Creating Innovation Value:

  • By Chelsea Mills
  • 16 Jan, 2015

The key to success, growth and survival

Dee Cramer Heating & Cooling
There is a lot of talk about innovation being the key to growing American businesses, but exactly how companies get innovative remains less clearly defined. I had the opportunity to sit down with Matt and Rich Cramer from Dee Cramer in Holly, Michigan, to talk about how diversity has kept them on the forefront of innovation and allowed them to become a business fixture in our community since 1937. Dee Cramer had been featured on the cover of onthetown Magazine in September 1992, and that cover was included again inside the 40th Anniversary edition, earlier in February of this year.

Dee Cramer, Inc. is a third generation, family owned company, which was started by Dee Cramer, and then led by his son Dick, before Matt and Rich took the helm in 2005. Over the past decades, these leaders have been honored with several prestigious awards, including such distinguished recognition as Dick Cramer (2nd generation) being inducted into the 2012 Michigan Construction Hall of Fame, Dee Cramer (grandfather) being SMACNA Contractor of the Year 1983, Dick Cramer as SMACNA Contractor of the Year 1998, and Matt Cramer (3rd generation) as SMACNA Contractor of the Year 2011.

Studies claim that fewer than 10% of family businesses survive to a 3rd generation, which makes Dee Cramer very unique. President Matt Cramer says, “Our grandfather raised our father to be a well-rounded individual and did not force him into the family business. When he was ready, he came onboard. Our father also raised us to be very well-rounded, so we both worked other jobs in other industries, and later, we came back to the family business, [then] by choice.”

There are 88 employees of its 190 employees who have been with the company for over 10 years, 43 employees for over 15 years and 23 employees who have been with the company for over 20 years, showing the loyalty and dedication they have for the company. Many of the employees are 2nd and 3rd generation workers as well. Matt explains, “Our company was built on the core values from my grandfather. Our dad continued to build the company on those same values. We proudly continue to build on those same values over 70 years later. We are proud to have a company which allows our employees to live and work in the same community.”

Since its inception, Dee Cramer has prided itself on excellence in design, workmanship, competitive pricing and customer service. “Everything we do is intentional,” Vice-President Rich Cramer explains. “We stick to things we excel at.” And then he adds, “We focus on customer service and provide value when we identify a need in the community.” Matt continues, saying, “We are able to take care of our customers better than anyone else.” Furthermore, Dee Cramer represents the definition of diversity in our community. From residential heating and cooling services to taking the lead on the one million square foot C.S. Mott Children’s & Women’s Hospital project, Dee Cramer has proven over and over again to be truly a leader and innovator in their industry.

Many people locally believe Dee Cramer is just a residential company, with few realizing that they are the 13th largest sheet metal contractor in America. While a good portion of their work is on new buildings, they take pride in the work they do servicing mechanical
systems in existing buildings. “Mechanical systems represent a significant capital investment for any building owner. We provide a valuable service maintaining those systems to extend the life of that equipment. The latest technology allows us to measure the capacity and efficiency of existing equipment to help owners know when it makes financial sense to replace it,” explains Rich.

Dee Cramer is recognized nationally as an industry leader, with state of the art headquarters, right here in Grand Blanc Township, Michigan. This is not their only location, for they also have a 18,000 square foot fabrication facility in Saginaw, a 20,000 square foot fabrication facility in Wixom, and another 3,300 square foot branch office in Lansing. “We specialize in making difficult projects look easy for customers, primarily in the Midwest, Matt says. And to clarify further, “We are on the cutting edge – we are not inventors, but we are early adopters of new technology,” Rich explains. He is speaking of the BIM technology and IPD Projects which Dee Cramer has adopted early on and allowed to become industry leaders.

BIM (Building Information Modeling) is 3D technology that Dee Cramer has been drawing models in for over 20 years. “By drawing the building in 3D, we are able to allow all the trades to lay in all their contents and systems to ensure [that] everything fits and installs properly before on site construction starts,” Matt says, adding, “We are a recognized industry leader in building information modeling.” BIM keeps projects under budget and allows them to be completed in a shorter time span when compared to buildings built with traditional methods. One example of how BIM creates efficiencies is represented in how, in the construction of the C.S. Mott Children’s and Women’s Hospital, BIM was used to map out the hanging points for all the duct work in the entire one million square-foot building. This allowed the crew to install the hangers using GPS coordinates as the floors were being poured so that when the ductwork arrived, the install time was significantly reduced.

