Saturday, May 6, 2017

Who's the Boss?

I recently blogged about The Sliding Door Company's CEO, Doron Polus suggesting he is "playing God" when he makes bad engineering and safety decisions that impact his customers and employees.  You would expect someone making engineering decisions to have an engineering background at least.  Mr. Polus does not.  In his defense, Mr. Polus asked an engineer to look at his products and make recommendations. And then Mr. Polus confidently ignored (or was talked into ignoring) those recommendations.
Doron and Bob?

It's almost as if Mr. Polus has no idea what he is doing with regard to product safety and engineering.  He hired an engineer and then tossed out the work of the engineer who was hired to evaluate the product for safety?  We've discovered that the reason is... MONEY!

This isn't unlike the situation I encountered when I brought engineering issues to Mr. Polus' attention.  He acted appreciative but ignored them.

I'm sure nobody will be surprised to find out that Mr. Polus has been receiving some very bad advice from people he trusts.  Somebody, behind the scenes, and also without any engineering background, has been whispering in Mr. Polus' ear.

Let's have a look at some of Mr. Polus' dumbest decisions and who benefits directly.  

We have already covered some of the ridiculous ideas The Sliding Door Company regularly comes up with.  

Gluing tracks to carpet - Not sure who came up with this idea, but it sure saves installers a lot of time - which is, of course, why they do it this way.  

Cheap Simpson knock-off bracket replaced engineered parts.  We learned it was Mr. Polus' decision to replace structural elements with this, but whose idea was it to create the knock-off in the first place? Again, using this cheap bracket also saved installers a lot of time.

TSDC often violates their own contract with customers by not installing their systems per the contract.  They COULD install their system correctly and in accordance with their own contract if the installers were allowed to have a "stud finder" so they could screw into studs.  
But again, the stud-finder tool costs money and it saves installers a lot of time if they just screw into the drywall ceiling and hope they hit an occasional stud.  Somebody decided the necessary stud-finders are too expensive to supply to the installers.

Pre-cutting door jambs is another one of Bob's ideas.  Unfortunately, he pre-cuts them to violate rather than comply with ADA.

TSDC's swing doors have serious problems too.  We discussed the problematic kick-plate that doesn't comply with ADA, but additionally, they employ a very weak pivot hinge (I'll talk about that in a future blog) which causes them to fail regularly when they are used with a closer.  I'm told Bob's working on this.

Customer complaints describe aggressive installers who even refuse to install systems unless they are installed improperly.  They have documented TSDC's installers threatening to leave the product and still charge for installing it.

So, a good portion (but certainly not all) of TSDC's dumb ideas that violate safety and ethics seem to be traceable to making life for the installers easy.  This helps only one department and leads our investigation to the Operations department which is responsible for the installation of TSDC's systems.  

Naturally, even a safe product poorly installed can become unsafe.  So who is running the operations department?  That would be the somewhat Napoleonically complex Bob Delia.  And his attention to safety, or lack of it, is what the public sees and reads about whenever The Sliding Door Company installs a product poorly.  

Oh, and guess who is in charge of handling complaints when something is poorly installed?  BOB!  It's no wonder customer complaints are rarely addressed at TSDC.

But it gets even worse.  When I worked at The Sliding Door Company as their R&D manager, I was literally the ONLY person at the company with anything that resembled an engineering background.  

I have over 30 years of engineering experience in product development and in producing building and construction drawings for both commercial and residential projects.  

When I determined an installation design was unsafe, I reported it and refused to produce it.  This is what got me fired.  Bob came up with a solution - a 43' long beam was to be suspended above the system to support a 16' +/- long doorway.  Who could question that kind of wisdom?

Bob has what supersedes knowledge of engineering at The Sliding Door Company - CONFIDENCE.  Confidence is enough to push an unsafe design - especially when it means a sale.  Confidence is enough to overrule safety questions.  There's a "confidence" that "Nobody will pull this" - or "Nobody will step on that" that permeates their thinking. "Our products don't need to comply with ADA" is another one. 

Confidence is generally a good thing, but CEO's like Mr. Polus must realize that confidence is not knowledge.  Just because someone says something with conviction does NOT make it correct, ethical, safe or even good business.  Mr. Polus should ask himself if he is getting good advice, or just self-serving nonsense from the people around him.  So far, he seems to be a terrible judge of character.