How to Accurately Order Your Elevator Interior System

When filling out your order form, remember to complete every space. Omissions on the form can prevent your customers from receiving their products on time. So, even if you think your elevator interior partner doesn’t need to know your existing ceiling details, , or front wall information, these details are critical. Without them, a project can stall for days, or even weeks, while an additional field visit is necessary to gather the pertinent information.

A proactive approach, and a small amount of time now, ensures your customers get their elevator interiors on time and that your project can proceed as scheduled.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Accurate measurements ensure optimal results, so it’s worth taking the time to measure twice. It’s important that your elevator interior partner knows everything about your cab. Some tips to help you get started:

  • Always measure from the cab itself – not the drawings.
  • Measure to the nearest 1/16th of an inch. Some manufacturers have a built-in safety margin, so if you’re slightly off, it won’t show up on the wall.
  • For accurate wall measurements, measure from one corner to the middle and make a mark. Measure from the other corner to the mark, and add those two figures.
  • If you’re not sure how to accurately measure a feature (e.g. a radius), snap a picture and email it to your interior provider for more information. A technician will be able to walk you through it.

And remember: fill in every space! This includes transom dimensions, COP location, and more. Blank spots can delay your project and cause errors.

Elevator interiors should be easy and convenient on installation day – but that’s not enough. The entire process, from start to finish, should be designed to help your team get the job done on time and on budget. The ordering process sets the tone for the entire project. Is it simple? Expedient? When it is, not only will customers be highly-satisfied with their interiors – they’ll know who to turn to for their next project.

Ask the experts! Contact your project manager.

How to Get Fast, Accurate Elevator Interior Quotes

The clock’s ticking. Your customers depend on you for timely, accurate quotes so they can stay on schedule. How can you ensure that your team delivers – every time? Start at the beginning: When you work with a company that makes quoting easy, efficient, and quick, you give yourself a head start that’ll help see the project through to a streamlined conclusion. Ready…set…quote.

Elevator Interior Quoting Simplified

Accessing a quote can be convenient and quick, and with the SnapCab system you don’t have to take cab measurements before getting started. All you have to do is provide the cab capacity (i.e. 2500 lb, 3500 lb, etc.) and the approximate height of your elevator (usually around 8’ tall) and, based on these figures, the standard size can be estimated. From there, SnapCab only requires the detail on the interior selections your customer has made before we can prepare the quote. Typically, this includes style of wall panels (for example Classic II, Sahara I, Acero, etc.), handrails, bumpers, and ceilings. This information should be enough for an accurate estimate that is typically turned around in less than a day. Our Quick Quote Form is the tool for compiling this information. Prefer an online form, check out our Build-A-Quote. It’s not unusual for other elevator interior companies to take up to two weeks to complete this process: they book a meeting to visit the site, take measurements, and audit the cab. Only then can they create a quote. Meanwhile, the clock’s still ticking on your client’s project. You need a partner who gives you the information you need to get started at the, you know, start of the project. Want to learn more about the expert? Read Brian Godshall’s bio here.

Lean Manufacturing 101

“To be competitive, we have to look for every opportunity to improve efficiencies and productivity while increasing quality. Lean manufacturing principles have improved every aspect of our processes.” -Cynthia Fanning, GE Appliances

How do responsible companies reduce waste and cost? How do they increase quality and efficiency? How do they do what they do – better? For many highly successful organizations, the answer lies in Lean manufacturing. Though many clients do not know it, Lean manufacturing directly benefits them. To learn more about what Lean manufacturing means, how it benefits you, and which Lean philosophies help companies achieve maximum results with minimal waste, read on:

Introduction To The Lean Philosophy

Lean is a methodology and a set of tools to identify and remove sources of waste, or “non-valued added activities” in organizations. This, in turn, improves quality and reduces both production time and cost. The goal is continuous improvement; Lean Manufacturing eliminates unnecessary steps or processes if they do not contribute to overarching objectives.

