The Fire 'Quip'

The Fire ‘Quip” The September 2016 Bobs Blog. It’s been a while since our last newsletter and things have changed for the better. Our last few months of trading have put us on the right side of the ledger and its looks like it is going to continue into the future. This issue P2. From the Finance Managers desk. P2 . Farewell Rick Morris P2. Performance Re views—Do they really matter P3. Good Times Ahead P4. Getting to know you P5. 5 Ways to Improve Order Picking Productivity P6. Janelle’s Handy Hints P6. 20 Years P6. Sales Department It was sad to see Rick Morris retiring after around 17 years with Firequip. Talking to Rick recently he said that he was putting his spare time into some useful projects. Rick was recently rewarded for many years of hard work at Blacktown Rugby club by becoming a Life Member. Congratulations Rick. Richard Crossingham will have worked at Firequip for 20 years at the end of this month making him the longest serving employee after Carol and myself. Thanks Richard for your loyalty and hard work over that period of time and look forward to the next 20 years. The Customer Service Promise that Wayne has put throughout the company has seen a big improvement in the Culture of our people and the mistake rate drop off substantially over the last six months. We are never going to be perfect but we seem to be heading in the right direction. The sales department seems to be going from strength to strength with Ziad securing a big contract for the North West Rail. We welcome Geraldine into the sales department. The rest of the crew have had some challenging times with the increased workload but they have handled it with no problems. The backroom boys in the warehouse have done a really great job with staff shortages for a few weeks but they just kept packing. A special thank you to you guys. In the accounts team Marnie Collins left to pursue a career with another company closer to home. We wish Marnie all the best in the future and I am sure with what she has learnt here she will be an asset to any company that employs her. Thanks for the time you were here. We have Sophie to replace Marnie and she is fitting in well. Sima has been in command of the accounts team while Richard took two weeks of well earned holidays. Jared has done a fantastic job in the last few weeks in purchasing. With the increase in business he has keep up with the difficult job of forward ordering. Wayne has also secured a new pipe supplier and we will get our first shipment in the next few months. Jobs well done. The fabrication shop has been kept at full capacity thanks to Lewis in sales , Grant doing the quotes and Jonny doing the work. Jonny is currently doing training to get his trade qualification and attending a training centre 2 nights a week for 6 months to get his certificate. Thanks to all employees for your hard work over the last few months and becoming part of a team with the right culture to overcome hurdles put in our way and make Firequip the employer of choice and supplier of choice. This all comes down to working as a team.
The Fire    Quip    The  September 2016  Bobs Blog. It   s been a while since our last newsletter and things have changed ...
From the Finance Managers Desk Firequip has had a strong start to the new financial year, and looks to continue this trend through the lead up to the Xmas season. It looks like 2016 is the year that the hard work that has been put in by all in the organisation to align our products and, importantly, the customer service we provide, with the needs of our customers, has borne fruit, with four of the last eight months seeing us exceed the million dollar sales mark. In the Purchasing department, we said farewell to one of the stalwarts of Firequip, Rick Morris in July. Rick was such a constant for Firequip over so many years, things feel a little strange without him, nevertheless time waits for no man and we all hope that he enjoys his well earned retirement. Ahmad Chlone had a stint with us in June to provide some insights from his period as the head of Naffco (Dubai) purchasing, and revealed much in the way that we can make Firequip more profitable and competitive. Our Finance team is undergoing a change at present, not just in the rearrangement of the offices, but also our personnel. Marnie Collins, after four years of chasing our customers for money, has decided to join one of them. Her new job will no doubt bring opportunities to engage with Firequip from a different perspective, I just wonder how the rest of the Collins family are preparing for these engagements? Marnie has done a wonderful job in the debtor management area, and we all wish her well in the future. In the meantime, Sophie Trinh has joined us and, as I write this, is having a crash course in all things Firequip. Please make her welcome. Farewell Rick Morris In July we celebrated Rick Morris’s 70th birthday and farewelled him on his retirement. Rick had a good innings with Firequip, working here for 18 years. We wish him good times and good health in his retirement. Cheers for now. Richard A. Performance Reviews Reviews— —do they really matter have done in the last several months, and perhaps also a few things that you might be able to approach differently. So – you have just gone through the performance review process again. And again