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March 21, 2017

Market Like a Rock Star

How Long Does it Take to Forget Us When We Go?

Selling is tough but as Robert Louis Stevenson said “Everyone lives by selling something.”  It is hard to get a meeting with a key potential client. It can be stressful to host and hold a meeting that has purpose and meaning for the potential client.  No matter how much you think you nailed the meeting you should ask yourself honestly, ‘how long will this prospective client remember me, my company and my pitch?'  Everyone is busy so if you are truthful, the answer is probably not very long at all.

How Do We Make Sure We are Remembered?

First and foremost your SWAG (Stuff We All Get) has to be high quality.  Quality SWAG reflects the quality of your brand.  Why give someone even a pen if it is going to be their second favorite pen.  You want your to be the one they use every day all day because they love the way it writes. 

Second, you have to be different.  This is a hard thing to do but well worth the effort.

My Favorite Promo Items So Far

I have a few favorites.  We made up Hot Wheels cars to look like D&D cars.  I called Hot Wheels and Matchbox for permission so that base was covered.  The key was to use Hot Wheels Honda’s when we were presenting to Honda and Chrysler or GM when we were presenting to them.  Attention to detail is very important.  No one else was doing this but it has been copied by others since but that is fine with me.  To imitate someone is to pay the person a genuine compliment — often an unintended compliment.

Screen wipes were a huge hit and dirt cheap.  We had them branded with our message and everyone I ever give one to loves it and hangs onto it for a long time.

My latest favorite is a mini goal stick to promote our newest product in the VERA™ line. The VERA™ Feeder which is being unveiled at the ProMat/Automate Show in Chicago in a couple weeks.  If you want one, head over to Promat Automate and pick one up at our booth #N142.

We source our marketing out to a company called The Blondes.  They are the best at creating outstanding marketing pieces that all fit together into a single cohesive brand.  I love The Blondes!  They are Awesome!

I would love to hear from anyone who has a great piece of SWAG that has worked well.  I would love to compliment you by imitating you and your promotional idea. I have a free Tim Hortons or Starbucks coffee for any client or supplier partner who responds and don’t forget to like and share my post.


Posted by:
Michael McCourt at 4:13 PM
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February 23, 2017

Generals & Sub-Contractors on Projects

Do Subs Realize How They Look to the Client?

Our building at 658 Erie Street is almost done with its facelift and I am thrilled with the results.  I can’t wait for the new sign to go up.  It’s funny being the client and not the contractor or one of the sub-contractors.  This is a new perspective for me and it give me some insights.  As a general contractor I would recommend Todd at Belliveau Construction every time.  Thanks Todd you and your team have been great. All but one of the sub-contractors have been great too. 

It is amazing how one bad sub-contractor can cast a negative shadow over the general and even the rest of the subs. Like the one sub-contractor who left nails all over our parking lot and now months later is still causing flat tires! This makes me wonder if we, that is D&D are great subs every time and what we are doing about it if we are not.  Another little look in the mirror.

We Are A Reflection of the General

A general contractor is the leader and the sub-contractors are the team.  This is not unlike any sports team.  Are you more likely to win the cup with a team of superstars who are each there for their own personal glory?  Are you more likely to win the cup with a team a good players who really pull together for the glory of the entire team?  I don’t know for sure who would win that match but I know which team I would rather be involved with.  I would also rather lead or coach a team that is all pulling together that try to herd a bunch of superstars who are all doing their own thing.

Be Part of  Great Team

A great team will stick together and win many championships.  This is what I call playing the long game.  It is important to be successful on each and every project but if you can create a great team and hold it together then you have a real winner.  Opportunities to be successful will find you.  Team mates will have your back just as you have theirs.  When you get a team mate who is not performing the entire team will lean on them to either move up or move out.  Move up is to improve their game and be a positive contributor and move out is to leave the team and make room for a new member of the team. The lesson is be the team mate you want others to be and hold the bar high for the rest of the team.

So my original thought about how we perform as team leaders or members on our projects.  The larger team is also built into our PEP or Project Execution Plans that we build for every project.  I would love to hear from anyone who has worked with us and get that feedback. What kind of a leader or member is D&D?  I have a free Tim Hortons or Starbucks coffee for any client or supplier partner who responds and don’t forget to like and share my post.