While the term “Lean” was first coined in 1990 (The Machine that Changed the World by John Krafcik), its roots extended back to the old Model T assembly line. Henry Ford revolutionized manufacturing by keeping standards high and streamlining processes so they “flowed” optimally.

Subsequent manufacturers adopted and improved upon Ford’s ideas. Taiichi Ohno, of Toyota, for instance, developed the Toyota Production System (TPS). TPS overcomes the inflexibility that flawed Ford’s system. (After all, the Model T assembly line only produced Model Ts and unsold inventory drained profitability.) Ohno pioneered the Just In Time (JIT) methodology (among others) to increase efficiency, boost flexibility, and eliminate extraneous and costly inventory.

How Does A Lean Organization Benefit Consumers?

Lean thinking benefits elevator maintenance companies, designers, architects, and, by extension, building owners and end-users. How? Systems and processes are optimized to ensure only the highest-quality products are shipped – on time, on budget, to your specifications.

SnapCab products are made-to-order with reliable lead times. They’re manufactured and shipped just in time, along with everything needed to complete the job, so you stay on schedule. Materials include:

  • Detailed written instructions and videos.
  • Drill and driver bits.
  • All necessary fasteners.
  • Package of shims to ensure panels fit tightly against the walls.
  • Construction adhesive and double sided tape.
  • Cleaner, paper towels and a garbage bag for clean-up.

For additional speed and convenience, SnapCab labels their panels and thoroughly inspects them. Elevator mechanics don’t have to waste time looking for missing parts and pieces while the clock is ticking on the job.

By operating with a Lean mentality, SnapCab eliminates material and manpower waste – creating cost savings that can be passed on to the customer. With an emphasis on continuous improvements, they are always looking for ways to create even more value for elevator maintenance companies, specifiers, and the end user.

So how exactly does SnapCab incorporate Lean philosophies into every part of the business?

SnapCab’s Lean Journey

SnapCab’s owner Glenn Bostock has always focused on simplification and continuous improvement. In fact, that’s why he started the company: from his experience in elevator remodeling, Glenn knew the conventional method of remodeling interiors was needlessly complex, time-consuming, and wasteful.

He developed a system of interlocking panels that streamlined the entire process. Elevator Interiors Simplified. Which isn’t just a slogan, but really, a way of doing business. Glenn is an ardent proponent of Lean manufacturing, and its principles of continuous improvement, knowledge sharing, and waste elimination are infused throughout SnapCab’s culture.

6 Ways to Incorporate Lean Ideas?

Eliminate waste, reduce cost, improve efficiency, increase quality: these principles guide Lean organizations. A few key Lean concepts that drive the work at SnapCab are:

1. 5S: Make An Efficient Workplace The Status Quo

Seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke.

5S, a Japanese methodology, helps reduce waste and optimize productivity by maintaining an orderly, streamlined workspace. There are five key pillars:

  • Sort (Seiri): remove unnecessary items from the workplace.
  • Set in order (Seiton): create efficient, clearly labeled storage methods.
  • Shine (Seiso): after de-cluttering, thoroughly clean the workspace. This makes it easier to spot potential problems before they can worsen and hinder production.
  • Standardize (Seiketsu): integrate Sort, Set in Order, and Shine into everyday work. Create a consistent approach for tasks and processes.
  • Sustain (Shitsuke): make the 5S a daily habit. It replaces the status quo and becomes the “way we do things around here.”

When employees apply the 5S steps to their workspace, they can meet a number of critical goals, including reducing waste and inventory, cutting downtime, reducing the square footage needed for their work, ensuring they have the proper tools for their tasks neatly organized, and improving final output.

2. Total Productive Maintenance (TPM): Avoid Breakdowns With Proactive Maintenance

TPM philosophy states everyone within an organization is responsible for proactive equipment maintenance to reduce downtime. People at all levels should work to improve the efficiency of their workplace. For instance, spotting and fixing minor problems, such as corrosion on a piece of equipment, can prevent a much costlier failure in the future.

