‘It is inspiring to see the work that our members do to give back to their communities, both locally and globally, and it is stories like these that make our industry great.’ By Elly Lobello Snow Business has many great issues and special sections throughout the year, including State of the Industry, Snow & Ice All-Stars, CEO of the Year and more. One of my favorites, now in its third year, is the Community Service Initiative. This special section highlights three snow & ice professionals who are serving their communities for causes that are close to their hearts. It is inspiring to see the work that our members do to give back to their communities, both locally and globally, and it is stories like these that make our industry great. Special thanks to The BOSS for sponsoring the Community Service Initiative for the third year in a row. SIMA and Snow Business are proud to share below the 2014-2015 Community Service Initiative participants – watch each of the short videos below, and click each of the titles to read the full stories on GoPlow.com. Lawn Butler: Many hands, light work
‘Over the past three years, SIMA has undergone a complete marketing and communications overhaul.’
By Brian Birch, CAE Over the years, I have managed many projects for SIMA. Even in situations where a small group of people is involved, I’ve always been amazed at how critical good communication is in getting things done. We hear it all the time, but communication is key. Nowhere is this more important than when SIMA and its members seek to communicate to the core stakeholders in our marketplace. Two of these audiences are facility management (FM) professionals who hire snow service providers, and the insurance stakeholders who insure those service providers. Over the past three years, SIMA has undergone a complete marketing and communications overhaul. We identified many areas of improvement, and one critical area we defined related to how we were (or, in fact, were not) empowering our members to differentiate themselves to the FM and insurance industries. Both audiences are exposed to all aspects of the snow industry, and there are few tools available to help them critically evaluate and understand what a quality service provider looks like. However, we now have some solid resources available to members to help bridge this communication gap. Tips for hiring a snow service provider We developed this piece to be a highly visual and impactful tool for FM professionals. It lays out simple techniques from the FM professional’s perspective to begin to evaluate a snow professional. This is an important difference because we found that previously our industry had tried to force-feed FM professionals the information we felt they needed. The feedback SIMA received through many FM industry channels was that we needed to help them simplify and understand the process of vetting and qualifying snow professionals. This brochure — free to download in print-quality format for SIMA members — will be a primary communication tool to help. The brochure is usable as is by any SIMA member. For companies with Certified Snow Professionals and/or Advanced Snow Managers on staff, we created separate inserts for those designations that can be used as stand-alone marketing inserts or inserted into the overall brochure for maximum effect. The brochure is the tip of the iceberg in our ongoing efforts to communicate critical, helpful information to the FM world.
Partners in success Insurance in the snow industry is risky business, and the current state of affairs leaves contractors looking for quality, affordable insurance. At the same time, insurance stakeholders looking to insure snow contractors face a fragmented marketplace, with few resources to help them understand what good snow operations look like from a safety and risk standpoint. Our Partners in Success brochure is a new insurance stakeholder communication tool that establishes realistic criteria insurance underwriters and agents can use to assess a snow contractor’s risk. It provides a simple list of core documentation that quality providers in snow should track (tied to SIMA’s Best Practices Checklist for Snow & Ice Management); discusses insurance-related contractual issues; and outlines the value of the CSP and ASM programs for snow contractors. Case Study – Jim Turcan, CSP, Cornerstone Partners Horticultural Services Co., St Charles, IL At the 2014 Snow & Ice Symposium in Columbus, OH, Jim Turcan picked up a copy of the Partners In Success insurance communication brochure from the SIMA booth and sent it to his insurance agent. The brochure sparked a conversation that helped Turcan’s agent really promote his company’s affiliations and certifications. “I had previously discussed with our agent the safety improvements we’ve been making for our crews and clients (grip tape on trailer ramps, safety talks, photo site documentation, etc.) but didn’t really have anything tangible or measurable to provide him with other than photos of what we’ve been doing,” Turcan explains. “The moment I got back from the Symposium, I mailed him the trifold brochure on insuring snow services. He reviewed it with the insurance underwriters and confirmed a significant discount on our coverage as a result of our association with SIMA, my CSP designation, and the safety-related improvements we are implementing here.” To download a copy of either brochure, visit www.sima.org and log in to the member portal.
‘Coming into the 2014-15 winter, salt supply is limited and costs more. This combination has created challenges we’re not accustomed to facing.’ By Martin Tirado, CAE SIMA just concluded the second of its two Salt Summits. More than 150 combined attendees learned about the use and effectiveness of liquids and brines, chemical application rates, and what other companies are doing to better manage their salt supply. Anytime a group of snow contractors meets and exchanges ideas, good learning experiences are generated with actionable takeaways received. Simple questions, complex answers Coming into the 2014-15 winter, salt supply is limited and it costs more than in the past several winters. This combination has created challenges we’re not accustomed to facing. What the industry often asks in such times are simple questions, but the answers are complex. Sustainable solutions The industry is asking you to discover sustainable solutions for ice melt. We need to look at the sustainable answers. Some of these answers are:
Consider using liquid applications, both applied to bulk salt supplies and as a pretreatment to reduce the amount of salt used and enhance its effectiveness.
Be diligent in training your operators on knowing how to properly calibrate spreaders, and know the optimal application rates needed to get the job done (use a chemical temperature effectiveness chart, one is available for SIMA members at www.sima.org).
Analyze your business model and change if needed. Consider the pros and cons of different types of snow contracts. Which types promote the greatest efficiency for the snow contractor and are most cost effective for the customer? Listen to what your customer truly wants and make it a win-win partnership.
Communicate with your property and facility managers on chemical effectiveness, air and surface temperatures and proper application rates. Overapplication is not a sustainable solution.
Maximize the use of truck and plow snow clearing.
Create a long-term partnership with your suppliers.
Position yourself as the expert in your field. Get certified through the CSP (Certified Snow Professional) or ASM (Advanced Snow Manager) program.
Finding salt supplies There are also steps you can take now to find product as the season approaches:
There is salt supply in the market. Suppliers on SIMA’s LinkedIn page are advertising that they have a supply.
You may also need to contact as many people as you know to find a secondary market supplier. It may be expensive, differ in quality than what you’re accustomed to, and take more time and cost to have it delivered or picked up. These are short-term answers. The question that will help your company last longer, grow more, and enhance efficiencies is: What’s your long-term solution to having the salt supply your customers need?
Martin Tirado, CAE is chief executive officer of SIMA. Contact him at email@example.com.
‘With a webinar on snow fighter safety, articles, videos and discussion topics, Snow Safety Week was successful in providing quality, helpful information on a variety of safety-related topics.’
By Ellen Kobach
Last week, SIMA, Plowsite.com, and sponsors Boss Snowplows and Progressive Insurance produced the third Snow Safety Week at GoPlow.com. With a webinar on snow fighter safety, articles, videos and discussion topics, Snow Safety Week was successful in providing quality, helpful information on a variety of safety-related topics.
As we move into the winter season, safety information is timely and very important for all snow professionals to remember. View some of the highlights from Snow Safety Week below:
Drink safely while plowing snow – Popular energy drinks on the market may be more harmful than helpful. Read why and how to make safe drink choices while spending long nights plowing snow.