KB Way: Part 1- Be Respectful of your Equipment and Be Prepared

By Justine King, Sales and Marketing Administrator at Kenton Brothers

Be respectful of your equipment: Organization is a necessity for any great company.
Be prepared: Know your scope and be on time. Preparation is essential for every aspect of KB.

KB Way Part 1: Van Cleaning PartyOur technicians are constantly in the spotlight outside of the office as a direct representation of the Kenton Brothers Systems for Security name. Therefore, it’s crucial that our techs are prepared for anything that may arise before they leave the office for onsite services. This way, our team is prepared for whatever may happen on site – showing our customers the care we put into our craft.

A Van Cleaning Party?

Our techs gathered on a Thursday after work in the warehouse for a group van cleaning party organized by Senior Field Service Technician, Shawn Hamilton. The techs took the time gutting each van and deep cleaning every corner of their personal workspace. Because these vans and all of the equipment inside is KB provided, our techs took special care cleaning and reorganizing every tool and piece of hardware.

“I’m really picky about my own van and I love to have everything organized, labeled, and in the correct spot. I organized this event to share those ways with the other guys so they can find exactly what they need quicker and get the jobs done more efficiently for our customers. It really speaks volumes to the customers when we show up onsite prepared and don’t have to stop back at the shop for parts or supplies.” – Shawn Hamilton

KB Way Part 1: Van Cleaning PartyLabeling all parts and tools was a major task for many of the vans, but very important as well. Restocking was the last vital step to this full van makeover. Ensuring that each van was fully equipped with every part and tool is essential for the success of every onsite call.

Now that each van had been completely cleaned, some of the guys took Hamilton’s advice and prepared general service bags for any basic service call. They also prepared more specific service bags ready to go for building access control systems, video surveillance, or safe work.

Following the van cleaning and organization event, Hamilton ordered pizza for the techs as they sat in the warehouse swapping shop talk of dos and don’ts for the jobsite.

Hamilton left the guys with the following goal: wash their van once a week and pick up and reorganize the inside after each job is completed.

Take care your equipment, and it will take care of you.

The “Butcher Paper Review”

By David Strickland, Chief Operating Officer of Kenton Brothers

Kenton Brothers Inc. Core Values: Continuous learning & Innovation

Kenton Brothers: Innovate or DieAt Kenton Brothers, we are always striving to be better. To give better service. To have better communication. To always work toward the next level. It’s one of our core values, it’s in our DNA. We have a saying here… Innovate or Die.

The Butcher Paper Review

The success of our company through 123 years is because we are constantly willing to ask the tough question… Where are we failing? The Butcher Paper Review is a very important part of this process.

You may have read something similar to this previously. Many people call it a brown paper process review. Normally, you start with a standard process or procedure, and then look for ways to make it more efficient by visually mapping it on a long piece of brown paper. The mapping is done by all the team members in a department. Why? So that everyone has a say, and some buy in on the improvements that happen during the exercise. This is a very powerful tool for many businesses. And at Kenton Brothers, like many things, we’ve put our own spin on it.

When we conduct a ‘Butcher Paper Review” we use long rolls of butcher paper. Much like a butcher – we immediately “Cut out” everything we historically know and hold on to. We literally throw it all away and ask the question: How should it work?

We don’t look at it as an exercise for creating the most efficient workflow – we look at it as creating the best experience – for our customer.

We believe that it all starts and ends with the customer. 

Kenton Brothers: The Butcher Paper Review ProcessIf something interferes with delivering a remarkable experience to our customers – we have to get rid of it or “cut it out”. Granted, many of our practices enter back onto the butcher paper as they’re good procedures and help us provide a remarkable experience. However, inevitably in every session, a procedure or policy will be dutifully challenged. This brings me to the next key point:

There are no titles in the room.  

One of the best rules about the butcher paper review is that there are no titles in the room. The goal is to create trust with team members to communicate honestly and transparently. This will take some time and repetition, but once the gates open – watch out!

True innovation comes from the ideas and insights of those doing the job every day. These ideas ring of truth as soon as they are spoken.  

In a recent butcher paper review, KB technicians brought forward a communication issue that was affecting our customers negatively. We were able to solve the problem in just a few minutes. The moment a technician spoke of it – everyone agreed it was truthful and began solving it creatively. By the end of the meeting, a decision was made to move in a different direction by creating a more in depth communication policy.

There were two wins in that moment. 

  1. The customer will no longer feel the stress or friction of the blind mistake we were making.
  2. The technicians just got a win – and now understand how empowered they are to affect company procedure and customer satisfaction.

Kenton Brothers: The Butcher Paper Review ProcessAt Kenton Brothers Systems for Security, we conduct these butcher paper reviews once a year in every department. These meetings can continue weekly for up to 6 weeks depending on how many follow-ups and deliverables are necessary.

At any time, any member of the team can call for a butcher paper review. This leads to the next important lesson.  

The leaders in each department must feel comfortable putting aside their ego.