you ask yourself – why do we do this? I want to give you a few good reasons why you should see your performance review discussion as a privilege of being part of Firequip – rather than a pain. 1.Performance review discussions are an investment by Firequip in you. They say that you are so important to the business that your leader is prepared to take the time to talk through feedback with you on your performance. They give you both a chance to talk about all the great things you 2.The performance review discussion gives you a special opportunity to ask your leader for development. Your leader wants you to tell them what you would like to learn next, what you might want to study, what job you might want to move into one day. Obviously if you want to be a world champion basket weaver, Firequip might struggle to find the right role for you. But, in most cases, there will be great opportunities to learn new things within the business – but you have to have the chance to ask. 3.The discussion is a 2 way street. Just as your leader will provide you with feedback, you should do the same back to them (in the nicest possible way, of course!). Only by both of you doing this will you build the best possible relationship, which not only helps the business get better, but it will also help the workplace be more enjoyable for you. Firequip is a very busy place on a day to day basis – you should see your performance review as a special chance to step back from what you do each day and think about what you have done well, what you can do better (and what new skills you might need for this), and how you and your leader can work together in the most productive way for the future. (P.S. You will see that I didn’t mention pay or bonus anywhere in this article… That was very deliberate! You should see your performance review discussion as being something absolutely worth doing on its own for the reasons listed above. Your pay or any potential bonus is going to be affected by lots of different things. Your performance review will be one of these things – but not the only one.) Kerry Skellern
From the Finance Managers Desk Firequip has had a strong start to the new financial year, and looks to continue this trend...
100 Good Times Ahead Wayne Collins It’s been a busy time since our last newsletter with plenty happening and, not least, some fantastic ‘sales’ results including a record month in May – how good is that?!! These milestone achievements are to everyone’s credit and just reward for all the hard work that has been put in over many months. I’ve mentioned previously that a key objective is to get consistency in our results and this is really starting to show through and, without doubt, we are a long way down the road to becoming the ‘stand out’ supplier within the industry. Everyone should be extremely proud of our achievements and I’m confident that there is a general feeling, at Firequip, that we can only get better. Yes, there will be further road bumps and obstacles to overcome but I believe we are better equipped now to deal with these. My reasons for saying this are based on the fact that we are continually opening the lines of communication between each other whether this is informally on a day-to-day basis, structured meetings, performance reviews, the newsletter and initiatives such as the Peoplepie Culture Survey. We’re due to run a second round of the survey very soon and it will be interesting to see what the feedback is and how this differs to the survey we did last November. Developing a strong Company Culture is more important than ever. It’s not that company culture was ever unimportant but, in today’s business environment, it’s proving to be a “must have” rather than a “nice to have”. Every company is defined by it to the extent it could even be considered the organisations DNA. One aspect of developing a healthy culture is to set the standards of behaviour expected and, very importantly, how we treat each other. With that in mind, back in March, we issued our Discrimination and Harassment Policy and I’d encourage everyone at Firequip to periodically remind themselves of the content of this policy. As I’ve said before mutual respect and helpfulness costs nothing and this will feed into developing a strong and healthy culture at Firequip which, in turn, will see us consistently deliver on our Customer Service Promise (I did manage get five paragraphs into this article before mentioning customer service!!) In the previous edition of The Fire ‘Quip’, Kerry Skellern, our external consultant, highlighted the difference between ‘working on the business’ as opposed to ‘working in the business’, which can involve the need for a meeting or two. Understandably this can sometimes be perceived as ‘just another meeting for the sake of it’ but it’s important that a company is periodically reviewing its objectives and measuring progress. That said we have, in recent weeks, revisited our Business Plan which has resulted in ‘tweaking’ a few existing projects and developing new ones to work on. We started by reviewing our Mission and Vision statements. A Mission Statement defines what we do as a business, our objectives and our approach to reach those objectives. On the other hand the Vision Statement describes the desired future position of the company. Our Mission Statement (Please