News: Frankly Speaking

Franklin in the Field: Cupcakes vs. Water Well Drilling

03/16/2016

A true story told by Mark Reeder, Director of Innovation & Field Marketing…

“’Barriers to entry’ is a marketing term that sounds sophisticated, but all it really means is, ’How hard is it to get into a business?’ Barriers to entry are simply those things that keep someone new from entering a market.

Barriers – Good or Bad?

Barriers to entry take many forms. One of the most common is simply a high amount of capital ($$$) required for someone new to enter a market. The airline industry is a good example here. Related to a high amount of capital is scale, or how large does the business have to be in order to be profitable. The automotive industry is a prime example. Other barriers to entry are an entrenched and loyal customer base (think Starbucks or Harley Davidson), or even legal and regulatory hurdles (think liquor stores).Mark Reeder

Obviously, if you’re already in a market or industry (the marketing books call this the incumbent), you want the barriers to entry to be high in order to keep competition out. But if you are starting a business (that’s the entrant), you want the barriers to entry to be low. However, the problem with markets with low barriers to entry is that in the long-term, it’s very difficult to make a profit. That’s because even when you’re first, everyone quickly sees that you’re making a profit and it’s easy for them to jump in.

Here’s a great example: cupcakes. Cupcake shops used to be all the rage. But I ran across an article recently about the “cupcake bubble”. Come to find out, the cupcake market has reached saturation and even been overbuilt in many regions. Many shops are going out-of-business because there aren’t enough people to support all the cupcake shops.

So why a cupcake bubble? Because the barriers to entering this market are so low. There are always hurdles to starting any business, but opening a cupcake shop in the scheme of things is pretty easy. So, lots of people saw a profitable trend with low barriers and jumped in. But as a result, it became difficult for most of them to make a profit over the long-term.

It’s a Great Time to be a Water Well Driller

So what does any of this have to do with water well drilling and the water systems industry? Well, if you’re a professional water well contractor, the barriers to entry for someone who wants to enter your market are fairly high. It takes specialized equipment that represents a significant capital investment. It also takes specialized expertise, knowledge and experience to be successful. There are also regulatory barriers dealing with licensing and DOT regulations. And, chances are you have a loyal customer base.

The point is that not everyone can do what we do as an industry and what you do as a water well contractor. We are unique. And when you couple that with the value and quality of the product we deliver at a reasonable cost, you start to realize that once again, we’re in a great industry.”

Franklin In The Field: Improve Your Interaction with the Homeowner

03/09/2016

A true story told by Mark Reeder, Director of Innovation & Field Marketing…

“Let’s face it. The term ’sales’ in many circles has a reputation for trying to sell us things we don’t need or even want. But, truly successful sales people will tell you that’s not how they do business. They’ll tell you that what’s made them successful is a relentless focus on helping their customers get the products and solutions they need. They see themselves as educators and consultants, guiding their customers through a decision-making process and providing options.

There’s no area where that’s truer than with the professional water systems contractor. Most don’t like to think of themselves as sales people. But, a huge part of the job is just that. You are industry educators and representatives to the rest of the world.Mark Reeder

What makes this especially true is that water systems are far more reliable and have a greater lifespan than most of the appliances in our lives. As a result, most homeowners will only need a new water system or something repaired every 10 years or so. That means that you will only get the chance to stand in front of your customer once every decade or so. So, we need to make the most of that opportunity.

In many cases, the homeowner is out of water and is literally desperate to get it back. Nothing highlights the critical nature and value of water more than not having it. As a result, the conversation becomes a one-way, two-part question of ’how soon and how much?’ Try to slow things down. Have a conversation. A few minutes goes a long way. Show them how their water system works. What does that tank do anyway? Explain why they are out of water. How has their home and lifestyle changed since someone last looked at their water system? Have you always had that garden?

Why do this? Because two things will happen, both of which are good for you. It will be a springboard to upgrading their water systems. Perhaps it will be a constant pressure system, or dry well protection, or water treatment. Maybe it will be simply a larger tank. More importantly, you will have instilled confidence, both in their water system and you. From there, they will tell their neighbors.

What will they be telling them? In so many words, that you listened to them, the two of you had a great conversation, and they ended up with a far better solution and water system than just being ’back in water’. What they didn’t get was a sales pitch.”

