Growth strategies

GALLERY – Hunter Engineering striving for more than just sales

It may sell products, but Hunter Engineering Company says it’s more than just an equipment provider.

To its customers, Hunter says its goal is to be a partner.

During an engaging facility tour on Tuesday at its headquarters in Bridgeton, Mo., Hunter showcased the steps it is taking to not only improve its automotive and heavy-duty product offerings, but also its service, support and consultative business operations as it strives to be the best partner possible in today’s competitive aftermarket business landscape.

The challenge is real, but for a company like Hunter, evolving to serve its customers is part of its DNA.

Founded by Lee Hunter on the back of his invention, “Kwikurent,” – the first rapid battery charger for automobiles — Hunter Engineering has been introducing customer-centric and service-focused tools for nearly 70 years. Its product offering includes wheel balancers, alignment tools, tire changers, lift racks, inspection tools and other equipment for the light-, medium- and heavy-duty markets.

The company’s strong presence in the automotive aftermarket has been key in developing its enhanced heavy-duty partnership strategy, says Justin Gonzalez, heavy-duty market manager at Hunter.

One area where Hunter is now focused on assisting its heavy-duty customers is facility design. Gonzalez says the concept of service is rapidly changing in the automotive industry, as more and more aftermarket businesses identify the value of presenting a visually appealing and inviting atmosphere for customers as a way to grow service sales.

Gonzalez says Hunter is responding to this change by offering full-service design consulting for all of its customers. It has a team of professionals that analyze and evaluate service facility designs and offer a number of retrofittable changes to help improve the appearance and functionality of the business.

John Zentz, Hunter’s vice president of sales, says the changes taking root in the automotive industry could prove to be even more profitable in the heavy-duty market. He cites higher failure rates to alignment tests, and different customer demographic, as obvious motivations to make changes.

Hunter says it also continues to strengthen its core service operation as a way to maximize its partnership potential.

The company has more than 350 sales representatives and 350 service representatives located in the United States and Canada. When a customer notifies Hunter with an issue, the company guarantees a service rep will contact them within five hours, and will be onsite within 48 hours. Coupled with each service rep’s mobile part inventory and 99 percent next-day delivery rate, Hunter says it is driven to maximize customer uptime at all times.

And these customer service enhancements all help support Hunter’s expansive and high-performing product offering.

The company says its engineering team has averaged nearly 10 new patents per year for more than six decades, which coupled with rigorous product testing — literally every single Hunter Engineering product is tested for quality assurance before it is shipped — ensure the company always offers the best product it possibly can.

It’s that reliability that truly makes the partnership strategy succeed, the company says.

Customers trust the products they purchase from Hunter Engineering, Gonzalez says, and more than anything, it is trust that builds a partnership.

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