Thursday, January 12, 2017

SIMA begins publishing Snow Business magazine








After several years of partnering with third-party publishers to produce its Snow Business magazine, the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) and its board of directors made a strategic decision to publish the publication in-house beginning in 2017.

Industry veteran and former Snow Business team member Leslie Boomer was hired in summer 2016 to spearhead the transition. The magazine’s core personnel remain, with the editorial, design and sales staff joining the SIMA team. In addition to Boomer, who is leading audience development and overall publishing initiatives, the SIMA Snow Business staff includes:

  • Editorial Director Cheryl Higley is responsible for the overall creation and direction of the magazine’s content as well as digital initiatives and custom publishing content. She has worked on behalf of Snow Business magazine for 12 years. She also leads the peer-driven Editorial Advisory Committee comprised of snow and ice management professionals from across the United States and Canada. 
  • Art Director Lisa Lehman, who has managed the magazine’s design for 12 years, continues in her role. In addition, she manages brand standards and marketing collateral for SIMA and will manage the magazine’s production and printer relationships.
  • Sales & Account Development Manager Alison Blasko continues in her role as the primary touch point for the magazine’s advertisers, creating digital and print programs designed to maximize their investment in the magazine, SIMA and the professional snow and ice management industry.
The decision to self-publish the magazine was seen as an opportunity to make a significant, long-term investment in the development of one of SIMA’s greatest membership benefits as well as to grow and advance the association and the marketplace. As publisher, the SIMA Snow Business team will be able to develop a quality audience development and editorial strategy that furthers SIMA’s mission to empower snow and ice management professionals for success. 

“Building on over a decade of success with Snow Business as well as our 2016 audience development efforts, we are enthusiastic for what the future has in store. As an association and publisher, we are committed to continued refinement and efforts to maintain the highest audience standards. SIMA is well prepared and will provide its partners and members with a top-quality distribution list to support sustainability and growth for 2017 and beyond,” Boomer says.

To subscribe to Snow Business magazine, click here to make sure you don’t miss an issue for 2017. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Stakeholders help build best practices







'Being a stakeholder means reviewing a draft of proposed best practices and providing insight based on experience and knowledge.'


By Gerry DuBreuil, CSP
Over the past few years, I’ve participated as a stakeholder on several of SIMA’s Best Practices projects. It’s been interesting being behind the scenes and seeing how these new industry guidelines are developed.

Being a stakeholder means reviewing a draft of proposed best practices and providing insight based on experience and knowledge. SIMA compiles all stakeholder comments, reviews them and finalizes a set of best practices. Stakeholders are offered a final review of the best practices before they are published.

The process doesn’t end there, however. SIMA provides the guidelines to anyone in the industry, and there is an open-door policy. Anyone at any time can recommend edits or changes to best practices. The goal is to create a transparent process that adjusts to changes and needs over time, while ensuring quality reviews of information.

SIMA is now entering a new phase of best practices creation. This fall, SIMA released the Best Practices Guidelines for Sustainable Salt Use. Next, SIMA is gearing up to conduct a stakeholder review process tied to how facilities and property managers create RFPs for snow services.

SIMA has tried to make the guidelines as accessible as possible and recently created a new Best Practices page where visitors can download the best practices individually or in a convenient all-in-one package. To download your copy, visit www.sima.org/bestpractices.

I truly enjoyed the opportunity to serve as a stakeholder and felt it was a great way to gain perspective from multiple sources. I encourage anyone in the industry who wants to get involved and share their expertise to become a SIMA stakeholder content reviewer. Email Brian@sima.org to volunteer. 

Gerry DuBreuil, CSP, is manager at R&D Paving in Franklin, NH. Contact him at Gerry@rdpavinginc.com.

Friday, December 16, 2016

SIMA Savings lightens the load



As part of its commitment to delivering outstanding membership value, SIMA works with supplier partners to offer cost savings through the SIMA Savings program.

By Heather Carew
SIMA understands that delivering outstanding snow and ice management service comes at a price. Equipment, ice management products, storage, weather tools...all of these and more play a key role in ensuring that companies can provide safe, efficient and effective service to their clients.

As you build and reinvest in your companies with the latest equipment and technologies, why pay full price when you don’t need to? That’s where SIMA can help.

As part of its commitment to delivering outstanding membership value, SIMA works with supplier partners to offer cost savings through the SIMA Savings program.

Currently, SIMA members have access to members-only savings from 25 companies; and we’re working hard to increase the roster of participating companies. Discounts range from a percentage cost savings, flat discounts, free products, free shipping and rebates.

Among those companies offering SIMA Savings deals is TrucBrush Corp. Company Vice President Debora Babin Katz says utilizing SIMA Savings not only benefits the member but also the participating companies.

