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7. Collaborate. | Mark’s Message

Mark’s Message:

What separates humans from primates?

Chimps and Bonobos are our closest relatives and have brains close to the size of humans. In fact Jay Blaushild and Chimps outperform humans on memory tests. What made humans take a different evolutionary path than primates?

Our brains are wired so we are able to Collaborate.

Chimps and Bonobos can work together to find food or protect the group but they can’t send a man to walk on the moon, explore Mars, create an international space station or deliver product to a customer. Once Chimps find food or fight off the invaders they don’t share and tend to fight among themselves.

Famous has a process to deliver an order and if it never changed or ran into an exception even a Chimp or Bonobo could do it. Delivering an order is easy if no collaboration is required. However, quoting materials for a Kitchen, Bath, HVAC System, Boiler System, Windows etc. requires complex collaboration between the customer and the entire Famous team.

One of the things that sets the Famous team apart from most of our competitors is our ability to collaborate. We have specialists and support staff in place in many areas and we all work together as a team to collaborate on projects from simple to complex. To single out a few people who are exceptional at collaboration would be difficult because the majority of our associates collaborate with others every day.

Remember that the primary reason we are different than other primates is our ability to collaborate and when we do we can create unique ideas and solve almost any problem

Mark Ham
HVAC Training and Technical Support

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6. See It, Own It, Solve It, Do It. | Matt’s Message

Matt’s Message: 

I have been with Famous just over seven great years now, and with National Accounts since the beginning. Not only have I seen Famous grow by leaps and bounds, but have also have seen National Accounts bloom into an important segment of our company. The reason for this is that we have great associates who practice this fundamental in our daily business affairs, and in our personal lives as well.

I take this particular fundamental to heart as I feel in today’s society people are so quick to come up with reasons why something cannot be done, as opposed to figuring out what it is going to take to get the task completed.

In my days prior to coming on with Famous I dealt with many contractors on a daily basis and the one common denominator I found with quite a few of my coworkers was they always had excuses as to why a particular task could not be done, or why they didn’t show up to complete the task at hand. As you can imagine, that can be quite a frustrating thing to deal with on a daily basis. After coming to Famous my perspective changed. Day in and day out I saw everyone put forth an effort to identify issues and take responsibility to make sure solutions were initiated. It was a breath of fresh air.

Many years ago, when National Accounts was in its infancy, we had growing pains with this new program.  One example I remember very vividly was our customer had forgotten to order 12 water heaters that they needed for the next day for inspections. Many people would say “Well they forgot to order the material. Not our problem.”  NOT Famous! We identified the issue, figured out the logistics, and made it happen. Some of our competitors would have said “We will get them out to you tomorrow.”  With no box trucks available, we put the heaters onto a pickup truck and made several trips to take care of our customer’s needs.  It felt great to work as a team to make it happen rather than saying “No, we can’t do that”.

SEE IT: Identify the issue.

OWN IT: Take personal responsibility for the problem at hand. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

SOLVE IT: Identify what can be done to solve the problem as well as identifying the root cause so a process can be put in place and the issue can be avoided in the future.

DO IT: Put your plan in motion and see it through till the end to make sure it goes off without a hitch.

Live this fundamental in your personal life as you would in your professional life. If you are a success at home you will be a success at the office!

Matthew Casey
Operations Manager / National Accounts

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5. Be A Fanatic About Response Time. | Dana’s Message

Dana’s Message: 

The first word that comes to my mind with this week’s fundamental is “respect”. First, I believe, we show respect to the person who emailed or called us to answer a question or to fulfill a request. We let that person know we respect and value their time when we respond quickly. As our fundamental says, even though we may not have an answer, it is imperative that we acknowledge the inquiry from our customers, both external and internal. A quick and courteous response sets the tone for a successful interaction with our customer or potential customer.   Famous Supply has earned a stellar reputation in our industry, and we are all privileged to enhance that reputation each day as we pay special attention to our requests.

Recently, I was able to attend my second expo in PA where a customer came to our display to view our vintage candelabra lamps.   As I returned to the office, I placed an order for the lamps so our customer could view these for a specific application. Our customer thanked me for a quick response which I hope will result in a future sale. At the very least, I hope this customer will have confidence his future questions or requests will be handled with quickness and courtesy.

As I was doing some research to gather my thoughts on this fundamental, I found an article entitled “How Fast Is Your Sales Team’s Lead Response Time?” by Eyal Orgil. In this article I found several points that stress the importance of a quick response time;

  • Responding within the first 60 minutes of the inquiry, increases the success rate by seven times
  • 35-50% of sales are won by the company that responds first to a customer inquiry increasing the chance of beating the competition to close the sale
  • Maintaining the quick response and updates throughout the sales/order process enhances our customer’s experience with Famous
  • Successful sales/order experiences help us to establish long term customer relationships

Keeping these points in mind for internal and external customers helps to illustrate how our quick response time can have a positive effect on our continued success.

Thank you

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4. Deliver Memorable Service The Famous Way. | John’s Message

John’s Message:

I am relatively new to the Famous Family. Compared to those with tenures of 25, 30 and 40+ years, I am just a whippersnapper at almost 7 years. However, I have been associated with Famous for much longer since I was a buyer for a Famous customer for 20 years. I have watched the development of the systems leading to where we are now. It is said you can be led by change or lead change. I have witnessed Famous go from handwritten tickets and weeks to receive materials, to eFamous online ordering and next day delivery, and it is apparent that Famous is leading change. Marc Blaushild and the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) are thinking ahead and planning for the future to make sure Famous will always be there delivering memorable service.

