Tuesday, January 26, 2016

SIMA and LMN celebrate long term relationship


'With the launch of this new relationship with SIMA, LMN has the opportunity to make significant impact in several critical areas in the industry including service, efficiency, and profitability.'

The Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) and the Landscape Management Network (LMN) are announcing a collaborative, multi-year agreement that will enhance SIMA membership value and deliver quality training to the snow industry.

SIMA is the non-profit trade association in the snow & ice industry, and LMN has been an innovative educator and software developer in the industry for over 5 years. The two entities have collaborated on educational initiatives over the past few years with great success, and plan to build on that moving forward.

Martin Tirado, SIMA’s Chief Executive Officer, says “SIMA and LMN have built a solid working relationship and, to date, we have trained hundreds of snow professionals together. The next several years will see even more focus on helping snow professionals develop their skills and abilities in estimating and managing snow effectively.”

Last year, the two entities collaborated on 6 separate training events across the US and Canada, training over 150 people. Through 2018, the organizations will work to deliver more hands-on workshops regionally, deliver relevant snow-specific content at the SIMA Library (www.sima.org/Library), and more. 

“Our company is forever linked to education, and we are focused on developing intelligent snow and ice practices that are beneficial to owners and their employees,” says Mark Bradley, CEO of TBG Environmental and LMN. “With the launch of this new relationship with SIMA, LMN has the opportunity to make significant impact in several critical areas in the industry including service, efficiency, and profitability.”

On top of the educational collaboration, SIMA has announced the elevation of LMN to a Key Savings Participant in its SIMA Savings discount program for members of the association. This will provide additional exposure for LMN to the membership, bringing significant value to LMN, SIMA, and especially SIMA members who take advantage of the savings program. LMN will also enhance its visibility and presence at the SIMA annual Symposium as an exhibitor and content creator.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Snow Shoveling for the Big Storm

'Here at the Snow & Ice Management Association we promote safety in all aspects of winter storms.'

The big storm is coming, specifically Winter Storm Jonas. With a broad swath of deep snow and whiteout conditions from the Ohio Valley to some of the east coast’s largest cities, this will be the first big snow storm many of these areas have seen this winter season. In some areas, records may be broken.

With big snow comes health and safety challenges for snow and ice management workers, property owners and the public who all have a role to play to dig out and get moving again. A simple web search provides some useful tips on safe snow shoveling, as well as some very scary stories showing that every winter storm there are often fatalities linked to overexertion and heart attacks.

Here at the Snow & Ice Management Association we promote safety in all aspects of winter storms. Be realistic in the amount of time and energy it takes to shovel out from these big storms like Jonas. Use these tips and forward them on to your family and friends:

TIP #1: Stay on top of the snow. We aren't suggesting that you make snow angels but when there's heavy snow, the best advice is to stay ahead of the storm. SIMA recommends that you clear the snow every few inches instead of waiting for the snow to stop falling. 

TIP #2: Layer it up. Wear three layers: a base, insulating and outer layer. The base layer needs to be comfortable and made of a breathable fabric that allows you to move. It should also wick moisture away from your body, to keep your skin dry. The insulating layer is designed to keep you warm such as your shirt, pants and perhaps a vest. These clothes should be loose fitting and lightweight and have the ability to trap air but allow moisture to get through. The outer layer is for warmth and to keep you dry so the materials need to be waterproof, windproof and able to breathe. You will stay warmer if your jacket extends below the waist and there’s a hood. Bonus for jackets with elastic or drawstrings at the cuff, midline or hem that may help keep you warmer and drier in the snow and ice. 

TIP #3: Push, don't lift. Sounds like something a high school wrestling coach might say, but if you push the snow to the side rather than trying to lift the snow, you exert less energy, thereby placing less stress on your body.

TIP #4: Do an exercise warm-up. Although you aren't running a marathon, shoveling snow is exercise. So warm up before you start with some simple stretches that engage your entire body--especially your arms, legs and back. Drink plenty of water and take breaks when you need them. 

TIP #5: Call and text. We're not suggesting that you make calls and text while shoveling snow, but it is important to have your cell phone on you so you can make a call in event of an emergency.

Good luck and stay safe and warm!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Disruptors in Snow and Ice Services

'However, neither of those disruptors change the need to have professional companies and their workers plowing and clearing snow and ice for safe passage.'

