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46 PCB007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2018 14 part numbers, all 12- and 14-layer boards, in quantities of 100 each. This was intriguing enough, but the real kicker was that he need- ed the boards in exactly 14 days, 10 working days. And as customers are apt to do in this situation, he would pay anything if the compa- ny could commit to building these boards and delivering them on time. This was on a Friday, and he said that if we agreed and settled the deal right away, he would have the artwork sent up from Boston where the company was located. But he needed all part numbers, all quanti- ties, at his facility at exactly noon sharp two weeks from the next day. To add to the chal- lenge, he was so serious about getting the boards there at noon that he added a bonus as an incentive to make sure he got his boards on time. Apparently, there would be a team of in- coming inspectors ready to receive and accept the boards and then pass them along to the as- sembly lines. As he talked to the sales manager, who had called the division director into the room, they looked at each other and nodded in agree- ment and told him to send the artwork, they were going to do it! They asked him to stick around into the evening, so they could quote the boards and settle the deal. Three hours lat- er the artwork arrived, and they set to work quoting the boards. These were tough boards, which was the reason they had come to them with this challenge; most other shops could not have handled this technology. They quot- ed the entire project and added four times pre- mium for doing it. They developed a plan that involved taking one of their second shift supervisors and put- ting him on the project exclusively. He would spend the all his time tracking the boards and making sure they were never held up any- where, always keeping them moving. The en- tire shop was put on high alert and this proj- ect became a companywide initiative. The idea of the money was great, of course, but the real driver of this project was everyone working to- gether on something that no one had ever done before. Not this technology, not this amount of part numbers, or these quantities. There was certainly a lot of drama along the way. They scrapped out one entire part number and had to start it over from scratch, which meant that it was built in five work - ing days! And then, get this, there was a nor'easter the Saturday the boards were due to be delivered and they were not sure the driver would be able to make it down to Bos - ton. He had a terrible time making the deliv- ery by noon. In fact, several sections of the Maine turnpik e were closed, so our driver had to get on old Route 1 for much of the trip. These were pre-cellphone days, so everyone waited anxiously for that phone call he had promised to make back to us telling us that we had officially done it. Noon came and went, and then another 30 minutes and then another 15 minutes and the phone in the sales managers office rang. We had delivered the boards in time; he had been at their dock at 11:58! He had been so happy that he forgot to call, and it was only once he was back on the highway that he remembered and then had to find a payphone. They had done it. The boards were there, and everyone lived happily ever after! I'll save the worst customer service story I ever heard for another time. PCB007 Dan Beaulieu is co-founder of D.B. Management Group. To read past columns or to contact him, click here. And as customers are apt to do in this situation, he would pay anything if the company could commit to building these boards and delivering them on time.

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