Quality Costs MoneyRolly Mechler
By Rolly Mechler, Sales & Marketing Manager
A colleague recently sent through the above Mona Lisa cartoon. While it made me laugh, it also caused me to exclaim: “preach it”! I have been involved in professional business-to-business (B2B) sales for over 30 years now (yup, I’m getting old) and I would have been tempted to respond with this cartoon hundreds of times over those years. Early on, I made the decision that I could only sell for a company where I personally believed in the quality of their product and service offering (i.e. I could sell it to my own mother). No company is perfect, but I decided that I would only align myself with companies that were industry leaders, those which take quality and service very seriously. In my career, this included a world class organization that assisted Canadian Entrepreneurs and Inventors, an international material handling organization and a digital marketing company, and for many years now, a first-rate elevator company. I also realized that personal integrity was of first importance, so I better find a company which had similar commitments to integrity. To me that means you do the right thing, even if, or especially if it costs you money.
The core values at Elevator One are integrity, service and quality. Again, we are far from perfect, and there are probably readers of this blog who can point to times where we may have missed the mark on one or more of those fronts, but I can honestly say that those core values are at the front of every employees’ mind, each day. Recently an external human resource company did an anonymous employee survey at Elevator One and we were excited to see that 3 of the highest survey results were questions pertaining to our company truly living out the values of integrity, service and quality.
The challenge, however, for Elevator One and every other company who is committed to excellence is that quality costs money. It is extremely difficult, more likely impossible, to be the lowest “initial price” company, and at the same time the highest value company. Most people recognize this concept in their commercial purchases. I will often pop into a dollar store if I need some paper plates or balloons for a party, but I am not going to purchase a hammer there when I need one for my basement renovation. I will likely go to a store that sells my favourite, high-quality Estwing hammer.
Our management team continues to be amazed by the drastic differences in service and product offerings in the Ontario elevator industry. On the maintenance front we continue to be disappointed when we undertake maintenance surveys for potential clients. Shockingly, almost 50% of the elevators we survey have not received the minimum “legally required” maintenance services, let alone what they are contractually obligated to do. When it comes to new construction or modernization projects, we continue to see companies installing “proprietary products” (i.e. equipment that only they can properly and cost-effectively maintain after it is installed, thus creating monopoly situations), or other companies who install such cheap equipment that they won’t even offer full maintenance contracts post warrantee (i.e. the customer pays for equipment replacement and labour, so there is no incentive to install high quality equipment).
The “lowest initial price”, is almost always irrelevant, and yet it is the way most contracts are still awarded in Canada. I wrote previously about the archaic Request for Tender (RFT) process (Warning Signs & Advice: RFPs & Tendering from Elevator Construction Companies and Warning Signs & Advice: RFPs & Tendering from Elevator Maintenance & Modernization Companies) that so many organizations continue to use. Theoretically an RFT should be written so well that submissions are so similar that you can simply award the contract to the lowest bidder. While this might work very well for commodity products (bricks, roofing, etc.), it does not work in the complex world of elevators. For this reason, I have seen a dramatic increase in the use of Request for Proposals (RFP), where price is only a portion of the decision criteria (often 25-30%). Critical other factors, such as references, project experience, company abilities, project methodology etc. are used to evaluate the complete offering of submissions so that the organization gets the greatest value.
While you may not need to hire Leonardo Da Vinci to paint you a $650 million Mona Lisa, you are probably expecting something more than a child’s knock-off. You likely undertake due diligence when you purchase an important consumer purchase at home, considering both price and quality, so why would you not likewise make a proper apples-to-apples comparison when considering your commercial elevator purchases. Here are some items to consider when considering elevator maintenance or construction/modernization purchases:
How many “local” elevator technicians? How long has the contractor been in business? How many Google reviews and what is their rating? How many positive references can they provide? What was their TSSA rating when TSSA published it? On average how many trouble calls do they get on the elevators they maintain? What are their labour rates (for work outside of the contract)? What are their contract cancellation clauses? Do they have a guarantee on TSSA Directions?
Do they install “non-proprietary equipment”? Will they offer a full maintenance contract post warranty period? How many crews do they have? How long has the contractor been in business? How many positive references can they provide (including the last project)?
Please be sure to reach out if you would like a competitive quote for your elevator maintenance, modernization or new construction services. We’d be happy to answer all of the above questions. Kindly email us at email@example.com, or call (705) 728-2361.