Friday, August 5, 2016

Unexpected Visit Is Just What the Customer Ordered

Joe Kelly
Fluid Connector Specialist
Parker Hannifin

This week was an exciting week for me. I got my first order. It feels great to finally be in the field, and being productive for the company.  It has been a wonderful experience to train with Parker, but I’m really glad to finally have some more responsibilities, and a way to contribute.
One of the accounts that was given to me was a National Grid location, I have been trying to get in to see them, but I was having trouble coordinating a date with them. Eventually, after not being able to work something out I decided I would just drop in one day, and see if they happened to have time. As I pulled into the parking lot it was pouring rain. I parked the car, and reviewed all of the information I had available about the account, including sales history, contacts, & past activities. When I was satisfied that I knew what I needed to know I ran through the rain to the front door, and it was out of order. Luckily, a man who worked in the building was able to lead me around to the side door to let me in. As I stood there dripping in the hallway, he asked who I needed to see, and led me back to the garage to find him.
When I got to the garage I introduced myself, and told him why I was there I almost expected him to be annoyed that I didn’t give him more notice, and how busy he always seemed on the phone. Fortunately for me he turned out to have some time, and was actually happy to see someone from The Hope Group, because their fitting inventory had been running low recently.
He introduced me to his staff, and gave me a tour of their facility. They have Parflex Division and Hose Products Division hose and fittings, some quick couplers, and TFD adapters. They also have two Crimpers: a Parkrimp 1 that they used in the garage, and a Minikrimp that they used on their service vehicle. I noticed that they had plenty of hose so after they showed me around, I was able to take a closer look at their fitting and adapter inventory, and find out what they needed to restock. One of their mechanics, and I went through item by item, and decided what quantities they needed. After that we scheduled a time for me to train them on the crimping systems to ensure everyone in the facility is safely operating the equipment, and fabricating safe hose assemblies. Afterward I worked with Jim Wilson to get a quote to them, and then they responded with a purchase order. Finally, I put the order in with customer service.
It was really exciting to get my first order, and it has been exciting in general to be in the field. I’ve had to rely on myself to ask the right questions, and give people the correct information for the first time since I started working for Parker. It’s going to be a long journey to gain the level of knowledge & competence of The Hope Group's sales team has, but that’s the goal, and I’m on my way.

Editor’s Note: Since all good things must come to an end, this article will be Joe Kelly’s final blog for The Hope Group’s Parker Stores. During his time at The Hope Group, Joe received the hands-on experience he will need to grow and succeed during his career at Parker. Everyone here at The Hope Group congratulates Joe and wishes him the best in his upcoming assignment with Parker.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Adventures in Crimper Training

Joe Kelly
Fluid Connector Specialist
Parker Hannifin

This past week brought another first for me. I have officially provided my first crimper training. Luckily, thanks to the training I received at Hose Products Division, the tools and information local Connector Territory Manager, Bob Parent covered with me, and help from the Hope Group Connector sales team I was well prepared to do the job.
I opened the training with the Safety Works slideshow, and tried to make it clear that the goal of the training is to ensure that everyone leaves with the knowledge necessary to fabricate safe hose assemblies. People had warned me that the guys may not take it seriously, but luckily everyone seemed to pay attention & take the training seriously.

After the presentation I walked everyone through the catalog, explained the meanings behind lay line information, broke down the fitting part numbers and explained how each piece of the part # identifies a detail of the fitting. Bob provided me with 10643-4-6 so I could draw attention to the jump size and explain that the last two numbers are dash sizes and the port side is always listed first. 
After that we went on to the actual demonstration, and everything went well. I was concerned that their bowl or dies may have been worn because the bowl was bone dry. So, before we started I put some lithium grease on it, and I checked the crimps with my calipers. They all came out within spec.
Training customers in the safe and proper use of a crimper was very satisfying. I hope to do a lot more training sessions.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Putting Thread ID Knowledge to Work

Joe Kelly
Fluid Connector Specialist
Parker Hannifin

A few weeks ago I unexpectedly had the opportunity to test my thread knowledge. I had set up a call with an account that Randy Marceau had asked me to see. My contact at the account explained to me when I arrived that one of his maintenance employees was working on a leak that was up in the ceiling. While he was up there making the repair, the battery had died on their Scissor lift.  He was able to safely return to the ground, but he had no way of moving the lift out of the walkway because of the dead battery. What he decided to do next is where the trouble started.
            Since he couldn’t drive the lift under its own power he decided to push it with a fork truck, and it worked. He managed to get the lift out of the walkway and push it all the way back to its storage room. The problem is that as he was pushing the lift along, one of the forks slipped underneath the lift where some hoses were routed. As the fork passed under the platform it crashed directly into a 90 degree swivel sheering off the port end and rendering the machine unusable.
The customer pulled the fitting off and it turned out to be a Parker Swivel from the Quick Coupling Division like the one pictured below. These swivels allow the hose to swivel in applications where the hose moves back and forth on a single plane in order to minimize stress on the hose.

            I had brought along my thread ID kit. The housing end of the fitting was clearly JIC 37⁰ flare. The other end turned out to be 3/8 NPT. The only thing that was left to find out was the size. I had some JIC hose fittings in the car so I went out to grab them, and I discovered that the Swivel was -6.
Parker and the Hope Group have specialists who can do this type of identification for you, but they also offer training which could help you or your employees learn how to identify fittings and threads on their own.

