FIX WHAT BUGS YOUR CUSTOMER – Getting LEAN beyond the manufacturing floor

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During a recent visit in Rhode Island, a customer and friend of our organization complained about the features of our WiFi thermostat and Iphone App. He just didn’t like the interface with the control application. He struggled with understanding if the HVAC equipment was running and he didn’t like not being able to program the system settings directly from the Iphone App. Our phone interface bugged him. What happens when our customer’s get repeatedly frustrated with experiencing our product, services or people? You know the answer. They’ll be gone.

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We have been learning and growing in our LEAN journey at Cambridge. My key learning has come in the form of exposure to the energy and passion of our Operations staff for documented improvements in our plant. I’ve been drawn into the LEAN vortex in operations because of our people and their commitment to improving things every day. Unfortunately, the passion for LEAN has not translated to the same awesome level of enthusiasm and commitment beyond the factory floor. Like many in the sales, the customer service and the marketing departments, I have struggled to document meaningful process improvements. My focus on fixing what bugs me has yet to yield the transformational improvements that are possible for me and my team. While transformational improvements are not our stated objective, I find myself feeling reluctant to put forth additional 2-second Lean improvements. Others in my organization have shared similar frustrations. Paul Akers, the author of the book 2-Second Lean, details that every organization hits plateaus in LEAN and persistence is needed to push through to another level.

My perspective on LEAN shifted during this Rhode Island trip to VIBCO, a family owned U.S. based manufacturing organization. I want to share my perspective shift in hopes that it might unlock more people regarding how LEAN practices can propel all of us forward into closer relationships with our customers. I am shifting my thinking from fixing what bugs me to fixing what bugs my customer. Over the last year, I have spent the majority of my time looking at my processes, my environment, my efficiency, my organization, my wasted time and energy.

As I reflect on the power of our Customer Service team, I believe their stellar reputation in the HVAC industry is built upon this hard wired philosophy of helping customers solve problems fast. They strive to support the customer quickly. Both on the phone and on site, our customer service squad supports solving issues that bug customers. Within our technical advisory team, they support our Reps and contractors with information, analysis and design to make their customers more effective with their customer. They have a guaranteed 24 turn around commitment to their customer and typically deliver in less than 4 hours. LEAN beyond the manufacturing plant dock doors is all about fixing what bugs customers.

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I’ll report back on the progress we make creating our own LEAN Sales Vortex. We are building our 15 minute daily stand up meeting agenda now. It will include building and fixing customer issues and new ideas for customer improvements. We will be discussing our “Go and Watch” plans for cross functional team learning and customer centric improvements. Finally, we will be outlining our Revenue team external exposure plans so that we can provide an environment to unlock everyone’s genius for fixing what bugs our customers.

Is it not true that what bugs the customer, likely bugs us the most?

Retrofit Old Inefficient Heating Equipment with Cambridge HTHV Technology

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As an HVAC contractor who services commercial and industrial accounts you know that one of the biggest complaints that you hear from your clients is the high cost to heat their facility. You know this is especially difficult when they are still using old inefficient heating equipment. As a manufacturer of high efficiency industrial heating equipment we thought we would share a video with you about our ability to help you reduce your clients energy bills using Cambridge equipment.

In this video Marc Braun describes the three most common heating solutions (Unit Heaters, Boilers & Air Rotation units) that are a prime target for replacing with a Cambridge High Temperature Heating and Ventilation (HTHV) solution.

If you interested in learning more about retrofit opportunities using Cambridge HTHV equipment visit our website at www.cambridge-eng.com to contact us.

TEN SALES LESSONS FROM GOLF

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I really enjoy golf.    I love how the game brings people together from all walks of life and stages in life.   Being outdoors for 2-4 hours in a world of offices and meetings is great for friends, families and business associates.  Golf teaches several life lessons that help anyone seeking to improve performance.