Workers often perceive maintenance as a “non-profit activity” because it doesn’t help turn a profit. But TPM challenges that assumption and proves that making small investments in improving equipment can yield significant returns – and reduce unnecessary costs.

3. Standard Work: Implement Best Practices To Drive Improvement

Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement, and this philosophy hinges on standardizing work. Documenting current best practices and keeping them updated provides employees with the best, most efficient processes for given tasks. These repeatable processes provide a new baseline on which organizational leaders can guide further improvements. Kaizen is a never-ending cycle.

4. Kanban: Streamline Workflows With Visual Cues

Henry Ford’s assembly line followed a “push” system: they churned out cars regardless of customer demand. Toyota recognized the waste and implemented a “pull” system. They were driven by customer demand, which reduces unsold inventory. Kanban is a Lean tool that facilitates Just In Time delivery and allows companies to match their inventory with actual demand.

Kanbans are visual cues: employees have cards that signal steps in their processes so they can visualize the flow of work. Through these cards, they can communicate effectively, telling coworkers what tasks to complete and when. This, again, improves efficiency and reduces downtime.

SnapCab relies on Kanbans to re-order stock materials and supplies. This ensures they have the right amount at each station and never run out – or run over. Too much product is as costly as too little.

5. Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI): Use Data To Optimize The Supply Chain

VMI allows manufacturers to optimize their supply chain. Typically, when distributors need a product, they place an order with a manufacturer. The distributor controls the size of the order, as well as the timing. With VMI, the manufacturer receives data on the distributor’s sales and inventory levels and maintains an optimal inventory plan. It’s the manufacturer, not the distributor, which creates the order. VMI helps create a Lean, demand-driven supply chain.

6. Value Stream Mapping:

A value stream map is essentially a flowchart that maps the manufacturing process. It helps organizational leaders to identify areas of waste, reduce production time, and make continuous improvements. As with many Lean methods, value stream mapping is highly visual. This makes it easier to follow and analyze how products get from Point A to customers’ hands, as well as which steps are non-value added and can be safely eliminated.

The Added Benefit Of Lean: A Fun and Engaging Workplace

While Lean thinking helps organizations operate efficiently, it also helps eliminate fear. SnapCab rewards their employees for mistakes and experimenting. If they’re not afraid of making mistakes, they’re empowered to make improvements and solve problems creatively. If they’re not afraid to point out waste or problems, they’re part of the solution.

SnapCab encourages their employees to give feedback – and they’re expected to help the company evolve, improve, and find new ways of working. Tim Isleib, a SnapCab team leader, says, “Our No Fear company culture gives us power, it seems like it’s not all up to the office, now we have a say in what’s going on.”

And they’re using this voice to ensure customers receive high-quality products that meet their design and functional goals. A No Fear company culture and Lean philosophies have helped land SnapCab on Inc magazines 5,000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America list yet again. More importantly, it allows them to provide high-quality, high-value products and services that elevator maintenance companies, architects, designers, and property owners can rely on to get the job done right.

Ask the expert! Contact Joe Danko here.

6 Ways to Easily Specify a SnapCab

Ready to start the incredibly simple process of specifying a SnapCab? You’ve got 6 worry free options to get all the information you need.

  1. Visit the online showroom.

    Not sure what you want yet? Search by system, material, accent material, and/or price range to hone in on what you’re looking for. Or, scroll through all model options until the best fit finds you – all from the convenience of your computer.

  2. Book a design session.

    Already have a vision of what you’d like to achieve? Do you need something a bit different than the showroom models? Book a design session to bring your ideas to life. Using highly-customized 3D software, an elevator cab expert will help your vision take shape right before your eyes.

  3. Call to speak to an expert.

    Have questions about alternative material options or design elements? A quick call to one of our Interior Specialists can resolve issues and ensure your project stays on schedule.

