Category Archives: Facility Maintenance

Trade Shows – the good, the bad & the ugly

I recently attended the 2017 PRSM Mid-Year Conference in Indianapolis. The trade show PRSMwas over a 3 day period and there were a few things that caught my attention:

  1. False claims – Nearly every company used verbiage such as “the biggest”, “the leading”, “the most trusted”, “the most reliable” and of course “the best”.
  2. A lack of knowledgeable and passionate team members – Many of the booths were manned by salespeople, and some even had temporary workers who had just been brought into promote the company for the duration of the tradeshow. Although on the surface their performance was acceptable, they were found out when the tougher questions came out. We had the director of the department in question with us and this was hugely positive with great feedback received from many attendees about the knowledge and passion that she shared.
  3. Scanning your badge and collecting your contact details – many companies attend these events in an attempt to collect as many contacts as possible who they can then bug with marketing emails long after the show has ended. No effort is made to even make introductions and before you know it you find yourself being attacked by a badge scanning maniac.
  4. Receptions and happy hours – It’s always nice attending events such as this as they give you an opportunity to meet face to face with existing and potential clients, as well as meeting fellow trade professionals. It’s great to mingle and make introductions, and the food that is typically available isn’t too bad either!
  5. Education opportunities – These events are normally jam packed with hundreds of speakers-414562_960_720classes and workshops where you can learn about latest industry trends, new technologies, things that are in the pipeline and issues to be concerned about.
  6. Late starts/ missed seminars/ unmanned booths – This event was a little more challenging to evaluate attendance as the event was sandwiched in between the destructive hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, which prevented many people from making the trip to Indy. One thing that isn’t difficult to recognize is when groups of people arrive at the exhibit hall a couple of hours after everything started and spend most of their time sat down trying to drown themselves with black coffee. The biggest disappoint for me is when exhibitors just completely fail to turn up and leave their booths unmanned. This creates a very bad impression of the business in my opinion and definitely reduces the chance that I will work with them.
  7. Traffic Police – People stood out in the aisles essentially forcing you to move towards their booth where their colleague will go ahead and pounce on you. There are unfortunately many areas where companies will put the hard sale on you without even knowing what you are looking for. Again there is no attempt to find out what you need and provide potential solutions. They instead try to force their product/service down your throat.
  8. Awkward but useful – The most enjoyable, but slightly awkward, session is typically the buyer-supplier forums where both sides of the table get to drill each other with tough questions. These are very beneficial as both sides are typically closer in their opinions than many would think, and this leads to some great conversations.
  9. After the show is over – the follow up is crucial. I personally believe that the most important thing is to develop strong relationships and lay the foundation for more in depth conversations at a later date. The face to face time is a great opportunity to explore your counterparts problems and compile a way in which you can bring value to their business. I try to develop the relationship in person, and then talk more in depth in the follow up.
  10. Services vs. products – At most tradeshows there will be businesses selling both services and products. The challenge here is that many products can obviously be commoditized, but the same is not true for services, which is what my company provides. It makes the conversations a little more challenging to change your audience’s mindset, but this is something that we are expecting and have plenty of experience with!
  11. Useless junk – The marketing materials that people use to lure you into their booth vary substantially in quality and usefulness. The worst item that I saw at this show was a small booklet where you could store all of your online account details and pen-2532710_960_720passwords! This booklet was a godsend for identity thieves as there was room for the website, the username, associated email address, and of course the password! You can’t make these things up! I obviously did not take part in this offer and instead will continue to rely on my memory and the ability to make unlimited changes to my login details when I forget my credentials…. There were however some great takeaways available that I was able to load into bags and take home to my two sons. There were also some useful things for my wife and me including powerpacks, USB adapters, and of course THOUSANDS of pens!

Overall, this conference was a great experience and one where I gained some very useful information.  I learned a lot from other attendees, both what to do and what not to do and am truly looking forward to the next event!