AG Series Product Line Expands: Now Covering the Most Popular Hydraulic Performance Ranges

03/02/2016

Franklin Electric is excited to announce the expansion of our proven AG Series Centrifugal Closed-Coupled Pumps. This cast iron product line is designed to outperform the competition in challenging water transfer applications demanding high performance and efficiency in industrial, commercial, and agricultural markets.Franklin Electric AG Series

The AG Series Pumps are equipped with either a NEMA standard JM or JP motor for mechanical seal or packing gland configurations, both of which include a 416 stainless steel shaft sleeve for durability and ease of service. Fitting the industry’s most popular models, pumps range from 3 through 75 hp with flow ratings from 50 through 2,000 gpm and heads up to 300 feet.

Optimized via CAD modeling and simulation, the pump’s updated hydraulic design offers improved energy efficiency, enhanced durability and extended operating life in water applications such as irrigation, turf and landscape maintenance, crop and livestock watering, pressure boosting, wash down, water supply and treatment, and water recirculation. Its standardized mounting dimensions and plumbing connections provide a quick and easy retrofit, reducing downtime, and the product’s back pull-out design makes repairs fast and simple.

The AG Series Pumps are assembled in the USA.

Learn more about the AG Series

New – Training & Support Video Toolbox

02/29/2016

Franklin Electric's commitment to training is unmatched in the water systems industry. In support of our continued efforts to provide you with the education necessary to successfully tackle common industry challenges, we are excited to announce the official launch of the new “Training & Support Video Toolbox” located at www.youtube.com/franklinwater. Video topics have been carefully selected based on questions commonly asked by callers to our Technical Service Hotline. Currently, twelve videos are now available via this new tool:

Basic Electricity – Its Role in Powering a Pumping System
Meters – Using Them for Jobsite Troubleshooting
Centrifugal Pumps – The Basics
Pump Motor Assembly
Check Valve Installation/Removal Instructions
Pump Wire Sizing
Converting Feet to PSI
Sizing a Submersible Pump
Generator Selection & Sizing with a Franklin Motor
Submersible Motor Shaft Height Gauges
Jet Pump Motors
Winterizing Pumps

Be sure to visit the FranklinWater YouTube page regularly to see what’s new!

 Training Videos

Franklin Supports Military Vet with Whole Home Water System Solutions

02/15/2016

Parke FamilyWe recently teamed with the Military MakeoverTM national television series on the Lifetime® Network to provide retired Technical Sergeant Kevin Parke and his family of seven with multiple water system solutions for their home in Crestview, Florida, in recognition and gratitude for the sacrifices he made for our country. See the tune in here and set your DVRs today!

Air Dates/Times

  • The season five series premier of Designing Spaces® Military Makeover is initially airing on Lifetime Network at 7:00 a.m. ET/PT on February 18, 2016, and then re-airing at the same time and network on February 25, 2016. 
  • Episode three of the three-part series, also featuring Franklin Electric, can be seen on Lifetime Network at 7:00 a.m. ET/PT on March 17, 2016, and will re-air at the same time and network on March 24, 2016.

Products Featured on the Show
Franklin was thrilled to work directly with the family to identify multiple water solutions:Inline 400

  • Inline 400 pressure boosting system to increase water pressure throughout the home when water is being used for multiple needs, such as laundry, dishes, and showering. During early discussions with the Parke family, it was obvious that water pressure was a problem due in part to their lawn irrigation system. “When the lawn sprinklers run, we get no water pressure in the house,” said Sergeant Parke. “So, we just stopped running the sprinklers at night to accommodate our schedule.” The Parke’s no longer have to work around this scheduling hassle.
  • A stunning Koi Pond featuring a Little Giant® pump, skimmer, biological water filter, liner and LED lighting for the Parke’s relaxation pleasure.
  • Little Giant WRS Series sump pump system attached to a new utility sink in the garage to help the family clean up before entering the home.
  • VCMX-20 Series condensate pump to remove condensate created by the new ice maker in the garage.
  • A beautiful Little Giant Disappearing Fountain outside the front porch that produces the calming sound of flowing water.