  4. BIM, CAD drawings and CSI 3-part spec..

    Take a look at downloadable BIM, CAD, and our CSI 3-part spec to facilitate easy, and convenient, elevator interior system specification.

  5. Lunch-and-learn session.

    Schedule a lunch-and-learn session at your firm to hear more about available materials, systems and what’s cutting edge.

  6. Request a presentation board.

    Get a real feel for materials with samples and a print out of your 3D rendering. See, handle, and interact with the product to ensure you’re making the best choices for your elevator interior.

Elevator interior specification. Simplified.

To learn more about the author, Jason King, please read his full bio here.

Work With the Right Elevator Interior Partner: 10 Questions to Ask

Elevator interiors matter. When clients, residents, and other occupants walk into a building, they assess each detail, even if it’s subconsciously. Elevator interiors provide an opportunity to impress them with high-quality work. Knowing just how much of an impact the inside of an elevator can have, should you stick with the same company you’ve always used – or are better options available? Choosing the right company can mean the difference between staying on budget or going over, keeping to a schedule or getting delayed, achieving the aesthetics you want or ending up disappointed. How do you know if you’re choosing a trustworthy company who can provide the most value? To make sure you’re working with someone who can see to your unique needs, ask these 10 questions.

1. How difficult or tedious is the quoting process?

Will estimates take several days or just a few minutes? Some companies need to schedule on-site visits before they can provide an estimate. Others can accomplish this in as little as 15 minutes. What’s their secret? Experience – and modular systems with pre-established pricing. Small idiosyncrasies drive the cost of custom (and even some modular) systems up. Expert manufacturers, though, have run into virtually every challenge that could increase price, from uneven walls to non-square corners. They are able to anticipate problems and build solutions into their systems. For example, elevator walls are almost always out of square, so the manufacturer should have panels that overlap the reveals by at least 1.5” to allow the elevator mechanics to install properly. Not only does this proactive approach help you correct any irregularities in the cab, it streamlines the quoting process because the components already exist. Some manufacturers offer a simple price list based on the weight capacity and use this chart to generate quotes quickly. The turnaround time is fast, and there’s no need for re-measuring or constant price adjustments.

2. Will the interior models and designs work across all cabs?

Custom is custom. These interiors will usually work because you’re paying a premium for the local company that builds the cab interior, to also install it. But, – and it’s a big “but” – in most cases, custom is not required. A well-designed modular panel system meets the needs – both functional and aesthetic – of the vast majority of cabs. And, even if a custom design element is required, it can often be executed by modifying a modular design.

3. Are all models tested and approved in their end-use configuration?

You hope so! It certainly saves untold time and aggravation. Why? Just because a particle board, glue, and veneer, for example, are all fired-rated individually, it does not necessarily mean the finished panel is ready to go. The panel, as an assembled whole, must be tested to ensure it complies with fire safety and elevator code requirements. In addition, if the property owner wants to achieve LEED certification, those requirements must be considered as well. This is end-use configuration testing, and it is not a standard process for all manufacturers – so be sure to ask whether or not it is included.

4. How long will the installation take?

You need to know – with a good deal of accuracy – how long your elevator will be out of service. But more than that, is there a way to reduce installation time and the disruption to the building? When property owners/managers hire licensed elevator mechanics, they incur a high labor cost. And for good reason: it is an important and highly technical job. Over the course of a typical project, this becomes an expensive proposition. The cost, though, can be significantly minimized when they opt for an easy-to-install modular system. Instead of three or four days, they should be looking at just one day!

5. Do the standard models meet the needs of your projects?

With custom builds, the sky’s the limit – but this won’t always work with your budget or timeline. Thankfully, there are economical alternatives that come in a variety of styles, materials, and finishes. Just ask to see the company’s catalog: an extensive catalog will, in all likelihood, have the aesthetic you need. But be sure to ask if they can modify their catalog models to meet your specific project needs – and how they plan to keep those results on-budget. To accommodate for clients who need modifications, some manufacturers offer in-house design capabilities. This complimentary service helps you navigate code requirements while ensuring design goals are met. A strong design team can provide CAD drawings, detailed specifications, and even sample boards. These tools can really help you and your clients clarify the vision for the elevator interior. As it comes to life in these renderings, you or your client can make adjustments as needed. This saves you time during the actual project and ensures that every detail is ironed out in advance.