What have you noticed about trade shows that you have found useful?  Is there anything that has worked especially well for you?  Please leave your ideas in the comments below, and as always, Expect the Exceptional every day!

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Neon vs. LED: The Fight of the Century

This is an argument which is becoming increasingly popular in all industries. The main reason for signage in the first place is to draw someone’s attention to your store and to get your brand out there to increase sales. The issue with neon lights is the high failure rate (approximately every 12-18 months), the expensive cost of repair, and the damage to your brand when your customers are greeted by these signs:

elfstoragesign

ledsigns3

 

Whereas neon once had an almost complete monopoly on illuminating channel letters, LED’s are now dominating the lighting source market. Their overall features of higher brightness, lower electrical costs, increased energy efficiency, and a longer operation life, typically at least 100,000 hours per unit, make them very attractive as lighting fixtures.

In one recent study to demonstrate the benefits of LED over neon lights, the scope of work covered the cost and installation of 10 character 24 inch channel letters. The total savings was approximately $1,000 for the completed job in favor LED over Neon. These savings are the true beauty and profit of an LED system for channel letters.

The image below showcase further benefits of LED over Neon and this is expected to increase as LED technologies become even more sophisticated and more economical over time.

LED JT02 spec

A great scientific article that looks into the Neon vs. LED argument in great detail is Is Your Neon Lit Sign as Inexpensive as an LED Lit Sign? by Greg Honegger. In this research paper, Mr. Honegger does a complete breakdown of the two systems to get the overall value of each. He looks at production costs (labor and materials), energy savings (financial and environmental benefits), failure rates, reliability, frequency and cost of repair and appearance. The data is extremely interesting and clearly points in the favor of LED lighting, and this trend is expected to continue. The cost of raw materials is dropping, people are becoming more environmentally aware, businesses are having to tighten their purse strings even further, and businesses are able to take advantage of the associated rebates, tax credits, and reduced utility bills. Expect to see Neon signs slowly disappear, to be replaced by their LED rivals.

LED vs. Neon Price Comparison

A huge piece of the decision making process for sign selection is obviously the cost. The following chart shows the energy and financial savings associated with LED lighting over neon. Energy savings of 80.3% (per 100 feet of lighting being run for an average of 12 hours per day), a significant reduction in your firm’s Carbon Footprint, better looking stores, as well as adding $240.46 to your bottom line to keep the CFO happy, are all great reasons that support the switch to LED systems.

Energy Comparison Neon typical to LED-VLPlusWhite 150feet (2)

How much would you save by converting from neon to LED signage? Complete your own price comparison here: Power Savings Estimator. Start multiplying this through your network and the savings will be astronomical. For example, a company with 1000 locations, at this rate will save $240,460 per year, that’s almost $1,000,000 every 4 years! This is also a savings of 2,0004,000 kWh, which is a carbon emissions reduction of 1,382 Metric Tons, the equivalent of 3,290,143 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle!

carbon footprint

Perform your very own carbon footprint calculator right here: Emissions calculator

Chris Salva, Director of Networking and Government Services at Royal Services, recently completed a neon to LED sign retrofit project for a national telecommunications company. Here are some photos showing the before and after images of these recent retrofits in a target test market, where a variety of climatic conditions will be experienced to truly compare the reliability of these technologies. I will let you guess which photo was taken after the retrofit!

sprint aftersprint after retrofit

To find out about how your company could benefit from this technology, please reach out to Jamie Leeper at jleeper@royalsvcs.com or 913-717-3188.

Royal Services – Service That Solves – Expect The Exceptional

royal logo

The right thing or the easy thing?

