Sales Success Stories
November 3, 2021
MHEDA members collaborate to provide solutions for tough challenges.
BY ERIN INGRAM
MHEDA distributors and suppliers are working hand-in-hand to provide unparalleled service to their customers. By virtue of the strong cultures they’ve cultivated, MHEDA members were uniquely prepared to deal with these trying times without sacrificing quality. If you have a case study or Sales Success Story that you’d like to share, please tweet us @MHEDA_Journal or submit your case study at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a world with as much uncertainty as we’ve faced the past two years, it’s comforting for end-users to know that MHEDA members will always be there to provide solutions for even the toughest challenges. Whether providing expertise for a particularly complex need or being able to provide industry-leading solutions installed correctly and efficiently, MHEDA members can always be counted on to get the job done.
Cisco-Eagle Leverages the SalesLeads Marketing Intelligence Platform to Drive Sales and Build Client Relationships
Cisco-Eagle is a leader in material handling, automation, and storage systems. The company provides innovative solutions to customers across the country, with physical locations in eight different states. Cisco-Eagle’s sales team plays a critical role in engaging with customers, and assisting them to select the right type and size of equipment for the job. To grow the business and bring in new clients, it is essential that Cisco-Eagle’s sales force is able to quickly identify new industrial projects in their territory, and connect with key decision makers of those projects to start building the relationship.
Identifying a new client at the right time is a challenge, says Evan Fleishacker, Sales and Marketing Analyst at Cisco-Eagle. Fleishacker has been working with Cisco-Eagle for five years, and understands how important it is to be the first company with its foot in the door as a new project is getting off the ground. For example, a new warehouse being built in Tulsa, OK (one of Cisco-Eagle’s physical locations) will have a critical need for material handling solutions, and the best time to present those options to a new client is as they begin planning and/or building the space and setting up their systems. If Cisco-Eagle is able to connect with the leaders responsible for making those decisions early in the process, Cisco-Eagle may be the provider of all their material handling equipment and field operations, and the first in line to offer support as the warehouse continues to grow. But, Fleishacker points out, finding information on new builds is a challenge. “That was a lot of detective work on our end,” says Fleishacker. He would spend hours researching online, looking for state project reports and construction reports to identify potential clients to pass along to his sales force. “What we wanted to do was get ahead of the information, but lots of time we would find it through a press release or news article, which meant the project was already in the works. We wanted to get in front of it before the first dirt was dug out of the ground.”
In August of 2020, Fleishacker and his supervisor attended one of MHEDA’s monthly community meetings. Another MHEDA member mentioned their experience using SalesLeads, also a MHEDA member. SalesLeads is an industry leader in industrial market intelligence and prospecting solutions. The Industrial Market Intelligence platform delivers timely insights on companies that are planning significant capital investments in their industrial facilities. The research team identifies new construction, expansion, relocation, major equipment modernizations, and plant closing project opportunities so that clients can focus sales and marketing resources on companies that have an impending need for their products, services, and indirect materials.
After hearing from a fellow MHEDA member how SalesLeads had helped them to proactively identify new clients, Fleishacker began researching the SalesLeads platform for himself. Once he saw what SalesLeads had to offer, Fleishacker decided to start utilizing SalesLeads to support the sales people at Cisco-Eagle’s eight physical locations.
Improved Data and Contacts
Fleishacker saw positive results from utilizing SalesLeads immediately. The platform provides a comprehensive view of new industrial projects in Cisco-Eagle’s targeted locations, including key decision makers and stakeholders such as the project architect and engineering firm. Fleishacker is able to make this information immediately available to his sales teams by entering it into Cisco-Eagle’s internal CRM. This information allows the sales team to quickly reach out and build a relationship with a potential future customer.
Fleishacker says it is the quality of information that SalesLeads provides that has made the biggest difference for Cisco-Eagle. “Before, I could go and see a PR snippet or find an online news source that highlighted a new distribution center being built in Tulsa. But, most of those had soundbites from a director at the national level, which doesn’t help sales people in Tulsa. I need the contacts for the people running the show on the ground in Tulsa. That can be a game changer when we’re trying to show what Cisco-Eagle can offer in that location.” SalesLeads allows the Cisco-Eagle sales team to identify and connect with safety managers and facility managers, a much better connection in the long run than a national Vice President of Operations. The local project leaders can look through Cisco-Eagle’s materials and learn how Cisco-Eagle can support their work beyond the initial build and set-up. “We want to be their partner for the long-term,” says Fleishacker. “We want to be with them two years down the road when they need a mezzanine. Getting specific local contacts is really helpful for building that multi-year relationship.”
