Continental Machines Inc. (CMI), founded in 1927 just two years before the Great Depression, not only survived the economic catastrophe but managed to thrive in the difficult years that followed. Five years after bandsaw manufacturer CMI formed, DoAll Sawing Products emerged with Continental serving as the equipment producer, bringing the first-ever metalcutting bandsaw to market.
From that starting point, DoAll continued to grow into what it is today – a company that offers a complete line of metalcutting bandsaws to the industry. The variety of DoAll brand saws also includes general purpose, high production, miter cutting, vertical contour machines and custom engineered sawing solutions.
The company’s long history also encompasses a strong commitment to sharing its expertise, providing the top-notch service and technical support needed for installation, training, troubleshooting and repair. While DoAll may be one of the oldest bandsaw manufacturers in America, company leadership is well aware that continued success depends on being ready and willing to evolve with the needs of today’s customers.
Earlier this year, Kurt Plechaty, CMI/DoAll Sawing Products executive vice president, announced a move to a new organizational structure that will increase both the product line and the availability of service options and technical support.
“As part of our new business model, we’ll be expanding our product line of sawing machines to include new machines with the state-of-the-art technology needed to increase capacity, control and programmability,” Plechaty says.
Set to launch this fall, the new machines will be showcased in September at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.
The second key aspect of the new business structure is focusing on customer needs by growing the company’s technical support capability and increasing the availability of more comprehensive service plans.
“The emphasis on service has always been a critical component to providing our customers with innovative, high-quality products,” Plechaty says.
Service means less downtime
Ric Kurlinski, customer support services manager for CMI/DoAll Sawing Products, believes unnecessary interruptions to production can be minimized by performing regular scheduled maintenance on sawing machines.“
We’re addressing the situation by adding a larger selection of comprehensive service plans,” Kurlinski says.
Some customers’ needs in the service area may be more limited than others. Those with a standard saw may not want anything other than the traditional warranty and installation.
“The more automated, numerically controlled saws are more complex,” Kurlinski says. “The customer might prefer a more comprehensive service package that allows them to address any issue they’re experiencing with a single phone call. We’re responding to the voice of the customer by tailoring our service to what it is they would like to see.”
This means offering a broad menu of service options including technical support agreements for customers that want to take care of the maintenance repair themselves but may need personal, technical support from time to time over the phone. Other options include new preventative maintenance agreements for customers that want technicians to come in for complete maintenance checks once, twice, four times a year – or as often as they feel the need. To that end, DoAll has developed a predictive maintenance chart that estimates when each machine requires preventive maintenance to help prevent downtime.
“There are different parts on a saw that have a predictable life span,” Kurlinski says. “Over the course of time, they may need to be replaced. To prevent downtime, we’ll come in at a predetermined point to evaluate and replace any component, per the warranty agreement. This program is designed to maximize the customer’s uptime.”
Other options include an extended maintenance agreement offering an additional warranty for a specific period of time. If at any point during the term of the agreement the saw requires service, it will be repaired at no extra cost.
DoAll also offers block hour agreements for the customer with multiple saws in their facility. This eliminates the need to purchase individual agreements for each machine. The customer is able to purchase technical support in blocks of 25 hours that can be used for any form of service on any machine. Service can include preventative maintenance, repair, training or whatever is required to optimize the operation of the saws.
“We found that none of our competitors were offering this type of comprehensive service,” Kurlinski notes. “We identified a need in the market for it and it fits with our goal of exceeding our customers’ expectations in everything we do.”
Leading by example
Desand Hall is a DoAll factory trained regional field service technician who installs saws, repairs and services them, and trains users how to operate them. He, along with seven other regional field service technicians across the United States, are an example of what the company’s improved service agreement options are all about – customer satisfaction. Hall enjoys his weekends off, but when a shop has an issue with a machine and the only time they can fit him in is on a weekend, he’ll be there.
Based in northern Texas, Hall recently completed an install and training at a shop in Missouri that would normally take two to three hours to complete. However, the customer wanted him to stick around and train each shift as they came in to work. A couple of hours with the customer turned into a 10-hour install.
“The training aspect is intensive,” Hall says of his responsibilities. “It’s a very important piece of what I do. Once I leave their location, I want them to feel confident and knowledgeable in the safe operation of their saw. What matters the most is that the customer is happy with their product. And we always go out of our way to ensure they’re happy.”
Doing it any differently would be contrary to his work ethic, Hall says. For instance, if he were to drop off a saw and an owner’s manual and say, “good luck,” the operators wouldn’t know how to optimize the saw. That in turn, would mean more breakdowns and more warranty repair visits that would otherwise be unnecessary.
“You try to optimize everything,” Hall says, adding that on a service visit to one customer, they had their auger speed set too high, which caused parts to wear out too fast. “I give them tips.”
Hall is also known to drop into shops he’s visited to follow up on a repair or an install he recently completed. The result of these efforts is customers telling him that they’re saving money and experiencing less downtime.
“That’s what you want to hear,” he says.