Do your employees always look to do the right thing, or do they look to do the easy thing? This past weekend we visited Nashville, TN to watch the Tottenham Hotspur game at the spurs logoNissan Stadium, as well as squeezing in a couple of site visits and meetings with clients for my husband’s business. It turned out that this was tax free weekend in TN so the resort that we stayed at had very limited availability when we booked it a couple of months ago. Due to the high number of visitors, we actually had to make three different reservations, one for the first night, one for the second night, and then a third for the remaining three nights. This would have meant 3 room changes during the course of our stay, which normally wouldn’t be a problem and would provide us with a clean condo each time, but when there are two young boys in the mix, as well as the fact that I am 6 months pregnant and it’s almost 100 degrees outside, remaining in the same room was much more appealing. When we arrived I asked the gentleman at check in if it was possible to stay in the same room for the duration of the stay, even if it meant having a slightly smaller unit. He took a very quick glance and informed me that there was no way that anything could be done as there were three different kinds of rooms involved with the reservation.

The following morning my husband went down to the front desk and asked again if anything could be done. The employee responded without even looking at the computer system and informed my husband that there was nothing that could be changed as they were very busy, and we should expect our new room to be available at 4pm. This makes life extremely difficult when you have to be out of your current unit by 10am and have 2 young children who are going to need naps, as well as refrigerated and frozen food which is going to be homeless for 6 hours.

This employee then left as her shift had come to an end. My husband went up to the desk and asked the newly arrived employee about the situation, and the response was completely different. Stacey checked the reservation system and noticed that the room that we were due to move into was a 2 bedroom lock-off which actually included the room that we were currently in, so there was actually no need to move anything! We would just open up the door between the two rooms and have double the space for that day! She also saw that the last reservation was actually the second half of the lock off by itself, so again no need to move a thing. My husband returned to the room with a cup of tea for me and the news that we had the comfort of remaining in the same unit for the duration of our trip.  Music to my ears!

If he had not asked the newly arrived employee, we would have gone through all of the hassle of packing up our belongings, our food spoiling, and our boys going without a nap, bored employeeonly to find that there was no need to move in the first place. This was a very simple thing but the first two employees just didn’t take the time to look into the situation, instead deciding to share canned responses with us. The second employee was about to end her shift, and sat with her jacket on and her bag on her back for 30 minutes before the clock struck 7am. She had no interest whatsoever in helping guests, she was just passing the buck with minimal effort until she could get out of the door.

The third employee thankfully had a focus on customer service, and wanted to do whatever she could to make our experience enjoyable. In the end, she actually didn’t have to change anything, as we had already been assigned connected rooms which meant there was no need to move. However, she took the time and effort to investigate the situation, and made our whole experience much more enjoyable.

In your position at your work, do you do what it takes to get the job done the right way, or do you just do enough to squeeze by and get to clocking off time? Do you have employees who are engaged enough that they will do whatever is needed to make the customer experience a special one? Or do you have employees who do the absolute minimum, and spend the last 30 minutes of their shift looking at the clock with their bag packed and ready to go, as many of us did back in school during the last hour of the day? How do you train this quality? Can it be trained? How do you develop a culture of providing impeccable service? What drives you to do the right thing, regardless of how long it takes, or the obstacles that might be in your way? We are eager to hear your thoughts on this, as well as examples where you have had similar experiences. Until next week stay safe, and expect the exceptional in everything that you do.

Pros and Cons of heightened technology

As technology has evolved over time, many businesses have sought to increase their profitability by automating many of their processes. In some areas, this has been hugely successful, leading to a greater experience for all involved. However, in others, the shift has not been well received and has caused businesses to shrink. The loss of a personal touch, the inability to speak to someone who can empathize with you, and the time spent crawling through a call tree can all be extremely frustrating.

A phone call earlier today prompted me to write this as my blood pressure was at an all time high after spending what seemed like 3 hours being passed around a directory and the magic pushing of 0 did nothing 😦

Today I am going to look at areas that have improved due to increased technology, and others that have gone in the opposite direction.

Improvements

Cashiers – automation has made lines move much more quickly, and the self-checkout self checkout.jpghas made purchasing items so much more convenient!

