Still Kicking

Headed into June with still no end in sight for this horrible economy.  Hard to believe sales at the sign company are 50% of what they were in 2007.  What can you do?  Well there are some things you can do.  First we looked at ways to cut expenses.  It is important that the quality of the final product not suffer as a result of cost cutting.  If that happens you are harming the company, no savings is happening.  When quality suffers, costs actually go up.  So we look for ways to slim down.  We redouble our efforts to understand and improve our processes.  One example.  I have a nice young man as an employee.  He’ll do anything you ask…. with gusto!  Last week we made a sign for a church that was being sent several states away.  The sign had to be packaged.  Wrapped and placed between 2 pieces of  cardboard, staples had to be placed around the perimeter.  Easy enough, you say.
Today we are redoing the sign as the customer found 5 staples completely through his sign.
As far as processes go we can go back over this one.  The key is not finding fault with the employee, but with the process.  It does little good to simply say, “You must try harder.”  Instead look at the packaging process and redefine it so this cannot be repeated.

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Dummy and Yummy

At the 2012 ISA (International Sign Association) show so in Orlando for just 2 days.  Left Tallahassee 6 pm on Thursday and stopped over in Gainesville.  Bargain on the room thanks to online purchase but there was still an opportunity to learn.  I have a couple of things that I believe all hotels could do to improve the experience.  One is to send the maintenance man/woman to check all the toilet seats to make sure they are not loose.  Silly, you say?  Back injury will be swift and sure if you twist to reach your backside and the seat shifts suddenly.  Second, please start this simple plan.  Ask an employee to stay a single night in one of your rooms, no charge of course.  In the course of this excercise have them note any difficulty they have in the normal course of showering, adjusting the TV, anything at all.  I noted  a couple at the Paramount Plaza in Gainesville.  First, the water pressure was high enough to knock over a small child or adult.  Usually this is the opposite of the problem, but in this case, restrictors would save hundreds.  My other problem here is related to something that is really quite common.  That is that the hotels are replacing nomal toilet seat lids with the new, new 1/16″ thick plastic ones.  When I, or anyone puts their foot on the lid to dry it, you foot pushes deeply into the lid, causing quite a fright.

Think, people.  Either spend nights in the rooms yourself or ask employees to do it, but very important data is out there to be discovered, and the result of this discovery will be much more satisfied customers.

Our Friday night stay was at the WestGate Lake Resort, a timeshare that happened to place some studios online for $70, plus $11.30 tax I might add.  Check-in and getting to our room was a 50 minute affair, about 45 minutes too long.  Since this was a timeshare resort everything these people did was aimed that way.  We waited in a line for 30 minutes to see  someone at registration.  The desk clerk took about 15 minutes to read our online receipt and inform us of a $50 refundable fee “in case we damaged their room”.  Trust me, Jonathon, your system of check-in is doing incalculable damage to your reputation, and is doing it all day long.  Every day.  Think, people.

the Yummy part of the title is there to remind us of the meal experience we shared at the Market Street Cafe in Celebration.  The cafe overlooks a man-made lake.  We sat outside as close to the view as we could get.  We should have split.  Both are meals were delicious and the wait guy was superb, but that was just too much food.  Market Street Cafe has a great system, and it works.

Think, people

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Bloggit All

Same Old, Same Old

Knowledge or Understanding

Streetfighter

Distractions

Now let’s get this straight

Edge-A-Ka-Shun

Dr. Franklin, I Presume

Now Here This!

Way to go, Governor Scott!

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Same Old, Same Old

My big gripe at this moment is that nothing is changing.  So what?  Maybe I have to go a little deeper for you to understand.  When I look at the world through the lens of Deming’s Profound Knowledge I see people who’s every move, thought and desire is programmed for them.  They buy labelled clothes not because they are in any way superior, but because they are supposed to.  Women spend $20 Billion a year on cosmetics why?  Could they not look just as lovely on 10 Billion?  The money is spent not because it makes them look better, but they are told it will make them look better.  So I see this huge system of control, and the worst kind of control, the control that makes you think you are free to choose.  Well, in a way you are free to choose one of 10 different brands of designer jeans.  What you are not free to do is choose no brand of designer jean.
Can you see what I am getting at?  An example could be a watch like Fossil.  The early Fossil watches were extremely unique.  I had one that had tiny license plates under the crystal.  Still have it.  I think I paid $40 for it.  Today Fossil watches are almost identical.  So why do people buy them.  Because they are supposed to.  It no longer matters what the quality of the watch is or what it looks like.  It is a Fossil, buy it.  Relic started in much the same way.  There are hundreds of brands that started the same way, a unique quality product.  Over time it becomes less and less about the uniqueness or the quality, and simply about the brand.  And brands you are supposed to buy.

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Knowledge or Understanding?

