Global Material Handling System Integrators

Spotlight On: Roger Wilke

ph_rwilke How many years have you been with BMH? What makes you stay with the company? I’ve been with BMH 3-1/2 years. I think the people at BMH are great. We have an extraordinary number of dedicated, intelligent people who enjoy working with each other and are willing to share information. While everyone is very busy, they are always willing to help answer questions. I also really enjoy meeting with customers and helping solve their problems. Name all the vertical industries you have experience in. My background over the years has really been focused in manufacturing and manufacturing engineering. I started with Westinghouse in their aircraft generator plant, and then moved into power transformers. I took over the manufacturing operations at the ABB transformer plant, and eventually moved to Clare, making electronic components. I was able to experience managing both U.S. and foreign plants – and certainly found the different cultures interesting. There are dedicated people all over the world! Right before moving to BMH, I operated a very small business in glass manufacturing. What are some of the projects you’ve worked on that you are most proud of? Why? Believe it or not, some of the smaller projects I’ve worked on have been the best. In one particular case, the customer thought that their entire conveyor system needed to be scrapped and replaced. While this would have been a nice sale, it really wasn’t what they needed. We were able to replace a small section of their system and dramatically improve its performance. The customer was very thrilled, and we’ve had a great relationship ever since. I really like identifying efficient ways to address customer problems. What is one of the most challenging projects you’ve ever been a part of and why? My most challenging project involved putting in a pallet conveying system while the customer continued to run the operation. They had a very sporadic production schedule that tended to run over into our planned installation times. At other times, when we needed material to test the system, there was none to be found. Fortunately, we were able to work around this and got the system running to their satisfaction while avoiding production delays. Traffic is very low at some of the early hours involved on this one. Why do you think your customers continue to come back to you for help with new projects or upgrades? I think most customers will keep working with me if I can continue to solve their problems with good technology at a fair price. Many of my customers no longer have the resources to dig deeply into problem solving, so they rely on me to come up with reliable solutions. I really think my background running manufacturing plants and projects gave me the experience to know what my customers are dealing with on a day to day basis. I was the one planning projects and buying equipment in years past. I know firsthand what a budget is, how a production schedule can affect a project, how fewer resources are available for doing the same work, and how a strategic plan can get altered by very sudden changes in management, the economy or by customer whim. I think that helps me identify with my customers’ needs and concerns, and they recognize that. What is your customer service philosophy? Customers are looking for our ability to solve their problems and improve their operations in a short amount of time, at a fair price. There is so much information available now, that simply offering hardware doesn’t really work. They can get hardware in any number of ways – but will it work and satisfy their needs? As I mentioned above, customers are looking for someone they can count on to provide answers quickly, support them when they are in a jam, and recommend unique and reliable solutions. Favorite BMH memories? Picnic football, the clean-up service project (without the poison ivy), four cold calls and four orders in one day, sales calls with the “new guys” when I was a new guy myself, music trivia on a trip back home from training, hearing a customer say “love it!” when I asked how their system was working. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not knee-deep in proposals? Sports with my children, visits with my parents (and in-laws), biking with my friends, and time with my wife.


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