The idea of the project, says company president Geoffrey Taylor, was “to make it ridiculously easy for customers to choose to do business with c3controls.”
Customer-first program yields 27% sales rise and 48% cut in sales cycle time
If you ask Geoffrey Taylor what differentiates his company, c3controls, from other manufacturers of standard electrical control products like contactors, overload relays, and motor protection circuit breakers, Taylor could give you a clear answer: Unlike its competitors, c3controls offers a direct-to-the-customer business model providing same-day shipping on all orders received before 6 pm ET, a lifetime warranty on all products, and lower factory-direct pricing.
Those points of differentiation didn’t evolve by chance. Two years ago, Taylor and c3controls launched a major initiative, dubbed Customer First, designed to set the small company apart from competitors. The idea, Taylor says, was “to make it ridiculously easy for customers to choose to do business with c3controls.”
The Customer First initiative has paid off for c3con-trols. Since its launch, the company has seen a 27% increase in sales revenues, a 48% reduction in sales cycle time, and a 25% increase in sales closing rate. The company also has realized a 9% rise in engineering new product development output, a 10% increase in manufacturing productivity, a 13.5% decrease in manufacturing direct labor, and a 94.8% incidence of same-day, on-time orders.
These achievements earned c3controls a 2011 PM100 Award in the Business Model Mastery category.
The Customer First initiative touched just about every part of the c3controls organization. The company’s manufacturing operations, for example, implemented bar codes to track parts, work orders, packaging, and shipping. Manufacturing also implemented quality circles and a rate-based assembly incentive program for manufacturing employees, encouraging productivity and quality.
For the sales team, c3controls rolled out a standard nine-step sales process coupled with a comprehensive five-month professional development program.
The IT department was required to integrate all front- and back-office systems supporting order entry, order shipment, inventory management, and production scheduling processes. And the engineering and tooling departments increased their use of Autodesk AutoCAD and Inventor CAD tools, eliminating the need to create physical prototypes of new products and enabling the creation of more complex shapes and tools.
In the end, the program has paid off by allowing c3controls to clearly stand apart from competitors. “To be selected and recognized for this award, especially in the Business Model Mastery category, is a very significant achievement,” Taylor says. “Winning this award confirms that our direct-from-the-manufacturer model is truly world-class.”