see Pyramid above) remains unchanged and I would like to emphasise the fact that Firequip is committed to providing development opportunities for all team members and what better opportunity to discuss this than the twice yearly performance review meetings. When it came to the Vision Statement we looked at this on the basis of our focus on Customer Service and the positive impact this had on our business. We recognised the need to constantly be aware of, and understand, what it is that our customers want. We also considered the importance of the relationships we have with our suppliers. With this in mind our revised Vision Statement highlights the need for us to be responsive with customers and suppliers and underpin this with our Customer Service Promise and strong company values. The projects within the Business Plan include growing our market share in the plumber’s merchant sector. Historically, this has been a very difficult market segment where there is a high degree of price sensitivity, although we will continue to push the added value of providing great customer service. We have some key contacts with the larger merchants and the last two months results for this sector are encouraging and we are seeing increasing opportunities to quote on many large projects. The Fire segment was a real success story for us in the last financial year and we will look to build on that in the 2016/17FY. We are getting some great feedback as regards service levels and again some large projects in the pipeline. Continued page 4
100  Good Times Ahead  Wayne Collins  It   s been a busy time since our last newsletter with plenty happening and, not lea...
Continued …………… Two other important projects are to consolidate the fact that we are “back in the fabrication and hire business” and we will be focused on getting the message out there to our customers and really drive these parts of our business. We are reviewing our website offering which it is acknowledged has been below par and to say we have been let down by outside sources is an understatement – I’ll say no more !! We are currently working with Micronet on the possibility of taking up their ECOM web platform and they are currently developing a test site for us to take a look at. We will be able to control what appears on the Firequip website directly from Micronet and customers will be able to purchase online, view pricing, obtain copy invoices and statements and review their purchase history. We have been asking customers to give us their thoughts on this potential website offering and the large majority are strongly in favour of it. Another project is to develop our understanding and use of HARMONiQ, our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software Good Times Ahead and this will include a longer term assessment of migrating fully from Micronet to the HARMONiQ platform. Whilst on the subject of all things technological we have engaged the services of an IT Consultancy to review our whole IT set up and provide recommendations on what direction we should be going in, given that it is five years since our last upgrade. One possibility is to migrate to ‘The Cloud’ and dispense with a room full of hardware – I’ll keep you posted. Most of you will know that we have had some long term relationships with overseas suppliers and we have recently leveraged off this in negotiating improved terms that represent better value for Firequip. We are now looking to cast the net further and wider and look for opportunities to source other products from overseas suppliers as opposed to locally, which will have the potential to improve margins. Finally, and not least, we are looking to develop an ‘incentives and recognition’ program designed to highlight and reward team mem- bers for good work. One possibility may be to introduce a ‘Customer Service Champion’ award each month which would be based on external and internal customer feedback and, on that note, I would encourage everyone to make full use of the customerservice@firequip.com.au email address. Please take the time to submit a few words to acknowledge the good work of a work colleague. To finish, I would like to thank everyone for their continued ‘buy-in’ to our Customer Service Promise. It is making a difference to us as a business and will continue to do so and hopefully will provide everyone with a great deal of satisfaction on a personal level. I would just like to make mention of Rick Morris who sailed off into the retirement sunset in July. I’d like to thank him for his contribution to our business over 17 years and I’m sure everyone joins me in wishing Rick and Janet many years of healthy and happy retirement. Wayne Collins Getting to know you Name: Geraldine Cruz What music do you listen to?: No one will know who this is but I listen to Mike Francis and RMB. Position: Customer Service. What was the last movie you went to see at the cinema?: Finding Dory with my Daughter. Years @ Firequip: Since July 4, 3 months in October What are your hobbies?: Watching movies during my weekend and hanging out with my kids. What is your favourite Drink?: Baileys What would I find in your fridge right now? Easy frozen meals and half eaten banana and apple. If you were a super hero what would your super powers be? I would be flash, super fast. You can get what ever you need to do.
