Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wimbeldon 2012
In America we celebrate our country's birth next week.  Red, white and blue is prevalent throughout the neighborhood.  I am very grateful to have been born in this country.  

However there is something I am not grateful for this year and that is for the first time in over 30 years I am unable to watch Wimbeldon.  I am a huge tennis fan.  I have always watched the 4 major tournaments on TV and attend matches as I can.  To me it is better than a golf tournament.  

NBC lost out to ESPN in the bidding for the exclusive rights to Wimbeldon last year.  I remember hearing this and thinking surely there will be a way for me to watch via internet.  Nope or if there is I haven't figured it out yet.  

I gave up "basic cable" three years ago because my means didn't meet any longer.  I currently pay 90.00 for a land line, internet & 24 TV stations, 6 of those stations I never watch.  Giving up basic cable was difficult at the time.  I was heavily invested in dramas and dvr'd them to watch on the weekend.  Surprisingly I don't miss it.  The quiet was more of an adjustment.  The past few months I have gotten even better about rarely turning the TV on.  Case in point I had no idea Tropical Storm Debby was at my door.  Probably should watch the news at least ;)  

Yesterday morning while driving into work I hear that Rafael Nadal lost to Lukas Rosol in his second round match.  WHAT! How could that have happened?  This morning I wake up to find Roger Federer was two points away from the same fate though pulled it out in a "thrilling fightback".  Wonderful!  I would have loved to see it.

Part of what makes America great is free enterprise and ESPN, fair and square (I hope), beat NBC out.  Wimbeldon has the right to take the highest bidder.  

Shouldn't I, as a consumer, have the ability to choose the 24 channels I want to watch from the local cable provider for a service I PAY for?  

Just saying.....

Friday, June 22, 2012

Composing a Life

On my wish list for any town I live in is that there is a university or college nearby.  I am lucky enough to have two in Tampa, the University of South Florida (go Bulls!) and the University of Tampa.

It was through the University of South Florida that I heard Maya Angelou speak several years ago, an experience I won't forget.  

This last April I had the pleasure to hear Mary Catherine Bateson speak, also at the University of South Florida.  To be honest I had not heard of Ms. Bateson before my friend and yoga instructor asked if I would be interested in going to the lecture so I did some research. Ms. Bateson is the daughter of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson - that alone made me sit up and take notice.  What a fascinating life her early years must have been.  

Ms. Bateson is also an author of several books, two of which specifically called to me:  Composing a Life and Peripheral Visions.  I have mentioned before that I turned 50 this year and it seems a good time to pause and take stock of my life.    I have been asking myself the typical question: am I happy both in my personal and professional lives?  What could I change to make my life more fulfilling?  I have always said there is no such thing as a mid life crisis, to me a person has many crisis's throughout their life - it is a means to grow and learn.  In researching Ms. Bateson I found this quote on her webpage: "We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn."   Bingo!  I definitely wanted to hear this woman speak!

Ms. Bateson specifically was lecturing on inter-generational communication, aging and the life cycle.  The audience was diverse in age which is always a good sign.  My notes on the lecture are such: 
Active wisdom
Listen to the wisdom of others
Good observers
Process of communication must complete the loop
Participate and learn
Don't be spiritually deaf

I have these notes written on a piece of paper stuck on my wall at home.  I am curious what your thoughts are on them?  Where are you at in your life journey? 

As a final note in case anyone at USF reads this post - the parking for this lecture was terrible.  I ended up at a metered parking spot that cost .25 per 10 mins and the maximum time was 1 hour.  I constantly worried I was going to get a ticket.  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Crating - It's Important

It doesn't matter how fabulous a wood door manufacturer is if, during transit, one or more doors are damaged.  All the hard work from getting the door swings correct, reviewing the acknowledgement & having the doors ship on time go out the window with door damage.  Since wood doors are typically one of the last items to be installed on a job it can cause a real issue on a jobsite.  

We have a system here that as soon as a truck pulls up and the guys in the shop realize  wood doors are being delivered they come and get me.  It doesn't matter what I am doing I grab my iPhone (w/camera) and head outside.   We off load via forklift and I watch every single move.  After the forklift has picked up the door load and it has cleared the truck the crate is raised so I can see underneath. In this case the door manufacturer put two sheets of thick cardboard between the pallet and the finished door not hardboard and this is what often happens.

Material can be loaded and unloaded 4-5 times between the time it leaves the door manufacturer and arrives in my shop.  Speed not care is often the driving motion with freight companies.  As you can see the cardboard didn't stop a forklift tine from putting a nice big scrape in the door.  This damage was done at some point along the travel route.  The customer for this particular order paid extra for a 3 day quick ship so he wasn't happy when I called to inform him the door came in damaged.  Before I placed that call I had already talked to the door manufacturer and sent pictures.  A replacement door was in the works but, in my opinion, we failed the customer.

I had had several freight damage issues with this door manufacturer over the past several months and it was agreed upon that a note would be attached to my account so that every quote included an extra crating charge to prevent damage.   Because of this I had been documenting each delivery with photos and even a video of unwrapping a single crated door.   

I typically work with smaller manufacturers that provide great products and even better customer service.  At this point I was very frustrated that no hardboard was being used and expressed this to my inside sales rep. on several occasions.  I have a 2nd door manufacturer whose doors were not getting damaged in transit and was seriously considering my options.  This is what their crating looked like.

You can see the hardboard used on top and there was also a piece on the bottom.  The sides are fully crated - not cardboard corners and stretch wrap.  This is a good crate and what I expect from all my wood door manufacturers. 

I have to say my inside sales rep. came through for me.  She took all my emails, pictures and the video to management and kept the conversation going.  To their credit after much discussion within the company the president emailed me apologizing and thanking me for my input and documentation.  Their policies and crating have changed and so far (knocking on wood doors) I haven't received anymore damaged doors. 

As a lead lined wood door manufacturer we also ship out wood doors and my Production Manager gave me a tip: don't use nails to build a pallet use screws.  Because of the rise and fall of a trailer through the course of travel a pallet made with nails can come loose and separate.  That won't happen with screws.

Of course this is just my take if you have further suggestions please feel free to leave them in the comment section.

Thanks for reading!