Having true customer focus means that the customer is the boss. Again, the team members closest to the customer have the best perspective. Allow them to share and to challenge what you think you know to be true.

Finally, I wanted to share that we’ve seen a transformation in morale and engagement since challenging ourselves with the butcher paper reviews. The organization has greater alignment. All  layers of the organization have a clearer understanding of what’s most important – Remarkable Customer Service.

Tips for a great “Butcher paper review”

  1. Leave everything you know at the door
  2. There are no titles in the room
  3. It begins and ends with the customer
  4. If it interferes with delivering a remarkable experience, “Cut it out”
  5. Every department does it at least yearly
  6. The best ideas come from those that do the job every day

Kenton Brothers promotes four technicians into a brand new foreman position.

By Ryan Kaullen, Field Services Manager at Kenton Brothers

Kenton Brothers was established in 1897 here in Kansas City, Missouri and is still owned and operated by the same family. The company traces its roots to mechanical locksmithing, but has adapted with the times and offers a full range of services including locksmithing, access control, commercial video surveillance, intrusion detection, metal detectors, and much more.

Throughout the company’s 123 years in existence, there have been many traditions established, many forms of promotions, and many paths for its employees to grow. In that spirit, Kenton Brothers has established a new foreman position for technicians to grow into as their skills and experience mature.

Kenton Brothers: Congratulations to our four new foremen!

The foreman position is all about leadership, management, and accountability.

Our foremen are assigned jobs where they will be responsible for coordinating all job needs. Foremen will work directly with our customers on site. They’re in charge of leading our technical crews and directly driving the success of job implementation. This role, and the success of its jobs, play a vital role in Kenton Brothers’ success and growth.

Earlier this year, we held our first round of interviews and promoted a total of four existing technicians into the new foreman role. Those technicians are Zack Holden who has 5 years with Kenton Brothers, Terry McCurdy who has 3 years with Kenton Brothers, Charlie Merrill who has 1 and a half years with Kenton Brothers, and Josh Ast who has 1 year with Kenton Brothers. They each were chosen for various reasons: their skill sets, showing leadership in the field, and earning the trust from our other technicians who trust them and value their skills highly.

Kenton Brothers: Congratulations to our four new foremen!

Watching our employees grow, not only in their careers but in their personal lives as well, is something we hold dear. Our company culture embodies family. Seeing our family culture grow and thrive is essential not only to our business but the daily lives of our employees. Please join us in congratulating our new foremen Zack, Terry, Charlie, & Josh on their new roles as they advance their careers here at Kenton Brothers!

Kenton Brothers “Miss You!” Weekly Webex Meetings

By Kristen Harper, Controller and HR Manager at Kenton Brothers

In this unprecedented time, Kenton Brothers has found a fun way to continue nourishing our team culture by means of social distancing. Every Friday we have themed virtual Miss You meetings via WebEx.

So far, we’ve enjoyed Easter, the 80’s and Taking it to the Tropics themes. The staff dresses up with items they have on hand and attend our Webex Video Call. They show off their fun attire and background props. The start of the meetings are so much fun… you never know what you are going to see. And these are people you’ve worked with for a long time… so it’s even more shocking and funny.

Kenton Brothers - Miss You Weekly Video Call - Easter Kenton Brothers - Miss You Weekly Video Call - 80s

We incorporate some type of virtual game or storytelling for everyone. For example, “What is your favorite Easter Memory?”, “Where is your dream vacation destination?” and “What three things would you take on a desert island if you were stranded?” At the end of each meeting, everyone votes on the best costume. The winner hosts the next weekly meeting and chooses the theme.

We’ve found these are really keeping our staff engaged. We can’t see each other as often, and this is a fun way to reconnect.

Our next theme will prove to be a new and exciting challenge as we attempt a virtual murder mystery! At KB, our culture is what sets us apart from many companies. We’re excited to have found a unique way to keep that going while staying safe and healthy. If you have any ideas for themes, let us know!

Kenton Brothers - Miss You Weekly Video Call - Vacation Kenton Brothers - Miss You Weekly Video Call - Behind the Scenes

Just For Fun: Bring Your Chicken to Work Day?

By Kristen Harper, Controller and HR Manager at Kenton Brothers.

Bring your Silkie Chicken to work day.You might have heard that we’re a dog friendly workplace. Recently, we decided to expand that to being a chicken-friendly work place. Mollie Porter, a Project Administrator at Kenton Brothers Systems for Security, decided to bring Silkie chickens into her a life as a potential 4-H project for her son. When her kiddo didn’t have as much interest as she’d hoped, the chickens became family pets that were kept around for eggs (each hen produces one egg per day) and snuggles.

Silkies are a smaller breed of chicken that are very docile, people friendly and have a more downy texture. The biggest struggle Mollie has incurred with her chickens is keeping opossums out of the coop. Other than that, they’re a low maintenance pet that will even come when called.

We really enjoyed spending time with the chickens and learning about them during our first ever Bring Your Chicken to Work Day. (We did have to keep all the puppies home that day for chicken safety.)

Bring your Silkie chicken to work day.