In the training class you will learn the 4 critical steps to identifying threads:
1 – Determine if the thread is tapered or parallel
2 – Determine the pitch
3 – Determine the size
4 – Designate the thread

            Finally the training teaches you to pull all of that information together in step 4, in order to identify almost any thread you will come across. If you are interested in this training, you may register online for the seminar taking place from 8:30AM to 12:30PM on June 15, 2016 at The Hope Group's Parker Store in Fitchburg, Mass.  It will be led by experts from Parker in a hands-on training that covers inch and metric threads. Space is limited so be sure to register early!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

First Face to Face Sales Call Not What I Expected At All

Joe Kelly
Fluid Connector Specialist
Parker Hannifin

Well, I have now conducted my first face to face sales call and it wasn’t really all that exciting. When my boss first presented me with a list of accounts he wanted me to contact, I was nervous and I didn’t know what to do at first. After talking to my mentor at Parker and some of the sales professionals here at The Hope group it became clear what I had to do and how I could start to dig into my 50 accounts.
I started making phone call after phone call asking for the opportunity to visit with the accounts and after a while I realized I hadn’t gotten very far. But, just then I had a stroke of luck. I made two more phone calls and the next thing I knew I had two appointments made.
Now that I had my day planned I organized all of my Marketing materials for Parker and The Hope Group. I reviewed the information and thought about the types of questions I’d be confronted with. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth in & get started.
My first call was nothing like what I had prepared myself for. The person I had scheduled to meet, met me at the front door and gave me only the time he had agreed to give. I tried my best to keep his attention, but he tapped away at his keyboard while I tried to explain the features and benefits of ToughShield 1000, the incredible new plating that Tube Fittings Divisions had developed. He looked up as I uttered the phrase, “1000 hours until red rust in the ASTM B117 Neutral Salt Spray test.” No response. Just a blank stare and a nod.
I began to realize that this wasn’t getting his attention so I began to ask him more questions. The short polite answer he offered didn’t give me much of anywhere to go and finally he gave me an answer that allowed me to understand the situation. He had a contract with his dealership network that stipulated that he had to buy from them in most situations, so the likelihood of becoming a big customer for The Hope Group and Parker was slim, but he did say that when a situation arises where he needed something that he couldn’t get, he would give me a call. He thanked me for the information.

No, my first call wasn’t exactly exciting, but I did learn a lot from it. I learned that it never hurts to inform the customer and get your name out there and that it’s always important to get all of the information you can about the customer before you get too far into talking about products. Now, it’s on to the next face to face.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Tales from the Traveling Rep: Introduction

Joe Kelly
Fluid Connector Specialist
Parker Hannifin

Hi, my name is Joe Kelly. I’m a Parker Sales Rep and Fluid Connector Specialist in training. For the next few months I will be making sales calls on behalf of The Hope Group as a part a yearlong training program with Parker. I’ll be documenting my experiences along the way, here on The Hope Group’s Parker Store Blog.

A little bit about me: I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Drexel University in Pennsylvania, and I began working for Parker this past summer after graduation. While working for Parker I have visited 14 states, 10 Parker Divisions, and six Parker manufacturing facilities. I have met countless new people and I have learned all about Parker’s Fluid Connector Products.

As part of my training I attended product schools at each of the six Parker Fluid Connector Divisions: 
  • Tube Fittings Division
  • Hose Products Divisions
  • Fluid System Connectors
  • Quick Couplings Division.
  • Industrial Hose Division
  • Parflex Division

At each school I got an in-depth look at the division’s scope of products, applications, manufacturing, and most importantly to my future role I was able to meet key individuals at each division. I spent the most time at Tube Fittings Division where I worked with everyone from Customer Service Representatives and Product Sales Managers to Engineers, and Lab Technicians. It has been a crazy six months and I’ve learned a lot, but through orientation and extensive technical training in fluid connectors, I am now getting ready to hit the road on my own to represent Parker and The Hope Group.

To get things started, let me tell you about my first month at The Hope Group. When I arrived at The Hope Group back in late January I had no idea what to expect. Since then, I have travelled with THG sales people, worked in the Hose Shop and Warehouse, and spent time working in the Manchester Parker Store with Scott Levesque and Jim St. Clair.

When I got to The Hope Group – Manchester branch, I had only crimped hoses in training, so I was nervous to be crimping hoses that would be used in the real world. The first hose that came through the door after I arrived was a failed hose from a bucket truck. Scott told me to grab the hose, and make a new one. I knew that the customer was going to rely on the hose to operate efficiently and safely. Scott watched me throughout the process, catching me when I almost put on the fittings without marking the proper insertion depth. Scott was there to make sure I followed all of the proper procedures and explained why things were done the way they are. When I was finished I checked to make sure the crimps were in spec, and as I saw that the crimp diameter was inside the appropriate range, I prepared to Ultra-Clean™ the hose and hand it over to the customer. I really enjoyed my time in the store, and by the end of the week, I had a much better knowledge of the process and a good start on learning part numbers.

Next time, I’ll be reviewing my experiences travelling with The Hope Groups Fluid Connector sales team and what it was like to make my first customer visit by myself.