1. The top inspector spends ample time figuring out which companies to target and whom to approach within those companies. It doesn’t matter whether the company is involved in installation, retail, distributing, manufacturing or cleaning. These days, selecting an inspector is often done by groups of individuals, which can include everyone from the buyer to the CEO.
2. Good inspectors stay one step ahead of the client. The successful inspector does a better job by not just listening to clients, but also seeking out and listening to the client’s customer—such as Mrs. Consumer. They are able to educate their client on how to bring added value to their customers.
3. Good inspectors know they must cultivate resources. Successful inspectors know whom to call on when they have a problem. They know the mill claims managers, the laboratory personnel, retailers, installers and cleaners.
4. The old adage, “keep your eye on the ball,” is doubly applicable here. A good inspector keeps his eye not only on his bottom line but also on his customer’s bottom line. He has learned that if he overcharges for an inspection he could kill the goose that is laying the golden report business. The mill is also concerned about its bottom line. Talk to the right personnel at the mill or to other vendors and let them know you are concerned that this inspection makes financial sense for both of you.
5. Good inspectors anticipate problems. Traditionally, we as a group are reactive problem solvers, scrambling to make good when a consumer is unhappy. However, the most successful inspector is identifying tricky situations such as repetitive side match problems, low or high rows, or the 100 other things that can go wrong in tufting, coating or finishing. The really good inspector passes this information along to the claims manager so he can get it to quality control.
6. Good inspectors look beyond the next 30 days. They watch the trade publications, are on-line watching for mergers and acquisitions coming down the pike that could affect their relationship with a mill. They don’t rest on their laurels; they are constantly looking to the future.
7. The most effective inspectors replay their last inspection; they turn the tape on in their mind to see if they like the script. They make it a habit to take a look at what went well, what didn’t and what they should do differently next time. Did they get the report in on time? Did they treat the consumer with respect? Were they correct in their analysis of the problem?
The inspector of today has to be much more introspective and analytical about both the internal customer (mill, retailer, etc.) and the external customer (consumer, building owner/manager, etc.) motives. If you have ever seen the play “Death of a Salesman,” then you can draw an analogy to the Willy Loman-type inspectors. They aren’t making it today.