Monthly Archives: April 2017

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French Gerleman Customer Appreciation Days are Back!

‘Tis the season for Customer Appreciation Days! We’ve been looking forward to these events and busy planning them for months.  We are excited to share with you our upcoming customer appreciation events!

Kansas City Customer Appreciation Day
Wednesday, May 3
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
9735 Commerce Parkway, Lenexa, KS 66219

If you’re in the Kansas City area, be sure to join us for our first customer appreciation day! We will be serving lunch, we will have product experts on hand and you can check out the new products available from French Gerleman.

Exhibiting manufacturers include: APC, Appleton, Brady, IDEAL, Mersen, Shimpo and Philips. Download the event flyer HERE.

Quincy Customer Appreciation Day
Wednesday, May 10
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
1700 North 45th Street, Quincy, IL 62305

Quincy always knows how to throw a great Customer Appreciation Event! Join us for lunch, meet with product experts and dive into the newest products available from French Gerleman.

Exhibiting manufacturers include: Brady, Dialight, General Cable, Greenlee, Hubbell, Philips, Thomas & Betts and Universal Lighting. Download the event flyer HERE.

Washington Customer Appreciation Day
Wednesday, May 24
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
1 Chamber Drive, Washington, MO 63090

Washington, MO, there’s an event for you, too! Join us at our Washington branch for lunch, product demos and to talk to product experts.

Exhibiting manufacturers include: Eaton B-Line Series, Fluke, SolaHD, Thomas & Betts and Universal Lighting. Download the event flyer HERE.

Columbia Customer Appreciation Day
Friday, June 2
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
1815 Vandiver Drive, Columbia, MO 65202

Join us for lunch, demos of the newest products available from French Gerleman and have a meet and greet with product experts!

Exhibiting manufacturers include: Dialight, General Cable, Greenlee, Hubbell, Lutze, Omni Cable, Philips and Thomas & Betts. Download the event flyer HERE.

St. Louis Customer Appreciation Day
Thursday, June 15
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
2023 Westport Center Drive, St. Louis, MO 63146

If you’re in the St. Louis city, county, or surrounding areas, this customer appreciation event at our French Gerleman headquarters is for you! There will be lunch, product demos, new product displays and you can meet with experts in the field.

Exhibiting manufacturers include: Appleton, Brady, First Air Only, General Cable, Ideal, LUTZE, Mersen, Nidec-Shimpo, Panduit and Philips Lighting. Flyer coming soon HERE.

Be sure to mark your calendars! We look forward to celebrating you at our customer appreciation days. It’s our way of saying thank you for your continued support of French Gerleman while keeping you updated on new technologies and industry trends.


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Our Solar Array: Where are we now?

In 2013, we launched the French Gerleman Solar Testing and Learning Center. It was one of the largest and most complex solar arrays, designed to test and demonstrate a wide variety of components and technologies, while offering customers an educational environment.

Here we are, four years later, and our Solar Learning Center has been a success. Our investment incorporates four different monitoring systems, three panel technologies of various wattages and three different types of inverter technologies. Due to the system’s complexity, the project took more than a year to design and build.

Here are a few key features of our Solar Testing and Learning Center and how it has grown.

Education

We built our Solar Testing and Learning Center with our customers in mind. For our new customers just getting into the solar business, we use it to explain how solar works and the different types of products used when installing systems. Being able to see and explore the different products is a great bonus for these customers. Our newer customers tell us the Learning Center has helped them to not only design and install their systems, but helped with identifying the details that need to be considered when getting started.

Our existing solar customers have seen real value in the Solar Testing and Learning Center. We often receive requests from customers to bring their clients to our facility. It’s more than just a sales tool, it’s an educational experience. Our learning center helps their customers to understand and feel comfortable with solar, and helps them to make informed decisions.

Training

Our Solar Testing and Learning Center is a great training resource for our customers and internal employees. We have brought in industry experts to teach classes and provide product training. We’ve also had customers use the Learning Center to train their employees on the various aspects of solar arrays.

Products

Our Solar Testing and Learning Center has panels tilted at 20, 10 and 0 degrees, or flat. We did this to show how the tilt of the panel can have variable production values based on the sun angle at different times of the year.

Our Learning Center showcases various solar racking options.  Racking adds to the weight of the system on your roof as well as if they penetrate your structure or not.  For residential, we offer a rail and rail less racking solution for rooftops. For commercial installations, we offer ballasted racking, a flat roof non-penetrating solution that is held down by concrete blocks. For both residential and commercial, we also offer ground mount racking, which is sometimes preferred.

Our Learning Center demonstrates the effect of weather and the elements on solar systems.  Customers can see how soiling can accumulate on panels based on their tilt, how they look in the spring when pollen is prevalent or with snow in the winter.  The various tilts showcase how the panel can be naturally cleaned by rain or other precipitation.  Visitors can also observe the effect of hail on the panels, especially in the spring and fall months. Our panels are rated to withstand up to 1″ hail hitting at 50 miles per hour.  Our various racking solutions showcase the effects of wind and the system’s weight on the roof.

