Our customers are at the heart of everything we do. And to make sure we always put customers first, we rely upon our Customer Service teams who know our company and products inside and out. Teresa Dubaniewicz, Global Customer Service Manager for Aerospace Coatings, has been working in Aerospace for more than 23 years. She brings that knowledge and experience to work every day, along with the flexibility to deal with the constant changes of our industry.
Teresa knows all about change. Along with the usual changes in customer needs and demands, she’s experienced several acquisitions and many shifting markets during her time at AkzoNobel. But she’s always up for the challenge. “I really enjoyed integrating the customers and product lines from the U.S. Paint acquisition, for example,” says Teresa. “That one really strengthened our position in the General Aviation market segment. The Alumigrip product is well known, and it serves us well in terms of brand recognition.”
Growth that builds momentum
As Teresa advanced through her career at AkzoNobel, her role changed right along with the company. “I moved into Marketing as a Product Manager and Segment Manager for General Aviation and Military,” she recalls. “That gave me a better opportunity to learn more about our global product portfolio and more in-depth knowledge about the different Aerospace market segments.”
Teresa says her insight into different AkzoNobel businesses came after a reorganization within the company. “As Demand Manager and Customer Service Manager for North America, I gained a better understanding of the integrated business planning process and its usefulness in all areas of the company.”
Knowledge that fuels success
Today, as Global Customer Service Manager, Teresa manages three primary customer service sites in the US, UK and the Netherlands. All three teams are responsible for processing orders, answering product questions, managing shipments and handling issues. Her team also provides customers with technical data, safety data and sales support, in cooperation with sales representatives.
But although the primary tasks are similar, each Customer Service team has unique characteristics. “It can be challenging, because the requirements of an OEM or subcontractor are different than those of a distributor or agent,” Teresa explains. “The product portfolio is vast, and it varies by market. Regulations vary from country to country, and every product may not be available to ship in every country. It’s part of my job to address and overcome these challenges.”
At the same time, the industry is also changing. ”Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul providers are consolidating and chemical management companies are increasingly taking over the purchase of paints and chemicals for larger companies,” Teresa says. But the biggest change is in customer expectations. “We’re seeing a big increase in requests for shorter lead times and just-in-time shipments,” she continues. “The key trends right now are faster response times, reduction in customer inventory and reduced costs.”
Challenges that look ahead
Like many of her colleagues in Aerospace, there is one change that Teresa can’t wait to see realized. “I want to provide a non-chromate structural solution that provides the same (or better) protection than the current chromate products,” she says. “Producing a more sustainable product contributes to the health of the people who make and use it, as well as the condition of our planet and natural resources. I think our R&D staff are up to the challenge, so I look forward to a chromate-free future!”
And when that change comes, Teresa will be ready. She has not only experienced a lot of change in her professional life, but in her personal life, as well. “In a period of 15 years, I had eight different addresses in five different states. At one time, I lived with my family in one state, I worked in a different state, and my husband worked in a third state. Whatever changes come my way, I know I’ll be ready for them!”