Sunday, June 24, 2012

Maintenance of Your Machine

I wanted to start tonight’s blog with a quote.  Here it goes

The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.”
Robert M. Pirsig

Why this quote is so relevant is because what I want to talk about.  Maintenance.  Yes we develop maintenance plans for our machines, our mixers, our trucks, but do we our employees?   How does one develop a maintenance “plan” for people?  It’s not like you can change the oil every 3 months or replace a belt every 12.  What do we do?  Is it necessary?  My opinion is yes it is necessary and what do we do…three things. Listen, learn, and educate. First listen.  Listen to your employees.  Stick your finger on the pulse of the company.  Is your employee going through tough times, is your employee hiding something, is your employee elated about something?  Every day is different, but this goes back to some of my old blogs, you are only as good as your employees make you.  Listen to them!  There may be something affecting them that could swing you positive or negative.  But like I said every day is different; keep your finger on the pulse.  That is the only way to maximize productivity.  Second and third learn and educate run together.  Your employees can teach you things and you can teach things as well.  It’s a give and take.  I always find it amazing, at our plant we have one guy who can look at something and take it apart in his mind.   Any engine, any machine, he can dissect it.  Well every time something needs repair it’s a learning experience.  I find myself thinking every time what happens when this guy retires?  You can’t replace this knowledge, but what can you do?  Learn and educate.  Teach another, teach each other.  Along the same lines we have an employee that is time and time again the most recommended delivery driver job after job after job.  What does he do differently?  Again I find myself thinking, “We need to keep this mentality up, what happens when he is gone?”  Every person on your floor or in your fleet has value! They all can teach and they all can learn!  Open it up let them be teachers, let them be the students!  I cannot stress this enough.  We are a society of learned citizens who always yearn for the next step, the next plateau, and we as managers/owners need to lead to those plateaus.  And a lot of times those plateaus are within the company, we just never knew it.  That being said we also have more resources than our shop employees.  Why not use them?  Case in point.  I have started an education fund for our employees where I will match whatever money they put into an “education fund”.  This fund will pay their way to educational courses put on by our national organization, the National Precast Concrete Association.  Why do I do this?  Everyone wants to reach that next plateau, they just don’t know how.   Flip the coin over, this is preventative maintenance on my part.  I invest money in my employees to be better educated in their job, what is my return?  A better understanding of their job and a better respect of what they do.  Money well spent period.  That will give more of a return than any extended life filter or belt you will ever buy.  So it’s like Robert says, “The place to improve the world is in one’s own heart and head and hands, then work outward from there. “  Maintenance on a man will go infinitely longer than any machine.  Listen, learn, EDUCATE!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

In My Father's Footsteps

So in light of Father’s Day I am going to of course write about Father’s Day.  I’d like to share a story with you.  My dad used to do anything for me.  I remember when I was an up and coming pitching prospect and my dad used to catch for me every night.  I must have hit his shins at least 1000 times.  We could have bought shin guards, but he insisted he was ok.  I never really understood why he took hit after hit after hit until now.  Now the tables are turned and I have my own boys.  My son Brady loves to play baseball as well.  However only being 3 he hits off a tee, but guess who fields the ball every single time and guess who puts it back on the tee every single time.  Now I understood why my dad did that, it was the love and sacrifice that I think every father feels for his sons or daughters to be something great.  I do it now for my boys and my dad still does it for me.  Although I don’t play baseball with him anymore, I still feel that love and sacrifice he puts in day in and day out for me.  My dad has not coasted a day of his life and he hasn’t stopped yet.  He works every day of his life to create something better for me and my brothers.  He understands who I am and lets me develop and watches me grow in awe.  Although we have had and still have our share of disagreements, we understand how to work together for a common cause.  Is it business, is it wealth, no it’s a father’s love and sacrifice.  He would do anything for me and I him.  He wants the best for me and the best for my family.  I write this because I think if we all shared a story about our Father’s we’d realize what they mean to us.  I know who my dad is and I wouldn’t trade him for anything.  Love you dad and Happy Father’s Day all!

Sorry Dad Had to Post It   Love Ya!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Friday I won a sizeable contract for a job.  Great!  The best part about the contract award was the feeling I got from telling the production staff we are finally got a challenging contract.  Our common day to day stuff has been keeping us going, but we finally landed a nice contract to turn us from steady to busy and test our skills.  This got me so excited and who to better share it with, the staff.  It had to be one of the proudest moments of my career to finally see the high fives, the fist pumps, the hoots and the hollers.  It was then that I realized we needed a morale boost and we finally got it.  It was like a complete 180 degree change in mood.  To me, morale is the single most important aspect of merit based shop and we are full of it.  I’d like to share with you a quote that describes my crew.

"Morale is when your hands and feet keep on working when your head says it can't be done." ~ Benjamin Morrell

My crew is full of this morale.  Some days I come to work and wonder why our guys work as hard as they do.  Is it the money?  Is it camaraderie?  Is it me?  Personally I think it’s the projects. Having the ability to say I precast that or they told us that can’t be precast, but we precast it.  It is really nice to give them a good, challenging project, which will test our skills and change the workplace a bit.  The only way to describe it is perfect.  I’m ecstatic I landed this contract not only for me, my company, but my staff.  We needed this, we got it, look out world Dalmaray is running, catch up!