Posted by:
Michael McCourt at 9:09 AM
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January 13, 2017

Communication on Projects

Do We Communicate Enough When Executing Projects?

Our building at 658 Erie Street is undergoing a facelift and it is a project that has been going for a year now.  The contractor is a little behind schedule but to be fair to him some of that time was spent in design and permitting so all of the delays are not his.  The finished product is looking awesome so it was well worth the wait for the excellent craftsmanship.  Thanks Todd at Belliveau Construction.  The one complaint I have with the architect and all of the contractors and sub-contractors is that they do not communicate with me enough.  This makes me wonder if D&D communicates with our customers enough when we are doing projects for them.  A little look in the mirror can go a long way sometimes.

 

Why do We Need to Communicate?

There are always lots of stakeholders on any project large or small.  The reason people might be stakeholders is a varied as the stakeholders themselves and you never know what is important to some people.  If people are asking you silly questions about a project you are working on you should probably treat that as a red flag that your communication plan is lacking.  Give them enough information that they start to ask you intelligent and informed questions.  Being questioned with intelligent questions is a good indication that your communication plan is working.

Building a Communication Plan

There are always lots of stakeholders on any project large or small.  The important this is to identify them.  The key stakeholders are easy and obvious. To make sure you have everyone covered ask your stakeholders who they think might also be stakeholders.   It is surprising sometimes who want to be in the loop.  An informed stakeholder can be your best friend and an uninformed stakeholder can be  your worst nightmare.  Set expectations about how you will communicate and how often.  In my case with our facelift project I am satisfied with the frequency of the site meetings.  We meet on site about once every 3 weeks.  The problem is the expectation was set for weekly meetings so that is frustrating.  Odd that I am frustrated with not meeting the set expectation but satisfied with the reality.  The lesson is to set realistic expectations and then meet them.  It is really that simple, set expectations of communication; the who, how and when and then stick to that plan.

So my original thought about how we do with communication on our projects?  Stakeholder communication is built into our PEP or Project Execution Plans that we build for every project.  I would love to hear from anyone who has worked with us and get that feedback. How well does D&D communicate with our Stakeholders?  I have a free Tim Hortons or Starbucks coffee for any client or supplier partner who responds and don’t forget to like and share my post


Posted by:
Michael McCourt at 1:58 PM
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December 22, 2016

Pay it Forward

What Is The Season of Giving?

It seems sometimes that the Holiday Season can be a short time to be extra kind to your friends and neighbors.  I prefer to think that it is a time to raise the bar on caring so that it can be held high for the entire year. 

Extend the Season

Do we want a brief period of caring and kindness or would we prefer to live in that kind of world all the time? The trick is to create a habit of paying it forward.  I like to put anything less than a quarter into the ‘Kids Camp’ bucket.  The name ‘Kids Camp’ comes from the Ronald MacDonald House and Tim Horton’s Kids Camp coin buckets at the check-out of these 2 fine establishments.  I reinforce giving in my kids by letting them put the dimes, nickels and in the Canadian Olden Days pennies in to these coin buckets.  The change is put to good use for many in need and that is awesome.  The act of doing this regularly reminds me that life is not so complicated but it can be difficult for many.  I am reminded to be kind and to pay it forward whenever I can.

Cool Forward Payer

I was in NFLD on the weekend at a job site.  At the guard shack I was talking motorcycles with the guards in the shack.  Well OK I was talking Harley Davidson.  I told them I collect shirts from the various dealerships and that I really wanted a Mile 1 Harley shirt from the NFLD dealer at the first mile of the Trans-Canada Highway.  Since I was only in town on Sunday and they are not open Sunday I would have to come back another time to get one.  I got an email today from him today.  He is at the dealership and wants to know what color I like because he is going to send me one.  Now that is unnecessary but very much appreciated.