A variety of inverters are showcased in our Learning Center.  Inverters converts the DC power generated by the solar panels into AC power used to run our homes and businesses.  There are different types of inverters that can be used, depending upon site’s environment and size.

And finally, our Learning Center features the balance of systems products, which includes everything outside of the panels, inverts and racking. This includes electrical equipment, lightning arresters, combiner boxes, etc.

Conclusion

Our Solar Testing and Learning Center has been a success. Since its commissioning, our 50KW solar array has produced more than 190 Megawatt hours! It has shown an excellent economical return on investment, but the education, training and product showcase has exceeded the economical ROI through the relationships we have built and sustained.

Do you have any questions on solar arrays, solar energy or our Solar Testing and Learning Center? Give us a call! We’d love to have you out, give you a tour and answer any questions you might have.


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How Can 5S Help Your Business?

Productivity is a key issue in manufacturing environments and our customers are constantly looking for ways to improve their productivity and reduce total costs. 5S is a great way to get a business organized and productive. 5S might sound scary or little different, but it’s one of the most widely adopted techniques in establishing operational stability and sustaining continuous improvement.

5S is a lean methodology derived from five Japanese words.  It is designed to reduce waste and optimize productivity through better and more effective organization. The five categories of the 5S are Sort (Seiri), Set in Order (Seiton), Shine (Seiso) Standardize (Seiketsu) and Sustain (Shitsuke). In 5S, visual devices such as red tags, floor marking tapes and shelf labels are used to ensure everything has a place, and that everything remains in its place. This not only keeps everything clean and organized, but also helps you to see what you have, what you need and what is getting low, ultimately, helping you to save time and money.

With some help from our friends at Brady, we will detail each of these 5S pillars, explain the process and how these guidelines for a visual workplace can benefit your company.

Step One: SORT

The first step is as simple as going through what you have and determining what you want and need to keep, and what you can get rid of. This includes sorting through all tools and materials, only keeping the essentials. Anything that doesn’t make the cut, discard! This will keep your workplace clutter and hazard free.

Step Two: SET IN ORDER

Did you know that 75% of knowledge is gained through visuals? The second step in 5S is to look for ways to reduce any sources of waste and errors in your facility, and in the process, make it more visually instructive. By adding visuals to the workplace, employees have the information they need to effectively do their jobs, cut down on wasted time and be more effective.

Areas of focus include:

  • Organizing equipment
  • Establishing safety measures
  • Creating procedures
  • Establishing product quality standards
  • Creating effective inventory and material handling

Step Three: SHINE

Step three simply put means CLEAN. By eliminating dust, dirt and sources of contamination/debris and inspecting your equipment in the process, you can improve the safety and productivity of your facility. Once you get your workplace clean, create a plan or process to ensure you can maintain its appearance and use preventative measures to keep it that way.

Step Four: STANDARDIZE

Next, you need to expand your efforts and create best practices to make the improved workplace a standard. To do this, it’s important to have clear and consistent visual controls, roles and responsibilities. This includes job scheduling boards, employee schedules and check sheets, supply checkout boards, safe state visuals and Lead Daily Management (LDM) boards.

Step Five: SUSTAIN

This step is all about ensuring that employees understand that workplace organization is a top priority. It is a goal to continually improve the workplace.

PLUS

Safety is built into the 5S structure by identifying potential hazards, risks and creating preventive safety processes to keep your workplace operating at 100% and helping to keep your team safe.

Through our French Gerleman Stock Optimization Program, we can help you to implement the 5S structure and get your facility to optimum productivity. We have many products and solutions, such as our Job Site Storage Mobile Carts, that can help get you and your employees stay organized. You can also learn more about how Brady utilizes 5S with their products HERE.

If you’re interested in learning more about 5S or how to increase your company’s productivity, give your French Gerleman Account Manager a call today!

Source – https://www.bradyid.com/en-us/standards-and-compliance/lean-visual-workplace/5s


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French Gerleman Springfield Branch Open House

We’re excited to announce the Grand Opening of our Southwest Missouri Branch of French Gerleman, located in Springfield, MO! Our Springfield branch is our sixth location, catering to the Southwest Missouri (Springfield, Joplin, Branson and more). To celebrate, we are hosting an open house on Wednesday, May 10, to celebrate our grand opening!

This facility provides a great location to serve our existing business along the I-44 corridor. Our goal is to better support our existing customers while cultivating a healthy relationship with new ones throughout the Southwest Missouri area.

Our Springfield branch offers products and services ranging from Datacom, Safety, Electrical Supply, Power Transmission and features Siemens Automation Products. We are the exclusive distributor of Siemens Automation in Western Missouri and Kansas. It includes office, warehouse and training space, as well as a large in-house sales counter that is open to the public.

French Gerleman Springfield Open House
Wednesday, May 10
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Join us for lunch from The Wheelhouse Street Fare, check out our new facility and meet our local team. 

Help us celebrate the opening of our new branch at our open house! We look forward to meeting our new Southwest Missouri friends.