Summertime: Improving Key Capabilities At PAVERART
What Did You Do This Summer?
How many times will you be asked this over the coming weeks?
This year's answer may look a bit different with COVID-19 altering plans for many households. I've always been fascinated with how people use their summer, particularly households with Kids.
This summer seemed to "bleed over" from Spring in our household......like many households, our Kids have been home around the clock since late March. But for our 13 year old Dominic, we were thrilled he wanted to spend some time working at PAVERART.
So a couple of days a week, we make the 82 mile commute at 4:30am!
It's tough for an adult to hit the road at this hour, let alone a teenager! At first I thought of this as a more productive use of his time (beats staying home and playing Minecraft all day!), but quickly realized that in a small business, there's always more to do than the resources to accomplish it.
A Customer Gives us a Problem, Let's Go Solve It!
For 17.5 years at PAVERART we had a process that served us well in the area of helping clients understand what they would be buying with their design. We call it "colorized line drawings" which is a basic computer representation of the PAVERART design.
There are challenges with this process however:
Colors are stubborn.
Red on computer software is not really Red on a Paver.
Software does not know what a "blend" is.
So we did our best to explain these challenges to our clients and challenged them to use their imagination, or we would send physical samples of the actual paver colors.
Until one day a customer says: "That's not really what it will look like is it?"
That was a very nice way of saying, if that's it, I'm not moving forward.
When a customer asks a tough question, those are often moments to LISTEN, and listen hard. ACTION is even more important.
So what do we do? Easy. Throw it to the kid!
"Dom, can you figure out how to get our real Paver colors (all 20+ of them) into Photoshop so when a customer asks to see a color drawing we give them the real colors?" A couple days later he gets close, working with Brian along the way.
Here is the example: The picture on the left is the computer version of the flower/butterfly design, which contained 2 blends (Autumn Blend around the perimeter and Pewter Blend in the square field). The image on the right is the same design with the actual Paver Colors represented.
Much closer representation of what will actually be manufactured.
On the ride home.....Dominic brings up a simple point:
"If your asking the customer to spend $XX shouldn't they really know what they are getting"
Good observation/point young man! Now we plan on doing this for all of our line drawings.
Another real challenge when working with Color? The right picture is everything. Clean Pavers. The right lighting. The right camera. Having blue really look like blue. MUCH easier said than done.
We are fortunate to work with great partners that also value long term relationships like EP Henry. The digital marketing team took some time to talk about our efforts and how we can partner to keep getting better. Its inspiring when people take the time to join our journey.
So we have made some real improvements in the area of design, helping clients see what they will actually be getting.
Another area of improvement?
Helping customers envision how PAVERART can add to their outdoor living spaces.
One day Mike comes in and talks about a friend of PAVERART who runs a great business, self taught in the world of Landscape design. (More to come on him and his great business down the road).
Within a day, Dominic has a 3D landscape design downloaded, and we start working with some clients.
For clients that can use a little assistance with envisioning their PAVERART in their driveway or backyard patio, we are happy to help! By no means are we experts, but for getting to that next level up to help our clients, we have taken a big step forward.
A few video Scenes are below, and a tongue and cheek video for your viewing pleasure.
The Moral of the Summer Story?
Time remains our most valuable asset. We are all given the same 24 hours in a day, and we can use them to make continuous improvements. And while we can't get back lost days, we certainly can look back fondly on how we spent them.
I'm going to miss summer and spending the extra time with Dominic. But I'm sure proud of how he jumped into our business and helped us along the way. If school doesn't keep him busy in the new virtual world..... PAVERART will be happy too!
Wishing everyone a safe and great close to your summer in the weeks ahead.
PAVERART 3D Landscaping Design Scenes With Water Feature
PAVERART 3D Landscaping Design Scene, Backyard Patio At Night
Training: The Basics of Cleaning our Designs
It wouldn't be summer without a bit of fun at the shop...
When Cheap Becomes Expensive: The Classic Painted Handicapped Parking Symbol