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Why Responsive, Expert, 24/7/365 Service Matters

Jun 13

Written by:
6/13/2012 12:29 PM  RssIcon

Why Responsive, Expert, 24/7/365 Service Matters

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • Broken springs
  • Cables broken away from doors
  • Broken operators
  • Missing rollers
  • Lifts not extending on dock levelers
  • Dock levelers that won’t raise
  • Dock levelers stuck below the dock
  • Doors that won’t close
  • Broken belts on operators
  • Walls and doors hit by forklifts 
  • Walls and doors hit by trucks
  • Truck shelters hit by trucks
  • Truck restraints that don’t work
  • Dock seals knocked off walls
  • Broken glass in doors
  • Doors not level in opening
  • Doors that don’t seal to the floor
  • Doors that don’t reverse when safety photo eyes are blocked
  • Operators causing circuit overloads
  • Cracks around door openings
  • Trucks driving through closed or partly open doors with doors stuck on top of trucks
  • Trucks hitting and collapsing building entrances
  • Trucks hitting and collapsing dock piers
This list reads like a facilities manager’s worst nightmare. Chances are if you’re in a commercial or industrial environment where doors and docks play a key role in the operation, you’ve seen one or more of the above problems at some point. If that’s the case you’ve most likely seen the substantial negative impact these problems can have on both safety and productivity.

Doors and docks in commercial and industrial facilities are often taken for granted. Like body parts, when they’re working fine nobody notices them. But when they suddenly stop working properly for whatever reason, they tend to become very painful very quickly from an operational standpoint. Products and materials stop moving. People and equipment are put at risk.

These scenarios and their consequences raise the question, “what can and should we do to prepare for the unexpected?”

Responsive, Expert, 24/7/365 Service Matters

Effective planning and preparedness for door and dock related problems can make a significant positive difference, but planning only goes so far. It’s not possible, let alone feasible, to anticipate or put redundant systems in place for everything. When breakdowns and mishaps occur, typically the most important factor in restoring productivity and safety is a responsive, expert, 24/7/365 door and dock service provider.

The best service providers share at least one important common attribute. Beyond merely having service departments, they are service organizations from the ground up. In these companies every employee is a member of the service department regardless of what the org chart says. Every employee cares deeply about and is fiercely dedicated to their customers’ success. Organizations of this nature are rare but they do exist. One such service provider is American Door and Dock.

Turning Problems Into Solutions and Opportunities

Any service vendor can send a guy out in a truck to try to fix your problem. But how many service providers can really leave an operation better than it was before the problem even occurred? This is what sets American Door and Dock apart. It is a service organization from the ground up. At the heart of this organization is a Service Department that leads the way in service delivery and customer care.

“We don’t just say we’re Chicagoland’s door and dock service leader,” according to Jeff Pokuta, American's long time Service Manager. “We prove it day in and day out to the best of our ability. Everybody here cares about our customers and is committed to providing the best service out there.”

“Our one-stop, expert service capabilities and resources are available and responsive 24/7/365,” said Mr. Pokuta. “From emergency service to planned maintenance. From installation and retrofitting to construction. Across all industries and all Chicagoland. Nobody can beat the depth, breadth, or quality of commercial door and dock service & products that we deliver. We like to be challenged.” 

People Are the Greatest Asset

American’s service technicians average more than 15 years experience, more than three times the industry norm. “I believe our service technicians care more about what they do when they're at a customer facility,” says Mr. Pokuta.

“Our guys are trained and motivated to spot problems other than the ones they were called out for. Safety is a top concern for our staff. We never look the other way on problems that are currently hazardous or could become hazardous. It’s not unusual for us to perform additional preventive services on the spot. Clients are often blown away when we not only fix the problem at hand, but save them another service call (or two) by being highly perceptive and well prepared.”

American has service technicians on staff with up to 30 years in the business. Its service culture includes the continuous sharing of knowledge and experience from the more experienced technicians to the entire staff. Regular service team meetings include in-depth discussions of service strategy, situation analysis, best practices, and problem solving. Professionalism and communications are always the underlying theme.

Formal and informal training is an important factor in American’s service culture. “We regularly go to manufacturers’ facilities for training or they come to us,” said Mr. Pokuta. American’s highly productive relationships with manufacturers such as Rytec, Nordock, and Liftmaster assure that its staff skills are continually kept up-to-date.

“Our service technicians are cross-trained to handle any door and dock related requirement,” says Mr. Pokuta. “That means we get it right and get more done in one service call compared with other companies. This saves customers time & money and helps minimize downtime.”

“Beyond core mechanical training, we just treat our staff right,” says Mr. Pokuta. “We don’t want anybody to stagnate or feel like they’ve reached a plateau. There’s so much to learn and so many new product innovations and industry developments happening all the time. It benefits our customers to proactively make our staff a part of that."

Formidable Fleet and In-House Capabilities

American’s fleet is one of the largest in the Greater Chicagoland area. All American’s service technicians have immediate access to their trucks, which means they can respond faster to customer needs around the clock. American’s trucks are all stocked with most manufacturers’ parts. If American doesn’t have a required part they can get it the same day if necessary or overnight.

American’s fleet includes regular service vans, boom trucks with cranes for moving heavy equipment,  lift trucks, skid steers for excavating and concrete work, construction trailers, scissors lifts, dock trailer with cranes for moving and installing dock levelers, and even its own concrete trailer complete with water tanks and concrete cutting saws.

“Our comprehensive in-house capabilities include expert masonry, paving, and electrical,” according to Mr. Pokuta. “We rarely have to go outside our organization for help. So we deliver better, more tightly integrated solutions for our customers’ service requirements.”  

American’s service staff includes multiple electricians, mason and concrete experts who have been trained to apply their skills to commercial and industrial doors and docks. Beyond its in-house staff and resources, American maintains long term strategic partnerships for large scale paving and concrete, masonry, electrical, general contracting. No matter what the requirement, American always serves as the single point of communications and support for its customers.

Extreme Situations Call for Extremely Good Service Providers

While Mr. Pokuta hasn’t been asked to do a reality TV show based on American’s service exploits, he does have some great stories from his 24 years in the industry. When asked if, beyond the bullet point list, there were any customer situations that really stood out, Mr. Pokuta was quick to reply. “Definitely. One of the most intense was not long ago.”

“A truck hit and collapsed a load bearing wall at the customer’s factory. It not only took out a good size overhead door, but the factory roof was in the process of collapsing as well! The customer wasn’t even aware that the roof was gradually on its way down. Our service technician recognized this and pointed it out.”

“This all happened at 6:00 P.M. We responded immediately with a multi-skilled team that worked all night to replace the door and replace the front masonry on the facility. The client was back in business by the next morning. That’s one extreme scenario which I’m very proud of but hope not to see again any time soon!”

All company names, trademarks, and trade names contained herein are properties of their respective owners.

Copyright © 2012 American Door and Dock

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