Retail – A blend of online shopping and the in-store experience seems to be the best way to go. This is exactly what we are looking for with our approach at Royal Services.

ATM – tellers can now focus on bigger items such as loans, home equity lines etc.

Surgery – robotics has made things happen that we never thought possible in the medical world.

Manufacturing and machinery 

Telephone book and yellow pages – I can’t even remember the last time I looked through a phone book, and am so thankful for the simplicity of looking up phone numbers online.

Maps and Google Maps – remember when you would print out directions?  Unfortunately, the printouts cannot take into consideration traffic issues and give you alternate routes!

Skype/ communication with loved ones – without Skype, my children may not know their grandparents in England at all.  Phone calls are great, but the face-to-face capabilities have made such a difference.

Financial tracking – budgeting tools are imperative for those who need help tracking their finances.

Steps back

Service providers – the frustration is endless when you are attempting to get a hold of a service provider and only get recordings.  It would be much more useful for the consumer to be able to speak to a real person.
Insurance providers – I’m sure many people have had fine experiences with insurance that they purchase online without contact with a person.  However, there is a reason Progressive set up brick and mortar stores – people need that human contact!  Especially with purchases as big and important as insurance.

WebMD and other online medical sites – while these do come in handy some of the time, I am the worst at hopping online when I see a little bump or bruise that looks funny and ending up with my head between my legs, hyperventilating and convinced I’m going to die within the next 30 minutes.  I cannot imagine the frustration doctors experience when people enter their offices acting as if they know more than the person who attended 12 years of schooling, just because they read something online.  Unfortunately these sites that are meant to help ease worries often tend to exacerbate them!

Social media – such a great way to keep in touch with friends and loved ones, but facebook-gymunfortunately they have their drawbacks as well.  As a mother, I try to stay off of facebook as much as possible to prevent feelings of inadequacy and failure.  While I am fully aware that the humble bragging I see on a daily basis is not painting the true picture of motherhood, I can’t help but feel I’m doing something wrong when I look at these seemingly perfect families!  There are also major problems with bullying and harassment, leading to horrible consequences.  PSA to please monitor your child’s Facebook page!!!

Online loan applications – again, this is a big deal and one that some people will feel more comfortable completing with a real person.  Not to mention, once you fill one out you are inundated with sales calls and emails for months!

Time wasted – you might just need to hop on real quick to check the weather, but you notice a new email which includes a link to a video with a cat on a skateboard, which in turn leads to many more hours of wasted time watching silly YouTube videos.

Driving dangers – some people are so addicted to technology that they are willing to put their lives and the lives of others in danger just to send a quick text or check email.

Scary stats about texting and driving

In most situations the best outcomes are experienced when there is a combination of technology and human to human interaction.  Some people see technology as a complete solution, whereas I see it as a tool that gives people the ability to spend more time on what really matters and where they can have more of an impact. What are your thoughts? Are you a fan of technology and look for the minimal human interaction or are you more traditional and appreciate the connection that you can have with a real person? I am interested to hear your thoughts so please share them in the comment box below.

 

Taking Ownership

Recently, I ordered some headbands on Amazon.  As my hairstyle of choice has been ponytail lately, and I occasionally like to be active, I thought some nice headbands to hold my hair back, as well as collect sweat if I’m doing something particularly strenuous, would be a nice item to have.  I read the reviews on Amazon, as I always do, and ended up choosing this particular brand because of the mostly 5 star reviews; the only low star reviews were about how tight they are, and my head isn’t huge, so I thought this would not affect me at all.  Upon receiving them, I realized I probably should have paid a little bit more attention to those negative reviews!  The bands were so tight that they slipped right off the back of my head after wearing them for only a few minutes.  I even tried using clips to keep them in place, but this did not work either.  So I packaged them up to return them, and also left an honest review of my experience on Amazon.  The next day I had an email from the headband company.  I hoped that they were informing me that they had made changes in production, or had a different option I could try, but it was nothing like that.  They said they saw my review on Amazon and my plans to return the headbands and they offered to refund half my money, as well as let me keep the headbands.  They worded it as though they were looking out for me, as Amazon would make me pay shipping for the return and they were here to save me the hassle of returns!  I declined, however, as I knewbuying-stars that Amazon would cover the shipping and I would just end up throwing the bands in the trash if I kept them.  They responded that they would look into offering me a full refund, if only I would “consider the review” I left. I asked them to clarify, and basically, they said they will give me my money back if I will change my review.  What?  That certainly should not be how reviews work.  I purchased these headbands based upon positive reviews; were they all paid for?
I contacted Amazon and they said they would “investigate” as this is against their policies.

