RULE #1: TAKE CARE OF THE CUSTOMER
Nearly four decades after starting his wholesale distributorship in Boise, Idaho, Allen Dykman has never changed his first rule of business: Always take care of the customer first. And, he says that’s why Dykman Electrical has not only persevered, but prospered, since he began his company in 1981.
“Every day I come to work, I have one thing on my mind – that’s taking care of the customer,” Dykman said. “Make that the first rule. Don’t worry about money. Don’t worry about who gets the credit. Just focus on taking care of the customer and you will be successful.”
That philosophy has driven Dykman’s company to great success in the face of many challenges over the years. That includes the most recent ones presented during the pandemic of 2020.
“We had a fantastic year in 2019, but this year looks strong, too,” he said. “Seemed like there was a new issue every week there for a while. We just learned from the situation and grew.”
“The way we think as a company. The way we operate in our customers’ best interests. Always looking for opportunities to serve them better. We just keep growing and I don’t know when it’s going to slow down,” he said.
The company benefitted by being designated as an essential business because of its role as a provider to ground water and fresh water customers in Phoenix, Seattle and many more cities. This prompted significant growth in irrigation and pumping. Industrial sales have also picked up in the latter half of the year.
Dykman added that part of the success came from extremely good sales of Yaskawa drives. “They’ve been incredible partners for many years. They can bring quality and innovation a lot of drives manufacturers just can’t. Their product is the best. But, really, the relationship from the top down is what makes the difference in my mind.”
“It goes back to doing what you do better than everybody else. Yaskawa does the one thing they do really well. Their drives, especially the U1000, are game changers for us,” Dykman said.
“The U1000 technology has opened so many doors for us over the years. Specifically when you look at the harmonics, which is important in so many states across the country. That technology really got us to position our company as a harmonics solution provider. What used to be a miscellaneous item on our line card is the lead product for us. It’s just the cleanest solution on the market.”
Growth also came when Dykman promoted DJ George to company president in 2015. They have implemented strategies together that have led to great expansion.
“DJ grew the Salt Lake City branch so well starting 20 years ago. He brought his innovative ideas to the rest of the company. Now we have locations in Phoenix, Tulsa, Houston, Gillette, Wyoming, Ohio and a little bit of a presence in North Carolina,” Dykman said.
“We just opened a panel shop in Phoenix. That shows ingenuity and that we’re in the best position to respond to customer needs,” Dykman said. “We were spending a bunch of money with UL shops. So, we started one of our own. We saw that by taking control of that process, we were able to manage costs better and turn projects for our customers quicker.”
Investing in people who buy into the culture is probably the biggest key to growing a company successfully, Dykman said.
“We’ve worked very hard at creating a culture where everyone buys into our approach,” he said. “The people that do what it takes and don’t look for individual praise but to celebrate victories as a team, they are the ones that last here. And, more importantly, thrive.”
“We have many folks here 20 years or more. And, the really neat thing is many of those people started out in the warehouse and grew into management positions. That’s good for us because we have business continuity. It’s good for our customers because that homegrown talent knows how to deliver the quality products and services they need.”
And having a partner in Yaskawa with the same approach helps.
“It comes down to trust. That first time Mike Knapek and Mark Bernicky came out here they committed to us. They invested in the relationship by promising the highest quality product and service. And, you know what? They’ve always delivered.”
“They also practice a lot of the same values we do. Those same values we highlight on a coin we give every employee: teamwork, family, work ethic, community and customer first.”
As Dykman considers his legacy, he doesn’t measure his impact on the business in dollars but people.
“At this point in my life, it sure isn’t about the money,” he said. “What you take with you is how you impacted people’s lives. How you maybe helped make their lives better", he explained. “You hire young people and give them opportunities to see what they can do. And when you see how they make every challenge an opportunity to be better and more valuable, well, that’s something special to me.”