Brunswick – 1958
In 1958, Brunswick was awarded a patent on it’s A model pinsetter and from thereon automatic pinsetters changed the bowling industry by replacing pin boys who set bowling pins manually.
There are two major manufactures of pin setters in the U.S.-AMF (pin spotters) and Brunswick (pin setters).
The Brunswick plant is located in Muskegon, MI, a legendary manufacturer in the community. Brunswick also made bowling balls and bowling pins in its Muskegon plant….though that plant is no longer in existence. AMF is the only pin manufacturer in the U.S. and makes both the AMF and Brunswick bowling pins.
While bowling may not as popular as it once was….it still is a significant company in the local economy.
A change that has taken place….customers having more options. It is not one size fits all.
Giving a customer more choices may be a different strategy….yet in the the current environment….this is what businesses must do.
Most businesses sell a product or a service. The sale provides the revenue for the business….so that a business can not only survive but grow. The sale is not complete until the customer is satisfied and the business/organization exceeded expectations.
In today’s climate, a successful business provides more options to complete the sale.
Gayle, Joe, Brad, Kip, JJB and JWB were our team….though this was before the idea of teams was recognized. Were we a good team?….yes….everyone working together for the same purpose.
Reflecting….loyalty to the business and each other….an outstanding value.
Technology makes business work better or does it!
Phone systems are well advanced in today’s interactive environment….much better than our two line system years ago.
However they also are a hindrance to superior customer service/care. The problems:
- An extensive phone tree
- Calls placed on hold
- Inadequate response to voice mails
- A limited phone tree
- No calls on hold, calls answered promptly
- Voice mail response within two hours
For various reasons….some businesses put customer priority “on hold”.
A business expense that is often overlooked….preventive maintenance.
“Preventive maintenance is an established routine of periodically inspecting equipment/facilities, noticing small issues and fixing them before they turn into major problems.”
Our primary maintenance requirement was for the vehicles (delivery vans/autos) and building. It was especially important to keep the delivery vans in good running order….after all the sale wasn’t completed until the merchandise was delivered (on time) and to the customers satisfaction.
One of our more frequent sales reps was a specialty sales promotion person. Always friendly and with catalogs full of specialty sales items….ball point pens….calendars…..yardsticks….ashtrays….etc.
If there was any item a business ever needed to remind customers of their brand….these reps had it somewhere in their bag.
Our item was a Lufkin Tape Measure with our name and phone number prominently displayed. The tape measure:
- Has a solid metal case
- Is in a substantial presentation box
- Was made in the U.S.A by Lufkin**
- Fits the brand image of the business
Of course not everyone that walked through the door got a tape measure….more likely a ballpoint pen. Tape measures were for a nice sale and a most valued customer.
After 45 years….it remains a premium specialty sales item.
** Lufkin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lufkin_(brand)
Raise the Bar
“Years ago Jim Collins asked a great question that should still haunt every leader: what can you be best in the world at?”
“In an age where people create amazing art, design, products and services from home-based businesses, mediocrity is no longer an effective strategy.”
And from Jerry Garcia (The Grateful Dead): “You do not merely want to be considered the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones that do what you do.”
While some mediocre businesses will endure the current times….this is also an opportunity to revisit an organization’s strategy/model….perhaps to consider being the only one that does what you do.
From Inc.com https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/warren-buffett-career-advice-work.html
“The real key to success isn’t crafting the perfect background “on paper” — it’s finding someone for whom to work who holds the power to propel your career forward, faster than you would do on your own.”
I had two bosses in the Air Force, one an excellent manager….the other mediocre. The manager boss was a Lt.Col. ready to retire, His boss (and good friend) was Col. Edmund O’Conner who was moving upward to star level (eventually Lt. General). Col O’Connor headed the NASA Saturn/Apollo launch vehicle programs.
Of course, there were many other steps in an Air Force career…..regular commission….Masters degree (MBA)…..Squadron Officer School (getting tickets punched)….and good OERs (Officer Effectiveness Reports).
If everything came together, Gen O’Connor would have been my choice to propel an Air Force career forward.
After many, many years, the seaway Drive Bridge is being finally being refurbished.
It should not have taken this long. While not a safety hazard….the rusty bridge non-the-less reflects on the community. It’s a Tipping Point ** for Muskegon. Next another tipping point and another. If the community is better…..economics/business will also be better.
**”The Tipping Point”: Malcolm Gladwell – How little things Can Make a Big Difference