TRUST Is the Key to Successful Projects

By Scott Hennie, MH Engineered Solutions President
As I just finished wrapping up a project, I realize that the key to executing a successful project is TRUST. Trust between you and your customer, trust between you and your vendor partners, and trust between your vendor partners and your customer.

This particular project was an expansion and modernization of an existing distribution center. The project included a newly expanded mezzanine (or platform in this city because a mezzanine is a physical structure of the building!), relocating shelving and inventory onto the new platform. Installing new Pallet Rack and Pallet Flow Rack and updating a 20-year-old conveyor system. All while the customer continued to ship orders and operate his business.

We were able to establish a high level of trust early in the project and between all parties involved. The customer had an implementation schedule that was very aggressive. We shared from the outset the components of the schedule that were realistic, those that were amusing but not do-able, and those that none of the parties could control - the permitting process from the City. Once we came to terms with what the actual schedule would be, the expectations were set based on mutual agreement. Now we all trusted each other that the schedule could and would be met.

We also addressed the phases of the project that would be very difficult and discussed how we would work through those phases. I used a phrase that I stole from a customer many years ago; "remodeling a working distribution center is like remodeling a bathroom in a one-bathroom house - with a wife and four daughters living in the house!" There were clearly difficult days and at times weeks, but again, we set a realistic expectation based on mutual agreement and trusted that all parties would work through the difficult phases.

So today was the time for smiles, handshakes, pats on the back, and other celebrations. Although the project DID NOT run flawlessly, the trust was in place that all parties would work through the challenges and bring a successful project to fruition. And that we did - by trusting that each member of the project would execute his piece and work with the others to a common goal.

Trust is key.