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Lucky's Blog

This blog has been created to keep our customers, partners and friends up to date with pertinent information relating to our industry, technical or otherwise. It will also keep everyone up to date with M.C. Dean's ever expanding capabilities. Thanks to all my followers and I hope you find this blog both helpfull and informative. Best Regards: Lucky Drake

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Cost Of Safety

The Cost of Safety

With our ever shrinking economy, everyone is trying to find places to cut costs. Consumers are looking to find cheaper service providers, and many companies have determined that their safety department is the first place to start making cuts. This is a scary trend. While I understand why companies would think that safety is a good place to start, I couldn’t disagree more with the concept. It takes years to see the benefits of a safety program. It also takes a pretty large financial commitment as well. However, when done right, the long term savings more than outweigh the costs.

A solid safety program is essential to both the company and the consumer. For the company:

1. You have happier and healthier employees

2. As your EMR goes down you see substantial savings on your insurance

3. Less injuries mean more productive time

4. Increased morale, lower labor costs, etc…

While all this looks great on a balance sheet and business model, in my field of business, it is even more essential. Electricians are subjected to highly dangerous conditions every day. And for me, it is all about making sure our team is safe, and gets to go home at the end of the day- unharmed. This requires a serious commitment to safety from the top down, and I am proud to be part of a company that truly sets the standard in the industry for safety. While this does add costs to my bottom line, in the long run the safety program saves lives and customer’s assets. Take a moment to think about it. If a plumber makes a mistake, things get wet, if an A/C company makes a mistake things get hot, but when an electrician makes a mistake, people die and property gets damaged. In my opinion it isn’t worth the risk.

The benefits of a solid Safety Program for the consumers:

1. Less risk of an accident on their property.

2. Less risk of loss to their assets.

3. Less risk of down time due to an accident.

4. Less risk of injury to personnel, customers, etc…

When a consumer makes sure that a service provider not only has a safety plan, but enforces, documents, and tracks the success of that plan, they are ensuring the safety and well being of their customer’s and their assets.

As service provider prices continue to drop, and service rates continue to fall, be sure to ask yourself; why is a specific provider so much cheaper? Consumers are looking for the best deal and not taking into account why the costs of one provider may be lower than another. Many times it is due to the qualifications of that provider and their team. Think of it like this, what are the chances that you can walk into a BMW dealership and purchase a 700 series for the price of a Chevy Aveo? Zero! The reason is that there are many more costs involved in building that 700 series BMW, than the Chevy Aveo. It isn’t anything against the Aveo, they are just simply not in the same class, one is a high performance luxury machine, and the other is an economy model. Where the difference applies here, is that when dealing with cars they both can get the job done, getting you from point “A” to point “B”. This is not true in the service provider industry.

As a consumer you need to make the determination of what risk is involved in using a lesser qualified service provider. The simple fact is that, if you need a professional service performed, then you should only consider using professional service providers. A professional will have a solid safety program, and only use licensed technicians.

The state has a process for determining who is and who is not a professional. It is called a “certificate of competency”, aka; a licensed technician or journeyman. There are reasons why the state mandates licensing for electricians, plumbers, and A/C technicians. Mainly this reason: these trades are not hobbies. It takes years of training and schooling to become a licensed technician in these fields, and you should only consider licensed technicians for your needs in these fields. While handymen and multiple trade service providers have their place, it is not in these specialized fields, and they should never work on electrical systems. NFPA 70E (National Fire Protection Agency: the authority on fire, electrical, and building safety) sets the guidelines for a “qualified person” in the electrical industry, and if you are not verifying the credentials of whom you employ to do your electrical work, then you could be liable, and in violation of this code.