Improved Sales Response Time
Before utilizing SalesLeads, Fleishacker felt like his team was frequently a few steps behind. But by using SalesLeads, Cisco-Eagle’s sales team is able to strategize knowing if the project is just breaking ground, already building, or still in the initial planning phase. This lets the sales team perfect their approach to a potential client, and offer the right services at the right time. With SalesLeads “you could even be too early, which is great!” says Fleishacker. He can also build on the SalesLeads generated information by researching the identified client on LinkedIn, seeing who has been hired to run the distribution center, and then sharing that information with his sales person so they know exactly who they should connect with in their location.
In one example of SalesLeads setting the Cisco-Eagle sales team up for success, Fleishacker points to a recent sale in Oklahoma City. SalesLeads identified a company building a brand new facility, and Cisco-Eagle flagged the lead to receive an automated marketing message about a month later. The company followed up with Cisco-Eagle’s local sales person in Oklahoma City, and Cisco-Eagle made a $100,000 sale.
By partnering with SalesLeads, Cisco-Eagle is able to more effectively utilize its sales team, and connect with the right clients at the right time to build long-term relationships.
This strategic use of intelligence is helping Cisco-Eagle to continue to be successful even in an unprecedented business climate.
Small Farm Steps Up Safety with Custom Engineered Staircase
Bringing Big Effort and Custom Engineering to a Small Project in Crawford, Texas
Challenge: Two-story farm house had no safe upper-level entry for family and friends with the holidays approaching fast.
Solution: Custom designed and engineered steel staircase with a safe incline, raised tread on the steps, upper-level platform, and capable of tough, rigorous non-stop use.
Result: Safe, custom-designed stair solution for a really big family, providing safe access to the second-level entry.
The holidays were approaching fast, and our client in Crawford, Texas was about to face a major change in his life… and housing situation. His nephew was getting married into a large family of 12 children, and a lot of them were about to come visit the farm for the holidays.
To ensure safe access for his family and reduce traffic to the main house, he reached out to W.W. Cannon to see about replacing a second-floor balcony with a sturdy industrial staircase.
Challenge: Custom, Safe Stair Solution on a Tight Timeline and Budget
“This was a residential project, which makes it out of the ordinary for us,” says W.W. Cannon Material Handling Specialist Doug Hutchins.
“Yet people with unique equipment needs still come to us with questions like ‘Where can I get an engineered staircase?’ or ‘How can I get a stainless steel, OSHA approved, IBC stair platform?’ And the answer to these questions is W.W. Cannon.”
“We’re more than just a distribution company – we’re a solutions partner, no matter the size of the project.”
For this particular solution, our client had a few special qualifications. They needed one custom-engineered staircase built for heavy use and safe so the grandchildren could easily run up and down.
This may seem like a lot of work for a smaller project, but our client relationships matter. We provide the same high-level of quality and care to all projects we take on. And sometimes the smaller requests turn into huge projects down the line.
Solution: Custom-Designed Steel Platform Staircase
We turned to our good friends at Bluff Manufacturing for the request. Bluff is a manufacturer of engineered, custom designed steel platforms and structures.
Family safety was a priority, so we had the industrial platform staircase designed with a safer incline, raised tread on the steps, and capable of tough, rigorous non-stop use by both adults and children.
Per our customer’s request, the staircase was custom powder-coated black to blend in with the home environment better (industrial staircases are usually manufactured in gray or yellow).
To help save on costs, we invited them to bring a trailer to our warehouse to pick it up. We also provided them with safe installation instruction and basic guidance so they could install the unit themselves.
Result: The Importance of Value – No Matter the Size of the Project
To some this may seem like a small project, but it had big value and meaning to this family.
