Saturday, December 08, 2007

New Building, the good and the bad

Purchasing and moving into a new Commercial Office space has been quite the adventure. It has taken a lot more of my (And my partner's) time then we expected.

In an earlier post I discussed some of the details about the purchase itself. Today I want to talk about some local venders who did a good job; and then some who did not do as well...

In no particular order:

New locks; went great.
I had the locks on the front and back doors re-keyed after the construction project; you never know who has a copy after construction. I got out the phone book and called AAL locksmiths. They came out within one hour and replaced both locks with locks that were keyed the same. They charged a reasonable price and did a great job.

Switching gas and electric into our Company name, was awful...
The developer had the gas and electric in his name during construction. After we took possession Karena called to get the accounts transferred into our name. This was an extremely painful process that involved three things for each account:
1. We had to fax them a bunch of information prior to them switching the account into our name. 2. They both told Karena that she either needed to drive across town that same day and drop off a deposit in person or that she had to pay a fee and do it by phone or online. Both told her that dropping a check in the mail that same day was not acceptable. NIPSCO charged us a $5.95 fee and AEP charged us a $2.95 fee to give them our deposit by phone or internet.
3. Both required a large deposit from us even though we have been their customer for almost nine years. We have never had a late payment and have paid all of our bills promptly for that entire time. NIPSCO required a $295 deposit and AEP required a deposit of $278.
I am not impressed with either company... Both illustrate what is wrong with protected monopolies...

Phone service, OK so far
We decided to use a smaller phone company, CenturyTel, for our phone service. We purchased a package deal with a three year contract. That has gone ok so far...

Porting our current home phone and fax numbers to the new business, easy to port them; difficult to get a new number from Verizon
This has been another adventure. I talked to Verizon about six weeks prior to taking possession of the building. They told me the easiest way to port my number was to wait until the day I moved and then call their 800 number and that it would be a simple matter to give us a new phone number at home. Note that I verified this with two different people at Verizon... We took possession of the building on December 3rd and CenturyTel was able to port the phone numbers on time. I am still waiting on Verizon for a new home phone number... Supposedly I will get it Monday...

New phones and phone system for office, great
We purchased an office telephone system from Overman Telephone Services out of New Haven. They did a prompt and efficient job when installing the new phone system.

New Furniture, this has been the biggest problem yet
I ordered office furniture from InFusion, an office store located downtown. I ordered the items so that they would get here in time for installation on Dec 4th. They are having problems getting the furniture from their supplier; Highpoint. It now looks like I will get it on December 18th... This has slowed things down significantly. The local distributor has been responsive; Highpoint has been terrible. I imagine they are using Just in Time manufacturing and that they missed yet again...

So some good and some bad...

Mike Sylvester


Robert Enders said...

I use Vonage for my phone service, Mike. I got to keep my old phone number, and I can go online and have all my calls forwarded to any number I choose. So if I am staying at my dad's house in Connecticut, I can have the calls fowarded several states away. And I can have that done from his house.

Andrew Kaduk said...

Most of the time, "lean manufacturing" and "just in time" production are just a total farce because of inept management at the factory operations level. Most "management" personnel only know a vague concept they were lectured on (slept through or hungover) in college and some buzzwords they picked up from their Kaizen or SixSig puppeteer/guru/cheerleader.

It's so easy: Build product, sell product, deliver product. Why deviate from such a time-tested formula?

Sorry, I didn't mean to go off on such a tangent regarding such a sore subject (your new furniture you don't have). It's just something that pisses me off. I used to rep a brand of electronic components that would literally take orders for products for three months before they even decided if they were going to build the components we were "selling." Sounds like you've got an issue with a factory that offers more options than they are prepared to quickly produce. Bummer.

Jon Olinger said...

Let’s talk NIPSCO....

Last February our lake property in LaGrange County had a pipe break on the top floor and the water did over $250,000 worth of damage.

During February, March, April and May our NIPSCO Electric bill exceeded $4000 in excess charges from the contractors, dehumidifiers and heat bill (we had Geothermal with electric backup).

Our insurance company were saints when it came to covering us, but the problem began when we realized the electrical bills we needed to show the increase in usage were destroyed in the flooding of the home.

In June I contacted NIPSCO and asked for the 06 bills and they told me... no problem they would be 2 weeks....

A month goes by and I'm still getting a very large NIPSCO bill that is now in Arrears, but no copies for the insurance, thus I contacted NIPSCO again..."No problem, but they couldn’t fax them and it would be 2 weeks."

By August the bills have never shown up and the Aholes transferred the massive bill to my home account in Fort Wayne and threatened to shut off our gas in Fort Wayne if our Electric Bill in LaGrange was not paid in full in 10 days.

Called NIPSCO a third time for the records and some idiot said... "Mr. Olinger we will send the bills to you again, but this is the third request, if we send them again I have to charge you." At this point my wife had to take the phone because since I joined the Partnership for Idiot Free America I have a tough time dealing with morons.

NIPSCO plainly told us they would not be sending us the bills we needed for the insurance claim and when asked to speak to a supervisor my wife was told that they would not transfer her to a supervisor and NIPSCO hung up.

There is no local office for NIPSCO in Fort Wayne, or anywhere in Northeast Indiana for that matter, so my wife called the Utility Regulatory Commission and I called Dave Long, Randy Borror, Tom Wyss..ect....

Dave Long called me back at the same time a guy from the Regulatory Commission called my wife back. Both Said they would look into the problem...

Amazingly NIPSCO provided us with copies about 72hrs after Dave and the Regulatory Commission got involved.

My insurance cut a check within 24 hrs after receiving bills.

NIPSCO sucks beyond my ability to comprehend. They could care less about any type of customer service nor do they have a local office one can take even the most simple problems to.

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