All posts by The Daman Team

Welcome Robert and Andrew to the Daman Team

In May, Robert Mikula and Andrew Poikus joined the Daman Team. Robert, who prefers to be called Rob, not Bob or Bobby, just Rob—began his career at Daman in the Standard Parts Distributor Services Department. He will be ensuring that customer information is accurate, and he will be addressing customer’s questions and concerns. According to Rob, his greatest talent is his ability to recall the most seemingly useless piece of information. So if you ever need a partner for Trivial Pursuit or Jeopardy, he is the man to call.

Rob has an extensive career in customer service where he spent over 20 years between Motion Industries, Da-Lite Screen Company, and River Bend Hose Specialty. The Hofstra University graduate has been married for two decades and has two daughters and four dogs. Besides work, Rob enjoys Star Wars, NY Jets football, NY Mets baseball, NY Islanders hockey, and sci-fi/action movies.

Andrew Poikus is a Junior Project Developer for Distributor Services. His main role is designing standard and custom parts. Prior to joining Daman, he was in customer service, hospitality, sales, and engineering & operations support. In his downtime, Andrew plays bass and guitar. He is also an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting (both bow and gun) as well as fishing and shooting sports.

Please join us in welcoming both Rob and Andrew to Daman.

 

Evolution to Continuous Improvement

newideas

It’s been a while since we reminisced about our foray into Lean, a process developed to maximize customer value and minimize waste, so I thought we would take a step back to review just how far we’ve come.

More than two decades ago, Daman’s growing pains were culminating in a state of chaos throughout the company. Something needed to change beyond simply moving into a larger facility. After a lot of anxiety, we followed the advice of a trusted advisor and took a huge leap of faith embracing an unconventional approach known as Lean.

Lean promised cost savings, reduced chaos in the shop, and improved quality in our production but it required a complete transformation to our way of thinking as well as total commitment. Little did we know it would be the catalyst that started a cultural conversion at Daman.

Learning From Our Mistakes

In manufacturing, our goal was to eliminate waste, streamline processes, and increase efficiencies. We began by separating the shop floor into autonomous work cells making employees accountable for their own performance and by establishing standard operating procedures.

Regrettably, we did not get input from the people operating the cells. Instead, they were thrown into a system they didn’t help design without training. As you can imagine, this caused a lot of discord. ”We did a great job on planning the physical layout,” said Larry Davis. “What we did wrong was by not training our people well enough.”  It was a mistake that cost Daman two years but also taught us a valuable lesson about trust, accountability, and creativity which has guided our improvement efforts ever since.  (See video: This is Your Part of the Business. Run it.)

Once our employees began driving the projects that affected their daily operations, there was a dramatic improvement in commitment, energy, enthusiasm, and pride.  We learned that empowered employees naturally evolve into innovators. They bring new ideas to the table, map out development plans for new products or services, and launch concepts into the marketplace fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

The Creative Team Is Born

In 2010, a small group of mid-level leaders from every area of our company formed the Creative Team. Their plan was to chart a new course for product development. Rather than engaging in traditional R&D, they were encouraged to build new ideas and identify the resources necessary to carry them out.  But the culture that fosters innovation encourages behaviors that take people out of their comfort zones. It can be a painful process.

Our Creative Team established a pipeline for organizing new ideas, seeking knowledge, tracking progress and eventually launching new products or services. Concepts enter the system and flow through a series of evaluation stages called stage gates. Only about 20% of the ideas make it through the stage gates, so they try to have a dozen ideas in the works at all times.

Some of the most recent ideas in the pipeline include:

  1. Flexible Standard Manifold Solution
  2. Integrated Valve Solutions
  3. Cavity Body Testing
  4. In-line Cartridge Bodies With Sun and Common Cavities
  5. Accumulator Safety Blocks
  6. Valve Test Stand

For more information about Lean and Continuous Improvement, please read our white papers :

Or watch videos from our library and Gemba Academy’s Gemba Live! series:

Gemba Academy videos:

Cyber Security DO’s and DON’Ts

People have been falling for online scams since the beginning of the internet. The sophistication of scams today has made it increasingly difficult for malware security software to help because the latest scams rely on tricking the user instead of infecting the computer with a virus.

You’ve probably heard the term “phishing”. It’s when an email from what appears to be a trusted source lures you into giving your login credentials by linking to legitimate-looking websites which are actually bogus.

Knowing what a scam looks like is the best way to avoid falling prey to a scam. For example, the email below is supposedly from Daman’s IT department. In the email, they are asking the user to “CREATE NEW PASSWORD” by clicking on the link.

