Quality is our top priority here at Biamp. It’s more than just providing a quality product, it’s the quality experience that we provide when you become a Biamp partner or a Biamp customer. Quality is not a new concept for us, and there has been a steady progression over time to truly integrate quality into every element of our business.
We are very focused on continuous improvement. One way we do this is by constantly evaluating and re-evaluating our goals and whether we accomplished those goals, or whether we fell short. In the instances where we fall short, we take a hard look at why that happened and what we can do to ensure we don’t fall short again.
When we began to stress accountability (meetings, processes, reporting, communication, etc.) it took some time for people to really warm-up to the idea. At first a lot of people took this as finger-pointing – like we were calling them out specifically as the responsible party.
This wasn’t the case at all. We’ve realized that we are always improving incrementally. Nothing is perfect – we can always refine a process to make it more efficient. So we needed the group to recognize that this isn’t finger-pointing, it’s problem identification and it’s only once we identify a problem that we can work to correct it. It has also meant that no problem is too small or insignificant. Every issue should be reported and when applicable, a solution should be devised.
The customer always comes first. A lot of companies say this, but fail to follow through on it. It’s not about stating that customer first philosophy – it’s about embracing that philosophy, and them (your customers). It comes back to continuous improvements. We strive to continuously improve the customer experience at Biamp. They drive what we do, so we need to interact with them as much as possible. If we are not in touch with them, then we are out of touch.
This is an ongoing task for us: matching the responsiveness of our organization to the needs of our customers. We’re always discussing how we can take Biamp to the next level, and in these conversations we try to be brutally honest with each other. These discussions shed true light on what we say we provide and what we actually provide. For instance, we say we offer one-day or three-day shipments, but are we really continuing to do that?
In 1998, we had five engineers who focused on hardware. In 2000, we had 15 engineers who specialized in various aspects of our products, such as software. Two years prior there was no emphasis on other things besides stand-alone hardware, and yet there we were focusing on software too and betting the future of our company on it. It was a high risk bet that changed our company, and demanded our customers’ trust.
If we wanted to gain our customers’ trust and loyalty through this change, we realized we needed to demonstrate our commitment to work with them every step of the way and that we were committed to their business as much, if not more, than they were to ours. This led to the introduction of our Learning Center here at the plant.
By bringing the customer to the plant for training, it also gave them the chance to see that we were for real: that our commitment to quality was more than a slogan; that we use the latest manufacturing equipment; that we run a very clean and lean operation. They could then go up to the Learning Center and meet the engineers and share feedback with them in person. This made such a difference since most customers only interact with a company through a very limited sales window. All of that helped us with this very calculated risk we were taking, but we learned a lot from that and we still strive to learn from our customers today. We listen to them to see how they are changing, and that informs how we need to change and grow.
It’s a special time here. It’s not just one program that makes us successful, but an entire company pulling together for a quality experience. It’s just great to be a part of a team like that.
Thank you to our team and to our customers. Every day – thank you.