Trade Secrets: Customers Know They Can Trust Fuller Custom Brush
When many people first think about custom brushes, they immediately hear the main word in that phrase: “brushes,” and they think about all the brushes they have seen and used, whether it’s a toothbrush or makeup brush, or a scrub brush to clean dishes or wash a car, or a dust brush to sweep a pile of dirt or debris into a dustpan. But the reality is that the “custom” part of that phrase is what really makes what we do special. We make brushes to handle tasks no one knows about, in industries many people never think about.
And then there are the brushes you would be really interested to learn more about, but that we can’t talk about. After all, the companies that are our customers have challenges in proprietary manufacturing or agricultural operations have identified the problem, and are well on their way to a solution, and, when they work with us to get those ideas for solving their problem, they know: Their secrets are safe with us.
Intriguing problems arise in many different industries, to say the least. And while we can’t share details about those challenges, we asked Lisa Moeder, our director of the Custom Products Sales Division, to share some insights into the ways that she and her team are able to work with customers to create solutions.
How does the Fuller Custom Brush team figure out what kind of brush will solve the problems that customers bring to them? “I think because I’ve worked here for so long and I was in quality control for a long time,” Lisa says. “You just have to put yourself in their situation. We listen to each customer very closely and get all the details.”
As the customers talk about their specific problem, they bring expertise to the question as well. Listening to their ideas, we offer access to our knowledge of brush design and materials to open up a whole world of possibilities.
One customer brought a manufacturing challenge—a consumer product that needed to be finished properly, but without damaging the outer layer of the coating. The customer sent a load of product samples for Lisa and her team to use to devise the solution.
“I was taking a little sections of bristle, and I would hold that product and I would rub it across the surface to decide what worked best,” Lisa says. “We figured out a fill material that had a ceramic grit, like sandpaper, and we determined the right size of grit. This was years and years ago. That customer still orders those brushes.” Customers always know what they want to product to do, but they also learn pretty quickly that maybe they haven’t thought of everything. We can add a level of expertise to the process, and partnering with us keeps giving back as a custom brush becomes a key part to a stage in the manufacturing process.
Still another customer had a question about a process, and it couldn’t be replicated at the Fuller factory in Great Bend, Kansas. Lisa and an engineer from the customer visited a site to observe the problem and learn more about it.
Once on site, Lisa asked a few questions about how the process needed to work. The brush was just wiping over the surface of the material, not stripping it the way it needed to. “In order to do that, we had to offset our materials,” Lisa says. “But we also had to change the whole way the brush contacted the material. The brush had to be filled with a really stiff material. And then they had to run at a different direction than they were running it to figure it out.”
“It’s not selling an item we have in stock,” Lisa explains. “If you you could sell a stock item, it would be easy. We see it as a partnership. But just listening to them is key. And probably from growing up on a farm helps, too. You know, having a little bit of ag background has helped.”
Customers bring their practical problems to Fuller Custom Brush, and part of that partnership is the proprietary solution that we develop together. “We want customers to have trust in us,” Lisa says. “We want them to know that we’re going to make this work. And we’re not going to share what we just did for this company with another company. They can come to Fuller and trust us.