“Snow contractors are able to achieve their business initiatives and receive a value-add for their membership. For the member supplier, the program provides additional awareness of a product or service and illustrates their commitment to SIMA and the snow industry,” she says. “Our participation has connected our company to so many SIMA members. It provides a platform for product and methodology discussions on the safe and effective clearing of snow from trucks, trailers and buses. And, most importantly, it creates an opportunity for SIMA members to obtain product education and keeps members updated on innovative products and services.” 

To learn more about SIMA Savings, visit http://www.sima.org/SIMASavings or contact me at heather@sima.org.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Building better RFPs










SIMA and PRSM members put their heads together at Think Tank to solve challenges related to procurement.


By Brian Birch, CAE
SIMA has made it a priority over the past four years to proactively engage the facilities management industry. The most tangible success we’ve had has been in the form of the SIMA Think Tank, an annual event where the snow and facilities worlds convene to discuss the challenges and opportunities that bind them.

In 2015, the Think Tank served as a springboard to create the Best Practices Procurement Timeline. We’d be na├»ve to expect that all of your contracts this season were finalized earlier than last year due to that work; but if we change them over time, we can make a big difference.


We aren’t satisfied though. As an industry, we want more and that is why we held this year’s Think Tank in Schaumburg, IL, in tandem with the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association’s (PRSM) Mid-Year Conference.


We took a risk and decided not to treat this as a half-networking and half-facilitated discussion about the problems. We have heard for years that SIMA needs to create procurement standards, so we asked attendees to be an organized focus group that would serve as the stepping off point for such a project.


Divide and conquer

We divided more than 70 attendees into nine groups: two groups of facilities managers, three groups of snow contractors and four mixed groups. SIMA staff or volunteers served as facilitators.

We then guided them through a series of solutions-oriented exercises addressing the following areas:

  • Defining Scope of Work and Level of Service
  • Procurement Methodologies for Snow & Ice
  • Service Accountability and Verification
We analyzed responses from the groups. It was fascinating to see the differences between the proposed concepts/solutions depending on who was at the table. We noticed that the more blended the tables became, the more diffuse their proposed solutions were. It is a reflection of how convoluted the entire procurement process is for buyers (FMs) and sellers (contractors).

The results were collated into a comprehensive report. Although there is no set of best practices or standards yet, the Think Tank provided the qualified, diverse feedback we needed to determine our next project - the creation of a quality best practices guide for building RFPs specific to snow services. 


Help us continue

We need your help to make this happen before spring. Here is how you can engage:
  • Bring the Brain Power. Request a copy of the full Think Tank report from Brian@sima.org. Once you read it, share your ideas, experiences or analysis with Phill Sexton at Phill@sima.org.
  • Put Your Hand Up. If you are willing to serve as a stakeholder who reviews content for any related SIMA Best Practices, email me at Brian@sima.org.
  • Build with Best Practices. Visit www.sima.org/bestpractices and download our glossary, procurement timeline, salt use or qualification checklist. If you want a compiled resource of all best practices, download them at www.sima.org/resources.
We know that the Think Tank was a bit unorthodox. But we didn’t want to get everyone together to talk about the problems that exist - we wanted to focus on solutions. 

Thank you to the attendees for your patience as we took you through the process. We also want to thank our colleagues at PRSM for working with us to host the Think Tank during their event. When we initially reached out to the FM world, we couldn’t have envisioned a better relationship than the one that has developed with PRSM these past few years.   

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Snow Business is in the house











Beginning in 2017, SIMA will assume total publishing control of the magazine, which is one of its greatest educational assets.


By Leslie Boomer
Since early summer, SIMA has been promoting that change is coming. We’ve launched a new membership structure, new training and for the first time ever will be taking the Snow & Ice Symposium to Canada as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the event.

A lot of change has taken place in the last year and one of the biggest came in April when the Board of Directors made a strategic decision to move Snow Business in house after years of partnering with a third-party publisher. Over the past six years, Grand View Media has been an outstanding partner and we’re grateful for their support of the magazine and SIMA’s mission. 

Fifteen, 10 or even five years ago, this move wouldn’t have been possible. But SIMA has grown to the point where the board feels it is fiscally and operationally able to assume control of the magazine and chart a new path that will deliver additional value to our members. 

Continuity and beyond
Having worked for Snow Business from 2006 to 2013, I returned to the SIMA team in April to help guide this change, which will launch in January 2017. Sales and Account Development Manager Ali Blasko is already on board. Our editorial team - Editorial Director Cheryl Higley and Art Director Lisa Lehman - will transition onto the SIMA team after the December issue. We are thrilled to be able to ensure continuity in operations as we move forward. 

