Lou-Rich recently held several Business Review meetings with some of our customers and the feedback was quite interesting. Most of them are doing quite well and they are seeing increased demands driving up both short-term and long-term forecasts. The industries represented include power generation, medical equipment, heavy industrial equipment, foodservice equipment, agriculture, and casting companies. This is quite a diverse mix, and I would interpret the results pointing to a growing industrial economy.
Another thing that stood out in some of these meetings was the desire to source manufacturing in North America, and away from so-called “low cost” countries. Many expressed frustrations with the total landed cost of product being produced overseas, very long lead times, and interruptions in the supply chain. We heard from several customers that sourcing more locally is in their business strategy.
When we asked our customers what the priority of importance was from their suppliers, most said the following:
- Quality of product and service
- On-time delivery
- Be cost-competitive
- Be nimble in meeting changing demand
This is the type of feedback that is genuinely helpful as Lou-Rich plans for continued growth in our own business. Quality is always top of mind for our employee-owners, as it is for our customers. But what does that really mean? Here are a few examples of how Lou-Rich keeps quality at the top of our minds.
- We have meaningful metrics that measure various quality-related areas of the business. These metrics are reviewed and discussed regularly.
- There is a cash payout to all employees when we exceed our quality goals.
- Quality-focused Lean workouts have been done recently, and more are planned for the near future that will address key manufacturing cells.
- While Lou-Rich has a Quality Department, each and every employee is responsible for building quality into every part we produce. Quality is part of our culture, and we instill this in all our new hires.
The only way to never fail is to never try, but at Lou-Rich there are 280 doers. This means we may make a mistake now and again, but we will always put forth our very best effort. If something does need correcting, you can count on us to make it right and to put in place systems to prevent it from happening again.
Lou-Rich General Manager