There is a lot of lip service paid to the importance of customer service. But leaders in the composites industry do more than talk the talk. They adopt a customer-centric business model, making clients the focal point of everything they do. This approach not only benefits the customer, but it sets the companies apart, too.

“It’s so important for companies to differentiate themselves, whether they are building a boat or airplane components,” says Megan Multanen, co-CEO of Bestbath. “There is somebody else in the industry doing what you do, and they may have more buying power or more brand name recognition than you. But you can differentiate yourself by focusing on the customer and really taking care of them.”

Any company can become customer-centric, no matter their size or specialty, as is shown in this article by insight shared by three diverse companies: a manufacturer of pultruded products that’s part of a larger group of companies, a family-owned manufacturer of bathing products and a leading distributor of raw materials and processing supplies.

Creative Pultrusions: Solving Problems

“To have a successful business, you need to put customers first. That’s pretty obvious,” says Dustin Troutman, director of marketing and product development for Creative Pultrusions Inc., one of five companies comprising the Creative Composites Group. “But to continue to grow organically, what we do best is partner with our customers and help them solve problems.”

The first step toward a partnership is deciding if a prospective customer is a good match for Creative Pultrusions. “If it’s a simple pultrusion all about price and not performance, then we are not a fit,” says Troutman. “We are a fit when we can use our production and product development engineering solutions to solve problems on a higher end scale.” The manufacturer gathers a wealth of information about potential projects, including the application, performance expectations, budget information and price barriers. If the project is well-suited to Creative Pultrusions’ capabilities and business model, then Troutman says, “We embrace the project 100% and work hand-in-hand with our customer to come up with a solution.”

Because composite applications are complex, the company collaborates with clients on technical components of their projects. Creative Pultrusions has three engineers in its structural group to help clients develop specifications for their custom applications. The company has a metrology lab where it can perform most of the standard material characterization tests necessary to develop mechanical properties for GFRP materials. The company also maintains three flexural test units for full-scale component testing and first article validation.