Our client now has a custom-designed stair solution providing safe access and peace-of-mind for their precious family.
“Most important to me, this will keep my family safe. It will also keep them from coming through my main floor,” our client said.
“We are so grateful we found someone willing to help us get it done in time!”
No matter the job, you can expect the same level of effort and safety in every solution from W.W. Cannon.
“We’re in the business of solving problems and providing the right solution,” says Hutchins.
“Whether it’s a simple staircase for a family or a million-dollar commercial project – we’re capable and willing to find the right solution to meet our customer’s needs.”
Advanced Equipment Company (AEC)
40% Increase in Production with DC Conveyor Redesign and Robotic Arm Palletizers
Industry: Paper Goods Manufacturing and Distribution in Kinston, North Carolina
Challenge: Reconfigure distribution system and expand production capacity
Solution: Custom-Built Conveyor System with Robotic Palletizers
Result: 40% Increase in Production Capacity
Equipment: Hytrol Conveyor System, Carotek Controls
Challenge: Fully Utilize Existing Space
Our paper goods client in Kinston, North Carolina has been a loyal customer of Advanced Equipment Company for years. We have a wonderful working relationship, which is why they knew they could count on us.
Advanced Equipment Company’s material handling specialist Brad Dowless was brought in to help bring their business to the next level.
“They’ve been trying to take on new customers,” says Dowless, “So having a larger-scale operation is a benefit to them. They’re going to get more business by showing that off.”
Current System Could Not Handle the Level of Output
Before Brad and his team got started, the client had six production lines that resulted in cases of product that were fed to a main trunk line. The main line led to a robotic palletizer which read a number on each case and used that to determine how it should be palletized.
And while this system worked, it could not handle the level of output they were looking for.
Solution: Reroute the Main Trunk Line, Add Additional Production Lines, and a Second Palletizer
The solution was intricate and demanding, but Dowless knew that he could pull it off.
“They wanted to increase the amount of production they had,” says Dowless.
“We ended up bringing in two new lines to improve production. And to keep the speed and demand of those new lines, we went from one robotic palletizer to two.”
Two Phase Planning Over 1 Year to Ensure Up-time and Consistent Production
Over the course of about a year, the project was planned and executed in two phases to ensure the least amount of production slow-down.
Phase 1 – Create Space by Rerouting the Main Line
In phase one, the main trunk line was rerouted around the entire facility to add in the first new production line.
This would not only provide the space needed for the second new production line to be integrated, but also moved the robotic palletizers to the other side of the facility. This also helped keep downtime to a minimum when it came time to install the new lines.
Phase 2 – Add New Production Lines and Robotic Arm Palletizers
In phase two, the new production lines were added along with the new robotic palletizers.
To ensure that cases went to the proper palletizer, a camera sensor was set up to read printed numbers on each box. For an accurate read, a circulation loop was added so any cases that were not read properly could be scanned a second time before moving over to a reject lane.
“That camera system was a little bit different because we didn’t know what we were going to be reading,” says Dowless.
“Most camera systems will look for a specific number, but we set it up where that number just had to match up or not match up with what the customer provided.”
“If the customer has a box marked ‘22’ off of a line this week but wants to use ‘44’ next week, they won’t have to call us. When the camera sees a 44 instead of a 22 it will automatically direct the product where it needs to go. That was quite a unique way to resolve this issue.”
In the end, the new system was a massive hit with the customer.
“We figured it out, implemented it, and it worked great! From what the customer tells me, it works better than the old camera ID system.”
“We set out to improve their system, so we’re feeling pretty good about the project outcome!”
Conveyor Swing Gate Added for Convenient Access to Production Area
In addition to the new lines and palletizer, some conveyor sections were fitted with casters to create a swing gate. This allows access to the production area with fork trucks without running the conveyor overhead.
Now, an operator opens the gate for forklifts and other material deliveries that would need to enter the area. Easy access for maintenance was a major factor with the conveyor design approach.
The Result: 40% Increase Production Capacity and a Great Show for Future Clients
Once installation was complete, our client had a 40% increased production capacity and an impressive new system to show off to prospective customers.
“Things are running smoothly,” says Dowless.