Finally, even if after reading this, you still feel that you want to use unqualified people to work on your electrical systems, consider the following:

1. What would it cost me if my entire electrical system went down?

2. If parts were damaged, how available would the replacement parts be?

3. What would OSHA say if someone was injured? Am I at Fault?

4. Am I putting my customers or the general public at risk when this work is being performed?

Times are changing in the service provider industries and safety is a major part of these changes. Most companies are beginning to understand the huge liabilities that exist when hiring a service provider, and are starting to migrate towards the providers with proven safety programs, licensed professionals, and a focus on providing the customer with a quality solution from beginning to end. I am proud to say that M.C. Dean is one of these service providers, and I thank the thousands of customers we have, that truly understand the value of the service we provide.

Friday, June 17, 2011

First Impressions

First Impressions

Everybody knows that you only get one chance to make a first impression, or do they? Yesterday I was driving to meet a client, and had to stop in for gas at the local station. After taking out a second mortgage so I could afford to get gas, I stood there filling my tank, as a van pulled up on the other side of the pump. Due to the nature of this story, I will not mention the name on the side of the van, but let’s just say it was a company most everyone has heard of over the years.

So as this van pulls up, I start noticing a few things. The beaten up, faded, and non OSHA compliant, ladders were stacked up on top of an old rusted ladder rack, with little care to safety. In fact, I am shocked that they didn’t fall off as the driver sped to the pump and jammed on the brakes with no care to pedestrian traffic in the area. Hanging off the rusted ladder racks were bundles of coiled wire with individual frayed wires sticking out, unprotected, and just aching to stab a passerby.

The van was in disrepair as well, with dents and scratches all over it and the name of the company seriously faded to the point that the red was a soft pink, cracked and flaking off the body of the truck. One look into the back window and you could see how all the materials where just thrown in the back without care, and piled up, blocking the view out the back window.

I sat there pondering how a company of this size could allow their image to be tarnished this way. What are you saying to your customers by putting this kind of face on your company name? I couldn’t help but think, how safe can this company be if they are not worried about ladders flying off their vehicles and damaging others, potential customers, property? Furthermore, how much pride can this company have in their work if their mobile billboard and brand looks like this? As I sat there in shear disgust, the door opened and the driver and passenger began to get out.

Before I could even see the driver’s foot hit the floor, I heard several expletives flying. He and the passenger we apparently arguing over their version of what traits make a woman the most appealing. As they stepped out of the vehicle I noticed the torn jeans, the stained shirts, and the driver was wearing a hat that was extremely distasteful, not to mention the year’s worth of fast food bags piled high in the driver’s cabin!

I have over 27years in the construction industry, so I am not a prude, nor am I offended personally by these things. But the majority of the public would rather not be subjected to this kind of language and behavior. Either way, it is not professional, and I am sure that most companies would rather not have their brand portrayed that way.

As the men walked into the store, they stepped in front of an older lady, went through the door and allowed the door to slam shut in the older woman’s face. To which she commented, “I guess chivalry really is dead!”

The ironic part of this story is that this company spends a ton of money on advertising every year to gain the patronage of their customers and portray a successful and professional company. Then, in a matter of seconds, these employees shattered that image.

I cannot express enough to my team the moral of this story. It doesn’t matter if they are on the job or not. As long as they are in a company uniform, a company vehicle, or representing the company in any way, they are the face of M.C. Dean and will conduct themselves accordingly. In life, you only get one chance for a first impression-- so you better make it count. Ask yourself, “what does my company stand for, what brand message do I want to communicate?”, and then make sure that it is followed by your team, every second of every day. Eventually you will build a culture of behavior that will transcend the workplace and truly reflect the company’s, and the teams’, passion.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Buy American

Diane Sawyer has a special report coming up this week. They removed ALL items from a typical, middleclass family's home that were not made in the USA . There was hardly anything left besides the kitchen sink, Literally. During the special they are going to show truckloads of items - USA made - being brought in to replace everything and will be talking about how to find these items and the difference in price etc. It was interesting that Diane said that if every American spent just $64 more than normal on USA made items this year, it would create something like 200,000 new jobs! So I have been looking at labels, particularly on produce items when I go to the store, and purchasing the “Made/Grown in USA” or local items, even if they are a few cents more, trying to support our country. Maybe if everybody tried it, it would help our economy head back in the right direction. Try it: