Marketing Benefits Materialize
Based on the great success of its foray into educational outreach, Performance Systems executives were approached by its service/testing sales department with an idea to provide the same type of opportunities for some of their property management clients. Having modified the AHJ class into a who/what/where/when and why of fire alarm, sprinkler and extinguisher testing, the integrator presented the new version of the class to the maintenance staff of one of its multi-building property management company clients.
In the wake of this class and much to its surprise, Performance Systems discovered additional repair and test requests were coming in from those same maintenance managers. This was because they now better understood the code requirements behind the operations of their systems and what local authorities were looking for.
This continued as more clients throughout the area were able to expose deficiencies in the means and manner that some of their facilities were being tested and maintained. For example, testing was not being done frequently enough, work was being done in some cases that wasn’t required and some items were completely overlooked.
Program Formalized, Expanded
The expansion of its education program began to open the eyes of Performance Systems’ executives as to the benefits of a better educated client base. They discovered that when customers had a better grasp of code requirements they then often turned their focus to the associated liabilities inherent in failing compliance.
When maintenance workers realized they had not been providing testing as required by NFPA, it normally initiated the question, “Will I be held personally responsible for the mistake?”
Performance Systems always answers such inquiries affirmatively, regardless if that person is directly or indirectly responsible for doing the testing correctly. It’s particularly important in light of newer code requirements such as sensitivity testing all detectors, including 120V devices. Typically that is big news to an owner of a hotel, apartment or condo complex containing many such detectors who has never heard of sensitivity testing.
Other questions then arose. “Is XYZ Company qualified for and testing my system correctly?” “Did I ever even get last year’s report from XYZ?” These “what ifs” sparked deeper discussions that often left potential competitors for the business out of the equation. This led Performance Systems to refine the course and launch a new marketing program.
Utilizing the latest computer technology in creating a lab and classroom environment, the firm put together an interactive program of hands-on panel operations and PowerPoint slides. Field environments were replicated in the lab, and students were exposed to control panel conditions that are sometimes hidden or disabled that could cause system impairments.
Various types and brands of systems were used to cover most common applications, from basic flow tamper monitoring to a complete smoke-controlled high-rise voice evacuation system. Performance Systems’ goal was to create a learning environment that would apply to everything from initial site conditions to correct documentation, including proper storage of the program and the as-builts.
“We have created an environment that gives our student customers a chance to operate and truly understand the idiosyncrasies of the life-safety systems over which they are responsible, and to build long-term relationships with our students,” says Andy Kaveckis, Performance Systems service and testing department manager.
An additional benefit is the process exposes students to new technology and systems that may not apply to or be required by their particular AHJ districts. This permits even smaller districts to utilize some of the new solutions regardless of being in more remote locations that typically deal with smaller, less sophisticated alternatives.
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· Vertical Markets
· Fire/Life Safety 2