“We had no major hurdles. Now they have the added value of higher performing production levels delivering higher volume of products that they can ship faster to their customers. But I think the guy working the palletizer is probably the happiest because the location is in an area now with much less noise!”
The Secret to Success: Face-to-Face and Hands-On Service
Dowless believes that the secret to his success is always being available to address issues face-to-face.
“You’ll hear about people that sell big jobs, hire contractors, show up the first or second day to get them going, and then disappear until right before startup.”
“But that’s not how I do things. I like to be involved on-site, managing the contractors throughout the entire process, to answer questions, handle any issues, and making sure that everything goes right day-to-day,” says Dowless.
“In fact, I was there so much that you would’ve thought I was an employee by the time the project was completed! But that’s what sets AEC and myself apart – you don’t have to worry about tracking us down – because we’re already there.”
Western Pacific Storage Solutions teams with RMH Systems to produce custom design for Napa Auto Parts distribution center
This case study is brought to you by Western Pacific Storage Solutions. WPSS is a premier, customer-driven storage-product manufacturer committed to excellence, quality, value added service and building long-term relationships with our customers and vendors.
The idea for this project literally started with a hand drawn sketch. Breck & Sherry Loos, the owners of several Napa Auto Parts stores west of Chicago, Illinois, had purchased an old, empty WalMart in Princeton, IL to serve as both a new store and a regional parts distribution center. Once satisfied with their preliminary sketch for storage shelving, they taped it out on the floors and then brought in John Haglund of Iowa-based RMH Systems, to refine the design and move the project forward.
RMH Systems is an independent systems integrator, providing material handling, industrial automation, robotics, scales, and packaging solutions throughout Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois and surrounding states. The RMH team has been dedicated to helping customers maximize productivity, efficiency, and safety while improving profitability for over 80 years. Haglund’s industrial system experience stretches back over two decades. Focused on staying on top of new technology and workspace advancements, ergonomics continues to be an important focus for the Company.
The Challenge: Creating a High-Capacity and Adjustable Workspace
The shelving footprint, overall size and desired features were impressive – 85 by 95 feet, two levels with two landing areas, and four stairways.
Additionally, there was a strong desire for 48-inch bays. According to Haglund, “That last feature was a major reason to specify the Deluxe system from Western Pacific Storage Solutions. We were seeing only 36-inch bays elsewhere, and that capacity was a difference-maker.” The owners also wanted a shelving system with easy adjusting shelves, so the Deluxe system became the preferred one.
WPSS’ Midwest regional sales manager, Joe Cascio, added, “We looked at the space and discussed the requirements. At first, John was considering RiveTier shelving, but because we’ve done hundreds of auto parts stores and distribution centers from one-level seven-foot-high shelving to multi-level catwalk systems, the strength and flexibility of Deluxe shelving made it ideal.”
The Solution: Real-time Collaboration Between Skilled Engineers and Owners
Lyle Kreiner, engineer at RMH Systems, turned the rough layout into a professional drawing and then used video conferencing to work interactively with WPSS engineers and the owners. “Being able to move things around while brainstorming and collectively fine-tuning (the design) really helped build confidence that WPSS could deliver what we envisioned. That real-time collaboration was essential to getting what we wanted,” Haglund said.
WPSS project manager Alex Rivas put the plans through a give-and-take process (with several renderings) until the design was solid and the clients were satisfied.
Cascio continued, “The final design included a tunnel through the system to allow for fork truck access. In addition to the tunnel, a real plus was the customers’ desire for the shelving to be NAPA blue. WPSS had several blue choices and one was a match. We went with safety yellow on the stairs, railings and kick plates; the end-user was delighted. The owners were in a hurry to install the project and WPSS met all deadlines.”
The Result: Quality Design and Efficient Production Processes
While price is an extremely important prerequisite; the ‘value added’ components of WPSS ‘experienced sales team, the estimating engineers, and the project management group deliver a quality design.
“Through the entire process, any time we had an issue, the WPSS team was on it and came up with solutions very quickly. Everything was ASAP, and the whole team really delivered – from sales to design, through fabrication and shipping. They were very positive and great to work with.”
“This was my first experience with WPSS, and I plan on this becoming a long-term relationship,” said Haglund.