This long, drawn-out situation was over HEADBANDS.  The company could not even take ownership of a faulty product as small as a headband.  So what about companies that are hired to do much, much bigger things, like build a house?  Or rollout new display cases over hundreds of stores?  Can you imagine the nightmare you would be in if that company acted like the headband company?  “Sorry we sealed a raccoon into your roof.  We’re going to leave it there, but would you consider giving us a positive review anyway?”   Hiring a company to take on a big project can be a stressful ordeal.  You need to consider quality, cost and time and if you’re like me, you will also pore over online reviews for hours.  The last thing you want is to invest a ton of money into a project only to have a mediocre finished project, or worse, a project that is not finished at all.

But mistakes happen; the people working for you are only human, after all.  The important thing is that they take responsibility for any mistakes that are made, take ownership of the originally agreed upon cost of services, and do their very best to make sure you are completely happy at the end of the day.

I’m sure everyone has a story about a project gone bad, either for your home or business.  From projects that take months too long, to end results that are dangerous for the home or business owner, it’s always a gamble when you begin working with a company who you have never worked with before.  Thanks to the wide world of the internet, we are lucky enough to be able to research the heck out of a company before hiring them on.  If you are thinking of hiring a new project management or facility maintenance company, Royal Services actually encourages potential clients to speak with current partners about their experiences.  They are so confident in the work that they do and the high-quality service they provide,  they know you will be impressed with the feedback you receive.   Royal Services has five key pillars that they stand by, the first of which is Ownership.

Assume accountability for completion of all steps and ensure the best outcome for our clients through planning and execution.

As a business owner, you know the risks involved in a big project.  Don’t hire a company who refuses to stand behind their finished product!  Find a company who is with you even after the job is complete, truly standing by everything that they do.

The high cost of spending less

Most people have experienced that literal fork in the road, where one direction will take you to a decent, reputable hotel chain for $100/night, and the other will take you to a $59/night alternative, that is not as decent, nor as reputable.  But it will do, right?  Yeah, let me know how that works out for you!  As someone who has indeed experienced this situation, let me give you some pointers: 1.  Don’t plan to shower.  Just accept the fact now that you will not want to get in there, and pack your dry shampoo.  2. A hoodie makes a perfect pillowcase.  You will inevitably find something icky on the one provided, and as we don’t typically pack bedding sets in with our clothes and toiletries, you will need to use what you have on hand.  3. EARPLUGS.  That’s all.

An old abandoned North American motel.

The last time I stayed at a motel with DEPLORABLE conditions, I did complain.  Because, while we aren’t breaking the bank to stay there, we should at least be able to count on our water being clear, right?  After I explained to the lady all of the terrible things we experienced in our room, she very generously gave me a gift certificate for a free night.  Umm….. ?  So I guess the last piece of advice is, don’t bother complaining.

When you are on a road trip, and it’s late and you just want to sleep and get on the road again, it’s easy to tell yourself that you don’t need anything nice – just a bed and a shower.  But as I stated above, you really can’t always count on those things in the lower end chains, so maybe if you are having an inner discussion about whether to spend the extra $40, ask yourself how much you would pay for a GOOD shower (that actually makes you feel clean) and a GOOD night’s sleep, where you don’t lie awake most of the night imagining bugs crawling on you.