But continuity doesn’t mean we’re standing pat. The magazine is undergoing a redesign that will kick off with the February 2017 issue. We’re adding new contributors, looking at value-added content to include and will continue to feature SIMA members with great stories to tell. We encourage you to become involved by joining our Readership Panel at www.sima.org/readership.

Part of the larger vision
While Snow Business has always been owned by SIMA, the decision to self-publish is part of a larger vision for the future of the association as a whole. Our publishing goal remains - to create dynamic and creative products in print and online for those who care deeply about seeing the continued growth of professionalism, safety and education throughout the industry. 

Bringing all operations under SIMA management will enable us to fulfill our mission - to empower snow and ice management for success. 

Who benefits from self-publishing?

SIMA
The more you know about who you serve the more you’re able to tailor what’s offered to members to grow membership, reach a broader audience, and educate and train tomorrow’s snow and ice management leaders.

SIMA members and the industry
Because of the intelligence that can and will be gained though the development and maintenance of quality audience and engagement data, we can better serve our members with up to date, relevant education and events they want and need to grow their businesses. Thriving companies focused on professionalism will help continue to elevate our industry.

Advertiser and sponsors
SIMA will develop and maintain a quality audience engagement list that extends beyond Snow Business circulation. Because we have a vested interest in keeping this list current for the benefit of the association, our advertisers and sponsors can be assured their marketing message will reach the highest quality audience possible.

Leslie Boomer is publisher of Snow Business magazine. Contact her at leslie@sima.org.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Snow Safety Week 2016 Review









This week, SIMA and sponsor Progressive Insurance produced a fifth Snow Safety Week. With 2 webinars, numerous articles, and 2 Facebook live videos, Snow Safety Week was successful in providing quality, helpful information on a variety of safety-related topics.


As we move into the winter season, safety information is timely and very important for all snow professionals to remember. View some of the highlights from Snow Safety Week below:

Webinars
Did you miss a webinar? View the recordings for free! 

Snow Industry Injury Prevention - View now
Snow and ice management involves equipment, dangerous weather, fatigue, and stress – all of which can easily lead to injuries. This webinar will provide common areas of potential injury, with useful and realistic tips to manage and reduce the chances of injury occurring.

When Disaster Strikes – Response and Documentation Essentials - View now
In our first 2016 Snow Safety Week webinar, we addressed the prevention of injury whenever possible. Unfortunately, accidents and disasters can happen, and being prepared, aware, and having a solid plan in place can make the difference.

Articles
Check out some of the highlights from our Snow Safety Week articles: 
Facebook
Check out SIMA's Facebook page to see 2 video interviews with SIMA members as they discuss safety at their companies.

Visit here to see all the articles from last week, and thank you to everyone who participated and helped create another successful Snow Safety Week!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

More training for members














'Having a formal training program in place not only will ensure that all company employees are on the same page but will also build a higher expectation that those in the field are performing duties safely and efficiently.'


Having members-only content isn’t new to SIMA. Currently, members have free, unlimited access to content such as forms, templates, toolkits and reports that can be used at any time. Beginning this October, SIMA’s initiative is to evaluate and update what is already available as well as to add new training content in the upcoming year. 

This year’s State of the Industry report revealed that 54% of companies who responded do not have a formal training program in place. Having a formal training program in place not only will ensure that all company employees are on the same page but will also build a higher expectation that those in the field are performing duties safely and efficiently. 
Moving forward with updating our membership benefits, SIMA wants to ensure that its members have the training tools they need to provide employees and customers the best service possible. 

Snow Safety Boot Camp
This series provides members with well-rounded content that can be used to train new snow removal employees, providing a deeper explanation of how to properly take care of themselves and their jobs. 

This Boot Camp consists of six on-demand, approximately 15-minute training sessions: 
  • Health and Wellness
  • Sleep Management and Deprivation
  • Managing Mental Health and Family Matters
  • PPE and Equipment Safety Basics
  • Snow Shoveling Safety
  • Walking Safely on Snow and Ice
Easy access
Employee access to this training is simple. When hiring a new employee, SIMA members can create an employee profile under their company account in the member portal. This will give the employees access to members-only content like the Snow Safety Boot Camp and other courses. Companies can offer this to as many employees as they would like. Once an employee finishes a training session, they can submit for credit by properly demonstrating they’ve completed the course, and a certificate of completion will become available to print. 

SIMA members-only training available now at www.sima.org/resources:
  • Snow Fighter Safety: How to Battle the Elements While Maintaining your Health
  • Salt Application Oversight & Environmental Responsibility
  • Assessing Operations & Creating a Hands-On Snow Safety Program
  • Basics of Snow Production Estimating
  • Snow Safety Boot Camp
Visit www.sima.org/resources to access members-only training.