In recent years, manufacturers worldwide have struggled to compete as China and other technically-savvy exporters challenged them on price. But some, such as Compass Trailers in New Zealand, beat the challenge by focusing on markets that the exporters couldn’t serve as well as they could. Founded in 1985, Compass Trailers manufactures high-quality trailers for a variety of purposes, with an emphasis on towing heavy equipment.
“We identified parts of the market that will accept the imports,” explained Hamish Campion, Compass Trailers’ CEO. “You’ve got the basic garden trailer that you use once a month. It’s a family trailer, so to speak,” and since that purchase is dominated by price, Compass “doesn’t focus on that market.”
“We’re focused on customers who need a high-quality trailer, mainly in commercial industries, that gets heavy use day in and day out,” Campion said, adding that this required a specialized approach to his market. Not only does he need to manufacture a superior product, he needs to treat his clients in a different way.
“Anyone can sell a product,” he said, “So we’ve gone away from just product to trying to care for the client and understanding where value is for them. We provide more than just a trailer.”
RESULTS.com helped him focus his employees on that competitive advantage. “We’ve got a good, committed team,” he said, “but when we started out we were like a house on fire.” Most successful business owners can relate to that. Everyone cares, everyone wants to help, but it seems like all you do is chase deals and waste effort. Rather than playing to your strengths, you risk losing all that positive energy without building your business.
RESULTS.com helped him align everyone with his strategic positioning. For example, while long wait times are common across his industry, Campion found that his customers don’t want to wait for their trailer. “When someone wants one, they want it now,” he said. “If they’ve got to wait, that’s frustrating. Especially if they’ve bought [an expensive piece of heavy equipment] that they can’t move.”
His solution required tight coordination across his business. “Our secret weapon is throughput, so we can deliver on time,” he explained, adding that aligning his team was challenging. “It’s very easy in business to start off thinking that you’re going down a certain road, when a whole lot of other thoughts and ideas can cloud your thinking and you wander off your focus.
“RESULTS helps us focus on throughput,” he said, explaining that creating customized Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) was catalytic.
He didn’t need to come up with his KPIs on his own, since helping customers define them is one of many important services included with a RESULTS.com license.“One thing we’ve had is excellent support,” Campion said,
In fact, RESULTS often identifies KPIs that provide critical, new insights. “It’s been a process," he said, "and it’s getting better all the time.” For Compass, one new KPI was the number and type of quotes submitted to prospects, which turned out to be an important leading indicator for both manufacturing and sales.
Campion explained, “When we had made the KPIs clear, and had them up in front of us every day, it started driving a real desire to get them into the green,” referring to the red-yellow-green color-coding in RESULTS that lets you see the status of a KPI or Goal at a glance.
Everyone “saw their KPIs as a clear notice from management that that’s where we wanted them to perform. It gave them something they could work towards so they knew they were contributing in a way that meant something to management.
Throughput was just the beginning. “We tell our staff that any connection the client has with our business – whether it’s the guy cutting the steel, or the salesman, or me, the managing director – that’s a touchpoint, and you need to believe in our brand and you need to represent our brand and do whatever it takes to protect our brand. Because whatever they hear or see from you in that moment in time, they’ll connect it with our brand and they’ll connect it with you. And we get that. We’ve got staff saying, ‘This is who we are as people.’”
Campion reinforces that attitude by empowering each team member. “We have enabled any one of our staff to make a judgement call on what is required” to make a customer happy, he said. “We think that word of mouth is key in our industry. If we go the extra mile and deliver 100% satisfaction, we believe that someday [our customer will] say to someone else who needs a trailer, ‘These guys are amazing.’”
The impact on his bottom line has been extreme. Since becoming a RESULTS user, he and his team increased the number of quotes submitted to prospects an astonishing 70%.
“The way we win is through quality, delivery times and the ability to modify trailers to suit the client’s needs, whatever they might be,” Campion told us. “We pride ourselves on having raving fans. And RESULTS brings us round to focus on what’s letting us win in the marketplace.”