By Martin Tirado
Recently Accuweather posted this article on the on-demand snow (and lawn) services that have suddenly popped up. Many market sectors are changing as a result of ‘disruptors’, mostly based on technology advances that are being developed at a rapid pace. So is this, or other new services to the snow management profession, truly disruptive to business as usual? On demand could certainly work in residential plowing, commercial and larger scale facilities will present a more difficult challenge for on-demand service.

How about how companies buy or rent compact to heavy equipment? There is at least one company doing this, Getable, and certainly others competing with them or on the way. Snow and ice management companies already rent or lease equipment they need during winter seasons, I can certainly see plows and spreaders being offered in an on-demand or seasonal nature as well. Manufacturers and suppliers have business savvy and evaluate short and long term trends, they will continue to find a business structure that serves the needs of the market. 

What other disruptors exist that can change the way snow and ice services are delivered? Possibly multi-location brokers, verification and validation technology are a couple that exist now. However, neither of those change the need to have professional companies and their workers plowing and clearing snow and ice for safe passage. Our main disruptor may always be the unpredictability and variability of winter weather and the danger is poses to companies that do not have a business plan to adjust.

Have any of these disruptors impacted your winter season?

Friday, January 8, 2016

El Niño Weather Brings Changes

By Martin Tirado
The strong El Niño pattern across North America has created snow and ice storms in unlikely places and unusually warm weather in normally cold areas. SIMA’s tips on how to deal with winter weather were first published by local media in Albuquerque, NM as a result of Winter Storm Goliath, as opposed to Buffalo, NY whose warm weather set records.   

Heavy rains are hitting drought ravaged California, little to no snow in the Northeast and Atlantic Coast, and arctic cold is on its way. So what’s next?

Most likely snow and ice storms will be coming in many places in the US and Canada. Snow plowers will be working and the public will need to take caution as to how serious conditions can get in these storms. Pass along these tips to your customers, business contacts and even friends and family who need to stay safe in winter storm conditions. The next Goliath type storm will come, be sure you are prepared for it.

TIP #1: Wear proper shoes. While fashion is great, the right shoes to navigate snow and ice place the entire foot on the surface of the ground and have visible, heavy treads and a flat bottom.

TIP #2: Be prepared. Have an ice scraper and brush in your car - not in the trunk, as snow may make it difficult to open the trunk. Have a full tank of gas; check the tire pressure, battery, and oil. Wear the proper clothing - boots, gloves, hats, scarves, etc., and take extra clothes. Charge your cell phone before leaving home and take a car charger. Carry a safe winter car kit containing items such as kitty litter, rock salt, a shovel, a blanket, flares, water, etc. 

TIP #3: No need for speed. Slow down. The time you need to stop, the possibility of sliding increases when it starts to snow or in freezing conditions. 

TIP #4: Check the weather reports. Listen to the news to hear about your local road conditions. Pay attention to what roads are impassable and plan another route if those routes affect you. If the roads are hazardous or closed, stay home.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Action Alert: Use this tame winter to train and improve

'SIMA has built a significant set of training materials, courses, and resources for members to utilize.'

Take action now on training: 
  • Download the Best Practices Checklist for Snow & Ice Management here (free) and work on checking items off the list.
  • Download the SIMA Safety Training Kit here (free to members).
  • Each SIMA member company is eligible one time per year for 5 free vouchers for use in the SIMA training center. Email Ellen@sima.org to request these (verification required).
  • Schedule a Team Training call here to start down the path of Advanced Snow Management.
  • Review requirements and apply to become a Certified Snow Professional here, and add a serious credential to your qualifications.
In many areas, unfortunately low or no snow has been the norm this year. Many contractors have teams sitting and waiting. This might be the time for you to consider training and improving your key staff and systems. 

In this industry, it is challenging to prioritize time for staff to train, especially leading up to a snow season. SIMA has seen a significant increase in requests for training materials and investments in training over the past month, as many snow companies seek to keep their key players engaged and turn a slow winter into a training opportunity. Many have undergone a quick call with SIMA staff to discuss our Team Training program.

Team Training is designed to connect all of the online training resources available at the SIMA Training Center with key staff members. Each team member receives their own training classroom for focused individual learning like the Advanced Snow Management certificate courses, as well as the ability to download any documents, contracts and forms available to members of SIMA. Team Training companies can also have a single master training account where they can access the SIMA training videos and on-demand training webinars they choose.

SIMA has built a significant set of training materials, courses, and resources for members to utilize. We are here for you during this slow winter, and are interested in helping you in any way we can.