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TEN SALES PERFORMANCE – GOLF LESSONS

  1. Learn/Practice: Sales people are made.  They are not created.   Just like the best players in the golf game, those that commit to practicing and learning their craft, fare better than those that are winging it.
  2. Have Fun: If you have passion and energy for something and can enjoy the experience, you are going to return to it again and again.   If you don’t feel the special calling, do something else.  We must be inspired.
  3. Expect to Win: Just like seeing the putt role in the hole or the approach shot rattle the pin, expect greatness and great outcomes.   Visualize the best outcome without worry of the worst.  The best outcome is just as likely as the worst.   Focus on the best.
  4. Slow Down: Forget all the prep, all the practice, let your instincts work with all the preparation you’ve done.  Focus on the here and now and be present, with awareness of your surroundings.  Rushing towards the next move is not required.   Live in the now.  Your customers will love the way you listen to them.
  5. Develop a Rhythm: I often rewind PGA tour swings on my DVR and it drives my kids crazy.   I love the tempo and the rhythms of the PGA tour professionals.   Think about Ernie Els swing for a moment.   Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual rhythms are vital to our success.   What are you cementing into process that demonstrates a consistency and a rhythm?
  6. Ease Up: Don’t be your own worst critic.   Every pass doesn’t have to be flawless.   Hitting better bad shots is the objective.  The flawless ones, the pure ones will come when they come.  Work on making the misses more on target.   Keep taking shots and moving forward with positive attitude.   Be too hard one’s self and watch how joy and results follow.
  7. Focus on the process: This probably borrows from #1 and #5, however, I like it for the message around regarding one’s focus on the process and not the result as the worthy endeavor.   When we can commit our process to paper or in very succinct clear language, then your process is crystallized.   Thinking LEAN, or 2-Second Lean (author: Paul Akers), I might say that a written best practice approach on process is appropriate.   In golf, one’s putting routine process or tee box pre shot ritual or the very swing itself reminds us that process matters.   The result may look different each time.  Focus on process.  Nail process.
  8. You don’t know where it’s going, but you can’t stay here: It is hard for us to be humble and accept that change is needed.   Change starts with humility and an acceptance that we are not yet fully adapted and evolved.   Embrace change not for change sake, but for the continuous improvement mindset.  Hope is about a better tomorrow in all things.
  9. Respect Others: The golf game etiquette we are all taught as we learned the game reflects life lessons regarding the value of others.  Thinking beyond ourselves to listen and accept the ideas and perspectives of others.   Just like we don’t walk in someone’s line or speak in their backswing, we don’t walk on someone’s perspective or speak over them in conference.
  10. Let It Rip: Commit and go do it. Activity builds momentum.  Perpetual planning and plan revision thwarts pace.   Take 1 less meeting per week and make 1 more appointment or networking appointment each week.

 

Thank you for continuing to follow us here at “The Fresh Air Stream.”   I would love to hear from you regarding valuable life lessons that have impacted your success.  Please like this post and share it with other golfers in your lives

Energy Efficienct Direct Fired HTHV Products qualify for Rebates

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Another reason to get excited about HTHV technology?

Building owners and facility managers can receive additional gas utility rebates when purchasing and installing HTHV technology.

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For years, both electric and natural gas utilities have offered rebates for energy efficient products, and direct gas-fired HTHV is no different. Natural gas utilities across the country have been providing custom rebates for HTHV products through their commercial and industrial rebate programs for over a decade.

Because of the DOE’s study on the benefits of HTHV equipment, many natural gas utilities are adding prescriptive rebates for HTHV products to the already available custom rebates. Amounts vary by utility, but rebates can provide as much as $12,800 in rebate funding for a 3.2 million Btu heater, promoting the installation of even the largest heaters available.

Combining rebates with the gas savings that a 92% efficiency HTHV heater provides can help drive down the return on investment that today’s building owners and facility managers need to meet when purchasing capital equipment.

If you need help applying for your rebates, feel free to contact Cambridge Client Care at 888-919-1887. Our representatives understand the steps and are more than willing to assist you.

Now it’s easier and more cost effective than ever to install HTHV technology.

High Efficiency Space Heaters Get DOE’s Attention

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Over the past 25 years, ASHRAE has dramatically increased the minimum efficiency requirements for commercial buildings and their associated equipment. The direct result:

• 44% improvement in lighting efficiency
• 27% improvement in cooling efficiency
• 21% improvement in building envelope efficiency
• 37% improvement in commercial building efficiency overall
• But only 1% improvement in heating efficiency

With such a small increase in heating efficiency compared to other categories, High Temperature Heating and Ventilation (HTHV) direct gas-fired heaters caught the attention of the Department of Energy (DOE) as a way to dramatically reduce energy consumption.

