What’s the Difference?

This week, we thought we’d switch it up here on the SoundVision ShowTimes blog and let one of our technicians do the talking. I sat down with our Lead Technician, Kenny Meligan to chat about some of his experiences with other companies in the industry in comparison with SoundVision.  Kenny also offers up some advice on choosing the best custom electronics integrator for your next project. Kenny has been a Lead Technician and Control Systems Programmer for over 5 years and has worked with a number of different integrators.

Kenny thanks for chatting with me.  In your past experience with other companies how did a typical day begin?

At other companies my day would start by being briefed on the spot about the day’s job.  The boss would always prepare the schedule at the last minute in hopes of just throwing bodies at projects. There was rarely a plan of action and never any scope of work, design meetings, or project checklists given in advance.

Sounds like a tough start.  How did that affect the projects?

Well, once I figured out where I was going for the day I’d go into the warehouse to stage the equipment only to find that we didn’t have half of the parts needed. On a few occasions I remember informing the boss, and he said, “I forgot to order that. Tell the client that it’s backordered.”  So, I would leave the shop with no information on the project, very little parts, and a lie to tell the client!Once I arrived at the site, I’d rummage through my set of inferior tools and prepare to start work. There wasn’t much in the way of documentation which resulted in way too much time on the phone with tech support or my project manager.  That was just to get up to speed on the project and figure out how the system is supposed to work.

How was your experience with the other technicians and support staff?

I found that often times at most other companies my coworkers weren’t CEDIA certified and had little experience.  So, that meant a bit of babysitting onsite. The kicker was that after a long frustrating day onsite I’d finally get back to the shop to find my boss drinking a beer and acting as if everything was great.

Techs ensure their vans are kept well organized.

How is it different here at SoundVision?

SoundVision always stresses process and preplanning.  Our schedules are literally booked weeks in advance.  Each project gets a project binder that we take onsite.   The binders include everything from scope of work, project management checklists, to wiring schematics & floor plans.  At SoundVision we always follow a carefully laid out set of tasks and milestones for each project.  In terms of parts, we have a purchasing manager who orders all our parts and stages them for us each morning.  Our vans are always fully stocked with the right tools for the job.

Can you talk about some of the SoundVision processes while onsite?

Sure.  When I arrive onsite, I do a walk-through and fill out a Project Time Estimator.  This document will tell me if we are going to finish within the time and budget provided.  Photographs are taken at every phase and downloaded to the server for future review and reference.   At the end of each day, emails are sent out to all stakeholders informing them of where we are in the project and any issues encountered. 

SoundVision staff meeting

SoundVision staff meeting

How does the SoundVision staff differ?

At SoundVision, our techs are all CEDIA certified and keep up to date with the latest technology by attending seminars and workshops.   If I ever have questions while onsite, there are a minimum of three people I can contact prior to calling the tech support line.  SoundVision also has a dedicated support and administrative staff on board so the office is always running smoothly.  We have bi-weekly all-hands staff meetings where we collaborate on ideas and lessons learned while onsite.

Kenny’s Insider Tips

After hearing about some of his war stories on the job, we asked Kenny if he could put together a list of tips for people to consider before choosing their next custom electronics integrator.

  • Look around their office.  Is it organized or messy?  If it’s messy, odds are that they treat their clients/projects in the same manner… If they can’t keep their own office neat and clean, what makes you believe they’ll keep your home/project organized?
  • Observe their employees (if they’re there).  Do they display a professional appearance: clean shaven/groomed, clean clothes, etc.  This will help you decide if you are comfortable with letting them into your home, before the project has started.
  • Check to see if they have received industry related awards.  Typically, you will notice these once you walk into the door.  If you don’t see any awards or recognition of any kind, odds are they don’t do quality work and don’t deserve them.
  • Do your homework.  See what other people have said about the company. Dig around on the internet for reviews or testimonials. View their website; does it appear to be sales based, or information based? If possible, take a look at one of their ongoing projects.
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