Due to the success of Jack Robbins’s live webinar, “Smoke Containment Strategies for Elevator Hoistways and Lobbies,” it is now a regular monthly part of AEC Daily’s Continuing Education Series.
With fewer people wishing to travel to Michigan for installation classes, we have decided to create a more robust Total Door Training Institute on our website. We want to create the entire installation training course as an online option.
To kick it off, we recently shot an installation video for our new SafeFrame™ product in our corporate showroom. John Pierre walks you through step-by-step instructions to install the entire system. It is the first of many to come.
We will introduce the complete video to you soon, as well as additional materials on SafeFrame.
As part of our ongoing efforts to create continuous improvement in our company, our process and our product, we have recently worked with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) to run a couple of Kaizen events.
The first Kaizen event took place in August focusing on our aluminum fabrication department. The second one took place in October, focusing on shipping and receiving. A third one is scheduled to go over our quality process. Eventually, we will do one for every part of the plant and even some departments in our home office.
Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning “good change.” Toyota referred to it as “continuous change” and used it in the 80s to improve quality and efficiency. Today, it’s part of lean manufacturing. It helps a company find and eliminate issues, shorten lead times and eliminate waste – both in materials and process. It is not a tool for eliminating people or demanding more without providing tools and strategies to do so.
A Kaizen event involves all of Total Door’s area experts, the plant manager, members of the executive team and the people who actually work in the area we are focusing on. It begins with a brainstorm outlining the things we want to address and areas that are of concern. Then we go into that area of the plant and start mapping out the processes involved.
For instance, in the aluminum fabricating area, we used the Kaizen process to look for where there was waste, including waste of movement. What does overproduction add into the process? How much waiting time is there and what does it add to the process? How does the layout affect it? We did a spaghetti diagram to see if there was too much time walking around in the process and adjusted the work flow.
Once we had the data and a plan of action, we went to work. We cleaned the whole area and got rid of old and outdated materials that no longer added to the process or needed to be there.
When we were done, we had 15 items to follow up on. It took us 30 days to achieve them. But it was well worth it. The department before this struggled to get a good score in our weekly 5S (Sort, Set In Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain). Since our Kaizen event, it has consistently gotten 100% in their 5S. They are doing a great job following the new processes and keeping everything in it’s place.
By the time we have completed an event for every department, we will not only see improvement that everyone has been involved in, but we will have documented, sustainable, repeatable processes and procedures that will help when something new comes our way.
This is important since our business is all about creating customized doors. Things change every manufacturing cycle. Having processes in place that everyone is familiar with will keep us creating new and better products, no matter what your clients need in the future.
Most of our life safety conversations begin with an explanation of what the code requires. To support those conversations, we are planning an expansion of the “Know Your Code” section of our website. It will deliver more in-depth information that embodies the words “We’re the experts, so that you don’t have to be.”
This expanded section will have more product specific information. It will also map out how Total Door’s labeling, with code-specific information, is unique in our marketplace.
The Know Your Code page currently has a short list of need-to-know requirements related to elevator lobbies and door testing, including code-specific information for IBC and ASME, that can be downloaded. Here are the code sheets available now:
- UL 1784 – Standards for Air Leakage Tests
- IBC 3006.2.1 – Standards for Corridors Adjacent to Hoistway Openings
- ASME A 17.1 – Standards for Additional Doors on Hoistway Openings
We recently shot video and still photos of our new SafeFrame™ product in our corporate showroom. We think you’ll agree – it’s definitely going to turn heads!
Running an AIA Lunch & Learn is a win-win proposition for you and for architects. AIA Lunch & Learns give architects one continuing HSW education credit and gives you a great chance to interact with them, learn what is important to them, and give them vital information on smoke containment systems and life safety codes.
Today, most Lunch & Learns are provided virtually. Remote sessions do allow the opportunity to provide lunch if most of the architects are attending from the same firm and location.
Don’t be shy about scheduling a Lunch & Learn for a date as far out as six months. In our experience, architectural firm gatekeepers are reporting that many firms are booked up far in advance. But even a distant date gets you on the books and starts the conversation.
Be prepared to provide a summary of the program up front. You can find the summaries for each class in your Sales Rep portal on the Total Door website. You’ll also find signup sheets for the class in that same area of the site.
Be prepared to confirm your presentation as the date approaches, and possibly to offer some additional dates that may work for a rescheduled session.
If you would like some backup during the presentation, Candace Kitchen, our Customer Service Representative, can schedule Jack Robbins, our Code Compliance Specialist, or herself to “sit in the back” of your session. Jack and Candace also provide the option of running your Lunch & Learn, to allow you to get acclimated to the typical flow of the sessions.
A typical program runs about 50 minutes. That leaves an additional 10 minutes to answer questions, or to discuss products and benefits. AIA prohibits company-specific sales conversation during the 50-minute program. However, you will likely have the opportunity at the end to ask if the architects are working on projects that could benefit from Total Door Systems.
Follow up is important. Sign-up sheets must be submitted to Candace for the architects to receive their continuing education credit. The sheets also provide contact information for architects at the firm. Sending a personal note of thanks is a meaningful gesture to start your relationship off on the right foot.
If you have any questions, call Candace or Jack any time. We have your back!