5 Days in Guyana
By Ron McBryde, Chassis/Mount Supervisor
When a chassis rail broke on a Mickey beverage body in June in Guyana, South America, it marked 2 firsts for me in my 24-year Mickey career: #1, a rail had never broken all the way around – the O’Neil rail was thinner than normal; it was a fluke that snuck through the system. And #2, I was heading to Guyana, South America. (Actually, this was more than just a Mickey first for me. It my first time EVER in Guyana, South America!)
When you sign on with Mickey, you accept the company’s unconditional commitment to “Customer First.” So when Dean and Matt Sink ((Mickey President and Manufacturing Manager, respectively) asked me to leave for Guyana, on Father’s Day, to repair the broken rail, it was not only my duty, but also my privilege.
Although the customer, Banks DIH Ltd., which offers a variety of beverages including beer, soda, water and rum as well as bread and ice cream, reported only one of its 13 units in need of repair, in true Mickey fashion we decided not only to fix the broken unit, but to also reinforce the rails in the other 12 trucks as a precautionary measure to reassure the customer. Banks has a major presence in the Guyana consumer goods market, but I’m pretty sure Mickey would have taken the same course of action regardless of the customer’s size and significance.
After stops in Atlanta, Miami and the Port of Spain, I finally landed in Georgetown, Guyana at 11:30 PM, caught a couple of hours of sleep and arrived at the Banks facility at 7 AM the next morning to begin my 5-day mission under the direction of Banks VP Mr. Hussein and his shop crew. Mr. Hussein was happy to see me, but not so pleased about the circumstances. I won him over after I fixed the first unit and walked him through the exact process. He was 100% satisfied, and I would not see him again until I was ready to head home.
I was able to reinforce 2 additional units on the first day, but then things heated up – literally. The very high, dry Guyana heat got to me, and to make matters worse, the spicy local cuisine staged a war with my digestive system. I lost a half-day to bed rest, which left me only 4 days to finish 10 units. Fortunately, I had 3 things working in my favor: the big bag of good ol’ American snack foods my wife packed in my suitcase; the extremely helpful and compassionate Banks’ shop crew who helped introduce my sensitive stomach to some milder local foods; and the Mickey spirit of getting things done right and on time.
The shop crew had to put each of the 13 units on a lift so that I could cut out a plate, install a reinforced “C” channel on the inside rail, weld it, replace the plate and weld an outside cap against the rail. Worked like a charm. One other hurdle we had to clear, however, was that we had to wait for the trucks to come off their routes before we could do the repairs. At one point I had to wait on units coming back from Brazil and Venezuela.
As I struck my final arc on my stick welder on the last of the 13 units, I could hear myself whisper under my helmet: “Mission accomplished.” I gave it everything I had and then some, and in the long run it paid off; the customer said he will purchase from Mickey again. Isn’t that the name of the game?
I am proud of what I was able to accomplish in Guyana, South America during those 5 days in June. But more importantly, I am proud to say I work for a company that knows no limits when it comes to keeping the customer happy.