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Secret Sauce

Posted on   July 9, 2015 11:38 am by  Shaun Mannix  No Comments

Few of us can say we are not involved in highly competitive industries. Transwall is no exception.

Not only do we compete with others in the demountable wall industry, including major international players, but we’re also competing with drywall, and sometimes the concept of no walls at all. It can be hard to beat the cost of not building any walls at all.

To be successful we somehow have to be the best at getting through the maze of trials that lead to winning the project award. All our competitors are running the same maze with the same thought in mind: win the job in a way which enables us to complete the job to specifications in a timely and quality way, pay our bills, and maintain a return on investment for the company’s stakeholders.

What ultimately differentiates us from our competitors? On some level we’re all the same, we provide demountable and glass walls. In most other ways, we’re all different. We have different cost structures, different products, different geographical constraints, different profit goals.

Transwall has a different business model than nearly all of our competitors.

Perhaps most importantly, we have different ideas about the meaning of quality, customer service, and commitment.

What is it that’s our secret sauce that makes the difference in getting the job?

We just participated in competing for a large glass front installation for a company in northern Virginia. The prospect investigated 20 wall vendors (yes, depending on how you define the term, there are at least 20 of us ‘vendors’ out there). Over several months, the client and project team narrowed the list to 3, including us. We 3 were invited to set up sample installations.

We were awarded the project with ONE, Transwall’s first glass wall product. It’s a multi-million dollar installation which will take place in phases over the next year. Our new goal is to convert this client with a single project into becoming a member of the club of very loyal Transwall clients who call on us whenever there are demountable or glass wall needs, and do so year-after-year.

I’d like to think we won because we’re the best wall people in the world. Realistically, our industry is like most others, there are a number of companies that have high quality products, are capable of doing a good job installing them, and charge a competitive price. So why us?

Turns out our special sauce is client comfort. This client and their team took the time to clearly understand not only what they were purchasing, but who they were hiring onto their team. They saw what we had to offer in our factory in West Chester, PA. They heard what long-term clients had to say about who we were and how our unique single-point-of-accountability works so well. They trust us to do a good job, on budget, on time, to specifications and with no drama.

As in so many things, it comes down to having a reputation for being great to work with.

Of course, we start with excellent people and products. You have to get the basics right or you never get in the game. But once in the game, all our efforts to show we really do care and are dedicated to doing the job right while treating our customers like members of our family makes a difference.

We’re now competing for another multi-floor/multi-million dollar opportunity. In this case we’re 1 of 6 invited to set up sample installations.  Even though it’s a project in a new local building, we’re the only US manufacturer in the running.

I don’t know if we’ll get this job yet. I do like our chances. But I do know how we got to the dance: our secret sauce.

We’ve worked hard over decades to develop relationships based on openness, trust, and a commitment to quality work and great customer service. We do this with all those involved including architects, designers, building owners, general contractors, and often furniture dealers. When it came down to deciding who to invite to the final dance, they decided that even though we’re not a European manufacturer per the initial concept, they needed us in the mix.

Good personal relationships, a commitment to our customers, and a reputation for doing what we say go a long way towards building client confidence and comfort. And client confidence and comfort go a long way towards not only getting invited to participate in the bidding process but to being trusted to do the job.

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