Edmonton Valve & Fitting Blog

Weekly posts for northern and central Alberta engineers, plant operators, and buyers.

Meet Richard Llewellyn: A Fast Learner Helping Customers

by Taryn Hardes, on Tue, Oct 08, 2013 @ 14:10 PM

He can find answers, take care of customer orders, and even build a hose

  Richard.2 small
 

Richard in the EVF
warehouse picking parts

Our customers put a lot of trust in the people behind our counters or on our end of the phone line. Richard Llewellyn is a good example of how that trust is well placed.

Compared to a lot of his coworkers, Llewellyn is still a newcomer, having joined us in January of 2011. But he dove right in.

First stop - warehouse

"Everybody starts in the warehouse. It's the best place to learn," he says. "I learned all I could learn [while I was in] that position." This included helping out in our fabrication department, building custom hoses for our customers. If someone needs a 24 inch braided hose with tube stub ends, Richard was available to build it same day. As one of only three people in the building that are certified to build hoses, Llewellyn continues to help out when necessary.

Having mastered hose assembly, Llewellyn took it upon himself to learn more of the technical side of the product. When we renovated our customer service counter, where customers can purchase products and discuss their applications face-to-face with our associates, Llewellyn stepped up. The warehouse taught him what parts we carry, but he wanted a better understanding of how they work, and the service counter was the perfect place to do that. He took numerous courses through Swagelok University, our online product training module, to further his knowledge.

Then, when we needed someone to temporarily fill in with our mobile inventory truck, Llewellyn stepped up once again. That's our dual-axle Kenworth truck, specially fitted to carry an expansive inventory of valves, fittings, tubing and other parts. We needed someone who knew our inventory, who had a stable head on his shoulders and, perhaps almost as important, was comfortable driving the truck.

For four months, Llewellyn made the run to Drayton Valley for four days a week, spending his Fridays back in Edmonton. Some customers got a weekly visit, while others needed to see him less often.

"For the longest time I had been seeing the product in its box. But in Drayton Valley, I was going out to the plants and seeing the stuff work," Llewellyn says.

Put me wherever you need me

"After my time in Drayton Valley I was ready to start back in my [warehouse and service counter] role. But then another customer service guy gave two-week's notice," Llewellyn says. How would he like his own desk and his own list of customers to deal with?

"I basically said put me wherever you need me to go, and I'll do it," he recalls.

The transition into taking customer phone calls was intimidating at first.

"You get a lot of engineers calling you up, and you want to make sure you are giving them the right information," Llewellyn says. Many of the questions concern things such as chemical compatibility, such as whether the O-rings in a valve will stand up to the gas or fluid being sent through a system, or perhaps specific pressure and temperature requirements for a specific application.

It helps a lot to have our electronic catalogue, the eDTR, for looking up information and pointing the customer in the right direction. If that doesn't produce a fast answer, Llewellyn will do some further research and call the customer back, or tap the expertise of the customer's account manager.

Careful selection

Llewellyn wasn't just a lucky hire. Edmonton Valve and Fitting spent a couple of months making sure he would be a good fit for the team, just as we do when we hire anyone.

He had been working as a shipper-receiver for a food service company, working long hours in a cold environment for 14 years. Llewellyn was a friend of one of our salesmen, who offered to take Llewellyn's resume to the office. Four interviews later -- yes, four -- we hired him.

In just under three years, Llewellyn has succeeded in a wide variety of roles throughout the company. So when you walk up to the counter, call us on the phone or send an e-mail our way, you can have confidence that the person you deal with knows a lot more than how to fill in an order sheet. It's true for Richard Llewellyn, it's true for the rest of the crew at Edmonton Valve and Fitting. 

Topics:Custom SolutionsHosesPeople

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