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Modular Conveyor Express (MCE): Driven to Deliver

April 5, 2021

Rotary Accumulation Table

MCE is not your typical conveyor solutions manufacturer. Of course, they sell a variety of conveyor solutions, many of which can be shipped and implemented in record time. Paired with a highly engaged and supportive service team with a long history of engineering and conveyor experience, there’s never a shortage of fast, effective production solutions at a distributor’s fingertips to choose from.

“Over the past 20+ years of my experience, I’ve learned to speak conveyor,” said Tim Straub, project manager for MCE since 2016. “I started as an assembler, then went to the machine shop to make parts for the conveyors, then created drawings for the engineering department and even programmed some of the machines that are down on the fabrication floor. Now I get to put all that to work for MCE in helping the distributors to find exactly the right conveyor solution for their customer’s production lines.”

As part of a back-end customer service support team, Straub consults with distributors to help provide the project expertise needed to recommend effective, efficient production solutions for their customers. But he doesn’t do it alone. He teams up with MCE project manager, Drew Oswald, to help triage requests for estimates, find the perfect solution and then ensure that the distributor gets exactly what they ordered and can assemble it as quickly as possible once it arrives on their customer’s production floor.

“THIS is our competitive advantage,” explained Oswald. “It’s constant contact and availability. It's very much a two-way communication. The conveyor distributor calls for help and then we can be responsive and often process requests in the same day."

Slowing Down Upfront for a Faster Conveyor Solution

The key, Oswald says, to finding the fastest conveyor solutions is trying to get the customer to slow down during the initial call and figure out what the heart of the problem is first.  

“We can actually expedite the process by getting the solution right up front,” Oswald explained. “Many times, the end-user will come to the MCE conveyor distributor with a specific ask, and we will find out after a few rounds of questions with the MCE distributor that it isn’t necessarily the right solution for their customer. Whenever I send an email, I always say they should ask questions and for revisions from their end-user. Revisions are so quick sometimes that we can have them remedied in 30 minutes to an hour, reassuring our distributors that the solution is going to work in their end-user’s production line, so it pays to slow down the discovery process. We try to guarantee success upfront so a distributor comes back to us time and time again by not being just ‘yes’ people and taking an order at face value.”

“We have very real conversations with our distributors,” added Straub. “We won't overpromise because we want to build trust and earn their repeat business and we’ve found that’s a successful way to do just that.”

De-scramble Rotary Accumulation Table

Supporting Conveyor Distributors from Sale to Production Floor...

“One thing that makes MCE distributor relationships special is the level of hands-on work we do with them,” Straub said.  “Many conveyor distributors prefer to repeatedly contact the same person in a company so we can provide that for them.  When a distributor comes to us with a quote, we work with them through the process from start to finish.  The same project manager will provide the initial quote, work with them through revisions, accept the purchase order, enter the order, give them the acknowledgement with the estimated ship date and are here to answer any questions after the sale. It’s as hands-on as you can get.”

One important part of modular is that it's just that, according to Straub. “If during or after an install an end-user decides they need to change the project or rearrange it, it's very easy for us to do that. We can make it longer, add on to it, make it curved, etc. We can do anything that’s complementary to their current lines.”

 ...Even During a Pandemic

So how did the pandemic affect their sales and service model? It amplified it.

As the production need for cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and even, yes, the craft brewing industry, increased during 2020 under the umbrella of COVID-19, so did questions from distributors to the MCE team. End-users were asking how to increase production and throughput in hand sanitizer and bottling lines; soap companies were asking how to get a filler, labeler and case packer in one facility for bleach or soap and needed to get it implemented as quickly as possible.

“Manufacturers were forced to sandwich all their conveyors in one facility just to keep up with production demands because they couldn't afford to stop and get a facility built out,” Oswald explained. “We found ourselves shoehorning our conveyors into these facilities but we had the bandwidth to do this for our distributors’ customers. We used AutoCAD as our base program for how we’d recommend solving the problem and it worked well with the end-user's own drawings.”

“End-users didn't have time to expand,” Straub recalled. “That meant we had to help our distributors add on and work with the room that their end-users had. Sometimes end-users had the luxury to bring in a new conveyor solution to tie it in to expand production. We stayed open as essential workers to be here to work for the distributor’s customer. The least we could do was provide our distributors with the equipment and solutions to help make their end-users’ lives a little better during a pandemic.”

Oswald says MCE’s first-rate responsiveness was critical in all of this.

“Normally we have time to work through problems like this, and a long, elaborate sales cycle to consider lots of solutions, but during the pandemic we did not,” he explained. “Some mistakes were made as the distributors’ end-users rushed to add capacity but hadn't thought it through all the way. MCE was there to help. End-users couldn't wait another three weeks to fix what was happening back then so we just jumped in and helped the distributors bring solutions as quickly as possible.”

What's Ahead for MCE

With sales over $5 million, MCE sees continued growth on the horizon not only from its well-earned reputation but from industry diversification as well.

“We do a lot of work today for craft beverage industries, whose customers produce some kind of bottled or canned beverage,” Straub explained. “But we could easily be doing more for snack food and baked food industries as well. We are like the clinic looking for more patients all the time; we are definitely seeing a growth trend.”

Oswald explained that it isn’t the industry that drives business as much as the distributor.

“We work best when we can support the distributor who knows their customer best,” he added. “Our specialty is working with integrators. We are making changes internally to be able to expedite our processes to help our conveyor distributors be able to offer quick-ship, efficient conveyor solutions. We are constantly working on improving processes to make things faster and more efficient so everybody wins.”

MCE is always looking for the right partners in areas where MCE conveyor systems and equipment products are not available yet. If you are passionate about providing quality products and services and building great customer relationships, contact us for more information about becoming a distributor.

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Modular Conveyor Express
600 S. Commercial Street
Neenah, WI 54956
Toll-free Phone: 844-293-2816