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post #49 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2018, 07:48 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Yorktown VA
Posts: 735
Originally Posted by 69bossnine View Post
Fair comment, and I'd love to explain...

First off, I'll mention that Shawn (NC Manager) had already spoken with the OP, and the replacement radiator was inspected, processed and pulled for Next Day Air Saturday Delivery, before I got a chance to speak to him.

Now to the core of the issue.. Many years ago, right after Al Gore invented the internet , I began making it a priority to review all emails that came over our website myself. Why?? Because I found them both fascinating and educational, and it gave me the opportunity to view raw/unfiltered feedback PRIOR to it getting tossed into the delegated-hierarchy for remedy and/or reply and/or action. Reading emails every morning was the best exercise, a powerful tool, for being able to tangibly see "how NPD was doing", without the potential of employees sweeping matters under rugs or blowing "sunshine up my skirt".

Now, I did not (and I do not) personally tend to every matter. I don't have enough time for that. I read, and I typically delegate accordingly, sometimes providing the delegate with tips or advice on how to handle, other times knowing that I can rely upon the delegate to handle it properly. Real-time, ongoing, training and oversight... It's been the most EFFECTIVE manner that I can continue to infuse/embed my father's ethics and way of doing things into our entire operation, trickling from me to management to sales to warehouse.

And every so often, I'll read a review or a comment regarding product, and the hobbyist/enthusiast/businessman (all of the above) in me thinks "I've gotta see this for myself", and I find myself out in the warehouse looking at parts, taking them over to cars to compare, measuring and photographing, etc... These activities commonly result in emails to suppliers, manufacturers, fixing and improving things that need fixing and improving.. And if I wasn't doing it, I don't know if my (extremely busy) managers would have that kind of time. I have the luxury of not having a boss tell me what I should be doing with my day LOL So I have the latitude to go where I feel I'm needed.

Same thing for this forum. It is educational for me. I get far more from VMF than the members get from me. I get to see how we're doing, how we are viewed and considered, how our competitors are viewed and considered... And when there's a problem with a product, would we have ever found out about it if we didn't stumble upon the thread on VMF?

The positive threads/mentions are gratifying.. But it's the negative ones, be it on service or product, that are MOST valuable. Those afford us the opportunity to fix things that might be either broken, or at least "lapsed".

OK, enough self-gratuitous blabbering. But bottom-line, I'm handling this stuff not because our organization isn't well-trained. It's the opposite. Because my continued involvement, direct involvement, maintains a level of core-ethics, core-knowledge and core-culture throughout the organization. I often asked myself back in the 90's as we got bigger and bigger, with more and more catalogs, "how in the hell do we continue to get bigger without SACRIFICING service and quality and knowledge? At what point do we trade-off being adept at what we do for volume?? How can a sales team sell 125,000 products from 12 different catalogs, and actually be good at it??

Well... That's always been my primary challenge, and that's kind of why I've allowed myself to stay entrenched on the front lines, rather than hiding in my office conjuring up new goofy sales/promotional ideas, going over spreadsheets, and playing online Sudoku LOL..

My dad's goal has always been to "do right by the hobby, for the hobby". He never wanted to sell-out and retire, because he thought that as long as we could continue doing things the way we do it, it was best that we continue..

And luckily, I have a fantastic group here in Corporate, and out at the branches, that allow me to focus on what I feel needs focusing.

I have to say thanks to Rick for sharing with us. It's clear you take customer service to the heart, that's why you have so many happy customers here. It probably took 20-30 minutes to craft this post, and that's time out of your already busy day. So thanks again for sharing you knowledge with us Rick!
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