Off to see the new Bond movie with the wife on Saturday.
Skyfall had finished it’s run at AMC and was playing for $3
at our local Movies 8. We arrived 10 minutes early but
were soon enough treated to the first of the previews.
A lot of previews. Eight in all, plus they ran the preview
for JANGO TWICE! Then the screen went black, and
stayed black. Music started playing, the screen is black.
Finally a manager pokes his head in and just says, “It
will just be a couple of minutes, folks.” Okay, five
minutes and Skyfall starts. But wait, it is already into
the movie. So a patron goes to the manager and asks
that we be shown the movie from the beginning. The
movie stops. The screen is blank. Music is playing and
the pre-show slides start to run again. More than 20
minutes have passed since the start time. Finally the
room goes dark, the music stops, and the previews
start again!!! We are all holding our breath but at the
end of Previews II Skyfall starts. That is when everyone
realizes we were only 1 minute into the movie the first
time through. It took the first 30 minutes of the film to get over the
experience. And that is not all. When we finally exited the
theatre, standing in the lobby were 40 people expecting the
film to be starting again. WOW! The lesson here is that when
something like this happens you can expect a ripple effect.
Could they have foreseen that? Planned for it?
Off to see the new Bond movie with the wife on Saturday.
This is our second trip to Branson, MO for vacation.
Because we can only close the sign business for this
week of the year, many of the restaurants in Branson
are closed for the rest of the year. Thankfully not
T-Bones Steak House. We just stumbled upon this
place last year looking for a meal on a Saturday night.
You hear me talking about Dr. Deming’s “Joy in Work”.
Here you can see, and taste it in action. From the moment
you cross the threshold you are cared for in a most
uncommon way. We told the lady that seated us we were
returning from last year. She became almost teary eyed
as she told us she had worked there for 5 years and that
she “loved it” and that everything they did was done with
an attitude of caring and passion for excellence.
When traveling Carolyn and I usually split meals so it was
on Wednesday. Here, like in many restaurants, there is a split
charge, $3.25. this includes an additional side item. Our wait
told us this was optional and we could fore go the split charge
and stay with the 2 side items included with the meal.
This is what we did. We settled on a Kansas City Strip 12 oz.
with baked potato and steamed veggies. Three rolls added
starch and still there was room for Bailey’s infused cheesecake.
Total cost of this belt loosening meal, $28.49.
Processes are good, systems are needed, but remember, they
both should serve to deliver, not hinder, the kind of customer
service that has people bragging about your product or service.
Having bought myself a Lenovo tablet I had all the capability to download Mitt Romney’s ebook, No Apology – the Case for American Greatness. Now more than half through with the book, (my hope is to finish before the election) I thought to give you a review of what I have read. I now know that Mitt Romney wrote this book. It is clear that many celebrities have books written for them, and to be honest I expected the same here. During the first 2 debates Romney used quote after quote from the pages of this book. He is so comfortable with the details that I am convinced they are his ideas. So much of what Romney writes here is spot on. His views of America’s place in the world, including our responsibility to “keep the peace” I believe, and have believed it for a long time. There are, however, two areas in which the governor needs instruction. The first is in his understanding of what it takes for the U.S. to compete globally. The other is in his understanding of what is wrong with education in the U.S. In No Apology Mr. Romney espouses the cost cutting philosophy of Michael Porter. Mr. Porter, a business management guru to some, suggests
you cut costs by making your suppliers compete against one another. Further that you
buy based on lowest purchase price. Phoooey! Please notice I did not say Mr. Porter
wants you to buy based on lowest “cost”. There is a big difference. Read some of the
work of W. Edwards Deming and it will be clear to you that only by purchasing on lowest
“total” cost can you maximize the system.
On education Mr. Romney lands on the “right” side of the argument. Over 3 decades
we have been saying “more funding” or “more accountability” depending on your
political leaning. Both of these positions are wrong. If you really want to fix
education in the states, start with the work of David P. Langford. He has been using
Dr. Deming’s Philosophy to transform school systems for 20 years.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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