At Brian-Kyles, our mindset is to “Be Distinctive” in each service and for each client. From the landscapes we design and install to those that we manage. During the winter months, we have even more of an opportunity to “Be Distinctive” given the great challenges associated with snow and ice management. It is during this time of year that true value is revealed. So how is our snow and ice management services distinctive, or different, from the competitors in a crowded marketplace? There are many to be sure, but a convenient starting point is the end result: Quality. The process and culture of Quality Control makes Brian-Kyles distinctive.
Starting with the end in mind, Brian-Kyles has built a process to ensure the highest Quality Control standards are met or exceeded during winter operations. To fully understand this process, it is important to peer back the curtain and go behind the scenes of a snow and ice management firm. Most clients and the general public have a firehouse mentality about snow and ice management operations: resources sit around and wait for the snow to fly, hustle to do the job, then return to catch some much needed sleep. In actuality, there are many activities that take place before, during and after each event. These steps involve a range of resources that stretch across a multitude of team members. Most firms file Quality Control activities in the “after” category, which is of course logical. This is usually the time in which the Quality Control process starts. In contrast; however; at Brian-Kyles this is when Quality Control revs up into full gear. In other words, the Quality Control gears are already churning.
In it of themselves, Quality Control measures are not necessarily earth breaking. The main industry association, the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA), has issued national standards that outline several post-event standards. Reputable firms will adhere to these standards, but many do not. That is a starting point for distinction. But being distinctive goes beyond ASCA guidelines requiring “snow and ice management companies should revisit properties within 24 to 48 hours for a quality check.” It is here where the Quality Control process at Brian-Kyles goes above and beyond.
Before a winter event (read: storm) even begins, the entire team meets to practice, train and study like a sports team would for a big game. This process involves everyone, not a select few. This is the first layer of Quality Control, where everything is discussed from matters of strategy to tactics. During the event when the operations are in full swing, Route Supervisors of Brian-Kyles visit each site to ensure site and firm specific quality measures are enacted and in motion. Using customized maps and work orders for each property, Route Supervisors know each property as intimately as imaginable. This visit is then followed by an audit conducted by a Regional Supervisor toward the tail end of an event. The main purpose of this step is to move Quality Control from the enacted state to the ensured. But it does not stop here. Then it is the Account Manager’s turn after the event, as the final Quality Control layer kicks into gear. At this point a complete stewardship audit is conducted and forwarded to the client. The process repeats with the entire team huddling back together for a review of what worked, what did not, and what measures can be improved. Thus, the Quality Control gear also never stops turning.
And here lies the final, equally important piece: a Quality Control culture. Brian-Kyles is consistently looking to improve, from the greenest team member to the President himself. The culture of distinction and stewardship defines the entire team. Back slapping and high fives are substituted for service orders and more training. In essence, there is always something to improve. The weather and Mother Nature will always prevail to some extent due to the element of unpredictability. So there is never perfection. There is never a resounding win. This just means, like everything with winter operations, that there is great opportunity. In this case, opportunity to improve.
The end result of this process and culture of Quality Control is distinction. Quality Control is not a task, it is a habit. It is not an after-thought or a token objective that is completed after the job is done. At Brian-Kyles, it is blocking and tackling that is performed at every level, at every step in the process, and then repeated. It is a mindset that is always on. It is “Being Distinctive.”