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“One and Done” Syndrome

Greenlight coatings have previously written about the “Chemechanics” concept, where optimum results are achieved by the proper integration of the chemistry of coating with the mechanics of the process. 

Today’s blog examines Chemechanics in a broader scope with the involvement of the human factor, one that is embraced by the people involved in the management and operation of a finishing process.

Let’s Re-enact an Actual Conversation

We want to share with you the story of a trial we conducted on a curtain coating line associated with a furniture manufacturer.

Our president, Larry Van Iseghem, and a field technical sales representative, who was responsible for the introduction of our waterborne coatings and the trial, met with the VP of Manufacturing at the company. This trial was going to be the first time our coating would be used on their curtain coater, and coincidentally, it was also Larry’s first meeting with this VP. 

The VP asked assertively: “Well, is your coating going to work on our line?”

Larry responded: “I have no idea.”

VP, very surprised: “What?! This is a first for me, where someone comes in for a trial and doesn’t even know if it will work!”

The field technical sales rep almost fell on the floor, all of his hopes and dreams destroyed.  

Larry looked the VP in the eye and told him with full conviction that because this was his first time in the facility, without any knowledge of the line condition or of the people who would be operating it, “How would I know for sure what our coating would do?” 

Larry continued by saying GreenLight Coatings has extensive experience with curtain coatings. So while there was a high likelihood of success, it would also be good if we failed in the initial trial.  

This surprised the VP even more. Wide-eyed, he asked: “Not only do you not know if it will work but you hope you fail today?”

At this point, the field service rep was just staring at the floor, hoping to fall through it. 

Larry continued calmly: “You see, I’m not trying to sell you anything today, I’m trying to solve your finishing problem. As a technologist, I need to become familiar with your curtain coater and the conditions your people prefer when operating it. My coating chemistry may not be optimum and may not yield the best finishing characteristics. If it does result in a good finish, I may not be able to tell you exactly why, but if it fails, I can guarantee you I will know why and I will know how to fix it. Sometimes initial failure is better than initial success.” 

The VP sat back in his chair and said in astonishment: “Finally, someone who isn’t BS’ing me. I get it but still hope it works out well. Let’s recap your trial when you’re done.”  

Lessons Learned

That field service rep gained a better understanding of how we work to solve problems and target the customers’ success, first and foremost.

In the end, the trial did turn out very well but we were able to notice some opportunities for chemistry and mechanical improvements and returned for a second, very successful, trial that demonstrated the concept of “Chemechanics.”

Today, we are a valued extension of this company’s team. 

The “One and Done” syndrome exists with many industrial finishers. They expect the coating manufacturer to come in and achieve success on the first trial.  

We have experienced success more often than not, but there’s a true benefit to failure when you focus on learning how to solve the customer’s problem.  

Sometimes it takes a few trials to integrate the Chemechanics and to create a solid team of people to achieve optimum results and success. 

If you’re ready to work with a team who has this kind of transparency and level of commitment, give us a call. We’re here to help!

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