Join and Continue the Pay it Forward Culture

Because of the kindness and generosity of the guard I suddenly  feel like I am in a debt position with the Pay-it-Forward karma.  I am actively looking for ways to pay it forward and it feels great to be on the lookout for ways to be caring and kind.  Imagine a world where we are all on the lookout for ways to be caring and kind to the people around us.  Let’s use the holiday season to raise this bar and then hold it high until next year when we can raise it even higher. Tell me about your pay it forward moments whether you are ‘payee’ or ‘payer’ and don’t forget to like my post

 


Posted by:
Michael McCourt at 4:23 PM
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December 12, 2016

Moore's Law for Industrial Automation

D&D Has SolidWorks for Design and Octopuz for Simulation

Moore's law refers to an observation made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965. He noticed that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention.  A variation on this theme is the number of robots and pieces of controls hardware and software in the manufacturing environment.  How do you make sure you are buying the best automation technology for today and tomorrow?

 

We Can Do Turnkey Automation Integration

For many applications the mechanical design portion of the automation solution is getting simpler while the controls and software portion gets increasingly complicated.  D&D has waded into this space with turn-key automation to meet this specific need with many of our customers.  We don’t want to be line builders but there are many off-line or small automation cells that required the high end controls without intricate mechanical design.  This is the sweet spot for D&D.  Simple mechanical and complex controls.  What is the proper technology density for your facility to compete and win business while building something that your staff can keep running reliably for today and into the future?

 

Contact D&D for a Meeting

Many of our customers are wondering whether or not something is possible or they are looking for some help with concept work in the plant.  We are always more than happy to come and have a look at your process and give you our opinion on it.  We can also crate a design with Solidworks or help you conceptualize your ideas with Octopuz.  More is possible today in the manufacturing environment than ever before and the rate of change is increasing.  Be ready and stay ahead of your competition.

 

What Do You Think?

Let me know if you agree and don’t forget to like my post

 


Posted by:
Michael McCourt at 1:22 PM
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November 15, 2016

Learn to Adapt to Change

If you are Going to Have Livestock…

 

A few years back my wife and I lived on a beef farm. One day one of our prized black angus beef cows died. It was the first loss we had experienced in our herd.  A wise man, OK it was my Father-in -Law said to me, “Mike, if you are going to have livestock, you are going to have deadstock”.  What a great lesson not just in the beef business but in many facets of life.  We all waste some of our time and energy with things that used to matter but don’t anymore. Some of us waste more time and energy than others but this is a choice we make.   

King Arthur’s Lesson

I was taking a seminar recently about The lessons of King Arthur and the Round table. The same lesson came up again but in a different way.  What was the name of King Arthur’s sword?  Excalibur of course.  It was the sword that, when he pulled it from the stone made him King.  But did you know that King Arthur broke Excalibur in his first fight with the Black Night and he was almost killed.  You never hear about Excalibur again in the stories about King Arthur. This is because King Arthur he threw the broken Excalibur down immediately and chose a new sword.  How dangerous it would have been to go into battle again with a broken sword and how smart to just leave it and get a new one.

 

Drop the Old Habits

Are there things in your life that are broken and improve your life by just moving on sometimes.  What do you have in your life that is either broken or is no longer the right tool for the job?  Are you still using it for sentimental reasons?  Are you using it because you hope that it might still work even though you know there are better tools?  Practice dropping those things. You don’t have forget what you experienced or the growth that you experienced with the old tool. When it is time just don’t be afraid to let it go. Adapt to the change and move on.  You will be stronger for it.  Life is always showing us new ideas and things to make life easier.  If we don’t let go of the old in our lives we can never make room for the new.

Remember, if you are going to have livestock, you are going to have deadstock.  Time to go buy a new cow.

Let me know if you agree and remember to like and share my post.

 

Posted by:
Michael McCourt at 12:46 PM
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November 3, 2016

Official Battle Document

D&D’s Awesome Battle of the Bots
Official Battle Document
November 22nd & 23rd 2016
658 Erie Street
Stratford, Ontario
N5A 2P1

 


Rules of Engagement:
Each team must build and program their Bot prior to competition day.
Your team can only use pieces from 1 Lego Mindstorms EV3 Educational kit.  No additional parts may be used.
The competition days will be made up of 4 separate battles. All battles share the same battlefield.
Your EV3 Intelligent Brick may contain 1 project with a maximum of 4 programs.
Time will be provided on the day of the competition to test and modify your programs.
Build modifications to your Bot are allowed between battles but must be completed in less than 2 minutes.
Each team is allowed three attempts at each battle.
If you touch your Bot at any time during an attempt, that attempt is considered complete and no more points are awarded.
If your Bot gets hung up on any obstacle for more than 10 seconds, that attempt is considered complete and no more points are awarded.
Your Bot must fit entirely inside of the starting area (30cm square).

