Feb 10, 2020
Our very first blog focused on solving an issue. A customer had committed himself to a tournament with the assumption that Rach could deliver 300 uniforms sets from Blaine, Washington to an American Air Base in Japan in ten days.
We did it.
Fifteen years ago, our colleague Roger, boarded a Seattle flight after checking in five huge hockey bags filled with basketball uniforms. He cleared customs, caught a bus, and arrived at Yokota Air Base in time to receive a hero's welcome from the Youth Sports Director.
We vowed never to place ourselves in a position where we stretched production to their limits, and our reputation depended on clearing customs the day of an event.
Never say never.
A perfect storm built around missed messages and holidays, and it developed into another "issue." Kate brought it to our attention minutes before the Rach weekly leadership meeting that we missed an order for one of our best customers. It was Monday morning in Blaine, and our customer was preparing for a significant running event scheduled for their Saturday in Japan.
We had the product in stock, and Rach was capable of completing the customer's required embellishment by Wednesday evening. The challenge was shipping; none of our couriers would be able to deliver on time. Our only option was to cash in corporate miles and send an employee on a plane with 300 branded items for the bases's running event. Mark arrived at Yokota Air Base on Friday evening. The Director of the Fitness Center met him personally and received the products for the base run.
We did it again. But what did we learn?
We will follow up diligently on hot opportunities. Rach has critical checkpoints in place but we will be more aggressive about confirming orders with tight deadlines. Everyone will expeditiously review email during vacations.
The most crucial finding was our improved relationship with our customers. Solving the issue allowed us to become allies as we coordinated the delivery and resolved the crisis. All is well that ends well, but we don't want to make this a common corporate practice (even though Mark said he enjoyed the sushi in Shinjuku).