Continued                 Two other important projects are to consolidate the fact that we are    back in the fabrication ...
5 Ways to Improve Order Picking Productivity Supply chain Operators are faced with the challenge of reducing labour costs, but at the same time, customers are placing more orders with smaller quantities. Sound familiar? In the face of flat or declining growth rates, the pressure is on for companies to reduce operating expenses to protect margins. Supply chain executives are faced with the challenge of reducing labour costs, but at the same time, customers are placing more orders with smaller quantities. Customers are also under pressure to lower costs by reducing inventory levels and this translates into more cost to serve for your business. Thus the business challenge is how to do more with less within the distribution operation. To this end, there are usually opportunities to increase efficiency depending on a company’s starting point. Since 50+% of warehouse labour resources are typically involved in picking, packing and shipping outbound orders, it usually makes sense to focus on these operations first. Now may be the time to revisit some basic first principles to maximizing warehouse efficiency. With this entry, we focus on 5 ways to improve picking operations: 1. Mixing multiple Stock items in the same bin location reduces picking productivity. We have done time and motion studies that prove that there is a definite time penalty associated to mixing multiple Stock items into the same bin location. We see this in many warehouses where a bin location may represent a shelf level that contains 5 - 10 STOCK ITEMS pick facings. The operator is directed to the shelf level and then needs to search through the different Stock items to find the item to be picked. Not only does this reduce accuracy, it also slows the operator down by as much as 15+ seconds per pick transaction. Having a discrete pick location for every STOCK ITEMS is rule #1. 2. Reducing travel time improves order picking productivity. This is why batch and cluster order picking strategies are used in warehouses. It is also why some companies invest into conveyor systems. Travel time can easily account for 50% or more of order picking hours. By combining orders into a single travel instance the time spent travelling is greatly reduced. The smaller the order, the better the opportunity to combine multiple orders into a single travel instance. 3. Conventional order picking productivity improves when it is at ground level. The statement that it costs more to pick vertically than it does to pick horizontally is a generally accepted principle that has been demonstrated through benchmarking efforts over the years. The reality is that some companies lack the real estate at ground level to provide pick facings for all Stock items hence they need to pick vertically like it or not. Parts distribution centres are typical of this situation. In these cases, assign the slowest velocity items to be picked from vertical locations and the keep the fastest velocity items at floor level to minimize the penalty associated with vertical picking. 4. Order picking productivity improves with "hit" density. If an operator picks from one out of every 100 pick locations then this will be slower than if the operator picks from one out of every 10 pick locations. Higher pick density = higher pick productivity. Thus it may make sense to set up hot zones in the warehouse to concentrate the Stock items that generate the majority of picking activity. Some warehouse operations have ABC velocity definitions so that the fastest moving "A" Stock items are positioned together within designated wider operating aisles to reduce congestion. By increasing the pick density of the "A" items, travel time is reduced and the opportunity to speed up the picking process is greatly improved. 5. Warehouse efficiency is improved when items are assigned to the correct storage media. Imagine if all operators have wet paint on their hands, then the optimized warehouse has the minimal number of finger prints on the boxes. Each set of finger prints costs money. Taking finger prints off the boxes means the warehouse has been set up to minimize product handling. The first basic principle to be adhered to is that items should be stored in the appropriate storage media. Having slow moving Stock items in pallet racks may be as wasteful as having fast moving Stock items in shelving bins. We make this decision based on a variable called cube movement velocity which measures the volume of movement for each STOCK ITEMS. The cube movement velocity = movement in units x cubic dimensions of the unit. Measuring this metric for every STOCK ITEMS provides an important way to ensure that products are being handled within the most appropriate storage media. High cube movement belongs in racking and low cube movement can be assigned to smaller storage media formats. Just something to keep in the back of the mind. Grant Rixon—Operations
5 Ways to Improve Order Picking Productivity Supply chain Operators are faced with the challenge of reducing labour costs,...
