Evolving with a view to meeting customer needs
By Iván Javier Páez Prieto
Design Engineer and Specifier
We only win if our customers win. If you think about it for a moment it’s actually an ‘all or nothing’ situation, which is why our success depends largely on understanding our customers and being able to anticipate and meet their needs.
In Colombia, our team recently identified an opportunity to continue growing while benefiting the local market. This opportunity forced us to evolve and be daring enough to take a new direction, and we were prepared to rise to the challenge in the name of offering customers an exceptional service experience that is both genuine and transparent.
Turnkey projects have enabled us to get to know more and more customers directly. Thanks to our work with them, we were able to identify first-hand a number of shortcomings in the way these projects were being carried out. First of all, particular attention should be paid to the fact that the end client experiences a series of emotions and expectations with respect to the final result of an irrigation project, which is why it’s so important to bear in mind that every project is unique and in some cases, decisions have to be taken during the implementation phase to meet the proposed objectives. Secondly, we’re responsible for building a climate of trust and safety during project implementation by responding to the customer’s concerns. However, we noticed that in some cases those responsible for the process, such as fitters, builders and even the production plants themselves, were not taking these aspects into account.
For our part, the objective in terms of improving was to stop exclusively selling hydraulic components, such as pipes, joints, valves, filters, etc. Given that competition is getting tougher by the day and our margins were becoming less and less attractive, we set about listening to customers and saw that they were satisfied with the products and/or services that other companies were providing them. At that point, and keen to be able to take part in a way that went beyond the mere sale of a product, we decided to innovate and support the customer from the moment the idea for an irrigation project is formed through to the drawing up of designs and building of their projects, in a way that dovetails with the requirements of their irrigation systems. Our team at Durman Colombia Riego managed and oversaw the entire process, working as a team with the customer where everything was planned according to their needs and carried out in the agreed-upon lead-times.
We immediately realised that offering turnkey solutions would imply making more effective use of the knowledge and experience on-hand within the Aliaxis family, and would also improve our margins, turn us into a more relevant market player, and make up for the lack of sophisticated irrigation solutions in Colombia. Of course, we would also be able to offer customers a proposal that represented value creation for both parties.
This is why, with the help of sister companies in Latin America and the team at the head office, we created an irrigation division in Colombia that began offering ‘exceptional turnkey solutions’ for farmers and their crops.
Customer reactions have been very positive so far. They no longer see us as just a supplier anymore, but a company offering innovation and technical support for their projects, with real-time guidance and advice. Similarly, our design proposals have been recognised for their quality and the fact that they take customer resources and ideas into account from the outset. What we are endeavouring to do is engage with customers in a way that brings us closer to them and attaches greater value to their ideas and expectations. Paying close attention to our customers should help us climb the ladder of competition, now and in the future.
Aliaxis is a global leader in advanced plastic piping systems for building, infrastructure, industrial and agriculture applications. The company provides communities around the world with sustainable innovative solutions for water and energy, leading the industry in a way that anticipates the rapidly evolving needs of its customers and of society. With a global workforce of about 16,000 employees, Aliaxis offers specific solutions that meet our customers’ most demanding needs across the globe. Aliaxis is active through leading local brands and operating in over 45 countries, combining local solutions with global innovation and operational excellence. The company is privately owned, with its global headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
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