 

Battle #1 – Line Following
Battlefield
:

Goal:
Follow the line from the starting area through the battlefield.  Hopefully you will return to the starting area without getting lost.  The line you need to follow increases in difficulty the further you travel.

 

Points:
Section 1 – Straight Black Line
15 points for completion of the first section of line
Section 2 – Curved Black Line 
20 points for completion of the second section of line
Section 3 – Curved Multi Coloured Line
25 points for completion of the third section of line
Section 4 – Right Angled Black Line
30 points for completion of the fourth section of line
Section 5 – Right Angled Multi Coloured Line
35 points for completion of the fifth section of line

 

Bonus:
40 points for finishing completely within the starting area.  

 

Parameters:
Your team’s Bot must be placed in the starting area of the battlefield.
The Bot must not leave the line at any point or the attempt is considered complete and no more points are awarded.
You may not touch your Bot at any point or the attempt is considered complete and no more points are awarded.
If any part touching the ground is on or outside of the starting area no bonus points will be awarded.

 

 

Battle #2 – Colour Memory
Battlefield:

*NOTE: The colour of each line will be selected randomly for the day of the challenge.
All possible colours are displayed in the diagram above. *

 

Goal:
From the starting area make your way past the coloured lines and identify (say or display) the colour of each line.  After each coloured line has been identified your Bot should round the corner and pass over the black lines.  At each black line your Bot should identify (say or display) the colour of the line across from it.  Finally return to the starting area.

 

Points:
10 points for correctly identifying the colour of each line
20 additional points for correctly identifying all 8 lines
20 points for correctly recalling the correct colour while on the black line across from it
40 additional points for correctly identifying all 8 lines
50 points for returning to starting square

 

Parameters:
Your team's Bot must be placed entirely inside the starting square to begin.
Points for returning to the starting square will only be awarded if all parts of the Bot in contact with the ground (wheels, etc.) are within the starting area.
At each line the Bot must either audibly say the colour or display the colour on the screen for long enough to read it.

 

 

Battle #3 – Block Find and Return
Battlefield:

Goal:
From the starting area navigate to and activate the random colour generator, which will give you the colours red, yellow and blue in a random order.  Your Bot should identify (say or display) the colours it saw in order then retrieve the blocks from the opposite end of the battlefield in that order.  Blocks must be brought back past the black line in order to receive full points.

 

Points:
10 points for correctly identifying each colour that the random colour generator produces
10 additional points for identifying all 3 colours
30 points for each block returned (15 points may be awarded if block is identified without being returned)
20 additional points for returning each block in proper order

 

Parameters:
The blocks will be located in the center of the coloured square that corresponds with the colour of the block.
The coloured blocks will appear in the order displayed above on the day of competition.
Points for identifying the colours the random colour generator will only be awarded if the colour is audibly said or is shown on screen long enough to be read.
If the random colour generator fails for any reason your team can restart the attempt.

 

Note: Above is an image of the style of block that will be located in the coloured squares.

 

 

Battle #4 – Climbing
Battlefield:


Goal:

From the starting area drive your Bot to the pedestal and climb up on to it.  Once your Bot is on top of the pedestal it should perform a victory dance. (Three Spins)

 

Points:
50 points for getting on top of the pedestal
25 points for each victory spin (must stay on top of pedestal)
25 points for completing all three spins without falling off

 

Parameters:
The pedestal is a 30cm square.
It is 6.5cm high.
The pedestal will be white with a black line running around it.

 

NOTE:
Bots will also be judged on construction and appearance.  Your team can earn up to 100 points based on your construction and up to 100 points based on appearance.

 

Entire Battlefield:


Practice mats will be available.

Please contact our techknow@ddauto.com e-mail address for details.


