Our Key Factors are your Key Factors

If you’ve been to a Franklin seminar, to a Franklin facility, or just around Franklin people, you’ve no doubt seen or heard about our Five Key Factors for Success: QUALITY, AVAILABILITY, SERVICE, INNOVATION, and VALUE.

Consider those five factors in the context of your business. My guess is, even if you haven’t thought about them in exactly those terms, they are the very factors that drive your business as well.  

Take the first, QUALITY. It’s number one for a reason. There is nothing more important to a submersible installation than quality. An early failure, regardless of the cause, is devastating to the end user’s confidence in you and their water system.

But even perfect quality is useless if it’s not available. At Franklin Electric, we think of AVAILABILITY in terms of having product when and where you need it. Likewise, you are also in the business of availability, making water available whenever and wherever it’s needed.

As a water systems contractor, availability is closely tied to Franklin’s third Key Factor for Success, SERVICE. Delivering water is a service business. When someone is out of water, they need it back now. If you’re not available to do that, they will stay on the phone until they find someone who will service them.

As a water systems contractor, many of your customers demand INNOVATION in the products that go into their home. As an example, variable speed, constant pressure products can offer your customers innovations unheard of just a few years ago.

Finally, VALUE. Some might call this price, but value is more accurate. You have to wrap it all up into a package that delivers the greatest value to your customer for their investment in their water system.

QUALITY, AVAILABILITY, SERVICE, INNOVATION, and SERVICE. Those Key Factors have served Franklin Electric very well for decades. You may never have written those words down, but I bet you’ve been thinking the same way we have all along.

Sixty-six pages

At Franklin Electric, our Water Systems Hotline Engineers sometimes quip that “we get paid for reading the Franklin Electric AIM Manual over the telephone.” I’ve substituted on the Hotline and trust me, it’s not quite that easy. But, they have a point. A high percentage of the problems and questions we encounter on Franklin Electric’s Water Systems Hotline are ultimately answered by information that was right there in the AIM Manual all along. No other document in the water systems industry covers so much in so few pages.

AIM stands for Application, Installation, and Maintenance, and the AIM Manual has been around for decades. It gets updated on a regular basis and a new edition printed once every one to two years. Of course, it can be found online as well at:

http://www.franklin-electric.com/aim-manual.aspx

It took me a couple of years to notice this, but the AIM Manual is laid out in a logical order. That is, it generally matches up with the sequence of an installation. For example, near the very front are guidelines for storage of a submersible motor. It then moves on to such design parameters as transformer requirements, frequency of starts, and drop cable sizing. From there, motor specifications get covered and later on, troubleshooting.

The AIM Manual doesn’t cover everything. For example, there’s little information concerning pumps and only limited information on how to troubleshoot a SubDrive installation. This leads to a continuing debate over how much content should go in it. On one side, the argument can be made that the AIM Manual should cover all Franklin Electric water systems products. That could be done, but the result would be so thick and heavy as to become a reference manual that would just sit on a shelf somewhere. So, we try to strike a balance of having just the right amount of information without having too much.

Finally, don’t misunderstand. We encourage you to call the Hotline (800/348-2420) whenever you have a question. Maybe you’re even fairly sure you know the answer and just need to run it by someone. No problem. That’s what we do. But, don’t be surprised if somewhere in the troubleshooting discussion a page right out of the AIM Manual gets referenced.  In hard copy or online, it remains one of the most valuable tools out there.

Just knowing isn’t enough

At Franklin Electric, several of us are currently on the receiving end of some continuing education of our own. Part of the curriculum involves some basic statistics and understanding concepts such as normal distribution and standard deviation. However, a good number of people in the class have already had statistics somewhere along the way and seen most of it before. Our instructor, who does this for a living, readily acknowledged this, but went on to say: “I would suggest that knowing something is nowhere near the same as being able to communicate something. Here’s your benchmark: at the end of these sessions, can you explain statistic concepts to someone in the 11th grade with a Nintendo in their hand in 30 seconds?”

Not a bad goal for all of us. Water systems can be every bit as intimidating as basic statistics. As water systems  professionals, we understand concepts like total dynamic head, friction loss, variable-speed, and cone of depression, just to name a few. But, can we communicate them to a home or business owner using the benchmark above? In many cases, the homeowner just wants to get back in water and you don’t get the chance to explain what’s going on. But, given the opportunity, it’s critical that we communicate how their water system works using language the end-user understands and can relate to. The better you can do that, the better it will be for you and our entire industry.

Training without asking for your credit card

I was recently perusing the website of a company that competes with us on certain products. I was especially interested in what this company had to offer in terms of product training classes. It turns out that they have an extensive list of training options, and it’s all laid out nicely in terms of class content, directions to their training location, and class dates. But what really caught my eye was the “TUITION” section. A half-day class at their facility is $150 per participant and it goes up from there for longer classes. To make it “convenient”, there’s a form on the website for you to provide your credit card information. That doesn’t include lodging or transportation; you’re on your own there, although they do offer a list of nearby hotels and rental car companies that serve their airport. The above is for training at their facility. If you need someone to come provide product training in the field, that fee schedule starts at $3000 for 1 day.

I don’t get it … If I’m a distributor or a contractor or an installer, and you want me to buy and install and recommend your products, training and support should be part of the package. Don’t ask me to hand you my credit card to go learn about your products. Continue reading