The Patrol Method Still Works

Something doesn’t feel quite right about this past weekend. A few hundred Boy Scouts gathered along the bank of the East Fork of the Little Miami River from Friday to Sunday for our District’s Spring Camp-O-Ree…and it didn’t rain once. It totally went the wisdom of great American author, philosopher, and truth-teller Dave Barry:

Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds, for the opportunity to rain on a tent.

The beautiful weather, though, was just the icing on the cake of a glorious weekend. We set up a series of team-building/problem-solving exercises for the Scouts to perform. One of these was known as “The Hot Chocolate River” which consists of:

(2) lengths of rope, staked to the ground about 15 feet apart…these are the “banks” of the river.
(5) 2-foot wooden squares…these are the “marshmallows” that the team uses to cross the river.

Here’s the deal: each 8-Scout Patrol attempts to reach the opposite bank by placing the marshmallows in the river. At least one Scout has to be in physical contact with each marshmallow in the river, or the unattended marshmallow is removed from play, and they’re left to cross the river with just four marshmallows. Or three, when they find another way to leave one unattended. And some of them did, with alarming quickness. One Patrol (the one my youngest son belongs to) successfully crossed the river in 1:14 (min:sec). The next fastest was 1:44. Another Patrol lost three marshmallows almost immediately, but were able to get all eight members across in under seven minutes, using only two marshmallows. A couple of Patrols “timed out,” being left with only one or two marshmallows after ten minutes, with members still on the starting bank.

One thing I noticed…from the quickest (did I mention that was my son’s Patrol?) to the slowest, was that their success (or lack thereof) was tied to their teamwork and communication (or lack thereof.) These are key components of “The Patrol Method,” which I wrote about once. Well, twice.

That was a couple of years ago, and the Application Engineering team at EXAIR STILL practices The Patrol Method. It’s indispensable, whether we’re looking for a solution to a challenging application, training a new member of the team, or just getting everyone one the same page…no sense in just one of us learning something if we can ALL learn, right?

How are teamwork and communication contributing to your team’s success?  Something to think about.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax

Service Your Internal Customer to Build a Strong Team

A lot has been written on the importance of good customer service. Hands down it is the cornerstone of a viable business. Satisfying your customer’s wants and needs cheerfully and expeditiously leads to repeat business.  

But…have you ever considered your internal customer, the people who you work with? When they come to you for assistance  do you view this as a burden and an encroachment of your space? Or, do you respond as you would to your external customer going out of your way to see that their needs are met?

 Internal customer service is to building a strong efficient team as external customer service is to building sales. In sports, a team that works well together wins games.  A workforce that works together wins customers. In the end everyone wins. The customer’s needs are satisfied and the employees jobs are easier and more satisfying.

EXAIR is well-known for its customer service and ease of doing business with. That is because we have a strong internal team. While we all have job descriptions, they do not limit our activity but just describe the core of our activities. Serving the customer is everyone’s job description. How accurately and timely we each perform our core duties translates into serving our customers.

For example, we are proud of our 99.9% ontime deliveries. To accomplish that, our people will move from their jobs to help with any bottlenecks. There is no such thing as “that’s not my job” around here.

Much is touted about ISO 9000. We at EXAIR live it. We are all human and humans will make mistakes. The key is to correct them before they get too far. Everyone at EXAIR is on a constant vigilance for anything that does not seem copacetic. We have had shipping folks question why a customer is ordering a given component that does not match the function of other components they are ordering . A quick call to the customer to verify has saved them a lot of grief and delay.

EXAIR has introduced many new products. These were driven by customer inquiries not some scientist in the R&D department.  Our application engineers talk with hundreds of customers across all business sectors. Sometimes we do not have a product that will fulfill application needs. These are duly noted and put on a list for future consideration by our engineering staff.

 So you can see EXAIR’s success is centered in servicing both its internal and external customers. 

 Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer