West Point Rack’s customer first philosophy pays off
Seven years ago, Terry Sroka and Reva Bily “decided to leave the large corporate world of decisions by committee, meeting after meeting and burdensome policies,” they said. The two founded West Point Rack, a Nebraska company that sells exclusively to material handling dealers. “West Point Rack is a smaller company with a highly dedicated staff. This allows us to ‘turn on a dime,’ respond quickly and to innovate whenever the opportunity presents itself,” said Sroka, chief executive officer. "I don't want to be one of the biggest rack companies out there, just one of the better ones. Our primary goal is to support our dealers, satisfy their customers, earn trust and be the 'Vendor of Choice' for rack products and racking systems." Company president Bily said if an end-user calls, they refer them to a dealer. “There is nothing wrong with selling direct to the end user, but you don't do both,” Sroka said. “Draw the ‘line’ and stay on one side or the other. In order to build a good relationship with a dealer and to have
him trust you, it is necessary that he really believes that you will not go around him and make the sale direct. Dealers are independent businesses that spend time and money to build up a customer base and the last thing they want to see is a manufacturer go around them and sell to one of their prospects who is shopping price.” Bily grew up on a farm and worked in a packing house and electrical sales before she joined the material handling industry. Customer service is the core of what she does, and the key to growth, she said. Customers want prices and delivery quickly. She tries to get back to a customer with a standard quote in 15 minutes, she said. The relationship with dealers is built on competitive prices, service and standing behind the product, Sroka said. “If product issues do arise, we address those issues immediately with the goal of creating satisfaction for both our dealer and their customer," he said. The company sells cantilever racks in light, intermediate, heavy and extra heavy duty configurations, structural pallet racks in galvanized or painted steel and portable stacking racks made to order. "I always look for things when we do specials," Sroka said. "Does it have any potential of becoming a standard product? That is how we developed a lot of our standard products." Specialty products made by West Point Rack include bar cradle trucks, drum racks and handcarts. West Point Rack has recently added new products to its line of racks. Included is a new line of reel racks, ranging in height from eight to 12 feet. Vertical racks, which will hold material from 21 inches to 12 feet, feature six-inch deep arms with three shelves made of 14-guage steel. U-Racks, which come with an orange paint finish, can be stacked up to four units high to save space. “The future looks very positive for West Point Rack,” Sroka said. “Our product base is expanding as is our market penetration. We will continue with the business model and plan that has taken us to this point and will continue to move us forward.”
Mary Glindinning is a freelance writer who has worked at daily and weekly newspapers for more than 20 years. She lives in rural Shullsburg, Wis. You may contact her by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.