Simply Seametrics

At Seametrics, we believe that a product sold needs to be a product supported.  We want those using our technology to be able to get live help with the questions they have.   Unfortunately, the fact that our flow meters are sold across the US and internationally means there are a lot of questions to answer…too many for the staff we have at the factory.

Enter the Distributor business model.  Seametrics Distributors are our “feet on the street” to fulfill our philosophy, and the best way to equip them to support the Seametrics products they sell is to be sure that they themselves understand the technology.  Much time, money, and sometimes frustration can be saved with good training up front.

Our Regional Managers are committed to training.  They provide our Distributors with hands on, face-to-face product training (as shown in the photo below), help facilitate the development of new tools and documentation to assist customers in the field (like the the technical bulletins, product bulletins, installation bulletins, and wiring diagrams posted on our website), and even join our Distributors on field calls to help with application support.  They employ the effective mentoring mentality of:

“I Do…You watch.  You Do…I watch. You Do.”

This equips our Distributors to find someone new with whom to repeat the mentoring process.

We are always trying to find creative and effective ways to train those who sell our flow meters so that our vision for saving time, saving money, and conserving resources can be a reality.

ValinTraining

(Product Training at Seametrics Factory)

Saying Goodbye

by Karin Grinzel on March 5, 2013

AnitaThis past week Seametrics lost a valuable member of our team.

Anita Shanko worked at Seametrics for almost 20 years and was well-versed in pretty much every part of our business from order entry, to planning, to manufacturing, to shipping. Anita was often the “go to” person for tidbits of information that are rarely documented but so important to a company. She knew the history of our customers, the people who worked here, and the details about a part that may have changed over time and why that change needed to be made. She was the person who always knew what it would take to rush something through manufacturing in an emergency.

Anita was the Encyclopedia of Seametrics Operations in so many ways, and her passing leaves a void in the culture of Seametrics. An organization may change over time, but it is the amazing people who serve as its foundation that enable it to become great.

We are thankful for Anita’s commitment to the long term growth of Seametrics. She will be greatly missed.

Farmers Care About Water Conservation

by Karin Grinzel on October 8, 2012

On my return flight from the WEFTEC trade show in New Orleans, I had the opportunity to be seated next to a farmer from Nebraska. Our conversation of course began with why we were travelling, which led to me telling him that I was at a trade show, him asking me what I “do”, and me asking him the same. So, having established that he was a farmer and that we provide flow meters for irrigation, we had a common topic to discuss: water.

The gentleman asked me how Seametrics meters were different from other flow meters, and I shared with him our determination to provide an economical choice for those wanting a simple solution for measuring their water usage. He then asked me, “What’s your philosophy?”

I shared with him that our CEO and Founder has always had a passion for water conservation and we therefore have branded ourselves with the tagline Technology With a Mission – Saving Time. Saving Money. Conserving Resources. I admitted to him that before I worked for Seametrics I thought of conservation as a “tree hugger’s agenda” but that as I’ve become more and more aware of the growing scarcity of usable water I’ve embraced a vision for stewardship of the resources we’ve been given. At the end of our discussion he said, “I’d buy flow meters from you.”

He shared that many farmers adhere to the mindset that no one should be telling them how much water they can use, and yet he can see the distress this mentality is placing on the Ogallala Aquifer feeding his region. He said he fears that if everyone tapping into that aquifer had the thought that his usage has no effect on others, the water could eventually be depleted. This would mean that the ability for that region to produce food would be gone. He saw the impact this would have on his family alone, but also the bigger picture of having to rely on other regions and countries for food.

This discussion may be been a little deeper than your typical airplane chit chat with a total stranger, but it left me satisfied with MY purpose in the quest for conservation. If I can bring awareness and be part of providing a tool for saving the world’s water, I’m all in!

Seametrics Inc. started as a small company with three employees and a couple of flow meter products in 1989. It has since grown into a leader in the electromagnetic flow meter industry with over 60 employees. This video captures our passion for continuous improvement which results in a better product and a better place to work.

Video Transcript:

Well, I started working for Seametrics back in 1989. We rented out a 400 square foot room, and it was three employees. Curt ran the mechanical design, I ran the electronic design, and Melissa ran accounting and shipping departments and assembly. It felt like falling off a cliff and hoping we landed, hoping our parachute came out.