Kevin Parke’s Story
Kevin Parke is a recently retired Air Force veteran where he was an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician. During his second deployment in Afghanistan, he specialized in disarming IEDs (improvised explosive devices) to keep our soldiers safe when traveling through the country. Within a timeframe of six months, retried Sergeant Parke and his team disarmed 87 IEDs before they exploded and analyzed another 50-plus IEDs post blast. During this same time, he was also part of three missions where IED’s detonated underneath his military vehicle, causing multiple back, leg and brain injuries that he, and subsequently, his family now endure every day.

“This was a win-win opportunity for Franklin Electric,” said DeLancey Davis, Franklin Electric’s President of its North America Water Systems division. “We had the opportunity to showcase our products, work with a terrific organization and serve a truly worthy family. It also provided our staff the chance to work with professional water systems contractors and get hands-on experience with how our entire offering of cleanwater, wastewater and outdoor living products benefit a local family. We thank Sergeant Parke for his service and wish his family the best with their remodeled home.”

For more information about Designing Spaces’ Military Makeover, visit http://www.militarymakeover.tv/.

Franklin In The Field: Ten Things I Wish the Public Knew - #6-10

02/12/2016

A true story told by Mark Reeder, Director of Innovation & Field Marketing…

“Here is part two of my short series on the ten things I wish the public knew about our industry in hopes that it may help you better communicate with your customers. The last post covered numbers one through five, so here are my last five:

6. The lowest priced water system may not be the best quality water system.
I’m a firm believer that you generally get what you pay for. Go to the internet or the Yellow Pages and you’ll probably find several options for water well contractors in any given area. Whether you’re installing a new system or simply need to get back in water, the lowest price isn’t always the best option. For example, one contractor may be offering an upgraded system that includes constant pressure, whereas another may be offering a conventional system. One may offer a tank sized to meet your needs today, but another may offer a tank sized to accommodate potential demand increases. Different prices may also be reflective of different warranty options or service agreements. In the long run, it pays to understand the difference.

7. Most well owners love their water systems.Mark Reeder
Ask most private water systems owners what they think of their well water and they will tell you ’I love it!’ They like the taste, especially as opposed to chemically-treated public water, they like being in control of their water system, and they like the feeling of not being tied to the whims (and invoices) of a water authority. To many, a private water system symbolizes independence and self sufficiency, and good, clean water.

8. That bottle of spring water you’re drinking? … It’s well water.
You know those bottles of water you buy at the store labeled natural spring water? That label makes for good marketing, but the truth is that spring water is simply groundwater, and there’s a good chance that water came from a well. Private well owners get all the natural spring water they want virtually for free – straight from their well. Of course, labeling a bottle well water just wouldn’t have the same ring to it.

9. Even where groundwater isn’t perfect, we can usually fix it.
In certain regions, the groundwater may naturally contain high amounts of iron, sulfur, or other minerals, making it less appealing for drinking and household use. In these cases, there are plenty of safe, effective, affordable technologies out there to address and remove these components, leaving the homeowner with a high quality source of water. These technologies don’t have to involve chemicals, either (e.g. reverse osmosis, filtering systems, etc.).

10. Well water makes environmental sense.
One might believe that having a common water infrastructure in the form of public water would be a more efficient delivery system than lots of private water wells. The fact is that it’s not, and there are two big reasons. First, it takes a lot of energy to move water through all those miles of pipes – pipelines that in many cases don’t exist today. Second, pipes have lots of leaks. It’s estimated that literally millions of gallons of water are wasted each year due to the aging infrastructure of public water. Pumping groundwater right from a well at the source is far more efficient and, well, greener.

There you have it. It may evolve or expand over time, but that’s my current list of the ten things I wish the public knew and understood about groundwater and our industry.”

Franklin In The Field: Ten Things I Wish the Public Knew - #1-5

02/08/2016

A true story told by Mark Reeder, Director of Innovation & Field Marketing…

“In my job, I do a lot of airline travel. Although I’m generally a limited talker with whomever ends up next to me, I often get the question, ’So, what business are you in?’ From these and other random encounters with the general public, I’ve built up a sizable database of its perceptions of water wells and the groundwater industry.
What follows isn’t a revelation by any means, but I’m continually amazed at how little the general public knows about groundwater and the groundwater industry. Even end-users such as homeowners and farmers who have their own private water systems generally have little knowledge of how water gets to their tap. Given this, here’s a short series around the ten things I wish the public knew about our industry in hopes that it may help you better communicate with your customers. You’ll find the first five below, with the rest to follow in a subsequent post.Mark Reeder

1. Chances are, your water comes from a well, even if you don’t know it.
I consistently hear: “I’m on city water; I don’t get my water from a well.” Actually, there’s a good chance you do. For example, I live in a good-sized city with several water sources, including a river and a couple of reservoirs. However, my city also has numerous large water wells, and a significant amount of our water is supplied from those wells.