Janelle’s Handy Hints 1 – Bananarama. Pull bananas apart before displaying them in your fruit bowl. If you leave them connected at the stem, they’ll ripen faster and go brown quicker. Who knew?! firmer capsicum, so you should weigh up crunch vs. sweet when picking out your pepper! 2 – Flexible vacuum. To suck up hard-to-reach gunk under your fridge, or behind a bookshelf, insert an empty paper towel roll into the end of your vacuum cleaner and bend, or flatten it, to squeeze into these difficult spots. 4 – Fend off weeds Instead of tossing your daily rag in the recycling bin, use the newspaper as mulch and deter noxious weeds. Simply wet the sheets and put the layers around your plants and garden beds, covering with soil as you go. The weeds won’t be able to get through the wet newspaper layers. 3 – Buying capsicum We’re not sure why, but a capsicum with three bumps on the bottom is sweeter than one with four. Oh, but four bumps makes for a crunchier, 5 – So cheesy Wrap cheese chunks in aluminium foil and store in the fridge to keep your cheddar fresher for longer and to keep mould out. Sales Department Welcome to a new financial year!! The new financial year has seen a solid start for Firequip with some healthy numbers been invoiced as well as a very strong and healthy margin to go along with these sales. Firequip has had and still is enduring some fierce competition from our competitors, who seem to be winning a lot of work due to giving their products away at next to nothing, which in the past has affected our mainstream customers mainly being merchants. Due to a lot of persistence and high level grades of service by Lewis & David, this in turn has shown some strong results in return to Firequip. I would like to welcome on board Geraldine Cruz who joined us on the 4th July, and has shown her willingness to learn and develop her skills within the Firequip Customer Service Team. Praise to David Dettling with his efforts in his market sector, the Merchants, due to some very stiff competition, David has had to be very persistent.. David’s persistence has seen some goods returns on both spend and margin considerably up about 5-7%. All efforts and patience have paid off and this 20 Years Richard Crossingham has celebrated the milestone of being a Firequipian for 20 years. We would like to thank Richard for his hard work and commitment over the last 20 years. The management group presented Richard with a trophy to commemorate the occasion. Ziad Ghomrawi is due to some solid working relationships built with a growing solid customer base. sales staff has been much appreciated, and has not gone unrecognized. A special mention to Lewis Collins who has done a great job on a dayto-day basis, with customer liaisons and keeping the customer orders flowing, although facing some adverse conditions in what’s become a very competitive market. Lewis has been able to establish some very strong rapports with current customers in the Fire segment of the business, and is currently building some new relationships which are reflecting in this particular market sector. I would also like to pass on a very big thank you to Matt & The Warehouse team for their daily efforts in dealing with the ongoing workload being put on them, by the sales team. Your assistance and understanding on a daily basis is very much appreciated. This been said a special mention, Vinh and Raj, who have been on hand to support both David & Lewis whilst they have been doing there respective roles trying to drum up more business for Firequip, and also assisting in getting Geraldine up to speed with the day to day practices of the business. Some very positive and rewarding compliments have been received and praises passed onto Vinh & Raj, for their ‘above and beyond’ efforts in fulfilling the customer requirements & understanding of customer demands. The effort of all On the back of this our Customer Service Promise and fulfilling it will be an ongoing key focus area for the internal sales team, and all staff within Firequip. The recent significant improvements in this area have seen a turn-around for Firequip with the retention of customers, returning customers and a new growing customer base. Success for us all as individuals and as a business will come from consistent high levels of service, and professionalism. Teamwork is the key!!! – Lets all work together for a successful end to the year and a concrete start to the 2016/2017 financial year
Janelle   s Handy Hints 1     Bananarama. Pull bananas apart before displaying them in your fruit bowl. If you leave them ...