Published November 20, 2018
When you look up the definition of reliability the Oxford Dictionary has “the quality of being trustworthy of performing consistently well.” Sounds great, but how does that work out in our business relationships day-to-day?
We know that we don’t like the lack of reliability – it gives us a sense of unease and makes us question the value and risk involved with a vendor or supplier. Over and over our Piping Systems, Inc clients have told us in person and in surveys that our reliability is one of the things they count on from us. I wanted to share how we build a reliability culture with customers in mind.
Each person is aware that it takes a team effort to keep PSI performing well for our clients. From attracting great talent, safety training, bidding, installation, customer service – through all departments and all levels each person is aware that they contribute to the whole. It’s critical to not let people of processes become too compartmentalized because you can lose others feedback that helps keep things current and relevant.
It is easy to fall into assumptions about anything. Particularly if people are feeling overwhelmed or facing new situations. To consistently build a reliability culture means stepping back and digging for the facts. If there is a billing problem it’s easy to fall into the assumption that the software doesn’t handle a certain function – when it’s more likely to be a gap in training. Digging deep for real reasons, though it may not always be the most comfortable thing to do, often uncovers really good information that leads to change for the better. Better training. Better safety. Better inventory controls.
In a society that idolizes success it’s difficult to convince people that failure can be a good thing. This also goes back to #1 Awareness. With our people aware and engaged we can spot potential failure points further out and “correct for success.” At PSI one of our core values is safety so we are always looking for better safeguards.
I grew up in this business and watched my dad listen to a pipefitter as closely as he would one of his managers. Knowledge and wisdom come in many forms at all levels of an organization. I can’t speak for other businesses, but I wonder how many miss out on better safety practices or inventory control because the owners only listen to a certain level or title and above. At PSI our longer term employees take new ones “under their wings” and let them know that we do what we say. Period. I rely on all levels of our team to let me know how we are doing, and what we can do better.
I thought about using the word “consistent” but realized we go beyond that in our reliability culture. Like our clients we have been through challenging economic times and changes in the way we do business. However, we have stayed the course on our main values of safety and people development. We are clear on company goals. We value our clients. We are here to stay.
Being able to put into words the actions we take to be reliable has been an eye opener.
Thank you to our clients for telling how much they appreciate our reliability. Thank you to our PSI team for continually innovating our reliability culture, keeping it relevant for new clients and new hires. And thank you to my dad who taught me being 10 minutes early was “on time.”