6. How do they ensure quality and ASME standards are followed?

Any elevator interior vendor, supplier, or manufacturer with whom you work should be able to point to the specific quality standards and processes they follow to ensure top-quality products. For example, do they follow the standards set by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) or do they practice lean manufacturing? For instance, ASME’s recommendations ensure the interiors are properly and safely designed, end-use configuration tested, and installed with adequate ventilation. Additionally, ask your potential supplier if they will provide specs, drawings, 3D models, weight charts, training videos, fire-rating charts, and other resources to you and your customers. This increases the transparency and provides first-hand evidence that they are committed to safety and quality.

7. What kind of support will the elevator interior partner provide?

Do you expect exceptional service throughout your elevator build or remodel? You should. Ask your potential partner to describe how they will support your project in these functions:
      • Customer support. If you have questions or concerns, at almost any organization, you can call and talk to someone. But you don’t want to talk to just anyone. You want to speak with an expert – and you’ll want to talk to the same expert throughout the project, so you won’t have to waste time explaining and re-explaining your needs. Ask if you’ll have a particular go-to project manager for the length of your project.
      • Installation support. Is your elevator company expected to handle the installation alone or are there tutorials or resources they can consult? Whether it’s in-person field-training, videos or written instructions, ask how your elevator interior company plans to support the installation.
      • Use and care guide. Now that the investment in your building is installed, how do you ensure its beauty will last for years to come? You should be provided a Use & Care Guide with information on how to clean and maintain all the materials in your new elevator interior.

8. What kinds of new materials or innovative products do they offer?

Don’t get stuck with a vendor who’s still thinking in terms of the last decade – or even the last year. Elevator interiors present an incredible opportunity. Look for a manufacturer who strives for continual improvement and who seeks out opportunities to integrate new and exciting materials or who has inside access to innovative materials– so that your results are extraordinary.

9. What kind of reputation do they have in the industry?

Is your current elevator interior company an industry expert? Do they know the ins and outs of all applicable elevator regulations, legislation, and code requirements? How long have they worked in the industry – and are they an approved vendor with the four major elevator maintenance companies? Do they have a reputation as reliable, consistent, professional, and friendly? Do they stand behind their work? Everyone makes mistakes, its how a company handles them that makes the difference. Trust is a critical part of the process: your clients trust you to create an aesthetically-pleasing and functional space for their building occupants. To accomplish this, you need a partner you can trust.

10. What kind of extra value do they provide to you and to your clients?

An elevator interior needs to provide value long after it’s complete to justify the budget. Besides the basics, what does your elevator interior company offer to add value? Some examples to look for are:
    • Building value. Elevators certainly add value to hotels, office buildings, and residences, but as decors change, the interiors can look outdated. How difficult is it to replace individual panels if they get damaged or make style changes?
    • LEED. Do their design options offer multiple opportunities for LEED credits? Do they integrate recycled, regionally-sourced, and low-emitting materials, use ecofriendly lighting options, and create interiors from durable materials that don’t need to be replaced as often as conventional materials?
    • Energy-Saving.Can they make their elevator interiors from long-lasting, lightweight materials, so as to not weigh down the cab or interfere with the precise balance it must maintain?
Elevator interiors are serious business: your customers expect high-quality results from you, and you should expect nothing less from your elevator interior company. How can you assess if a company will meet your needs? Take the time to ask these 10 questions and make the best choice – it’ll make your entire project faster, easier, and more convenient. A win-win for you and your clients. Want to learn more about the expert? Read Brian Godshall’s bio here.