What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with HGR’s Sales Department

HGR Industrial Surplus Sales Department

(Courtesy of Jon Frischkorn, HGR’s sales manager)

What does your department do?

HGR’s Sales Department is dedicated to providing outstanding customer service with every interaction. We work to build relationships with our customers, in some cases, for the past 19 years. We want HGR to be the first stop each customer makes to fulfil his or her industrial surplus needs.

How many people work in your department, and what are their roles?

Our Sales Department consists of nine sales representatives, two sales assistants, a sales expediter, sales manager and, frankly, the entire HGR staff. All of our actions help sell our products and services that we offer.

What qualifications do you need to be successful in your department?

A positive attitude, a desire to help our customers, and the willingness to be flexible.

What do you like most about your department?

We have a great team here and enjoy helping to fulfill our commitments to our customers, each other, and our community. We enjoy what we do and try to have fun in the process.

What challenges has your department faced and how have you overcome them?

We are problem solvers and have countless challenges daily that we work to overcome in order to help satisfy our customers’ needs. These can be as simple as locating an item in our 12-acre showroom, finding specifications on a product, or even overcoming shipping obstacles.

What changes in the way your department does business have occurred in the past few years?

While much of the sales role hasn’t changed, we are constantly striving to improve and be more efficient at servicing our customers.

What continuous improvement processes do you hope to implement in the future?

HGR is always improving its staff. Something as small as an internal procedural changes or on-the-job product training happen routinely. We also do offsite training and offer continuous education courses at Kent State University.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

The overall environment at HGR is often described as a handyman’s toy store. We are within a building originally built in 1943 to produce aircraft parts during World War II, then housed GM’s Fisher Auto Body Plant. The building itself is amazing. The wooden beams, brick, and numbered aisleways create a unique backdrop that is perfect for 12 acres filled with industrial surplus. See this story for more on the history of our site.

What is your perspective on manufacturing, surplus, investment recovery/product life cycle/equipment recycling?

HGR is the heart of the “rust belt” and is a major player in the re-use of used industrial equipment. We help continue the life of machines that otherwise could be scrapped and lost. It isn’t uncommon for us to see items we’ve bought and resold a couple times. As companies needs change, we are always here to purchase machinery so it can be reused by someone else.

What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with HGR’s Expediting Department

HGR Industrial Surplus' third-shift expediting department

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Jeff Newcomb, HGR’s third-shift expediting supervisor)

What does your department do?

On third-shift Expediting, we have many different duties. We have a short meeting each day to go over the plan for the night. Generally, we start by pulling all orders to be prepped by the Shipping Department. After that, we pull a list of items that are within the criteria for “scrap.” Once we have that done, we pull all sold items from the floor to the Sold Section. This is a relatively new process to free more space on the floor while making it easier to pull orders by having them in one, central location. Then, we work on different projects, such as consolidating items on skids, straightening aisles, and working to make everything neat and orderly. This makes it easier for customers to find and purchase items. We also go over to the Incoming Department and look at what will be inventoried first. After seeing what has been set up by the second-shift Receiving Department, we go back into the showroom and make room in the appropriate aisles. This makes it easier for first shift to clear the new inventory to the floor. Overall, we are the “behind the scene” group and do many different things to make sure that the other departments can navigate their day as smoothly as possible – all to create the best experience for the customer. After all, that’s what it’s all about!

How many people work in your department, and what are their roles?

We have a very small crew of three people, including myself. Don Batson is my second in command and has more than 11 years of experience here at HGR. He steps into my role when I am out. Jeff Baker has only been with us a bit over one year but has brought much experience and new insight to help with various projects. We work as a team and help each other to get our goals accomplished each day.

What qualifications do you need to be successful in your department?

First, a positive attitude and a great pride in your work. A willingness to learn while being flexible within each task. We definitely are a team! Because of the qualifications, we are able to accomplish a great deal of work in a day.

What do you like most about your department?

The best thing about this department would be the “get it done” outlook each person brings to each task. I have a great crew. There aren’t all of the other distractions. That helps people to focus. Only working Monday through Thursday nights would be another great part. We only work five days one week per month for the Saturday sale.

What challenges has your department faced, and how have you overcome them?

Our department has undergone many changes since it began in 2010. When it began, we received and unloaded trucks and set up the wall to be inventoried in the morning. We no longer do that at all. Since that time, we have expanded HGR from 11 aisles to 14 then 19. Most of the products moved were done at night to help keep the normal, day-shift routine as painless as possible. We have fluctuated to as many as five people to as few as two. We also, for a while, would go out of town and rig out jobs to be brought back to HGR. We no longer do that, either. We have had people move on to other destinations and some move to other departments to fill a need for the company, from pulling shipping orders to moving entire sections of showroom to new locations. We take on each task as it comes and consciously work toward a better flow for HGR and our customers.

What continuous improvement processes do you hope to implement in the future?

I feel that continuous improvement would be handled by a more one-on-one training session for new hires. This is something that we are working on now. The better prepared that an employee is, the more confident and efficient he or she will be. We are always doing more training even with long-term employees to keep skills sharp.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

The overall environment at HGR is ever changing. With new faces and new improvements on the building, it is a continuous effort to make HGR the best place for both customers and employees. The owners and officers have proven that they will do whatever it takes to make this happen.

What is your perspective on manufacturing, surplus, investment recovery/product life cycle/equipment recycling?

As always, these are ever changing, and we need to do a great job at rolling with the times. The shift in what we buy and sell is based on supply and demand. We do our best to provide an opportunity for our customers to get the best deal on anything that we have while we also continue to keep up with the recycling end to ensure that we don’t go backwards on an item.

When is making and selling products not enough?

waiter and waitress

In manufacturing, we all make and/or sell. That’s a given. But, what differentiates us from the competition? Yes, price, but also those value-added intangibles, including customer service. Remember the days when business was based on service? As business gets more fast-paced and we have to do more with less, often quantity triumphs over quality. We are whipping and cranking it out. “Git er done” has become a catch phrase. But, what about the little things? Often, a live person doesn’t answer the phone anymore. It’s all been automated. But when the customer does reach a human being, how is he or she treated? Are customers made to feel like a burden? Something to be processed so we can move on to the next task, or do we invest in them?

Think about the last time you went out to eat at a sit-down restaurant. You are going out so that you don’t have to cook or clean up and can relax and chat while someone else does the heavy lifting. You want to be taken care of, right? You leave a tip based on how attentive the service is from when you walk in the door. Were you greeted? Seated quickly? Brought a menu? How long did it take for someone to bring you water and take your order? How long until your order came? Was it hot? Did they get the order right if you made substitutions? Did they refill your glass? Was the restroom clean? How long did it take to get the check? Were your leftovers packed properly? Every step in the total experience matters in making a final impression upon you, the customer. We evaluate the quality of the transaction based upon criteria that we set up for each experience. We all “expect” certain things in certain situations in order to feel satisfied.

What do your customers expect of you other than selling them a thingamajig? Do you deliver? What might you do differently? What processes have you implemented that might help others? What changes have you made to improve the customer experience?