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Not Totally Suspension…A DOOR INSTALLATION

At one time or another most people have seen a trailer with an overhead door.  Maybe you’ve gotten stuck driving behind one on the road or maybe you’ve seen a truck making a delivery at a store.  But, as is often the case with trailers, you’ve probably never thought about the maintenance and repair.  What happens if an overhead door breaks or gets damaged?

Recently a customer called us with a door that sustained damage and needed to be replaced.  This is how it’s done. We take down the old door and measure for a new one.  From inside the trailer we measure the width of the door opening from the left side vertical track to the right side vertical track.  We measure the length, or height, of the door from the threshold plate to the bottom of the rear header.

The door blank comes with 3 rows of hinges already attached.  The fourth row of hinges is left off to allow the trailer mechanic to cut the door to the exact width, as  Joe is doing in this photo.

 

1 DOOR REPAIR

The door is cut to size, hinges are riveted into place, rollers are installed on the end hinges and the door is ready to be installed.  From inside the trailer, the door is unfolded and the mechanics begin sliding the door onto the horizontal track.   As the door slides up, the subsequent rollers are inserted into the track and the door is fitted into place.  Finally, they close the door, install the door cables and adjust the operator.

It’s easiest for a mechanic to install a door with a helper or with another mechanic, as was the case with this installation.  But Joe is experienced enough to do it on his own if absolutely necessary.

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Not Totally Suspension…

 

CVSA (1)With the annual 3 day inspection period fast approaching, it’s a good time to give a quick overview of International Road Check.

As I’ve posted in the past, International Road Check is conducted by CVSA across the entire north american continent; that includes Canada, the US and Mexico.  It is a 3 day inspection “blitz”.

It is a Level 1 inspection which means it covers an inspection of both the driver/driver credentials and the vehicle.

Additionally, each year CVSA focuses on one specific area of inspection and information.  No surprise that this year that focus will be on Hours of Service (HOS).  The reason HOS was chosen in 2018 is, no doubt, because electronic logging devices (ELD’s) have become the law of the land and this is the first Road Check since the initial deadline passed in December 2017.

So, what you need to know about this inspection is:

  1. It will happen June 5 – June 7, 2018
  2. It is a Level 1 inspection which means they can inspect the driver and the vehicle
  3. The specific focus is on hours of service
  4. The best way to get through an inspection is to be prepared (have all your documentation handy), be sure your vehicle is in safe operating condition, and  be polite

If you feel you might need some additional training on a successful Road Check stop you can visit https://enuggetlearning.com/roadcheck.  Stay Metrics has teamed with Luma to offer an on-line tutorial.  It’s easy to navigate, it only takes a few minutes and it will help you understand and prepare for an inspection.

Good luck and safe travels…

Not Totally Suspension…CONTINUING OUR CELEBRATION

FEB 9It’s mid-March and while most New Jerseyans are looking forward to spring, we’re actually experiencing the 3rd nor’easter of the month.  As evidenced by this photo of a Total Suspension repair truck in the snow, trailer repair mechanics don’t usually get to take the day off for bad weather.   Tires blow out, brakes fail, and lift gates break down in sunshine and in rain.  In all weather conditions, our mechanics are on the road helping to “keep America trucking”.

Just one more reason we proudly celebrate 20 years of repairing trailers.

 

Not Totally Suspension…CELEBRATING 20 YEARS

In 2018 Total Suspension celebrates it’s 20th year of full time operation.  As with many small businesses, it was started after hours and on weekends.  These 20 years have gone by in a flash but in some ways they were the longest 20 years of our lives.

Here are some of the things we do at Total Suspension…

We can make this…

BEFORE 1

Look like this.

AFTER

Or take this…DOOR OFF

And add this  DOOR ON

Not Totally Suspension…A NEW YEAR

YEAR CHANGE 3So, the Christmas and Hanukkah holiday’s are over and the end of the year is upon us.  It’s been 365 days of fun, hardship, stress, enlightenment…it’s been a year in the life of a small business owner.

At this time I often look back and review the old and then make plans for some things I’d like to accomplish in the new year.  I do this for my personal life as well as for our business.  I’m happy to say that in 2017 we increased our gross sales slightly and that we hired a great young employee who is eager to learn and who, thankfully, is working out well.

But there are also things that didn’t pan out quite as I had hoped.  I was hoping to increase our customer base.  And I was hoping to increase our sales enough that we could hire two or more new employees.  So these will be the first two things on my “TO DO” list for 2018.  I’m sure they will be ongoing throughout the year.

