The “small guy”


Recently an advertisement in the June issue of the Wire Journal (pages 20 and 21)  there was an advertisement that spanned two pages. The advertisement had me thinking for a couple of days until I decided to write this. Apparently the message I got from the advertisement is this;

  • the little guy can’t do what we can do,
  • without our great communication skills your project will fail…..
  • We are the string between two cans

When you hire smaller contractors there are benefits that are not always apparent, when the big guys get busy your project becomes a number that number moves up and down based on the value of your project. The little guy also has your interest and he also has your number but since he would rather not over extend himself he will keep your project closer to him.

When you deal with a larger organization you will find that personal attention with one engineer is not the same with a different engineer. As people within larger organizations are moved from project to project, this leads to an issue of understanding of your process and whomever is available will look after your project. Whereas in a smaller company your interest is always important. When you succeed we succeed.

As I reflect back to all the customers we have dealt with each one has my personal telephone number and they were always asked to contact me day or night as small as the problem or issues might be. In a larger organization your project is diluted through multiple people with different talents and personal phone calls become ” your call is important to us please leave your number and I will get back to you at my earliest convenience”.

Around 1995 I worked on a larger Wire twister that took 6 months from start to finish. This project was in a different and difficult country (middle east). The requirements were integration of  16 6RA24 drives with Profibus to two S5-115 processors and two UTICOR touchscreens, the line had infinite permutations due to the customers requirements. When I got back to Toronto I met a crew from Siemens that was working on a machine for the company I was then working for. This crew of four were programming DC drives, PLC’s and touchscreen’s. Four people were working on this large project and after 2 weeks I noted that nothing had been done as they were in a continuous physiological discussion with regards to who is to do what and who was to blame for that. I finally asked the lead guy to come with me to my office. I asked this large company Rep. why his crew was blaming each other, after not getting anywhere with him I showed him what one individual is capable of, I showed him in detail what I had accomplished in the Middle East. After I was finished he looked at me perplexed and told me that this is impossible as no one does everything. In the end his crew kept on bickering for a few more weeks the machine was eventually got started but I never forgot “that sometimes bigger is not always better”.

One last thing about the that Wire Journal Ad was the last statement ” Complex projects, simplified” As an manager of Electrical projects I have yet to see a complex project become simplified, sure throwing money at a problem works but is not efficient, without understanding what you are trying to do or accomplish, again personal service is a must a large contractor will not have the time or focus for your project. Would you buy a house without switch plates, without molding, sure the structure is standing but the details are also important.

I strongly believe that “Sometimes the louder one screams the less he is heard”. So when I see this advertisement I also understand that the little guy is also important. Smaller contractors are cost efficient and care about what you do and will do what ever it takes to make your decision the right decision.