The same can be said for a number of different things.  Recently, I found a toy that I thought my son would love.  It was a Melissa and Doug cleaning set, with a little mop, cleaningbroom, and dustpan.  I saw it at a garage sale, but it was gone before I could get my hands on it.  When I got home, I looked it up online and saw that the price was far too high, especially considering how much it was being sold for at the garage sale!  I just couldn’t do it.  So my husband went to Walmart and got a less expensive set, but it will have the same effect, right?  Wrong.  Upon playing with it once, all of the pieces fell apart, so now instead of a super cool mop to use while “helping” mommy clean, my kids have a less cool baton to hit each other with.  Now that our second child is into cleaning, wouldn’t it be nice if we had a nice, sturdy play set for him?  In my opinion, it would have been worth it.

When you are looking for a service provider, the same reasoning and logic can be applied. If you need to take your car in for service, would you rather pay $150 now and have a guarantee that the problem will be fixed or would you prefer to pay $75, and risk needing more repairs, requiring you to take more time off work and eventually paying far more than $150?  The answer is obvious to me. And this is why people generally try to go to a car service provider that they trust, one that they can build a relationship with, and one that they know will take care of them.

So if you are in search of a Facility Maintenance company, don’t be scared away by a higher upfront cost.  Remember what you are getting with that higher cost – better quality and more peace of mind that the job will be done, and it will be done well.  With Royal Services, you get all of that and more, including a partnership in which you can place your trust and confidence.   And remember, the price tag that you initially see does not always reflect what your total cost will be.

Giving your all

When do you feel your best?  When do you feel the happiest, and the most satisfied with the way things are?  For me, I feel my best when I can look back over the course of the day and know that I have truly accomplished something.  I’m not always going to complete everything on my to-do list, and that’s OK with me.  However, I do feel satisfied when when I’ve gotten something important done.  This feeling can translate over a number of different life activities.  When you have a great workout and know that you absolutely did the best you possibly could, it might have been the most difficult workout of your life but you will most definitely feel better than if you had only given a part of what you have within you.  And what about when you’re playing sports?  Everyone has the kind of day
where they don’t feel like they have it in them to beat the other player to the ball, or to theBusiness man with the text You Will never Know Your Limits Unles base.  But on those days, it’s even more satisfying when you do.  There are many other times when giving your all truly pays off: job interviews, college exams, even parenting
(although parents know that the measure of our day is not always up to us)!  But one thing that we do Monday through Friday is go to work in order to earn a living, so this is the possibly the most important place where we should push ourselves to the max.

Picture this:  you have an amazing weekend with your family and friends, canoeing down Camping In Mountainsthe most beautiful river and sitting around the campfire before retiring to your luxury tent (with a blow-up mattress of course).  You wake up on Monday morning with a smile on your face, until you remember that you are home now and need to get ready for work.  Even those who truly love their jobs may take a little time to get back into the swing of things.  Mondays aren’t easy; but imagine if you walked into the office feeling less than thrilled, but still managed to work your hardest and accomplish everything you possibly can.  Wouldn’t that be satisfying?  Not to mention the fact that the rest of your week will be much easier now that you won’t be making up for what you missed on the very first day!

The team members at Royal Services strive to go into work with this attitude every day.  Their partners are their number one priority, and they depend on Royal to give it their all in order to keep their businesses running smoothly.  The Royal team can’t afford to have an off day, so if they are feeling in a slump, or still dreaming about their weekend, they simply pull themselves back into the present and get back to the task at hand.  This positive attitude, and the sense of accomplishment that goes along with it, is the reason the turnover rate at Royal is next to nothing.  The only reason people leave is to retire!    So if you need a facility maintenance/project management company who will always put your business first, even ahead of their weekend daydreams, Royal is the way to go!