If you also like to take stock at the end of each year, be careful not to judge the year too harshly.  Celebrate your accomplishments, recognize the areas that need improvement then use that as your list of resolutions for 2018.  Don’t get caught up in “shoulda, coulda, woulda”.  Instead tweak what’s necessary, square your shoulders and soldier on.

This will be my last post of 2017.  I would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018 and beyond.

 

 

 

Not Totally Suspension…WE NEED MAIN ST. AS MUCH AS WALL ST.

MAIN STREETNovember 25, 2017 is Small Business Saturday.  It’s a day dedicated to showcasing small and family owned businesses.  You don’t need much to participate, you just need a small business.  American Express, the founding sponsor of Small Business Saturday, will provide shops with a kit to help make it a fun day.  The kit includes things like personalized banners, posters, balloons and some give-aways for customers.  Just go to the website at https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/ to sign up.

To some, this might seem like a non-event but if you are a small business owner you know how hard it is to compete with the “big guys” and how hard it is to compete with on-line businesses.  The little guys need all the help they can get.

There are some things of which you may not be aware.  In the U.S. there are over 28 million small businesses — they greatly outnumber big corporations.  And only about 2% of small businesses are franchises; most are home based.  Those mom and pop’s account for roughly 57% of private U.S. employment and pay 44% of payroll.   The number of minority and women owned small businesses continues to grow, which means diversity is reflected in our communities.  In short, small and family owned businesses are a huge driver of the American economy.  Though Wall St. usually grabs the headlines, we need Main St. as much as we need Wall St.

But beyond the facts and figures, the mom and pop’s have a big impact.  They help shape our community, they often sponsor local sports teams and contribute to other neighborhood charitable causes.  They might give local kids their first job.  Or they could be the smiling face behind a counter where you order your favorite cup of coffee.  They give a neighborhood color and character.  When you support small business you support your community.

The other day I stopped into a local bagel shop for a sandwich.  Proudly displayed on their counter was a card from the high school marching band thanking the bagel shop for providing the food and refreshments for their recent band competition.  THAT is how small businesses shape the community.

Small Business Saturday will mostly benefit the small shops in a community.  Many businesses, like my trailer repair company, won’t really benefit from give-aways and balloons.  But let’s remember them and support these companies throughout the year.

One last fact…only about 50% of small businesses survive 5 years — so get out there and shop small — help your community businesses make it to year 6.

 

Not Totally Suspension…TO FLU SHOT OR NOT

flu-shotThis morning on my way to work I stopped at a large national chain drug store.  Walking past the pharmacy counter I noticed a sign advertising flu vaccines so I stopped and got one.  It only took a few minutes and was easy; I only had to fill out and sign a 6 question form.   It was not painful and the cost was covered by my health insurance provider.

Once again it’s flu season as well as vaccine debate season.

Every year employers wonder how they can minimize the effects of flu season and you may be wondering the same.

First, here are some flu and vaccine facts:

  1.  In the northern hemisphere the flu season runs, roughly, from October to May but “peak season” is usually December, January, February.    (The season is basically reversed in the southern hemisphere running from May to September).
  2.   Flu shots are readily available from your physician, at many drug stores as well as pharmacy counters in some grocery and big box stores.
  3.  Most insurance plans cover the cost of an annual flu vaccine.
  4.   It takes approximately 2 weeks for the flu shot to be effective.  During that time if you’re exposed to it, you could get the flu.
  5. You cannot get the flu from the vaccine but it is possible to have a reaction which can include cough, fever, aches, headache, fatigue, itching, soreness/redness/swelling at the injection site.
  6. NIOSH reports that each year flu is responsible for up to 111 million missed days from work.  The estimated cost in sick days and lost productivity is $7 billion a year.

There are some employers who require employees to get an annual flu vaccine.  A mandatory vaccine program is most common in healthcare settings and with employees who have direct patient contact.  If you are considering a mandatory program for your company you should proceed cautiously.  There are federal and state discrimination laws that require employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities or for employees who have true religious objections.

Whether employees get vaccinated or not, as an employer you can influence the negative effects of flu season with simple changes to your workplace culture.

Encourage employees to cover coughs and sneezes and  to cough and sneeze into their elbow instead of their hand; encourage frequent hand washing; discourage handshaking, etc. during flu season; encourage sick employees to stay home and not spread the illness throughout the workplace.

You can obtain additional information from the Center for Disease Control by visiting their website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu.

Be smart and be well.