There is a quote from a Denzel Washington movie, Remember the Titans, which seems appropriate: “Attitude reflects leadership.” On our monthly conference calls, Marc shares stories of customers praising their delivery driver, or warehouse associate, or the sales person who went above and beyond for them. It’s all about the customer experience.

In the year we have been open in Youngstown, I have watched relationships build between associates and our customers. We have many new customers who had not known about or dealt with Famous before we opened. I was listening to John Balla take an order over the phone the other day. He confirmed all the items the customer had ordered. After John entered the order in the system, he took the time to call the customer back asking them about the ¾” pipe they ordered. They had not ordered any ¾” fittings and he wanted to check in case he had missed them or they had forgot to order them. This is just one example of the memorable service our associates provide every day. From a hearty good morning to helping customers load their trucks, we go above and beyond to keep our customers for life.

I am blessed to be a member of the Famous Family and to work with great associates in Warren and Youngstown on a daily basis.

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3. Personalize Our Purpose. | Joe’s Message

Joe’s Message:

I have been in the water heating industry for almost 40 years. WOW! Over 20 years have been with Famous Supply in wholesale distribution, the rest in the manufacturing/manufactures representative field. The one common denominator with all these types of businesses is they are all “Family” oriented, which creates a lot of personal relationships over time. This also translates to the contractors (our customer) that we deal with on a continuous basis. Many of those companies are family owned, with mothers, fathers, sons and daughters in the businesses.

These life long relationships seem to lead to business successes for everyone. I really feel like I’m helping a friend, not just trying to “sell” them something. Some of us have grown up with our customers. How many times have you been invited to birthday parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and holiday parties of customers you deal with on a regular basis? These all build that personal connection to a level that is hard to measure.

I have been to one of our customer’s family functions many of times over the last 20 years, from their daughters’ graduations, their weddings, baptisms of grandkids, and holiday parties. This is just because of the personal relationship we’ve grown over the years, which I’m very honored and proud of. These kinds of experiences in life are rewarding and contribute to not only a long term successful career, but a more meaningful life as well.

To call out any one associate who stands out on this fundamental would be so difficult, because I truly think we all have them throughout Famous, from our delivery drivers, warehouse, counter sales, inside/outside sales, middle management and administrative support teams. We all personalize our life to others, to feel greater sense of belonging to a higher level.

WOW what a great way to work!


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2. Execute The Perfect Order. | Don’s Message

Don’s Message:

“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” Mia Hamm

There’s no way that we could effectively execute perfect orders without TEAMWORK.

Everyone in this company has seen what happens when we “Do Not” execute the perfect order. There is nothing more frustrating than receiving a call from an upset customer that has not had their order fulfilled to their expectations. Likewise, we all know the satisfaction from a happy customer who is thankful for all we do to keep their projects running smoothly when we do Execute the Perfect Order.

Before starting my career at Famous, I owned and operated my own construction company. I would like to share a contractor’s perspective for what it feels like when a supplier fails.

Countless projects that I did would be quoted against my competition. I always made sure every single penny would be accounted for on my bids. The one thing that seemed to cause the most stress was waiting to find out which supplier the general contractor was going to choose. This decision would ultimately make or break the project. Some companies were notorious for sending the wrong material, damaged product or failing with timed deliveries. Every project has a schedule and it is imperative to stay on that schedule to be profitable.

ACCURACY is always the priority over speed. It’s that simple!

At the Northwest Ohio Expo this past March, I was proud when the Executive Leadership Team, six District Sales Managers, Famous Associates and customers commented that the Toledo branch is thriving, and how “on it” every associate is in their role. I am so proud and I would like to send a personal shout out to the entire Toledo Branch Team…. I want you all to know that we are the TRUE definition of the word “TEAM”. Fundamental number 2 is about execution, perfection, being relentless, and most of all ACCURACY…..these words describe you all.

Thank You!

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1. Do The Right Thing, Always. | Julie’s Message

Julie’s Message :

I remember back to the very beginning when Marc introduced the 40 Fundamentals to us. After describing what we would be doing with each Fundamental, he asked “What is your favorite one, and why?”   Right away, I knew what mine was; DO THE RIGHT THING, ALWAYS!   Now, after 3 runs through the Fundamentals, I was able to volunteer to write some comments about my favorite one!

When I read this Fundamental, Do the Right Thing, Always, my first thought is, “isn’t that obvious?” And going even further, if you live this Fundamental, doesn’t it help you live the rest of them? What may not be obvious is what ALL this really means. We may believe we would never lie, steal, cheat, etc., but we need to dig much deeper than that.

We need to all ask ourselves, do I bully? Gossip? Make excuses? Do I call in sick when I’m not? Do I report my hours and time off honestly and correctly? Do my customers trust and value my service to them? If I make a mistake, do I take ownership of that mistake and learn from it?

When we live by this Fundamental, our customers trust and value us. Our colleagues respect us. We can communicate openly, clearly and positively. We can take pride in each other and the company we work for. We remember that we have a responsibility to ourselves and others, and that what we do affects everyone.

We must say to ourselves I WILL do the right thing, and not because of the possible consequences. We must decide for ourselves if we value our integrity, and our morals. If we are consistent with these good behaviors, we can have a clear conscience and peace of mind with the knowledge that we have made the right decisions.

I’m sure most of us can quickly name a few fellow Associates who live by this Fundamental. They stand out and they work just as hard and faithfully whether they are being noticed or not. They can be counted on to give their best at all times and share the credit with their team.

We all can strive to be that person. We all deserve to feel confident and take pride in ourselves. And we can begin by DOING THE RIGHT THING, ALWAYS.

“With Integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide.” Zig Zigler

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