January 29, 2007

Winter Downtime

By Paul Bieber

We all know, at least those of us above the Mason-Dixon Line, that winter is slower for the glass and metal industries. Here are some ideas to keep the crew going and hopefully avoiding layoffs:

•Paint your ceiling white. This will make your shop brighter, reducing your need for electric lighting, and will save you energy dollars.

•Repair every extension cord in the place. Without even looking, I can guarantee that half of your extension cords have nicks or loose plugs.

•Power wash the glass racks on your trucks. Road grit and sand will cause scratches, and a small pebble on the baseboard will break a lot of glass.

•Call your local community college…many of them will, on short notice, create a special class for you. Teach your crew the basics of Word or Excel.

•Send an employee to a speciailzed school, like a welding school. This knowledge will help you!

•For the office, call every customer you did business with last year, confirming their name and address is still current. While your are on the phone, ask if the work your company did was satisfactory. If the answer is yes, go ahead and ask if they know anyone who my be doing similar type work, and could you call the potential customer based on your current customer’s recommendation? If the answer is ‘no’, find out why and work on fixing it now.

•Ask if anyone on your staff wants to take vacation now instead of the summer. Help an employee book a last-minute cruise. This type of booking is usually half of the up-front price. Your employee will love your forever.

•Clean every piece of machinery in your shop. Get rid of scrap by cutting to a usable size, and creating an inventory of cutoffs, both glass and metal, and be sure to use this inventory up before buying fresh stock.

•Take your truck in for a tune-up, even if it is a couple of thousand miles less than your manual states. Getting it done now saves a down-time day in the spring.

•Volunteer a day’s time for your crew at a local hospital. Ask the hospital to only pay for whatever materials are needed. Then, call three local newspapers and a tv station. Have them do a story about your volunteer effort. This type of public relations is worth more that the time it costs you to send a 2-3 person crew to the hospital for the day.

•Give every employee all of your back copies of USGlass and Metal. Encourage them to read from cover-to-cover and they will know more about their jobs and industry.

Do you have any ideas? Post your ideas on the USGlass News Network (USGNN.com) and click on the glass forum. We would love to hear from you.