After discussing what changes were needed with this customer, I gave him a few things to think about. His change was a major operational shift, from a two grind mulch operation, to a grind and screen to size operation. These changes would be the same as if you were demoing a new grinder or screen, or Wheel Loader for that matter. When do you do it?
In the northern tier of states, the winter season makes obvious sense. Way down south, mulch season starts in October. Southern folk plant their annual flowers around then, and mulch is shortly behind. So the 90-95 degree summers are the same as winter up north. So are these the best times? What do you do?
Making the switch in the almost-no-sales-season doesn’t really tell you if your new operations and production are sufficient for prime season. It would be the same as demoing a new grinder or screen in the off-season. Is the production sufficient?
It makes much more sense to try your new operations in the secondary season, like fall up north or late spring in the south.
Why? What does this do for you?
- You are still in full production mode, but not in your prime season when you cannot afford to fall behind.
- If your new setup cannot keep up with production needs in the secondary season, then you can assume it definitely won’t be sufficient for the prime season.
This will also give you a lot more time during the off-season to come to allow you to make additional changes to your operational plan long before prime season is upon you.
Same as if you were demoing, for example:
- Is a 765HP grinder adequate or do you need 1000HP?
- Is a 1 ½” screen giving you enough production, or do you need to try a 2”?
Whatever the case may be, you will have tried in full production mode and have time to try again in off-season mode.
Everyone should be trying something new! If not, how are you improving your operations?
In closing, I want to add one more off-season / slow-season to do.
Many of the equipment manufacturers or suppliers have some sort of demo day or open house type event. These companies spend a lot of money showing customers a good time but also giving them valuable operational and maintenance information. In October, Amerimulch — a mulch colorant producer and mulch coloring equipment manufacturer — is having their 9th annual customer appreciation event.
I have attended this Conference on numerous occasions. This year is in New Orleans, but it has been in many different Tourist Cities. Aside from covering the accommodations and meals for their Customers, the premise is to thank Customers for their business and offer additional support to help grow their businesses. It is run as a Conference for the attendees with Speakers who are Experts in the business of Transportation, Business Labor, Workers Comp and Equipment amongst others.
But the number one reason on attending these events is to discuss your operational and business issues with other customers and attendees during dinners and social hours. Do your best to attend these events as the benefits definitely outweigh the time away from your operations. The advice, ideas and knowledge you gain will only help you be more profitable. The industry experts you meet, especially those that have, sell or service your equipment will give you more options to call when you do have issues. If you cannot leave the operations at home for a day or two, you really need to attend to get advice on developing your personnel.
Get out there and try it. You will never get anywhere standing still. My motto has always been, “You don’t get anywhere without trying.”
Dave Whitelaw The GrinderGuy Grinderguy@askthegrinderguy.com