PM Truck Of The Month Precision Plumbing Services, Carol Stream, Ill.
The Face Of Quality ServiceWe ran into this month's Truck Of The Month in our very own neighborhood while sitting in traffic. Let's face it; it's hard to ignore a full-size box truck with a larger-than-life image of a clean-cut, uniformed, service technician promising same-day service.
The smiling technician's nametag said “Matt Morse,” and we just couldn't resist contacting Precision Plumbing Services in Carol Stream, Ill., to find out if “Matt” was really a member of the company.
Turns out, Matt Morse is the owner of Precision, and he's no stranger to the question. “My technicians get told by customers that they think it is them on the truck, even if they have blonde hair or are bald. Most people don't know that it is the owner.”
The idea, Morse tells us, originally came from seeing fellow contractor Chris Corley (Corley Professional Services, Greenville, S.C.) featured in PM's May 2004 Truck Of The Month. Morse really liked the image Corley's trucks gave off, and after speaking with another respected contractor, Larry Sinn from The Service Company in Greer, S.C., Morse was convinced to put his own likeness on the truck rather than hire someone.
“I'm a pretty shy person when it comes to having my face all over. It was a tough decision for me, and it was really weird for the first couple of months,” Morse admits. “But I am glad I did it. It lets people know that I have nothing to hide with my business if I'm willing to put my picture on my trucks.”
The “Matt” trucks have been on the road for two years now, and the company has six of them total, as well as four Hackney Box Trucks with the old logo, two drain trucks, one jet rodding truck, a trailer and one dump truck with an excavator. Precision tracks its advertising and ties one of its tracking codes to “saw truck.” So it's a proven winner for the company: Precision's call responses directly related to “saw truck” more than doubled in the same year period.
“We had 68 calls from July 2003 through June 2004. From July 2005 to May 24 this year, we have had 142 calls with a slightly higher average ticket.”
All this new attention has allowed Precision to grow overall at a pretty steady pace. Several plans and newly implemented ideas were in the works when we spoke to the company in May (see Ellen Rohr's Small Shop column this month, page 91, for Precision's take on dispatch and call-taking).
For example, Precision just started a program with its vendor in order to restock its trucks. The vendor gets a list each day of what was used by the trucks, and Precision receives the replaced goods bagged - by truck - by 7 a.m. the next day.
“We are doing it by hand right now, [but we] will be going to barcode in the shop after we get it down,” Morse says. The company will upgrade its software to be fully integrated. Each technician will have a pocket PC device that will scan each job and pull the material. A PO will be automatically generated and sent to the supplier for restock the same way.
“We use one main supplier and two others for goods the main one does not stock. We are keeping our physical warehouse inventory to a minimum by using the vendors.”
Some other truck-related upgrades for Precision include Networkcar GPS. “We can monitor speed and gas consumption; if a truck has a mechanical problem, the system sends us an e-mail to alert us,” says Morse.
Importantly, too, Morse and his team require employees to follow the rules of the road (speeding, safety belts) and train them to be extra courteous, as they are in a “screaming loud billboard” that represents the entire company.
“Our trucks are the image that people see and associate with our trade. I want to do my part with this great trade and help raise the bar in the way we represent ourselves. We can all do great work and be professional; why not look the part, too?”