The Good Guy Wins 97% of the Time
I’ve always been a big believer in doing the right things, and that ultimately the good guy wins.
The old adage that “nice guys finish last” implies that people who are friendly and agreeable are unsuccessful. I personally prefer to do business with someone who is first capable, dependable, honest and intelligent, with a nice bedside manner being a bonus. Above all else, I prefer to do business with good people.
The foundation upon which the Rathburn business and family alike are built are the same: decent, hardworking, creative and strategic. And, over the years, it’s served the Rathburn business, family and our employees well … 97% of the time.
Some have asked if we ever get taken advantage of. Sure, it happens. We’ve had instances where we help a customer redesign a family of parts only to have them re-source the work to another machine shop three months later. The talented people I work with at Rathburn have engineered unique fixturing and process approaches for many customers, with one notable instance of a large customer visiting under the guise of a plant tour only to use the photos and videos gathered during the visit to steal our proprietary design and, with it, the thousands of dollars invested in time and treasure to develop it.
Despite those instances and others that sometimes shake our faith in people, our foundation remains the same. We haven’t changed our ways because the way we do business has served us well 97% of the time over three decades.
Here are a few of the lessons we’ve learned:
1) Be strategic. You can hold steadfast to your values while still holding your ground and being ingenious, bold, and strategic.
2) Know your value. For the right customers, being a “good guy” is valuable. If your customers don’t value what you bring to the table, maybe it’s simply not a good fit. For us, it’s not about a race to the bottom dollar. If that’s what a customer desires, then it’s fine with us if they want to source from China. However, we’ve had more than one instance where a customer sourced a component overseas, only to return to Rathburn because they recognized that we deliver a value beyond the dollar.
3) Choose your customers wisely. It’s as important (or more) to choose your customer as it is to convince one to choose you. We want to work with good people. That includes people you can trust, who pay on time, and who share and reciprocate the same values.
4) Get an insurance policy. Generally, good guys like to assume the person on the other side of the table is good for his word. But for someone with whom we don’t have a history, or someone rumored to have a questionable history, it’s not a bad idea to find ways to leverage your value, like upfront investment in tooling and fixturing, development of creative (and proprietary) processes, or other unique values that are difficult to replicate.
Sometimes it’s hard to be the good guy. On rare occasions, people try to take advantage of you and believe that they gain some advantage. But I have faith that continuously doing the right thing, every day, pays dividends in the long run. Our team has confidently weathered many storms with our unique combination of skill and experience and will continue to do so into the next generation.