When Alan Hampton, MD of Forfar Roof Truss Ltd in the UK, heard about MiTek’s Dedicated Services at a customer services conference, he was keen to find out more. Alan tells us about the welcome impact the services have had on his component manufacturing business…
The speaker referred to the challenges facing the industry around high demand and short supply of in-house designers. This was something I’d experienced first-hand – we’d been trying to secure the services of an additional designer for around two years but struggled to find anyone with right mix of experience, salary expectation and proximity to us.
I was already using MiTek products in my roof-truss business and have enjoyed a great relationship with the team for over 27 years, so when they set out the capabilities of MiTek’s Dedicated Services, I decided it was worth finding out more.
Tackling complex designs
Most of the time, our clients require straightforward roof-truss designs which we can process quickly. However, we do get asked for more complex designs which can take longer to turn around, tying up our in-house people for several days at a time. We quickly realised we could respond to these requests with the help of the Dedicated Services team.
Increased design time and pressure from long standing customers are a fact of life, and MiTek Services relieves that pressure, and with specified return days, we can project a specific return timeframe rather than a vague ‘as soon as possible’ promise.
Enquiries are managed through a sophisticated but simple dashboard, where we provide as much information as we can, along with drawings. At this point we can specify elements of the design, the methodology, and most importantly, the return timescale. For ease, amendments to original designs are also handled in the same way.
It means we can see right at the start how long MiTek will need to get the designs back to us, so we can effectively manage the expectations of our customers when it comes to delivery timescales.
The extra benefit of the 3D design services also means we can provide clients with detailed visuals that bring designs to life on screen, providing context and depth to their projects.
Scaling our business
After being offered a trial of its design services, it worked out fantastically well and it wasn’t long before we stepped up from quoted design work to actual designs for manufacture.
We immediately noticed the difference. It took pressure off our inhouse design team and kept production and delivery flowing. We started to take on more design requests, and found we were completing an additional two to three jobs a day.
We soon moved from the trial to full-on work with Dedicated Services in earnest. The team is fast and accurate, using great software to put together just what our customers are looking for. We can channel work to Vietnam, with a service that’s seamless. Clients want quality designs and realistic quotes delivered on time, and they get this every time from us.
The wider impact on our wider business has been interesting and unexpected. What started out as an option to take pressure off the business has in fact enabled us to grow and improve our commercial performance.
It’s given us great confidence in the capabilities available to us and the scope to expand our business base to cover new clients, markets, and design requests.
The market in Scotland for more complex, private, high-value single-build projects is growing, and the additional expertise of Dedicated Services has meant we’re able to tap into this.
A calculated gamble
Initially we weren’t sure whether the Vietnam-based team was right for us, given the remote nature, but we soon discovered it was the perfect fit. With their support we can look after the most complex of jobs for our customers, delivering what they want, in the right way, with great turn-around times.
There’s no issue with the MiTek team being based in another time zone and we regard them as an extension of our own. The time difference also works in our benefit. It means new work is waiting when we arrive for work each morning.
We call upon them as and when we need them, and they never disappoint. The designers are dedicated and professional, and every change in our company’s design policy is adopted without hesitation. Language has proved no barrier, which is particularly impressive given the terminology and regional vagaries of our industry.
A fully fledged partnership
We’ve worked with MiTek’s designers for almost two years now. It’s a unique service and answer to a growing problem in our industry – quicker response and design returns in an increasingly complex design environment.
I’d say that Dedicated Services is a fabulous asset, and I’d encourage anyone who is in need of excellent design-related support to give the service a try.
We view MiTek Services as part of our design team, and not a ‘bolt-on’, which surely in itself is the ultimate reference.