Sign & Digital Graphics

November '19

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Page 19 of 72

S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • November 2019 • 15 You listen to this message with your cell phone pressed against your head so you can hear, just as you are stepping out of the paint booth after inspecting the freshly painted sign face color they originally approved. The frustration and professional lad- der-and-tea-cup-high-wire-act of bal- ancing the occasional out-of-left-field client demands with tact and profession- alism while maintaining profitability can challenge the most seasoned sign profes- sional. It can be a real challenge if your team really doesn't care, and it can ruin even the best laid process or planning. Process of Planning the Process So, the process of planning the pro- cess for this article must assume that your team members, and you, actually enjoy coming to work each day. (more on this subject and the impact it can have can be found in a book I recommend called The Dream Manager by Mathew Kelly) So, with that ground work being laid, and the understanding that the following can only really go smoothly if every team member owns their work, and the objec- tive of developing a process is focused on profitability, and minimizing stress, then here are some practical realities to consider in setting up a plan to prepare your process. Defining the non-negotiable – WTF? Where's the Facts? What are the facts? A—The client has certain wishes. B—Engineering says it must have XYZ for a support pipe. C—There are power lines within 5 feet of the sign location. Facts are facts, and some things are just not negotiable. Knowing and identify- ing these set-in-stone factoids will help your entire team with setting fabrication boundaries. Planning for servicing a large EMC structure like this involved installing large fans to move a lot of air from the inside of the sign to the outside. Dual EMC displays generate heat on their own and being black in color, and in the Texas heat, temps begin to soar on hot summer days making fans an absolute necessity no matter what time of day it is. Perhaps they should con- sider central air? Photo courtesy of Design Center Signs, Tyler, Texas. Here are some of the categories you can use to develop your list of non- negotiable facts that should be part of the contracted agreement you have with the customer. The customers' wishes: "Yeah, we want our new sign to have our corporate mark in a spinning 3D holographic display of lasers and smoke every time a car drives by it." So, not all customer wishes can be met as we all know; however, there will be certain key elements of the new sign "experience" that the client will focus on, or latch onto as their "happy factor" that a sharp salesperson will key into, and cater to. It might be one of the following: color, lighting, initial visual impact, size, architectural styling, install location or even the brand of LEDs used, or the EMC manufacturer. Customers can have some of the strangest hot-buttons, and which of these are key to their happiness should be made a part of the contracted process. Installation drop-dead date: If you miss their grand opening, their Google reviews of your company will cost you thousands in lost future business. How hot is this hot button for the client? Deadlines should be non-negotiable, but sometimes it happens due to weather, or other events that are out of everyone's control and have nothing to do with fab- rication or installation. Noting these pos- sible hiccups and providing professional communication with the client leading up to the installation date is key to keep- ing a happy customer. Engineering: No matter what, the mechanical fabrication details and materials characteristics listed on the engineering drawing and report must be followed exactly.

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