Dave Leverson, a field sales engineer at Bastian Material Handling LLC (Indianapolis, IN), has built a relationship of trust with a large automotive electronics manufacturer in Kokomo, Indiana. The manufacturer purchased a number of trailers from Bastian over the years and keeps coming back for more. “That's a good indicator that they've been happy with what they've been getting,” Leverson says. So when the manufacturer wanted to reduce forklift traffic in its plant—to address safety issues for workers—they approached Leverson to help solve the problem. Leverson contacted Kevin LeMieux, a sales engineer at Faultless-Nutting, because he knew the vendor had a history of customizing designs for this customer on previous orders. Leverson says the customer never seems to order out of the catalog, and this order—their largest—was no exception. The customer needed 25-pound hybrid steering trailers that could handle a half-pallet load and move easily by hand within the manufacturing cells in the plant. The hybrid design allows the customer flexibility—when the towing tongue is down, the vehicle acts as a four-wheel steering trailer, and when it is up, it works as a manually moved cart. Ergonomics was a key selling point, as the customer was concerned about the bending involved with hitching and unhitching the tow tongue. But Faultless-Nutting engineered a D-handle, which eliminated the need to reach down when adjusting the tongue. LeMieux used Faultless-Nutting's eDrawings software, which was especially helpful for concept and design because approval was needed from both technical and non-technical people. Leverson then could open a computer file and view a 3-D model of Faultless-Nutting's design, which he then could rotate in all directions, and send it off to the customers. Leverson says showing the customer the sketches early in the process was a very powerful sales tool. The customer purchased 24 hybrid steering trailers that were 24 inches wide, 15 inches long and 9 inches high and used 6-inch hard rubber wheels. The $20,000 order was shipped in August 2005. To read this article online click here.
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