Connect with the Execs – Building a Customer-Centric Company

What makes ATL different you ask?

A little ATL Technology history for everyone...

Years before ATL was started, the vision of this company was born. It was the mid-1980s and I was talking to my uncle Len Allgier who was a Chief Engineer of Advanced Manufacturing for General Motors. We talked about a theoretical company whose engineers would call on customers—Learn the customers’ needs, then producing a solution that precisely met those needs. This engineered solution would be designed with tooling, manufacturing techniques and materials that matched the capabilities of the company. 

Theoretically, this simple-sounding process would be so effective it would leave the competition in the dust. 

Why? 

Because while the competitions' salesmen would be busy asking for specs, this company's engineers would be busy partnering with the customer to create the exact specification. Utilizing an Engineer-to-Engineer model would be an advantage over the competition because the solution would be designed with materials and manufacturing capabilities of the company in mind, while meeting customer needs. This would allow the solution to be delivered more quickly and cost-effectively than the competition.

After graduating, I went to work for a cable assembly company—first as an engineer, then, a sales engineer, precipitated because of talking to my boss about the vision. It proved wildly successful. Within one year I had the highest sales, selling three times the amount of the next sales person. And after numerous factors, Dan Ellertson (my boss at System connection and now active board member of ATL) and I left Systems Connection together to start ATL— known then as Precision Cable Corp.
Our customer-centric vision proved successful again, as we grew the company to over $50 million in revenue in just 7 years with no salespeople other than Dan and me.

ATL Today

That vision—constructed 30+ years ago—still guides ATL as a Customer-Centric company. Dave Gens, President & COO of ATL, has guided ATL’s understanding that a company must choose out of three categories which one they want to excel at:

  1. A company can be the low-cost producer by focusing on a narrow product area and automation
  2. A company can focus on being a technology leader by investing in being on the cutting edge of the latest, greatest technology
  3. A company can focus on being Customer-Centric. That is to choose customers that we get to know intimately, then seek to meet the needs of those customers

We have consciously sacrificed being the low-cost leader and being on the bleeding edge of technology.com and traded it for long term, durable customer relationships. 
Don’t get me wrong, we continually strive to improve efficiency, costs and advance our technology to meet our customer's needs. We’ve just decided our priority is being customer-centric and finding what will make them most successful.

The perspective is key and subtle. For example, when we hold a new business opportunity meeting (NBO), we ask ourselves the following: 

  1. What is the customer trying to do?
  2. Does it make sense that we can help the customer achieve their goals vs, what can this customer do for us?

The same perspective is used when we select Partners/Customers. Our selection is based on what we can do for them. And our focus is on how to best understand what they are trying to accomplish and ask ourselves, 'are we the right Partner for them? Do we have the capability to provide expertise on this project?'

Through this Customer-Centric vision, our goal is for customers to feel they are gaining a partner—not just another vendor—that we will work closely with them to ensure the very best design, engineering, manufacturing, etc. that will connect them to success. Our emphasis is the success of a Partner/Customer—which ultimately leads to the success of ATL.

Brad Brown