33,000 Pounds in a 21 Day Window

Jul 13
2010

 Vacation is upon us and after this week Royal Master shuts down manufacturing for two weeks. You can still call and get parts and if I never told you that we were shut down you probably would never have known. Lori stills answers the phone and we all answer our  e-mails as if it was business as usual. On Friday our shipping manager Glen pointed out that we only had 21 working days before we ship IMTS when we get back from vacation. Maybe he was hinting to leave him a long list of things to do while he worked over shut down, or looking for me to say “ that’s plenty of time “.

With 21 days left there is a whole lot to do, but we are in pretty good shape. Skids are built according to the jigsaw puzzle that we call a truck layout, machines are all on line and most are finished. We are just waiting on some feeding components from vendors.

The truck layout is one of the most fun things associated with the planning of the show. It has been called fitting 10 pounds of  “candy” in a 5 pound bag . Trucking is expensive and a source of stress. Having everything out of our control after pain staking working on the machines for 3 months is a minor part of the stress, but then when you think about it, a stranger taking over 2 million dollars of equipment hurdling down Route 80 at 70 mph can give anyone a chance to pause for more than a second.

Setting up the layout for the truck is like a jigsaw puzzle, everything fits, and has a place. Put it in the wrong place and you have a bad case of the head scratches while you figure it out.  Fitting 7 machines, a tradeshow display, support materials for a weeks in a 8’ x 48’ space is  just plain old fun. We actually build the skids to fit the truck dimensions to minimize any empty voids. The record for empty space was in 2006 with a whopping 6” of empty room at the back of the truck. I will admit that we tape out the truck in the parking lot the day before to make sure all 33,000 pounds fit in all 384 square feet of truck deck.

Very Small Parts

Jul 02
2010

Our overseas agent recently sent us an inquiry to grind parts for an experimental grind. His only details that he gave is that they are very small and they might be hard to handle. In working with guidewires which go as small as .001” in diameter, I thought, “ no challenge here”.

Wow was I wrong. Not only are these parts small in diameter, but short in length. The 1000 parts that they sent in are shown here. The handling of the part, not the grinding will be the challenge. This is a patience job, and a job that even our competitors will say, “just call Royal Master”

In replying back to our overseas agent, he gave me an “oh by the way” with the customer wants to autofeed them. In the back of my mind I assumed that this would have to be the case as I cannot see anyone on a production basis handling these parts, but I also kind of hoped that they had a plan already in place for inserting and removing from the wheels.

I will keep you posted as to the progress as we grind them in our Experimental lab. If you have a part that is more of a challenge, give it to us and you can win a $100 Best Buy Gift certificate. Closing date for Entries is August 15th.

I look forward to your tough job, what would challenge us?

What time is our appointment? Right Here, Right Now!

Jun 25
2010

Everybody is busy.  Nobody has enough time to do what has to get done.  I can’t wait that long.  These are just the realities of business as usual today. 

The world we live in has changed.  The business environment has become so fast paced as a result of having to do more with fewer people.  Even going to a trade show is now a time critical event.  People used to walk the aisles of a show to see what is new.  Today, more people are pre-planning their visit and accomplishing more purposeful results.

Imagine if you, as busy as you are, as important as your project is, would walk into a meeting and everyone you needed to see was there waiting for you.  How convenient would it be to have a knowledgeable Applications Engineer, Mechanical Design Engineer, Software Design and Programming Engineer all waiting for you and your project?  More than this, there is an actual grinder on the floor under power making parts similar to what you have in mind.  When this team has listened to you and now completely understands what you want, they bring you to a design computer station and demonstrate a 3-D Model of the grinder including automation to solve your problem!

Royal Master Grinders is welcoming you to pre-plan your visit to our Booth #6646 at IMTS 2010.  You probably have just a few days at the show at most.  If you had to wait at each booth of interest to you to speak with someone other than a hired show host, you wouldn’t accomplish enough to make the trip worthwhile.  At the Royal Master Booth, we will “talk the talk” and “walk the walk”.

Schedule 15 minutes, 30 minutes or even 2 hours with us.  Whatever time it takes to get your point across and get the answers you need.  We are going to listen and understand what it is you want or need.

This is your chance to avoid the “Oh, he just went to lunch” or “He’s involved with other customers right now”.  Schedule your appointment and be part of the “Right Here, Right Now” attitude of tradeshows!

Contact us by telephone (201-337-8500) or e-mail (check our website for addresses www.royalmaster.com) and let us know when you will be available.  We will be glad to block off a time for you.

Bob Hoffman

Why a Centerless Grinder Manufacturer Builds a Tradshow Booth!

Jun 02
2010

Tomorrow we build a tradeshow booth. Why you ask?

