That Orange Panel

Well let’s start off with there are plenty of Legendary and Above The Call of Duty performances that went in with this customer to make his experience and amazing one….This is just yet another shining example…

***My eyes crack open and stare at the blurry ceiling, lights are still on, still in my New Years clothes, and I can’t help but think how much my head hurts***

whoa, whoa, whoa, let’s back it up about 7 hours…

“10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…”

untitled

hold on, head’s still buzzing, let’s go back another 9 hours…

It’s 3pm, day of the Eve of the Year of New, and I look down at my phone as I am driving to an appointment.  (For anonymity, the customer will henceforth be called John).  It’s…John.  Oh man, this can’t be good.  When a customer calls you during the middle of a project, late in the day, on a day that most people have quit working…it can NEVER be good.  Fielded the call and BOOM, I was right!  John had ordered a panel from us, that gorgeous Orange panel, a little while back.  He wanted everything to go smoothly and it was all set up to be.  We had multiple meetings in December and customer visits to make sure everything was good to go and it was.  A week and a half (just about) to ship a panel across the country?!? No problem.  The customer had a deadline – December 31st, 2013 (the day I fielded the 3pm call).

So it was John, and he wasn’t happy.  “So, my panel says it is supposed to arrive today, but I don’t know how that is going to happen considering it is in a holding location 10 hours away from me.  Fix it Brandt”

…awesome…
ps. that is the sarcastic version of awesome, not the awesome version of awesome.

That is when I call my ROCKSTAR Brad Swift.  If you don’t know how clutch this man is, you are missing the boat.  (PS, there are plenty of other Clutch Rockstars at Innovative, just want to toot Brad’s horn here).

Most people know that I normally handle customer issues with a lot of calm and poise…normally…and today was…not normal.  I mean it was New Year’s Eve and I somehow had to work magic.  I called Brad.  “HEEEEYYY Buddy, John is mad…”.  Brad understands my frustration and tells me to call UPS to figure out what they can do.

I call UPS, no help and bad news: the panel won’t arrive until really late Friday the 3rd of January which is 3…I’m sorry… THREEEEEE FULL DAYS after they have initiated a PLANT SHUTDOWN!! Do you know how much money it will cost them if they have to keep this shutdown open for even an extra hour? much less a day or two?!?!  I call John, worse help and worse news.  “Brandt, you better fix this and I don’t care how you do it”.  Oh boy…  Call UPS again, still no help.  Call John back, man I must LOVE getting yelled at.  John says “You can go ahead and tell your boss how you screwed up this shipment, screwed up this order and will lose our business”… hang up.

I thought to myself *I have two choices here – keep working to find some magic or call it a day and let the customer down*

I called Brad – he knows I don’t let customers down and he wouldn’t let me here.  He says “I have an idea, let me call you back”. Want to know what the two most stressful minutes of your life are?!  Try to be in my shoes in those two minutes.  Brad’s calling back.  “Find out what time the UPS location opens the day after New Year’s.  We can get a private logistics company to pick it up and hot shot it.” Holy COW! What a fantastically stress-relieving idea.

So I call UPS and by some magical universe, they open at an astounding 2am local time in California on the 2nd of January.  I call Brad “Set it up, let’s do it” and it was all set in motion.  I called UPS and had them pull off our shipment and set aside for our Logistics Hot Shot on Thursday morning.  By this time, you wouldn’t believe it was a hellish 4 hours later but it most certainly was.  Brad is coordinating the logistics between each bite of his Eve dinner and I am trying to just keep myself from pulling my hair out.

The Orange PanelI call John (In my mind, I am just laughing at myself now. The kind of laugh you get when you find something strangely ironic when you haven’t slept in 72 hours. Just delirious)  and tell him the news.  John says “Wow, I have no idea how you managed that.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you pull this off” Yah me too John, oh me too…

Fast Forward to Thursday.  It’s 2am local time in California where the panel is and 4am local time when my alarm goes off.  I call the logistics company and they forward me to the driver….no answer.  FANTASTIC!!! I call back thirty minutes later and said he was sorry but was loading our shipment.  NOT SARCASTIC FANTASTIC!!!

Text from John at 1230pm local time in Houston “Panel just got here, look’s awesome, will keep you updated”

And for the first time in two days…I took a breath.

I get another text about 4 hours after that with this:

 
The Orange Panel

and an email that said “You made it happen, you genius!!” Ok so I may have thrown in the genius part, but seriously what a great feeling.  I told John “The real miracle worker here is Brad and you should be thanking him”.

John is pretty excited we got the panel in with plenty of time for the startup, got Jack out there to start it up and work his magic, and really make the entire thing successful.  He is already talking about how much more business he wants to do with us this year.

The last conversation (which was three days ago) with John went a little like this “Stuff (ps, he didn’t say stuff) happens and yah I may be able to find another company who can build a panel like you, but I don’t think I could find another company with the people you have.  All of you work your butts (ps, he didn’t say butts) off to make sure the customer is happy and that is darn (ps, well, you get the idea) near impossible to find these days.  Thanks again and have a good weekend”

I mean really, you can’t even say anything else here besides The End…

— Brandt King

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