The year 2016 marked my 44th year at Bud Industries and what is most interesting is how we have continued to reinvent ourselves, most recently with our focus on modified enclosures. When I joined the company, large cabinet racks were the driver of our business. We had no plastic products, did not participate in the NEMA market, and we did not really modify products, only building custom products in very large quantities to order. If I look back through the years, we reinvented our mission and strategy frequently, often on a 5-7 year interval yet always remaining true to our core values. In any business, remaining static seems like the safe route, but in reality, it is the path towards a slow sinking death.
Most important is listening to the customer. It is one of the biggest cliché’s in business, but one of the hardest challenges as well. Too often, especially in an older business, the staff is full of people who have “tried that before” and who “know best.” In reality, as applications change, so do the customers and so, therefore, do their needs. While in the bigger picture, we see the impact of the internet, electronic communications, digital drawings, and the internet of things, at the micro level, it is as simple as being responsive to a rapidly changing world, communicating well, and always taking steps to improve the process of both product development and customer relations. Today, it is all about speed, and that is our forte.
When I started at Bud, only about 5% of what we did was non-standard product. Today, more than 30% is made to order to meet very specific applications, mostly being a turn key facility for modified enclosures. Today, the customer does not need to send out the product for hole drilling or other requirements, we will do it all for them. Most of all, we can provide it in an industry leading 5-6 days, faster than it can be done through local sources. In the early days, we thought of distribution as a channel for our standard products with sales to them being a final sale. Today, they are a partner, involved in every aspect of our customer base. But what has not changed is that trust is earned every day, that we must always innovate, and that if we are always focused on the customer, we should continue to thrive for many years to come.