By Marty Magill
VP and General Manager of Wheelabrator Plus in North America
Foundries and fabricators across North America are under increasing pressure to maximize production and reduce unplanned downtime. For us at Wheelabrator this means we are not only ensuring our customers have the right equipment for the job, but we are also helping them to keep their machines running.
In an era of lean manufacturing and preventative maintenance, this requires a whole new type of service operation. Demands for speed and real-time response, as well as increasingly complex technology, require service organizations to offer more expertise, increase their understanding of customer operations and improve administration and dispatch flexibility to meet rolling service needs.
And that’s exactly what we’ve built over the last couple of years. Our Wheelabrator Plus Service Technicians are out on the road and on call almost 24/7. They each cover a territory of a 4-6-hour drive radius around their home. Their office is at the customer, and their product offering of technical expertise, process knowledge, hands-on experience are a key component of successful operations and seamless production at our customers’ sites.
Working hand in hand with our sales team, the US service organization is led by Jason Yawn with administrative support from Connie Campbell and Alisa Jones. Together, they deliver precisely scheduled preventative maintenance programs, requested service support, Equipment Modernization Programs and emergency responses to critical customer downtime situations.
They are the face of Wheelabrator for many customers, yet often the unsung heroes of our business.
Hands-on experience is crucial in our business, and Jason Yawn is the perfect example of the difference this makes! Jason started his Wheelabrator career as a valued welder on the shopfloor and had the opportunity to demonstrate his leadership skills providing “overtime duty“ on service jobs at our customers.
His pragmatic approach, confident demeanor and customer rapport are rooted in a complete understanding of our equipment and the value it provides to our customers. Jason has translated his personal understanding of the pressures of operating in a manufacturing environment and professionally meeting the needs of the customer into a “way we work” philosophy for our service team. These qualities combined with “can do” attitude have become the values our regional service technicians share and have significantly contributed to the growth of our service business.
The increasing technical complexity of our offering and of our customers’ needs have changed our technician profile over time. Today’s hires need fabrication, electrical and programming expertise to meet increasingly sophisticated product demands from our technology centers and understand the process interface at our installed base. We also develop our team to train our customers, so they can more effectively manage their blast process needs.
Typical days have our regional service technician (RST) rising early, jumping in the Ford service trucks and traveling to widely spread customer locations to diagnose and address the latest round of process challenges. Needless to say long hours, weekends and holidays are the norm in this role to fit our schedules to customer shutdowns.
The work this team does generates the most valuable assets we have as a company: customer goodwill and customer advocates.
One of our valued customers, Hirshvogel, recently commented on our technician: “Ian has one of the best attitudes of any service tech from any company we use, he’s easy to work with and a problem solver. He worked through our problems with our team. We trust him to get the job done no matter what.”
When our 14 regional service technicians get together they may look like the offensive line for an NFL team but they’re committed to helping our customers whenever and wherever needed. Spread out across all of North America, getting these guys where they need to be to serve our customers is no easy task.
The human touch and caring attitude is what makes the difference here – on top of rigorous planning and a lot of color-coded scheduling. Connie and Alisa manage the logistics, scheduling, administration and trouble-shooting to make sure we not only meet customer commitments but we optimize our resources to do it.
It’s not an easy task to cover an installed base as extensive as Wheelabrator but a committed team with a human face that operates like one lean machine when looking after equipment, makes all the difference.
Find your local Wheelabrator representative here.