During August and September, 4 of my blogs will mention how, in my opinion, Solar Solve is one of the best businesses in the world to trade with. The original company motto, which has been our motivation ever since 1975, was ‘The Customer is King’. It still is, even though we realise it may not be considered politically correct or appropriate in some parts of the world, we hope that the core message by implication is; – at Solar Solve no one is more important than our customers and we do absolutely everything we can to delight them. Customers can expect EXACTLY WHAT they want, EXACTLY WHEN they want it and EXACTLY WHERE they want it.
Being the best does not just happen, it has to be worked hard for by the whole team, who are all committed to the cause. I have tried to combine all of the requirements into 4 main categories, one for each of the 4 blogs referred to above. They include:-
1) Regular Staff Training and Appraisals for our Committed Employees.
2) Constant Checking and Performance Analysis Monitoring.
3) Reliable Suppliers/Service Providers.
4) Maximum Control.
Maximum Control is far and away the most importantly crucial requirement. It is the one modus operandi, above all others, that has helped our business owners to create the perfect manufacturing and supply organisation. It implies and requires as much control as possible in every aspect of the business. We keep as much as possible and as many processes and procedures as we can, under our direct control, with as little reliance on outside suppliers as we are able to get away with. Unfortunately for SME’s like Solar Solve, who export for example, we have to rely on carriers, so we select only the best of the most reliable. When we do not have a choice, then we have to adopt the methods referred to in the other 3 blogs on this subject, which is to select the best option and thereby minimise the amount of control that we have to forego.
Some of the numerous strategies that we have put into place to retain maximum control include:-
A Joiners Shop for making wood packing cases, which vary in size and quantity depending on the size of a customer’s order. We could not offer our ‘same day service’ without it.
Keeping between 6 and 12 months stock of all major components within our facility – some of which are kept remote from the main building as part of our ‘Disaster Recovery’ plan. This ensures no matter how big an order is, or if we were to get a continuous sudden demand, we have everything on site to continuously manufacture with no delays.
Multi Skilled, Multi Tasked, highly motivated employees who are all committed to delighting our customers are very hard to find and we are very lucky to have a full team of them. When circumstances dictate, any individual employee will be expected and prepared to take the lead to get a job completed on time and to the customers requirement. It is good for the individual, the rest of the team, the company and, most importantly, the customer. You can read more about our great team and their 250 years of combined service here.
Unfortunately, we are not in control of the carriers that customers organise to collect on their behalf.
Over the last 3 years EVERY order has been made and boxed up ready for dispatch on or before the documented dispatch date. Most of the customers who opt to ‘self-collect’ do have their orders collected from our factory on the designated dispatch date. However, a very small percentage of customer-organised carriers do not collect on the agreed date, so our Quality Auditor classes them as late and effectively a non-conformity. We don’t agree, so instead we just labour the point that every order we produce is ‘ready for dispatch’ on the designated date and the ones Solar Solve has to dispatch always leave the factory on time.
For example, during the first 8 months of 2019 all orders, 100%, were boxed up and ready for dispatch on time. Nevertheless, we cannot claim the 100% because over the period, 2 orders were collected late by customer-organised carriers, which reduced the audited figure down to 99.6%. It was not a problem for us or our customers but it happens every year and we think it deprives us of our proper status.
That said, the great team here can easily live with it because there are numerous commendations on our website testimonials page here, some stating that we are perfect and cannot improve. They are nice to receive and there is a lot goes into earning them, but we don’t get carried away – there is always room for improvement. Or so the proverb says!!
JHL MBE SSL Co. Chairman