Going Above and Beyond: Supporting Customers Amidst Supply Chain Woes

The evidence of the continued supply chain interruptions and shortages are at nearly every turn – from grocery store shelves to car dealership lots.

While the materials handling and supply industry is facing these same issues, MHS Lift is working to minimize impact on customers by implementing some proactive new practices.

“Our customers know that going the extra mile is one of our fundamentals of success,” says Andy Levin, President, MHS Lift. “But we’ve implemented a series of new protocols to go above and beyond our normal level of service.”

Read on for a few practices MHS Lift carries out to combat supply chain woes:

  1. Maintaining close contact with manufacturers. Unfortunately, with shipments often stuck in transit, customers have extended wait times for materials like forklifts and parts. But the MHS Lift team maintains constant contact with our manufacturers and does whatever we can to get our customers to the top of the waitlist.
  2. Stocking up. We seize every opportunity to purchase and refurbish forklifts, parts and other equipment – even if it means we take a loss because we don’t have a customer who needs it just yet. The cost of having the equipment ready for a customer in need is worth it.
  3. Being creative when sourcing equipment. “Whatever our customers need, we’re going to find a way to get it to them,” says Andy. He cites a recent client who needed to secure 50 forklifts within a month – the MHS Lift sales team immediately went to work, calling their contacts to find the exact lifts the customer needed, fitting within the tight timeframe. “No one else can do that,” he says.
  4. Rethinking the parts process. Once supply chain issues began causing issues with delivery of materials to clients, our team took a look at our process to see where improvements could be made and time could be saved. We established seven parts depots across the greater Philadelphia area and Southern/Central Jersey that store parts in order to more quickly service customers in remote regions. “It’s all hands on deck when a shipment gets here,” Andy explains. “Shipments usually arrive in the morning, are unpacked within a few hours and the materials are delivered to the depot that afternoon. We picked up a whole day of time by doing this.”
  5. Keeping our vans stocked. Likewise, Levin and his team spent time evaluating their 83 service vans, not only making sure they are replenished, but that the right parts are on the van of the corresponding technician who will be able to provide a first-time fix for customers on their route. “The more we can fix an issue the first time without a return trip, the better for all,” Levin says. “And if a job can’t get fixed the first time, what are the steps to get it completed? We’re analyzing everything by technician, by zone, by time from ‘parts-needed’ to ‘parts-ordered’ to ‘parts-arrive.’”
  6. Encouraging customers to utilize the service portal. The launch of our one-of-a-kind customer service portal, My Fleet 365, allows customers to quickly report service needs and review reports about their service – the data is right their at their fingertips with the mobile app. “My Fleet 365 allows you to see your call-to-completion time,” says Andy. “We’re focusing on completing the job as quickly as possible, rather than response time. I always urge customers to look at that call-to-completion time – you won’t care if we got to you in two hours (what response time measures) if your truck is out of commission and you’ve lost a week’s worth of work.”
  7. Being transparent with our clients. As soon as we have the information about availability or ETA, we share that with customers to set expectations. “We’re spending more time and resources calling the manufacturer to get accurate ETAs so we can input that into My Fleet 365,” says Andy. “But we hope that we are saving our customers the aggravation of having to call us and ask again and again when the parts will be in – now they can check the portal and know exactly.”
  8. Working to hire – and keep – talented team members. “Every customer can relate to manpower issues right now,” says Andy. But by continuing to hire additional road technicians, train them, and offering not just signing bonuses, but staying bonuses, MHS Lift is keeping a large pool of technicians available for customers.

The proactive methods of saving time and equipment mean extra work for the MHS Lift team, but they know it’s the best way to help keep the supply chain moving. And Andy truly sympathizes with customers at the mercy of the global issues. “We’re right there with them. But we’re doing everything we can to alleviate problems for our valued customers.”