As a young field technician, I was fighting a thorny problem which kept me from successfully completing the system testing needed to satisfy a government regulation. The problem was identified as a design flaw that affected the performance of many devices in the field. A call to the manufacturer for help yielded this response, “We’ve never heard of that problem before. Are you sure you’re not doing something wrong? We’ll investigate it and let you know what we find.”
In fact, the problem had been widely known within the manufacturer’s company and to other operators within the industry. This manufacturer’s fear led them to make one of the worst mistakes a vendor can make. They alienated a customer needlessly.
Product designers/manufacturers test their products fully, and most are very diligent. However, once a product goes into the field, things can happen that no manufacturer could foresee. Every manufacturer’s worst nightmare is a large scale field problem, but “buying time” or “hiding” from a problem only foments mistrust.
In the 16 years as product designers and manufacturers, PBT has strived not just for continuous improvement, but perfection. But even as we strive for perfection, PBT has not been immune to field problems. PBT has always embraced the policy that you run toward the problem, not away from it. Our culture, which is implemented across every department of our company, is to be responsive and to gather information about the problem as quickly as possible. If the problem is identified as an equipment problem, we take ownership of the problem, work diligently and quickly with the customer to identify the root cause, and most importantly we are transparent, keeping our customers continually updated throughout the process. PBT has found that while our partners will not be happy with us if we have a product problem, they very much appreciate an open, fact based, determined approach to fixing the problem. Adversity can even lead to a stronger relationship as our partners know PBT will openly engage, work diligently and will fix any problem expediently.