Ingersoll-Rand's Southern Pines, N.C., product-management team: left to right, Custom Order Manager Ed Herman, Product Managers Steve Diacumakos, Dan Senff, Ken Boyce, and Leon Maness.


Georgia Automation's Conyers, Ga., inside-sales team. Not pictured: the firm's outside salespeople. When this photo was taken, the GA outside sales staff was busy serving customers.

Georgia Automation's Conyers, Ga., inside-sales team. Not pictured: the firm's outside salespeople. When this photo was taken, the GA outside sales staff was busy serving customers.


That's not the case with MACHINE DESIGN's customer service awards. The only way to enter this contest is to render service outstanding enough to knock the socks off the recipient. The only way to win an award is to have the recipient do the nominating and impress our judges.

Two companies stood out from the rest in the first annual MACHINE DESIGN customer service awards. Our panel of judges thought Ingersoll-Rand's Productivity Solutions Div. and Georgia Automation Inc.both stood out from a field of customer-service stories that featured tales of late-night scrambling to meet delivery deadlines, fast response despite hurricanes, and tenacity when other vendors had badly dropped the ball.

Automation distributor Georgia Automation Inc. stuck by a long-time customer through a financial rough patch and, in so doing, earned a customer for life. "Georgia Automation had a commitment to fully understand its customer's project from the beginning through the point of providing excellent service to exceed the customer's expectations," observed judge Larry Cole.

"It is relatively easy to find a single person at a company who will care enough to make a difference. It is much more difficult to find the spirit of service instilled in the people across the board and an integral part of the company's DNA. The longevity of the support Georgia Automation provided demonstrate that kind of a commitment," says judge Lior Arussy.

"The relationship between customer and supplier has evolved to one of close collaboration," says the MD reader who nominated the company. "Throughout our ordeal, Georgia Automation increased their efforts to help us save money so we could remain a strong contender in the textile machinery market."

The Productivity Solutions Div. of Ingersoll-Rand got kudos for hand-holding a customer through a tough installation problem though there was no direct financial gain to them. "Their service story reads like an action movie," remarked judge Juli Ann Reynolds, president and CEO of the Tom Peters Co. "Mad dashes to ship motors, shipping heartbreaks, certain failure, then Mr. Maness and his team offering to build and ship two new motors ... on a Memorial Day weekend. The customer had not even asked for this. He probably thought it wasn't possible. Mr. Maness and his team made the impossible a reality. The fact that I-R wasn't trying to close some huge new sale but simply to honor its commitment to a current customer makes this story all the more compelling."

All of the companies nominated by MACHINE DESIGN readers, and particularly our top nominees, deserve an atta-boy.