Around 5 IMTS cycles ago ( 10 Years ) Royal Master Grinders would rent a booth for IMTS. I would fly to Chicago and look at 3-4 tradeshow display companies, have a few free lunches, make polite small talk as they try to get me to spend $15,000.00 for a 40’ rental wall. Mind you this does not include graphics, and usually is an Octonorm product. Octonorm is a plain white paneled product with an aluminum extrusion uprights, nothing fancy or nothing interesting, just a wall which at the end of the day is pretty ugly.The front!

I finally had enough.

I decided that we would build our own backwall, make it custom and look neat. With all the grand ideas we had, I still had never built a booth, nor had any idea where to start. So I shopped around. I looked at booths at other tradeshows and decided a wooden booth with laminate on the outside would be good, Tan would be the color for a neutral background and graphics would be reusable.

I made a shopping list for the lumber yard, and the Formica dealer and off I went, filled up my pickup truck and arrived with my sketches for a Saturday build. Glen our shipping manager offered

to help and off we went into the unknown, we built walls, labeled them, laminated them, preassembled and fixed any issues then assembled them for the final time. I have to be honest it did not look too terrible. After I totaled up my receipts it really looked a lot better, total expenditures WITH graphics was less than $4,500.00.

We used that booth for 4 cycles for a total “Rental” of $1,125.00. I think that this is pretty cool that we saved over $55,500.00 for a wall that you would rent and give back 8 days later.

Why am I blogging about this now?? Its time for a new one. It is time to change colors, and modify the design as we are using this style for other shows now also. Since our first version of the booth we learned about milled pine lumber, Southco Fasteners which are a cam locking system, and a whole bunch of techniques for laminating  the panels. With any luck this version of the booth will look great and NOT be the focus of the booth as we will have lots of cool machines there doing neat things, but when people always say that “ your booth looks great “ I can then fondly remember being covered in laminate dust, and having liquid nails all over my hands.

Customer Service: Centerless Grinders and Shoes

May 21
2010

This week I went to the local Westfield Shopping mall to return a pair of shoes that I purchased about 4 months ago. They are nothing special and not expensive, but I wear them most days and they look the part, but far from worn out. The reason for the return is the rubber soles split across the ball of the foot and I was annoyed that this could happen. I am not a return kind of person, I dislike the whole experience that it entails, finding a receipt that you put in a drawer six months ago and trudging to an overcrowded mall. Nasty salespeople are more interested in flirting with the kiosk employee across the mall, and not trying to help you. So what makes this experience noteworthy. I was in and out in less then 3 minutes flat.

Without a receipt I walked into the store, pulled out a shoe from the bag I brought, politely said “ is this supposed to happen?”, the answer was no from the very polite sales employee. He quickly offered that even though he did not have them in stock, he would order then and have them shipped to my home at no extra charge.  After filling out my name and address, I was on my way explaining my 7 year old daughter the difference between   good service like this and poor service like we had at chain store a few weeks back. Her simple reply was why would someone NOT give good service, and Daddy can we get a Pretzel.

I had to think about her question and I did not have an answer, as we went and got a Pretzel, Cold Stone Creamery for me.

We all live in a environment where  we are genuinely surprised by a thank you when you pay for your bagel and coffee or surprised when you get a small bag of peanuts on your cross country flight.  How did it get this far, I do not know but when this happened it made me sit back and just listen to Alan Schell our customer service person.  Everyday I hear him on the phone as we sit close to each other, but I just decided to listen, and listen intently.

Alan has a conversation with our customers, he just does not take an order. At times it seems like they should be making plans for a weekend picnic at his home. One instance came to light yesterday that made me talk about it here.

A very good customer called us yesterday afternoon inquiring about delivery of some spare parts that he needed to order and needed quickly. It turns out his customer needed additional parts from him, creating panic  down the food chain. He turned to us.

He needed many specialty work rest blades and an propionate amount of a special type of sliced regulating wheels and quick, by the end of the week, and we needed to deliver. Alan asked him if he could put him on hold for a minute to find out what we can do. Before he put him on hold they shared a good laugh. Within a minute Alan returned and triumphantly and told our customer that everything he needed would ship by Friday and if we needed to we will ship out the remainder on Saturday for him.

Signaling that the answer was satisfactory, they continued on their conversation about weekend plans, soccer games and Alan’s new weed whacker which was much better than an old electric one he had.

Customer service is a really important part of our business, We are a family business, with employees that have been here for 20 plus years. We all take pride in what happens between these four walls, and it starts with a Friendly greeting from Lori when she answers the phone to Alan’s genuine Thank you for your order. It is not a rehearsed thank you, but when I really listened to Alan’s Thank you for your order, he really means it.