In the sports world, it has almost become a cliché. After a big win, the Most Valuable Player always gives the credit to his teammates. Olympians rarely forget to credit their training partners. While it may make for boring sound bites, the truth in the statement is evident. One person has never taken a team to glory, or won a championship by himself or herself.
It’s the same in the material handling industry. Great projects are rarely, if ever, tackled by one single person or company. The best projects come when a manufacturer and a distributor are able to put aside differences and focus on the ultimate prize—a satisfied customer. The following story is about a manufacturer and distributor doing just that. These outstanding organizations prove that teamwork and dedication can help take companies to never before seen levels of sales success.
A Chicago-area telecommunications company leases out space in its facility for companies to house the equipment that runs their Web sites. The data center is a clean room environment, and the space is divided by wire mesh partitions based on how much space each client needs for its equipment.
This telecommunications company is a longtime client of Tim Linnane, account representative for Felix F. Loeb Inc. (Romeoville, IL). “You go into the building and see an array of different sizes of partitioned compartments. Each client has different parameters about what they need and the type of door they want on their cage.”
Typical door options include a standard sliding gate on an overhead track, or a swinging door on a hinged jamb. However, neither was a viable solution for one client at the data center, who wanted to access the full width of the entryway. Linnane worked with SpaceGuard Products' VP of Operations Hauris Lewis, VP of Sales Eddie Murphy, and Engineering Salesman Kevin Price to create a third option within its existing 2180 welded wire mesh enclosure line to work for this application. "We brainstormed with the end-user and refined the door design. We took it from theoretical and unbuildable to practical and realistic," Linnane explains. The team collaborated for six weeks on a design, finally coming up with a workable solution.
What they designed was a bi-fold door (think of a folding closet door without the overhead track) for an 8-foot opening. It has two 2-foot panels on each side that fold back into existing side panels on the cage to expose the entire 8-foot width of the entryway. It features a header bar and a caster on each side, plus a padlock latch in the middle. The door itself is made of 1 1/2-in. x 2 1/2-in., six gauge welded rectangular wire.
Once the design was finalized, it took four more weeks to build and install the door. The entire sale was less than $1,000, but the unique door design opened the door for other potential sales by showing the willingness by the dealer and manufacturer to be flexible. The door may even be applicable in other environments. “We're looking at other applications where we need a clear opening area,” Linnane says. “Typically a sliding door needs a pocket to slide into, so you can't access the full eight feet of clear space. This customer has been very happy, and we're looking to incorporate this design in some different applications.”
(as first featured in the MHEDA Journal 4th Quarter 2008 - with editorial corrections)