Email scam

You can often tell a scam by simply hovering the mouse over the email address. If another address appears, you should delete the email. It’s not always that simple though and this should not be used as an absolute rule. Another way is to click “reply”. Again, if the return email address isn’t the same, then it could be a scam and you should delete the email.

To check the legitimacy of a link, look at the web address. The address should begin with https:// (note the “s” after http). Fake sites will usually just have http:// (no “s”). You should also look at the domain of the URL address. If it isn’t the domain owned by the institution then it is probably not legit.

If you are still not sure, you can always call the sender’s institution to verify the email.

Other Tell-tale Signs of a Scam

Subject lines that contain words like “urgent“, “immediate attention required“, or “do this now“— to make you think the world as you know it will cease to exist if you don’t take action immediately.

Suspected hacking attempt” is supposed to shock you and entice you to click links, open attachments or even call the phone number listed in the email.

CREATE NEW PASSWORD” takes you to a site containing malicious content. If you hover over the link with your mouse, you would see that this does not direct you to a site related to the sender.

Daman’s Rules of Thumb

Daman will never send anything like the ones we described to our users.

  • If you don’t recognize who the email is from delete it.
  • If there are attachments you aren’t sure about,  forward it to your security group to verify that it is not a virus or a link to malicious content.
  • If you suddenly get an email asking you to pay an invoice, you need to ask if this is normal – do you recognize the sender/company/user, and would that person send an invoice directly to you?
  • Same goes if you suddenly receive an email from an internal user (perhaps your manager, or company president), asking for private information. Things like passwords, W2’s, Social Security Numbers, and Credit Card information. No one in our organization should ask for that type of information in an email.
  • Don’t click on links from within emails. Even if you think the email is real, you are better off manually typing in a link to the known site, so you can manage your account.

The key to protecting yourself is to be vigilant— think before you click, consider the source, and just in case you do happen to get phished, make sure you backup your data.

Daman Company Meeting

Executive Summary

This year, Daman got off to a wild start! President, Dave Mischler, reports that orders are at the highest we have seen since late 2014, with customs being up nearly 50% just in the last 6 months. We certainly were not anticipating such a steep uptick in orders yet we continue to meet our customer’s needs!

Growing pains continue, though turnover rates are down from 2017.  Improvements focusing on recruiting, training and retention of are among our top priorities. Training will help feed machine capacity, which in turn will reduce our need for overtime.

*Following procedures, no matter how hectic it may get, helps to save time in the long run, stressing the importance of getting it done right the first time. 

IT Security

Jared Myers, our new IT Manager talked about IT Security, offering strategies to prevent cyber-attacks, as well as how to keep sensitive personal or professional information from getting in the wrong hands.

  • Don’t give out confidential info
  • Don’t use an unprotected computer
  • Don’t leave sensitive info laying around your office
  • Lock your computer and mobile phone when not in use
  • Report suspicious activity
  • Password protect sensitive files and devices
  • Use hard-to-guess passwords
  • Be cautious of suspicious emails and links
  • Don’t plug in personal devices
  • Don’t install unauthorized programs on your work computer

Thank you, Jared, for the tips!

Employees

Employees are the backbone of Daman Products. The Better Living Committee helps to coordinate employee events. This year is shaping up to be very “active” with all of the planned activities!

  • Employee Appreciation Meals
  • Our participation in the Sunburst Races
  • Golf Outing
  • Company Picnic
  • Kettle Bell & Cardio Drumming Classes

Service Awards and Employee Recognition

We were very busy with hiring in the first quarter, bringing in 14 new employees. Additionally, we had 39 employment anniversaries in the first quarter of the year. Nine of which were milestone anniversaries, including James Tobolski who is celebrating 35 years of service at Daman, second in number of years to only one other person.

2018 Sales Presentation Overview

It was an intense few days for Daman’s account management team as they flew in from their territories all over the U.S. and Canada to reconnect with their peers. Together, the team examined territory growth goals and developed comprehensive strategies for the remainder of 2018. They also took a deep dive into Wave Analytics, Daman’s new business intelligence software.

Chris Stevens, the co-founder of Keurig, made an appearance inspiring them with stories about the trials and tribulations of his life in the coffee industry, Anheuser-Busch, and Procter & Gamble. Afterward, he indulged in a Q&A session with the team.

On the last day, the team presented their corporate and territory strategies to all customer-facing employees. “It is imperative we as account managers communicate to our people what we are doing in the field and how we are doing it. This will help them understand how all of their hard work internally is helping us out in the field become more successful,” said Todd Crocker, midwest region account manager.

Based on questions asked during the presentation and the compliments afterward, the communication was extremely valuable and appreciated. “This will definitely become an annual event supported by more regular updates as we continue to execute our strategies,” exclaimed Gordon Weiler, vice president of sales.