Numbers, Numbers, Numbers and … People

July 1, 2019

Making the connections that allow KPIs to serve their true purpose.

A couple weeks ago, my family and I received a surprise present from the city we live in: A swimming pool—right in our basement! I mean, it was only about three or so inches deep, and no one took the time to remove the carpet or any of the furniture first, but, hey, who has the time for that? After all, the construction crew was mostly occupied on replacing the sewer lines in the street. The gush of water that filled all 1,000-square-feet of finished basement in my house was just a bonus; a true Clark Griswold–esque gift.  

Despite the generosity of the city (which in the spirit of anonymous giving has still yet to take credit), my wife and I decided to have the pool removed, along with our carpet, the 1960s tile that was under it, roughly half our drywall and plenty of waterlogged furniture and possessions. 

The removal and recovery is why I bring this up. One of the first people we called (after our insurance company, which has been just as helpful as the city) was a plumber we know as a fellow parent at our kids’ school. He helped recommend how to proceed. Then we called a contractor we know, also through our kids’ school, who then set us up with people he knows and trusts to help replacing and repairing things. In the meantime, we fired off some emails to a family friend who works in finance—the same person who helped with our mortgage when my wife and I bought our first house. 

Did you notice the theme there? While facing a mild emergency in our home, we instinctively reached out to the people we know and trust. That’s a no-brainer, right? 

Well, I was thinking about this while taking a final editing spin through this month’s issue. Our feature well is filled up by an insightful piece written by associate editor Nora Johnson utilizing data from our newly completed 2019 Ratchet+Wrench Industry Survey. The story’s chock full of KPIs and metrics and analysis that should help to shed some light on how to make operational improvements based on those numbers.

KPI management and analysis is critical to business success, regardless of industry, but numbers only take you so far. One of the great opportunities a small or mid-sized business has is in its ability to make true connections with the people it serves. And those connections happen every day—inside and outside your shop’s walls. They can happen on the sidelines at your kid’s soccer game, or at a church picnic, or at your local watering hole. Wherever they happen, they make a tangible impact, not just on your operation but also on the people you serve. Your work makes a difference to your community, and people being able to rely on and trust in you in times of need is invaluable.

There’s a drastic difference between those who treat people like numbers (like, say, my insurance company or city) and those who don’t. I’m incredibly appreciative for those in that latter category, and because of them, we’ll not only have our basement restored soon but also be able to move on to some normalcy in our lives. Maybe we’ll be able to focus on a new project—like putting in a pool?

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