Industry News: Customer feedback - the driving force behind PolyScience success

For PolyScience getting to know customers is what drives their innovation and their commitment to the environment

04 Oct 2019


PolyScience launched the DuraChill® portable recirculating chiller line with the tag line, “Changing the world of Chillers…again.” The technology, benefits and features that work together to make DuraChill® function are new innovations in the liquid temperature control industry.

Philip Preston, President of PolyScience, shares his thoughts about how he and his team approached DuraChill® and what it meant to them on their three-year journey. As Preston explains, his path to innovation starts with simply listening. "We spent a good amount of time listening to customer feedback and challenged ourselves with the mindset to make their problems go away. In looking at DuraChill® and how it would redefine the chiller market, first and foremost you listen to the customer. No, it wasn’t a let’s redefine the world of chillers, it was a challenge to take the industry to the next level.  Let’s raise the bar.“

Processing the feedback was the next logical step, for Preston and his team, taking a look at what customers really want when they are looking to invest in a chiller.    

“Yes, everyone wants more innovation, if it’s in your phone or your chiller, but once we were able to truly define what “innovation” means to our customers, then we were able to begin to innovate and create with a purpose.”  Preston explains, “innovation for the sake of adding innovation isn’t always the key to success.”

“We spoke to our customers and went a step further and spoke to people who weren’t our customers and the story was the same: They wanted innovation that let them focus on something else, something other than the care and feeding of their chiller. They wanted ease of use.”

“From there we got very hands-on with the equipment. Customers would say I wish chillers didn’t make so much noise. It would be easier to fill the reservoir from the front.  How can we make a chiller that has less of an impact on the environment?”

Insights were the guiding principles for Preston and his team that took them on a three-year journey, hundreds of designs and thousands of hours working towards one goal - making things “easy.”

Learning is a cornerstone of PolyScience's history that spans almost 60 years and reaches every continent in the world. “Another great learning moment was the combination of the insight we gained from customers with the insights that we gained from our service department and our quality department," says Preston.

"We looked carefully at return statistics and one common reason for returns was 'no problem found or a misuse'.  In many cases, these kinds of issues are often overlooked opportunities for innovation because the chiller did not fail on its own due to a design or quality issue.  It failed because of a lack of maintenance, knowledge of proper operation or just plain neglect.”

Taking a deep dive into these issues, Preston and his team didn’t see these as insurmountable hurdles. Instead, they embraced them as exciting opportunities to make real change. “If you want to redefine an industry you look at those types of issues as the opportunities to say yeah, but how do we make it a product where that just doesn’t happen. And what innovation is necessary to prevent that from ever occurring again.  And I think that’s the game-changer.”
    
Old-fashioned values combined with true innovation and the belief that anything is possible has once again put PolyScience and the DuraChill® line of portable recirculating chillers in a league of their own, making life easier for their customers and saving time and money.  “Listening, combined with sound research into why customers are shipping units back.  No one wants to box a 250-pound chiller, and yet I’ve had chillers air freighted next day air from Indonesia.  It probably cost $8,000 in air freight for them to ship it to us in Niles, Illinois to have us pull the air filter out, clean it, test it and ship it back.  Many chiller applications are really mission-critical, that chiller being down means their process is down.  Some applications - like semiconductor applications - they’re losing hundreds of thousand dollars a day."

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