Field Demonstration of High Efficiency Gas Heaters

In many commercial and industrial buildings, unit heaters are the popular choice for space heating. But, according to ASHRAE, these buildings require ventilation systems in addition to space heating in order to meet code. With separate systems providing space heating and outside air, most buildings have complex heating systems that consume too much energy.

Wanting to find out for themselves the viability of the HTHV technology, the DOE conducted their own independent study.

They discovered that direct-fired HTHV demonstrated 20% gas savings compared to standard unit heaters, a margin that could substantially reduce energy consumption and utility bills for commercial and industrial buildings in the U.S.

Direct-fired technologies have been widely adopted as high-efficiency ventilation units. The DOE’s study has proved HTHV’s viability in increasing heating efficiency in the United States, an area that not seen much improvement in the past 25 years.

Click here to download the full DOE study >>

Variable Ventilation Controls on Cambrige MAUs

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Here is a short 2 minute and 30 second video about 3 available options on Cambridge Engineering’s Make Up Air Units. Watch the video to learn about our Modulating Gas Controls, Variable Frequency Drives and Automated Profile Damper controls.

Thanks for watching.

Cambridge Engineering Travels to Xylem Design for Global Lean Leadership Summit

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Watch this great video about a recent trip our leadership team took to Xylem Design in Fort Collins, CO for a Global Lean Leadersship Summit. Learn how Xylem eliminates waste and romoves that which they struggle with in they daily activities.

Let us know what you think about these Lean efforts.

Is it “Heating & Ventilating Technology” or “Ventilating and Heating Technology?” That is the Question!

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As our clients navigate HVAC system design for high bay facilities such as distribution centers or industrial manufacturing plants, they are often asked to recommend a design that accomplishes 3 key deliverables.

1.) Meet variable ventilation requirements
2.) Meet heating requirements / (Consider air load and conductive load and comfort requirements)
3.) Evaluate redundancy to eliminate production and/or service interruptions

Warehouse

As a manufacturer of high efficiency heating technologies (S-Series, SA-Series, Infrared) and ventilating technologies (M-Series, M-Series w/Cooling) we first seek understanding regarding how the building will be operated in order to recommend a heating platform, a ventilation platform, or both. While the core technologies are both 100% outside air, direct fired gas heaters, there are differences in system performance that will impact EE (energy efficiency), thermal comfort, and system installation cost.

When there is a high level of CFM being exhausted due to processes inside a manufacturing facility, making up that building air loss with mechanical ventilation or inbound CFM is critical to balancing the air load of the building. Direct Fired Make-Up air systems with variable air flow capabilities utilizing a Variable Frequency Drive help to ensure better indoor air quality, better thermal comfort, and in some cases reduce safety incidents caused by negative environments and back drafts with non-powered combustion devices.

When high CFM needs are identified (VENTILATION DRIVEN APPLICATION) due to process exhaust in either a manufacturing facility or distribution facility, engineers will first seek to design a VENTILATION (M-Series) system to bring the building to a neutral or balanced position with proper relief. According to the International Mechanical Code and the International Fuel Gas Code Section 611.7

Relief opening – The design of the installation shall include provisions to permit non-recirculating direct-fired industrial air heaters to operate at rated capacity without over-pressurizing the space served by the heaters by taking into account the structure’s designed infiltration rate, providing properly designed relief openings or an interlocked power exhaust system, or a combination of these methods.

Depending on the application, achieving a neutral or even slightly positive pressure can be advantageous to keep natural infiltration in check and to avoid severe over pressurization, or adding to the required air load in the building. ANSI/ASHRAE Standards 62.1 is the recognized standard for minimum ventilation rates to meet acceptable Indoor Air Quality. As the complexity of a building’s air load increases with variable exhaust due to intermittent processes, variable ventilation solutions are required to maintain fresh air and neutral to slightly positive pressure in the building.