Lately I have been thinking a lot about understanding.  Mostly because I see understanding as something people confuse with knowledge.  To clear it up a bit, you can have scads of knowledge and yet not fully understand, but you can come to understanding with a limited amount of knowledge.

The NEBA Luncheon this week had as it’s speaker, Rick Scott, governor of our fine state.  Got to shake his hand and I must say he comes across as a sincere, genuine sort of governor.  Governor Scott is off next week for South America, Brazil, I think.  The object being increase of trade between Florida and S.A.  I sent an email to his office encouraging
him to seek out Dan Strongin, the Deming Collaboration consultant there.  Dan will let us know if the governor calls.  http://www.demingcollaboration.com

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Streetfighter

Relaxing at home on a Sunday afternoon.  Trying not to think too deeply.  Flipping channels and updating the 6 or 7 websites I maintain for clients and friends.  After a couple of times around, the tele landed on Streetfighter, the Jean Claude Van Damme movie from recent time.  I can’t help but wonder, is this where we are?  This movie is just plain silly.  The acting is awful and every scene involving a female has her giggle like a ten-year-old, even if she has just disposed of a bad guy.  This is, of course, just one example of the way the quality of entertainment has been going down, down, down.  Look at the lineup of shows for the new season.  Busting to the seams with “reality” shows.  Say that that is what the public wants but please note nothing, and I mean nothing could cost less to produce than a reality show.  Can we reach a bit higher?  Can our entertainment reflect our desire to bring about a better world?  Shouldn’t it?

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Distractions

The other day my wife Carolyn commented that life, at least in the U.S., seemed so full of distractions.  I never gave it much thought, but now that I do, I see that she is, for once, right.  Sports seasons run non-stop and if there is an hour empty of a championship run, there are always re-runs.  So what’s the problem?  Just this.  You may have noticed things are pretty bad right now.  To get us out of this mess we are going to have to think as well as act.  While I enjoy a good football game or any number of other sports, we needn’t think
things will get any better if we all stay in a state of suspended animation.  So spend some of that arm chair quarterbacking time discussing  how we can make this a better world, one family at a time.  Here is a good place to start, the life and philosophy of W. Edwards Deming at http://demingcollaboration.com

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Let’s get this straight

The recent exercise in futility that was the debt ceiling crisis was, as most of us expected, a bit ant-climatic.  All the emotion aimed at preventing any real change in the way this country is run was, in the end, successful.  We have pushed the problem out into the future a bit but no one thinks any real change is “out there” either.  Friends, I too hate it that this has happened when it did, let alone at all.  We have for many years known something like this was coming, known collectively that we could not sustain the path we were on.  So now what?  No one wants to lose a penny of what they have been receiving, no one wants any cut to the monies that have been coming in.  We adapt to live on what we get, it is no different in tough times, though we have less, we still expand to fill the space.  Change is not going to come politically and it is not going to come from the top.  It must come from you if it is to come at all.  Learn how to change your life now and start to affect change in the future for the rest of the world.  http://demingcollaboration.com

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Edge-a-ca-shun

It seems any attempt talk about education is met with one of two very old arguments.  One, and currently the stronger of the two is the “hold everyone responsible” argument.  This “solution” takes the tack of trying to improve the quality of our children’s education by holding everyone in the chain responsible for “the results”.  This sounds mighty sincere and attempts to at least put the blame somewhere.  The other way to solve the problem is to throw money at it.  These proponents believe that results are directly related to how much money is spent per student.  Let me jump in here and simply label both of these very opposing ideas….. wrong.  Once you view the education of children as what it is, a single system, with students, teachers, parents, school staff, etc., all having a part to play in what is arguably the highest calling we can undertake, you will dispense with singling out just one part of the whole system.  It is one system and must be treated that way.  Tamper with one sliver of it, and you harm the whole, more than that, you can prevent the success of the whole.  http://demingcollaboration.com

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Dr. Franklin, I Presume

Marvin & Alan

Thursday evening, the 7th was quite a hoot.  There was a concert by Marvin Goldstein, an internationally known pianist and entertainer.  Carolyn and I have know Marvin for nearly 30 years.

The concert lasted nearly 2 hours and included many patriotic songs.  This concert was the brain child of another friend and fellow professional speaker, John Curry.  John was celebrating 36 years in business and put the concert on as a way of thanking his many customers.  The Turner Auditorium at Tallahassee Community College was nearly filled to it’s 500 seat capacity.  This would have been all well and good, but with the patriotic theme John decided to add another touch.  He hired my good friend Lloyd Wheeler, AKA Dr. Benjamin Franklin, to greet the guests and to make a presentation during intermission.

Charlene and Dr. Franklin

Here is a shot of Dr. Franklin with my sister-in-law, Charlene Wilson.  There were five of us attending, Carolyn and I, Charlene, and our very good friends, Joe and Myrtie Mott.

What a fabulous time we all had!

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