In addition, IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) is a new Construction delivery method that Dee Cramer uses to streamline projects by bringing all the key components of the project together for collaboration earlier than they would be in traditional building methods. This brings the owner directly in contact with the trades and allows brainstorming for the best possible way to achieve certain project objectives and project goals. IPD utilizes various specific talents of team members to improve cost effectiveness, minimize waste and ultimately focus on achieving specific owner objectives. The end result of IPD projects is a higher quality project, delivered more quickly, often times under budget, with much higher customer satisfaction in the final product. The Paul F. Reinhart Emergency Trauma Center at Hurley Children’s Hospital was the first IPD project in Michigan, and since then, Dee Cramer has successfully completed five more IPD jobs to date.

The innovative technologies Dee Cramer adopts come from their participation in the Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) and also from a peer group of other like companies across the country. Dee Cramer is recognized nationally as an industry leader for their peer group and SMACNA. Dee Cramer is also a big believer in giving back and investing in their local communities. They change the sign in front of their Grand Blanc Twp. facility every October for breast cancer awareness, participate in the breast cancer walk, support the Boys and Girls Club of Flint, as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters, United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Christmas in Action and Hurley Children’s Hospital.  

For additional information about Dee Cramer or to contact them for their services, visit www.DeeCramer.com .

Around The Town with Chelsea

By chelseajaie 20 Oct, 2017
Did you know………Every year, 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence. ( http://www.nsc.org/Measure/Pages/Workplace-Violence.aspx )
 
From 2000 through the first half of 2016, more than 600 people were killed in 213 active shooter events identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Unfortunately, this hits even closer to home. In 2016 two young women were fatally shot while at work in Genesee County. This seminar has been in the making since that terrible tragedy last year, unfortunately in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy, this topic is all too relevant today.  
 
On Thursday, October 26, 2017, Behind Your Design will be hosting a seminar on Workplace Violence Safety. Please see the attached link and flyer to sign up. RSVP is necessary as seating is limited.
By chelseajaie 03 Oct, 2017

A t Bella Vita, exceeding the expectations of the residents is simply the beginning. Having a quality life in our later years is the least we all should expect. Bella Vita is committed to providing an environment that allows one to feel independent, with the assistance of its highly trained care group.  

By chelseajaie 02 Oct, 2017

Today family businesses have a competitive edge that could hardly be anticipated. As millennials continue to take up over one third of the workforce, many of these individuals are looking for more out of a career than a paycheck. In this new arena, family businesses have an edge in building a sustainable footprint because of the personal connection between the family and the community they serve. 

A textbook example of this is Peabody Insurance Agency, a company with a history of serving the community since 1919. In the last year Peabody Insurance has grown the team to include two new family hires, Grace and Brandon, and has completely remodeled its office.

“In order to thrive in today’s competitive environment, I believe it’s important for businesses to give the next generation a voice in how we should work and serve our customers,” explains Jim Peabody, partner of Peabody Insurance in Fenton. “Our team has developed a culture of collaboration, where insurance knowledge is fused with new ideas, processes and tools.”

Peabody Insurance is now one of the most capable independent agencies in the state, with the development of an interactive safety app, DocuSign, virtual meetings and a client portal. “Many of our features have the goal of saving our clients time and money. Customers have the ability to choose how they want to do business with us,” Jo Schofield, account executive, explains, “and our customers enjoy supporting local businesses because they know those dollars are going right back into their hometown.” 

By chelseajaie 29 Sep, 2017
Written by: Andrea Kehoe
By chelseajaie 23 Aug, 2017
Behind Your Design recently had the pleasure of designing a new responsive website for Image Flow Media. Image Flow is a full service commercial production company serving the metro Detroit Area. They are constantly pushing themselves, their equipment and their approach to the edge. Image Flow is a solutions-oriented team with a proven ability to get things done while managing multiple projects. They're experienced, passionate, motion graphics artists and video editors, looking to continue expanding their knowledge in all areas of production. 

 To see example of their work please click here  . Contact us at   Behind Your Design   to help you design your next website.