Now that the ventilation is addressed in this high CFM building scenario, the designer then seeks to understand the heat load of the building and evaluate if the ventilation solution carries enough BTUS to cover heat requirements on design days. The warehouse or manufacturing facility in this case is built to FIRST satisfy the ventilation requirement and then “stack” any supplemental heating technologies to cover the heat load (air load + conductive load = total heat load.) In order to maximize efficiency, the designer can utilize a low CFM, high BTU heating technology to build the comprehensive system if the ventilation technology does not deliver the needed BTUs on design days for that particular city or location. In this scenario, designers would utilize the M-Series ventilating and heating technology and consider supplementing with S-Series (low CFM, high BTU) heaters if necessary to deliver efficiently, any remaining BTUS required.

When there is not a significant process call for CFM or ventilation beyond basic ASHRAE 62.1 requirements for indoor air quality, High Temperature Heating and Ventilating (HTHV) technologies like the Cambridge S-Series offer the most effective solution. These offer the highest btu/cfm outputs of any make up air technology in the industry. In a HEATING DRIVEN APPLICATION, the designers seek to understand the heat load for the building and design a system that accounts for infiltration and brings the building to neutral, but does not over pressurize the building again addressing proper relief per the IFGC.

This leads me to my last deliverable. Reliability and redundancy of ventilation and heating systems in an industrial manufacturing plant is central to productivity, output and plant productivity measurements. Failure of systems or lack of redundancy of system design is not an option. Deploying systems that are designed to exacting specification, that are built to last, that are reliable and that are easy to service are minimum expectations in the plant production arena. Designers choose quality manufacturers and consider redundancy in their designs to meet the unique demands of these applications.

When designing a ventilation and heating system or a heating and ventilation system for your high-bay building, explore the advantages that two different equipment platforms may provide you in the areas of thermal comfort and operating costs (or EE.) Cambridge Engineering, Inc. manufactures both MAU (Make Up Air/Ventilating) and HTHV (High Temperature Heating & Ventilating) types of equipment. While we are most known in the industry for our HTHV heating & ventilation technologies, we have been delivering outstanding product, design service and post installation support within the MAU space for over 15 years.

Let us know how we can support you with your system design. Is it a ventilation or heating requirements based system design? Please share your thoughts on your design approach or system considerations as you navigate the nuances of heating and/or ventilating high bay buildings.

Move from Presenting to Selling for Improved Sales Results

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Have you ever found yourself in this situation? You go to a meeting ready to engage in a discussion and you wind up listening to a presentation that includes a massive data dump. I’ve heard it called “death by PowerPoint.” Entering into a customer meeting with your presentation deck provides the presenter with a comforting safety net but often times misses the mark in allowing one to build real momentum in understanding the customer’s core challenges and their primary need for the solutions that you and your firm can provide. In an effort to provide the attendees with as much information as possible, we often times miss the opportunity to truly engage with our customers on the topics that are most important to them.

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Presentations are great when you are engaged in an educational session and your audience is seeking educational content especially as it relates to new concepts, new product categories and ongoing educational agendas with your listeners. Educational sessions lend themselves well in these types of situations.

Presentations are dramatically different than selling situations. Selling situations require an entirely different approach by sales professionals. Our customers are served better when we “Lose the PowerPoint.” Drop the presentation. Don’t even bring it with you. Instead, enter the meeting with a note pad and a pen with a desire to help your customer identify their challenges and a determination to understand whether or not you are able to assist them. Enter your customer meetings with an honest desire to capture your customer’s input. Enter the meeting, prepared to ask the right questions necessary to gain understanding of your customer’s struggles. Where there is struggle or complexity, there may be a need for you and your company’s solutions.

ESTABLISH RAPPORT QUICKLY
Getting a meeting started with positive energy requires your confidence and comfort level. Honestly believing deeply that what you have to offer can help your customer achieve a better life for themselves and their organization provides you with a calm, clear head. You are not seeking to sell anything. You are seeking information. Your success in the meeting is based upon your desire to help. You are here in this meeting today to determine if you can assist the customer. You are in the meeting to diagnose complexity, complication and struggle. Where there is a struggle, there is an opportunity.

UPFRONT CONTRACT – ASK UPFRONT FOR A DECISION AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE MEETING
At the conclusion of the meeting, I’d like for our customers to decide if we should continue working together on potential solutions, be they products, services or both. The key to the upfront contract is that it is okay for the customer to say no. No is an acceptable answer. It prevents the unnecessary customer chase we can often find ourselves in with customers that are not ready to engage you and your company. The customer is in control.

