(Knoxville, TN) – As the semi-official tour guide at Braxton-Bragg I frequently have the opportunity to explain what we do and how we do it.  I really enjoy doing this as I always learn something from our visitors.  Sometimes what I learn is painful. 

Recently we hosted an industry leader.  When I told him that we ship all orders received by 5:45 p.m. Eastern time the same day, and the orders are received either the next day or the second day, and that this is free for orders greater than $250, he said that he was amazed and did not know that was our typical service. He asked me why we did not advertise that fact.  

It was a punch to the gut. I was sure that we had stressed this and had printed thousands of advertisements about it. I probably got a little defensive, but I was very interested in why this fellow did not know. After all he had been receiving the Slippery Rock Gazette for years. He then pointed out that our website did not speak about delivery.  Convinced he was wrong, I pulled up our website, and sure enough, we talked about shipping on the first page, but not about delivery. Delivery was there, but you had to click on a few pages down to see it and squint at a small map.

He then asked me what it would take to deliver all orders next-day. I replied that we had been testing next-day delivery on all Viper CNC and Lavina floor polishing tools for over a year. We had the system figured out, but it was more expensive. He then asked at what order value could we afford to offer it for free. He explained that inventory control was a constant problem for many fabrication shops. Next-day delivery seemed like a good idea to him.

Well, to make a long story short, we started crunching numbers and calling people to see if this really was something that people were interested in.  I was skeptical.  We have competition with stores and vans, I thought that certainly they had the service advantage so we needed to focus our efforts on quality and price.

What I learned is that stores are sometimes out of stock and that if what you want isn’t on the van, it can take several days to get it. Our freight people came to the conclusion that if the order size for UPS shippable was on average $500 or greater, we would not go broke.  

So we added a new class of service. All orders placed by 5:45 p.m. Eastern time will be delivered next business day anywhere in the USA FREE, provided that the order is UPS shippable (less than 70 pounds) and the order value is $500 or more. The only products excluded are sinks.  

Our products have always been better quality and our prices lower, but now we are usually faster as well. The moral of this story is that although learning can be painful, it can lead to improvement. We welcome all painful feedback. Write to me at publisher@slipperyrockgazette.net

On the subject of feedback, check out the soapbox by Peter DeKok. Peter is the founder of GranQuartz and has been an active industry leader for many years. The Soapbox is available to express your views.  Email me your thoughts.