Quality Assurance is a generic term used by almost every company in existence. In fact, it’s a term that appears so often in corporate America that it has evolved into yet another bullet point within a PowerPoint deck. But at Bingaman Lumber, Quality Assurance is not just a term that sits on the shelf collecting dust, but rather an action and a philosophy that’s prevalent throughout the entire organization. In fact, it is this deliberate commitment to Quality Assurance that makes Bingaman an industry leader.
The difference between Bingaman’s Quality Assurance program and what is typical for other companies is how it is built into Customer Service - Yes, another overused, dust collecting, generic term. But having Quality Assurance and Customer Service intertwined brings both to life. Customer Service is more than a phone bank of people and it’s far more than making sales people available to answer questions. Bingaman’s Customer Service means providing a quality product based upon constant customer feedback. For example, a few years ago, customers began complaining about vendors not being able to consistently supply flat lumber, in response Bingaman invested in weighted pack covers to ensure flat lumber. This was a direct response to market feedback and the desire for Bingaman to provide customers with superior products. Bingaman looks at capital purchases as more than increased production, but rather as an investment in product quality. It’s the idea that there are industry standards, but then there are Bingaman standards. Those standards are based upon consistent customer feedback and what ultimately become the guidelines that drive the manufacturing processes. In fact, much of Bingaman’s manufacturing process is customer driven, not production driven. Bingaman’s applied perspective on active Customer Service driving active Quality Assurance is really what sets them apart in the industry.
Bingaman’s Quality Assurance focuses on prevention rather than simply dealing with issues as they arise, which culminates in the creation of and adherence to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The SOPs dictate everything from how the wood is dried, handled, graded, and packaged. Bingaman SOPs extend to preventative measures, such as random product sampling. Every time a piece of equipment is shut down and restarted, roughly equating to every two hours, it is immediately checked to make sure the specifications are intact and accurate. Additionally, all Graders gather monthly to educate themselves on current industry trends, an activity that helps to ensure customers receive the most accurate lumber grades. Bingaman’s mindset that complacency causes mediocracy drives this constant push for improvement.
Understanding that perfection is an aspiration, not an expectation is what ensures that Bingaman’s processes continue to improve. When mistakes happen, Bingaman has a process to discover and rectify. More specifically, no matter how small the quality issue is, it's up to management at Bingaman to determine the root cause of an error. Once the rationale is established, a quality improvement plan is put in place to remedy the situation. If the fault is found to be human error, the employee is retrained and refamiliarized with the appropriate Bingaman SOP. If the error is found to be machine-derived, the equipment is recalibrated and tested. Success is easy to deal with, but the manner in which companies handle falling short of customer expectations is what truly defines the quality of an organization.
Whether you’re a former, current, or potential customer, Bingaman values your feedback. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with both good, and especially, critical feedback. This feedback loop helps to refine our processes and ensure that we are providing the highest standards of quality hardwood available in the market.