By chelseajaie 09 Aug, 2017

Starting a new business? Looking to give your current logo a 'refresh'? It can be easy to just think  'I need a logo!'  - what you are saying is that you want a graphic representation of your business to use on your marketing materials. What you  need however is a memorable overall ' brand' that will attract customers to your business. Luckily, at Behind Your Design, we can help you with all your needs, even the ones you don't know yet.

How do I create a brand? 

It's important to know your brand values and aspirations. Basically, your WHY? What made you start your business in the first place? What problem are you solving and what are your passions? Long term, where do you want to be in 2, 5, 10 years? The answers to those questions are the core of your brand. We want to give you the tools you need to reach your greatest potential.

Next, we'll work on the personality of your brand. What will your brand look like? Sound, feel, act like? Knowing your business' personality allows it to shine through everything we do. It also helps narrow down your target customer and decide how your business will interact with them. Appealing to a certain audience makes marketing efforts meaningful and effective.

Consistency is key. We work together to create an entire brand concept and easy guidelines to follow. Colors, fonts, patterns... Anything to make your look consistent will be part of your brand. Then, we use those elements across all platforms (website, social media, business cards, etc) to ensure your voice, mission and design flow fluidly and works together.

Once you've created this brand, it's time to go beyond that and uphold the reputation. Your customers have to truly believe in your brand, just like you do, and will, in turn, become loyal advocates of your business. Not only will they stay local to you but they'll also recommend you to others.

Your business is so much more than just a logo. We believe building a solid brand can become a company's greatest asset, so we cover every step:

  • Web Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Email Marketing
  • Facebook Marketing
  • Mobile App Design
  • Trade Show Booth Design
  • Custom Photo Gifts
  • Speaking Engagements
To view our design portfolio, click here.

By chelseajaie 25 Jul, 2017
Behind Your Design is excited to announce the launch of JDLab's new responsive website and logo design. JDLab is a family owned business dedicated to delivering high quality work in every department. Founder J.D. Hicks’ goals in 1950 remain their goals today:  "Provide every professional photographer with the highest standard of quality and service, and to work as partners to help studios grow as successful businesses."   To learn more about what JDLab can do for you please click   here . Contact us at   Behind Your Design   to help you design your next website.
By chelseajaie 18 Jul, 2017
Behind Your Design is excited to announce that we have created a new logo for Wayne Contracting Services, LLC. Wayne Contracting Services, LLC is a licensed and insured construction company providing a variety of construction and remodeling services to SE Michigan. Give them a call for all your contracting and remodeling needs! If you are in need of a new logo contact us at  Behind Your Design   today to get started!

By Chelsea Mills 18 Jul, 2017
Join the growing team at Behind Your Design at 100 S. Adelaide St. in Fenton, Michigan!

- 40 Hours A Week (Mon-Fri - 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM with working lunch)
- Paid Holidays
- Opportunity for 401k Retirement Matching
- Must be able to multi-task, delegate and prioritize jobs that come in
- Must be able to track time spent on projects
- Responsible for ordering from vendors
- Responsible for managing multiple tasks and keeping jobs moving forward by following up with clients and our designers
- Friendly pleasant personality
- Responsible to answer phones, greet customers, take messages and packages
- Team environment
- Time Management and Organizational Skills
- Matching expenses/orders with client billing
- Approximately 25% of the job will be coordinating photo booth jobs including contracts, graphics, staff, programming booths, posting photos, burning DVD’s and communicating with clients.

Technical skills needed, but not required to apply, we would train qualified applicants:
- HTML Email Blasts (Constant Contact, MailChimp)
- Website Building
- Basic Photoshop Skills
- Professional Email Skills
- Word, Excel
- Asana Task Management System
- Social Media Posting
- QuickBooks

Click Here to Apply

By Chelsea Mills 11 Jul, 2017
Behind Your Design recently had the pleasure of designing a new website for Bennett Communication Solutions. Bennett Communication Solutions is a local family company that opened its doors in 1945. They provide telephone answering services, remote receptionist services, voice mail, and other services to meet the needs of their business customers. While they maybe local they have clients nationwide. Their clientele includes health care services, property management and real estate, contractors and of course business professions. To learn more about their services please click here . Contact us at  Behind Your Design  to help you design your next website.
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