In the beginning, as today, we always look at a better way to do things. We like to think that continuous improvement is a way of life. Technology changes so rapidly that the solution today might not be the same solution tomorrow. Looking into new products, investing in new equipment, improving every process, from when the product comes in the door till the time it’s shipped out the door, it’s all focused towards providing a better product for our customers.

Measuring water throughout the world becomes more and more important every year. We feel like we can make a difference. There’s a lot of excitement for the possibilities of growing the company. You’re excited to come to work, and you’re excited to see new products being developed, and you are driven to create a new product that is something that the customer will truly appreciate.

I’m Jim Frederick, and I’m proud to be a part of Seametrics.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend Annual Gathering of the Games for the Great Game of Business in St. Louis, Missouri. For those unfamiliar with the Great Game of Business (GGOB), it is a system of employee engagement and ownership facilitated through open book management. The Annual Gathering of the Games is a networking event that facilitates connection and training opportunities for those expressing initial interest in GGOB and for seasoned veterans of the program as well.

The opening keynote was particularly inspiring to me. Kim Jordan, co-founder and CEO of New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, CO), shared her company’s story in regard to their culture and their efforts at conservation. Kim described how New Belgium evolved from her basement into the seventh largest Brewery in the nation, while still maintaining an atmosphere of personability and ownership. For example, after one year of employment at New Belgium, each employee receives a bicycle (like the one pictured on their Fat Tire beer) and many employees choose to commute on two wheels to work.  The company also sponsors the Tour de Fat bicycling festival in cities across the nation promoting the trading of cars to unleash the cyclist within.  You don’t even have to be an anti-pollution poster child to admit that it is inspiring to see New Belgium embracing a defined culture of conservation and imparting it companywide.

But the impartation doesn’t stop there.

The City of Fort Collins was charging the brewery a large “plant investment fee” for the construction of infrastructure to process all of the brewery’s wastewater in the municipal water system.  New Belgium decided to go a different route and took the dollars they would have had to pay the city and built a process water treatment plant, including anaerobic digestion. New Belgium uses the methane produced by the digester to generate renewable electricity and heat.  In addition, New Belgium saw renewable biogas-fueled CHP as a way to be more environmentally sustainable. The company subscribes to wind power but believes that any time it can diversify its energy supply and/or produce its own power it’s a win-win situation.

While wastewater cost savings and renewable energy production were the primary drivers, energy cost savings were another.  In addition to an energy use charge and a fixed demand charge, businesses in Fort Collins must pay a coincident peak demand charge ($13.3722 per kW.)  The coincident peak demand is the amount of power companies are using when Platte River Power Authority (Fort Collins Utilities’ generation and transmission supplier) hits its system-wide peak. The energy cost savings of $5,000 per month are mainly from cutting the coincident peak demand.

I am inspired to think about how something that started so small can evolve into a shining example by establishing a vision, communicating it, and adhering to it no matter what.

Video: How to Install a Seametrics Irrigation Magmeter

by Karin Grinzel on February 29, 2012

For some people, installing an irrigation magmeter is old hat.  Hopefully that’s because those people have installed several of them for different purposes, not because they’ve had to replace one meter a handful of times (in which case I may need to write a post about why those people should buy Seametrics Magmeters)…

BUT, for those of us who are new to the process, we’ve developed this simple installation video.  Watch and enjoy…

Change is the key to growth.  In order to get where we want to go, there must be a goal and there must be a decision and plan to achieve that goal no matter what it takes. 

2011 has been a year of change — and growth — for Seametrics.  We found that a willingness to address systems from the past and make a commitment to do the hard stuff to change can bring astonishing results.  And of course in all of this the concept of TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) served as a catalyst to raise expectations and see big-time success.

The month of December in our Flanged Magmeter Department was our icing-on-the-cake illustration of the reward of change.  See, we had a delightful problem: orders for these flow meter products were streaming in (the delightful part) and yet our output level was stationary (the problem).  So, our Management Team put their heads together and applied the principles of The Great Game of Business to create a “mini-game” that served as a company-wide challenge to increase output.

The road had already been paved with a complete overhaul of our Flanged Magmeter production area to make things more organized and sensible to an efficient manufacturing process.  The Before and After effect was astonishing to me, a person who loves to watch shows that transform homes to get them sold. 

