proves it’s willing
to go out of its way for customers, including purchasing
new equipment. Miller points to one of four folder-gluers,
which is set up for one particular client. It includes a labeler
and a W.H. Leary bar code scanner system.
To continually refine customer service SCT-Texas
conducts frequent training led by Miller or trainers from
outside the company. For example, it did a series called
“Conforming to Quality,” which Miller says is vital to customer service because it’s the company’s seven customer
service representatives who identify and define their
clients’ quality requirements.
“We can’t just guess and we can’t assume,” Miller says.
“We ask the questions some people don’t ask,” such as
consulting with customers on retailer scorecards.
Miller also favors training employees on what their
co-workers’ jobs entail to eliminate any disconnects.
“It helps them to have realistic expectations,” he says.
“And people appreciate each other more.”
Creating a culture of appreciation and respect is part of
Miller’s management philosophy.
“I always try to develop people to find a place for them
where they’re happy,” he says. “Happy people do better work.”
When employees reach a place where they may not be
promoted to a management role, it doesn’t mean they can’t
grow, Miller says. Managers can help workers in this situa-
tion develop their range of tasks. For example, one of SCT-
Texas’ customer service representatives showed interest in
becoming an estimator, and the company’s in the process
of retraining her for this role.
In September 2010 SCT-Texas added capacity with a
seven-color KBA Rapida 106 with coater. The two-man
press produces about 18,000 sheets per hour, 3,000 more