30 SECONDS of AUTHORITY – We help mechanical contractors improve their operating margins on space heating and ventilation applications in warehouse & industrial manufacturing facilities. With over 35,000 installations and over 2 billion square feet served, CEI has a wealth of application specific installations to assist mechanical contractors in delivering solutions for their customer. For 53 years, we have supported our mechanical contractor partners with heat and air load analysis basis building conditions and have recommend inherently safe, highly, energy-efficient and lowest total installed cost equipment for their building’s HVAC designs to help contractors win projects.

ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

1.) Understand the Past – What have they tried in the past? How has it worked for them? What do they like about it? What do they not like about it? What, if any, challenges have they had with their past approach? Based on their experiences what could be improved upon?
2.) Understand Their Present Situation – What are they doing now? Are they currently reviewing other solutions? What are you looking at and why? Are they open to additional alternative solutions? What additional challenges or obstacles are there now that we need awareness of?
3.) Envision the Future & A Successful Outcome – What would the customer like to change/fix? What does success look like for the customer? What is the financial impact of a successful outcome? Can the customer quantify the value of the solution? Who benefits from a successful outcome?

The best sales people ask the right questions. They resist the urge to sell products and services prior to learning about the customer’s specific challenges. The above list is by no means the best questions to ask in every situation. Each person must work on these with their own teams for alignment.

Rather than going in armed for bear with information decks, formal presentations and the latest marketing brochure, consider going in completely bare with your own desire to help. Lose the presentation and build confidence through a probing conversation. Try not to prescribe the medicine until you’ve done the thorough diagnosis of the conditions, the challenges, the problems that customer is facing.

I would welcome your feedback and your list of key questions that you feel promote great conversations with your customer base. We can all benefit from improving our own line of questioning to unpack the value that the customer is seeking. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the topic with our subscribers.

Indoor Air Quality…It Really is Important

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According to the Environmental Protection Agency the average American spends 93% of their life indoors…. 87% is spent indoors at their work and home and the other 6% is spent in their automobiles. With that much time spent inside we should all be more concerned with Indoor Air Quality.

Recently Cambridge Engineering’s Doug Eisenhart published a post about IAQ that focused on the effects of temperature and productivity of a workforce because ambient air temperature is an IAQ factor. Doug was spot on with his comments about productivity and its correlation to temperature.

Along with temperature the quality of the air from indoor pollutants is also an important IAQ factor that needs our attention. Pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOC), particulates and carbon dioxide, to name a few, can not only affect short term productivity but can also have long lasting negative health consequences to those working in that environment.
One way to alleviate these types of IAQ problems is to have the building properly ventilated through the use of mechanical ventilation of filtered outside air. By using High Temperature Heating and Ventilation (HTHV) products that use 100% outside you have the ability to not only heat the space but also ventilate the space in an effort to help reduce the types of indoor air pollutants that can sometimes cause serious health problems. HTHV products, when combined with appropriate air filters offer a very energy efficient way to heat and ventilate a structure during the winter months when bringing in outside air is the most problematic.

There is plenty of information available that can provide guidance on indoor air quality and ventilation. Here are two that I have found useful:

1. OSHA publication titled – Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings can be located on OSHA’s website at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/3430indoor-air-quality-sm.pdf

2. ASHRAE publication titled – Indoor Air Quality Guide: Best Practices for Design, Construction and Commissioning is a free publication located on the ASHRAE website at https://www.ashrae.org/resources–publications/bookstore/indoor-air-quality-guide. The guide is designed for architects, design engineers, contractors, commissioning agents, and all other professionals concerned with indoor air quality.

ASHRAE also has available for purchase their ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2016 Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. Standard 62.1 specifies minimum ventilation rates for new and existing buildings that are intended to provide indoor air quality that is acceptable to human occupants and that minimizes adverse health effects. This publication is located on the ASHRAE website at https://www.ashrae.org/resources–publications/bookstore/standards-62-1–62-2.

Let us know what you think about the IAQ subject and look for more post on Indoor Air Quality in the future.