The week that was April 6-10
Singapore, weekend 11-12 April 2015
Monday 6; Singapore – Insights in our market
This week I am interviewing a number of lighting designers in search of a new job, some with several years of experience, some freshly graduated, and today I am talking to 3 of them. This is an interesting situation as I am learning that two of the candidates I am interviewing are being laid off by one of my competitors, a third one, freshly graduated is hell bend on working in a country like Singapore or Australia rather than Indonesia or China. Interviewing these people teaches me a lot. Besides that it gives me an insight in their lighting design skills and experience, it also gives me a look behind the curtain of their cultural background, their personal life and future work expectation as well as an insight in their current work responsibilities and salaries. This helps me to assess the market that we derive our work from in general, but the current economic climate more specifically. We have noticed an overall slowdown with fewer RFP’s and payments from our client taking more time to materialise, but that some of my competitors are now laying off staff is a definite a sign of a slowing market. While we are not in that situation (yet?), I feel I better be careful and not take on new staff until the market outlook feels more stable…
Tuesday 7 Singapore – Insurances
Talking about future security; it’s time to renew our company insurances and today I met with our insurance agent to see if any of policies and packages need updating. There are a few insurances that are critical in our business and one of this is our worldwide professional indemnity and public liability insurance. While in practice it is unlikely that you will ever have to fall back on it (In my 30+ years I have never had to call on it), it certainly provides you and your client piece of mind. With a team that travels extensively to attend design coordination meetings with clients and visit project sites, travel insurance is another must have insurance. This one we have claimed on several times, mostly due to flight delays or other flight related mishaps. The pay-outs are never what you hope for but at least it is there as a compensation for lost time or luggage. Our office insurance against property damage and contents just needs updating as our equipment like laptops, measuring devices or camera’s is a continuously moving target. Finally there is the companies welfare package in regards to medical benefits, besides the professional indemnity insurance probably the most expensive one of the lot. The medical benefits have to be carefully weighed against income and responsibilities in the company so these are divided in several groups. As we cannot cater for everyone’s requirements, the companies medical benefits are generally a base package that each can individually complement with their own.
Wednesday 8 Singapore – Dumb and dumber to
The title of irresponsible contractor(s) of the month has to go to the contractors of one of our KL projects. The project is reaching its final stages and regular site visits are now required to make sure everything is installed as per design specification, focussed, tested and programmed to satisfaction. Our team on site today was shocked when they discovered a contractor had spray painted the ceiling without the already installed light fittings being properly protected. And if only these had been cheap down lights one could possibly have forgiven the contractor, but in this case we were talking about highly sophisticated ERCO spot lights mounted on a track. To found them covered in spray paint was a nasty surprise. Both KLD and the manufacturer informed the client immediately and requested that all lights (nearly 200 of them!) be taken down, cleaned and then approved suitable for operation by the manufacturer. We cannot take the risk that lights fail at a later stage due to the paint. Besides that it is, even high up in the ceiling, a poor sight. The façade contractor managed another feat of utter stupidity by drilling holes for the fixing of opposing floodlights on the façade in such locations preventing any form of aiming and adjustment of the floodlights as they block each other out. Despite drawings and clear indications on how and where to fix somehow they manage to get it wrong. Here also nearly hundred points have to be redone! At least our site team caught this one in the butt…
Thursday 9 Singapore – Manufacturer relationships
Crucial in our line of work is our relationship with manufacturers. We are as good as the products we specify hence making sure we are on top of what we specify or understanding what is available to us is critical. Over the years you develop your relationships with the manufacturers and going to fairs like Light & Build in Frankfurt or visiting factories is part and parcel of keeping that up to speed. It is not only what is available today that is important but also the understanding what is “cooking in the kitchen” so we know what is coming. As responsible lighting designers we have a role to play in this by continuously feeding back our experiences in projects and way to improve products to meet today’s requirements. Next week I will be in Italy and as part of the trip I have a scheduled visit to the IGuzzini head office and will be presenting past and present projects in which we used their products, share my experience in doing so and engage in discussions for future improvement. In appreciation of my longstanding collaboration with IGuzzini I was today presented with a dedicated issue of the 2015 product book, a special limited edition signed by the president of the company. Thanks Adolpho and Max, see you next week in Recanati!
Friday 10 Singapore – Press and media
Part of our marketing and promotions activity in profiling our company to the general public is to participate in public and lighting related professional events. I was in Vietnam 2 weeks ago and in India last week and over the next few weeks some of the interviews and media feedback will be appearing in local and national magazines. Today I was sent a newspaper cut from a local chronicle that reported on the event in Bangalore last week. While it is probably just a gossip column of sort t still puts you out there and being projected as an award winning lighting designer (which I obviously am) helps maintain our image in the market as experts in our field. It is hard to actually measure in hard figures how this contributes to the bottom line but it is sure to help in public awareness and positioning us a professional award winning company. More to come over the next few weeks…
Have a great weekend
The week that was…