So with a clean slate, so to speak, our Management Team presented the production challenge first to the Flanged Magmeter Production Team, and then to the company at large.  The Production Team itself obviously did the hands-on, skilled work but the rest of us in the company were tasked to find out how we could support their efforts by offering our help with supply replenishment, cleanup, and even bringing coffee and words of encouragement.  A visual representation of a racetrack with the milestones for the game, along with the rewards for achieving those numbers, was hung on the wall in the break room so we all had a vision and could see the status of the game at any given time of the day. 

The Production Team met weekly to discuss progress and any barriers to momentum.  Any needed adaptations were made, and the game went on.  We were all astonished to see the output numbers climb higher and higher in times much shorter than any of us would have believed.  Yesterday we reached our optimum level of production…the number that was two steps higher than the “needed” number…with three more days left in the game.  All I can say is…AMAZING!  I am in awe of what can happen when change is made, a vision is cast, and a team effort is applied.  

I’m proud to be part of Seametrics.

Irrigation Association Show 2011 was a Success

by Karin Grinzel on November 15, 2011

Several of us at Seametrics had the opportunity to attend the Irrigation Association Show in San Diego this past week.  I think the weather in Seattle may have been better than San Diego for a couple of the days, but that didn’t put a damper on our time at the show.

Much work goes into trade shows in terms of planning, preparation, setup, and take-down.  We’ve all heard (or been) the naysayers who believe they’re just a big waste of time and money.  Yes, they can be expensive and exhausting, but I think there are invaluable benefits that occur at a show on many levels. 

I personally love the opportunity to see our friends in the water flow meter industry at shows like the IA Show.  It’s a time where we can meet together, experience some relational time, and plan for the future.  There’s also the sometimes rare chance to interact with the end-user who happens to have a Seametrics product.  It’s great to hear their success stories and to be able to help them with technical issues they’ve noticed.  We like to feel in touch with our customers on a personal level.  We don’t always have the fortune of meeting face-to-face those who use our product, and I believe a positive personal interaction can lead to a lasting relationship.

Learning is another big gain of trade shows if you’re willing to put on that hat.  There are white papers and technical trainings being presented, keynote speakers expressing the heartbeat of the industry, and changemakers in the field being awarded for their efforts at making their small part of the world a better place.  I personally love the opportunity to watch our company President speak with those in the industry who are just as excited as he is about water conservation.  I always learn something new just listening to them speak about things they’ve been researching and discovering.

Finally, the time together as Team Seametrics is always the reward of a trade show experience.  We had several individuals from our company come to San Diego for a day or two to experience the IA Show as it related to them in their own roles at Seametrics.  They got to see the roll-out of new products they had some part in developing, and they got the chance to see what others in the industry are doing as well.  This gave all of us the chance to spend some time together beyond the walls of our “home” in Washington.

All-in-all, I would have to say that our experience at the Irrigation Association Show for 2011 gets two thumbs up.

Every now and then, you’ve got to take some time to celebrate the milestones in life. At the beginning of 2011, Seametrics achieved a significant milestone in sales that warranted a company-wide celebration. This meant locked doors, out-of-office replies, and a silent machine shop so that our entire Seametrics team could hop on a bus to experience a day of Go Kart racing (and Longhorn BBQ!) at its finest.

We had a great day of competition complete with some crashes, a little trash-talking, and a couple of cracked ribs. It was refreshing to see the smiles on everyone’s faces whether they spent their days on the sidelines or in the midst of the battle for the position of ultimate Grand Prix Winner.

Our Day's Top Three Racers

We all enjoyed the opportunity to rub shoulders with fellow employees whose paths might not cross ours in any given day. No one had a title at this event…there was no Production staff, no Accounting staff, no Shipping staff. On this day we were simply Seametrics employees enjoying the rewards of jobs well done.

All of us after a day of good racing and good BBQ...

Our day at the Go Kart track was definitely a bonding experience for all of us…and the sore muscles and joints in the days to follow kept the memories alive.

I love our Seametrics team!

Earlier I posted about a trip to Nebraska taken by a group of guys (who, by the way, refuse to be referred to as “gentlemen” as I did in that post). The purpose of this excursion was to inspect and maintain some of our flow meters installed in the field.

The video above was created by our Graphic Designer, Fred Thomas, using video footage from our Customer Service & Support Specialist, Darnell Hill’s, smart phone.

The musical accompaniment is the handiwork of William Olive, our Production Supervisor who also traveled on the Nebraska Team, and Will Carey, our Quality Assurance Technician.

This all goes to show you that there is more than meets the eye at Seametrics!