Posted by:
Jason Carter at 3:06 PM
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October 31, 2016

It’s Important to Blog

Blogging is Communication

Human beings seem to need communication to live. Any good business wouldn’t last without great communications.  Just ask Verne Harnish, his books Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up are all about great communication.  Some crave it more than others and the modern world allows us to hear and be heard in a way that wasn’t possible all that long ago.  A Blog is a tool that any company or person serious about success will need to be involved in.

 

Good Communication is Vital to Success

One of my favorite ways to explain social media is to compare it a huge party going on in the internet.  You don’t have to be the center of attention or the life of the party but you do need to be in the room.  You have to have a Facebook page and as a professional person you also need a LinkedIn page.  Just having these accounts makes you a wallflower at the party.  Like and comment on posts that you see on these platforms and you become a piece of the party.  Write a blog and you are partying like it’s 2016.  You gain great insights into your own thinking when you put yourself and your ideas out there for others to see.

Try It Yourself, You Might Enjoy it

 

Ask yourself what you hope to accomplish over the course of your life and your career.  Jack Daly says that if you tell other people what you are trying to do, it is human nature to help.  Put your ideas out there and you will be surprised by who will pitch in to help you accomplish great things.  In this new connected world I guarantee that there are other

people with similar thoughts and some with polar opposite.  YouTube is for lazy people who can’t be bothered to read.  Embrace the Blog and learn something new today. 

Surf the net and read a few postings.  Comment on a Blog or two. Engage in online conversation.


 

What Are Your Favorite Blog Topics?

Let me know who your favorite bloggers and blog posts are.  I like to read about all kinds of new and exciting things and don’t forget to like my post.


Posted by:
Michael McCourt at 3:41 PM
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October 31, 2016

D&D’s Solution to Mini Challenge #2

Click on this link to see D&D’s robot in action.

The code for our robot is found below.


Posted by:
Jason Carter at 10:05 AM
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October 25, 2016

Mini Challenge # 2

Colour Memory
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equipment Needed:
• Lego education EV3 Core-set

Assembly Instructions:

• Repeat for red, yellow and blue.
   
Goal:
Build a robot that is able to identify colours.  Next write a program that is able to store and retrieve 4 variables.  Start your program and show your robot four random colours.  Your robot should correctly identify each colour it was shown in order.  You can have your robot say the colours or print them on the screen in order.  (Preferably both)

Points:
• 20 points for identifying 1st colour
• 20 points for identifying 2nd colour
• 20 points for identifying 3rd colour
• 20 points for identifying 4th colour
• 20 points for each colour your robot is able to say/display in order
• 40 Point Bonus for identifying all four and repeating all four back in the correct order.

Note: There are over 250 combinations, can your program handle all of them?


Posted by:
Jason Carter at 9:53 PM
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Contributors

Name: Michael McCourt
Posts: 18
Last Post: March 21, 2017

Name: Jason Carter
Posts: 5
Last Post: November 3, 2016

Name: Elvis Engineer
Posts: 4
Last Post: September 25, 2014


Archive

Current
    Show Latest Posts
2017
  March
    Market Like a Rock Sta ...
  February
    Generals & Sub-Contrac ...
  January
    Communication on Proje ...
2016
  December
    Pay it Forward
    Moore's Law for Indust ...
  November
    Learn to Adapt to Chan ...
    Official Battle Docume ...
  October
    It’s Important to Blog
    D&D’s Solution to Mini ...
    Mini Challenge # 2
    D&D’s Solution to Mini ...
    D&D's Awesome Battle o ...
2015
    D&D's Great Toyota Dri ...
  September
    What Exactly Do You Do ...
  February
    Awesome Battle of the ...
  January
    Focus on Community
2014
  December
    Vision Guided Robotic ...
  November
    Innovation Creates Par ...
  September
    RSLogix 5000 Registry ...
  May
    Innovation Causes Obso ...
  March
    Culture of Innovation ...
  January
    Converting Factory Tal ...
    How to use Rockwell's ...
    Rockwell Point I/O Saf ...
    How Do You Build and M ...
2013
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    Why Formalize Programs ...
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658 Erie Street, Stratford, Ontario, Canada N5A 2P1
Telephone: 519.273.7282 Fax: 519.273.7431

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Telephone: 864.655.5999
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