Well, if you asked me in early April how I felt going into this season, I would have said very optimistic and excited... Ask me now and I'll tell you I'm glad it's over! Sayings like, "Smooth seas don't make good sailors" and "If He brings you to it...He'll bring you through it" along with many other proverbs and words of wisdom come to mind.
To say that we were tested as individuals and as a team this season would be an understatement. We worked in miserable conditions, with crazy weather and super long hours...we learned our equipment's limitations almost daily...(when you buy any used equipment, you'll quickly find out how well someone else cared for it, about the time you need it the most) and we put our heads together, bonded as a team and solved the problems, most often in the most unorthodox manner with tools that aren't necessarily designed to be used in the fashion we used them.
The season really could be looked at from a negative light and God knows there were plenty of things we could focus on that could give it that spin, but I prefer to look at it as I was paying the "Tuition of Life". That's the price you pay for your education, outside of schooling. One of my most respected customers shared a little nugget of wisdom with me when was struggling to keep my perspective on things. He told me "Experience is that which you discover, moments after needing it." Well if that isn't the most truth I've heard in a while! I learned more about my limitations and capabilities than any experiences prior to this season, and I learned how hard and long I can push the equipment before it fails or needs maintenance to prevent damage or injury. Another positive aspect...We all survived the season in relatively good health and aside from the normal bumps and bruises that are inherent with this kind of job...not even a courtesy visit to the ER! That's great...right?!
In retrospect, we now have a SOP (military speak for, Standard Operating Procedures) for maintaining and repairing most every piece of equipment we own...and a list of things that should you never do. Under no circumstances,for example should you park a very large military truck in the lake or comment on how smoothly things are going. :-)
On a serious note, our season took 7 full weeks when we planned for 3. Much longer than expected. Unfortunately during this time we upset some customers and lost some business due to these delays. I see the direct result of not setting proper expectations from the start...and communicating more clearly with you. One such area...we have some grey areas in our "Scope of Work" that we will be clearing up as we move forward. These grey areas left me in a tough position and were very time consuming and costly when it came to efficiency. For example,
A simple install is typically:
- Move equipment from the shore to the water
- and stabilize
This frequently turned into:
- Prepare to move customers equipment,
- Identify that there are issues with equipment
- fix or repair equipment in order to install safely
- often using our materials (unless discussed or authorized, customers were not charged for time or materials cost because I didn't feel that expectations of this additional charge were clearly communicated to you)
- put equipment in water and stabilize
All in all...if we remove the delays we suffered from broken equipment, smooth out the scheduling conflicts and logistical challenges that forced us to move between lakes randomly, and more clearly set expectations in regards to our "Scope of Work" during Installation operations, we would have wrapped up right on schedule.
I want to thank all of you for your trust and the opportunity to serve you. I truly mean that...you have a choice and choosing our services over the others in the industry is an honor. I look forward to seeing you this summer!