When you call GLE Precision in Bridgeport, Mich., you don’t get a robot voice or an endless automated phone system that never quite offers the right option. You get Ashley Smith, a sales engineer with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in business. Customers reach out on a regular basis and say, “She’s the best.” She’s the calm, cool voice that listens intently to your problem as if it were the only one on her desk and helps find a solution.
“We try to have a live voice to take care of you,” general manager Clint Bucholz says. “She’s that point of contact. What Ashley’s very good at is adapting to different customer specific needs and making them feel important. Everything has to be timely and she does an excellent job of balancing the many customers that she deals with. There’s a production schedule and things that go right and things that go wrong, she is good at explain this to customers and then working with the manufacturing team to deliver what is needed to the customer. Just like adding frosting on a cake, to smooth things over.”
Ashley’s knack for building rapport with clients and the GLE production team helps GLE maintain its standard of providing high quality products and exceptional customer service.
“She’s highly skilled as far as engineering skills as well,” Clint says.
The Customer’s Advocate
Even as a kid, Ashley knew that she would grow up to be an engineer. She liked drawing cars and houses, so it was either engineering or architecture. She picked engineering and worked in the automotive industry before coming to GLE in 2011 where she’s the liaison between the customer and the shop. She works with clients from the first contact, communicating by phone, email and face-to-face about how GLE can solve their problem, seeing the product move from paper to a final part that meets the client’s specifications and needs.
“I like a good challenge, so when the phone rings or I get an email that someone has a problem, that opens up a whole new project and I like that part of the job,” Ashley says. “We get to fix a problem and bring on a new client.”
Every day, it’s something different, each part a small piece of helping another customer achieve their vision. An aerospace company came to GLE recently looking for a very tiny carbide pin with a high finish. Ashley and the GLE team have worked on the pin for several months, sending samples and getting feedback that the pins aren’t quite up to specs yet. The company sent the prints and GLE took the initiative to create another sample, going that extra mile to be a partner in their customer’s success, not just a vendor.
“A lot of the products we work with are super tiny, almost microscopic,” Ashley says. “We don’t often see the larger application of what that part does. It would be really neat to see our product in the real world and how it fits in.”
Just knowing the part worked perfectly for the client is enough though.
“It’s rewarding when that customer calls about the finished product and they have nothing but positive things to say. They ran our part through testing and the results came back fantastic,” Ashley says.
“Or somebody calls and says they need a part shipped as soon as possible, we have to work with manufacturing to figure out how we’re going to get that part out to them because you don’t want to say no. When you actually do get it out the door and you can call the customer and say, ‘We changed some scheduling around and we were able to get your part out’ that makes their day go a lot easier and it makes you feel good that you were able to help them out.”
Ashley balances those we-need-it-now calls and ongoing projects like the pro that she is. She’ll take those 20 different things that are thrown at her, prioritize the work, make a list, get organized and get moving.
“I just enjoy working here and enjoy the opportunities that I’ve had working for GLE,” Ashley says.
Ashley and her husband love spending time with their young daughter, taking their boat out, fishing and running 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons.
“I like to run before work, after work. It’s just a release. When it’s warmer, I like to take my daughter in the stroller,” Ashley says. Soon Ashley will have to buy a bigger stroller, as their second child is expected to make an arrival in early April 2018.