2. Groundwater is important. So important, in fact, that we literally can’t live without it.
The general public has little appreciation of groundwater’s importance. Only 2.5% of the world’s water is freshwater and of that, 69% of that is locked up as ice at earth’s poles. What’s left is surface water and groundwater. Between the two, surface water comprises only 0.4% and the rest is groundwater. That’s not nearly enough surface water to supply the needs to humankind. Not only does much of our clean, fresh drinking water come from the ground, we have to have it to survive as a civilization.

3. Groundwater contractors are experts with unique professional knowledge.
Not only do groundwater contractors have to be good business people, they must also have very specialized technical expertise. Drilling contractors, for example, often maintain more than a million dollars worth of equipment, with more bells, whistles, levers, and buttons than most people can imagine. They have to understand geology and hydrology. Pump installers must have an outstanding working knowledge of electricity and hydraulics, and more often than not, electronic technology as well. Not everyone can do this job.

4. Groundwater expertise is different than plumbing expertise.
Not all groundwater contractors are plumbers, and not all plumbers are groundwater contractors. In fact, although some water well contractors and drillers provide plumbing services as part of their business, most of the time they don’t overlap. The groundwater industry requires a distinct knowledge base and skill set, and even different equipment. Think of it this way: someone who works on melting furnaces in foundries is not the same person who would work on the furnace in your home, and vice versa. Some of the underlying science and mechanics might be similar, but these are really two different jobs requiring distinct expertise.

5. We work under tight regulatory constraints.
Groundwater is a precious resource and, appropriately, obtaining a license to access and drill into it is a formidable task. In addition, nearly all states require water well contractors to receive a certain number of hours of continuing education each year in order to maintain that license. Of course, given the size and complexity of a drilling rig, there’s a significant safety and driver training component as well. We don’t just punch holes in the ground; we have to be well-trained and ensure regulatory compliance.”

AHR 2016: Expanded VR Series Line on Display

01/13/2016

VR Series - GroupFranklin Electric’s expanded VR Series line of vertical, stainless steel multi-stage pumps will be on display at the 2016 AHR Expo in Booth 4842 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, January 25-27. Even if you simply dabble in HVAC, this is a show you shouldn’t miss!

The expanded VR Series line of pumps deliver water under pressure for HVAC applications. These booster pumps are now available in 3, 5, 9, 15, 20, 30, 45, 65 and 95 m3/h options with a flow range up to 600 gpm and 750 feet of total dynamic head (TDH). Each pump features all 316 stainless steel hydraulic components for optimum durability, efficiency and performance – even in corrosive water applications.2016 AHR Show Graphic Impellers and diffuser stages are fabricated from heavy gauge stainless steel using advanced welding technology. The
 oversized ball bearing/coupler assembly eliminates the need for stack height adjustment and supports the axial thrust load. The elimination of axial thrust allows the VR Series pumps to utilize industry standard motors instead of the high-thrust motors commonly required in similar industry applications.

For more information about AHR, click here.

IBS 2016: Franklin Displaying New Solar Innovation

01/12/2016

Our newest solar innovation will be on display at the NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Booth C1836 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 19-21. If you’re in the area, stop by to check out this Fhoton For Webgreat new product:

The new Fhoton™ SolarPAK system utilizes Franklin Electric’s proven solar technology with the new Fhoton solar drive that features a smaller modular design, providing flexibility and simple maintenance for the contractor. The entire solar package of panels, pump, motor and drive are backed by Franklin’s team of Field Service Engineers, creating an easy way for contractors to provide “off-grid” water pumping to their customers.

Go the show for free, courtesy of Franklin Electric!

Franklin Donates 34 Water Transfer Pumps for Flood Relief Efforts

01/08/2016

Franklin recently donated 34 water transfer pumps to the city utilities department at the City of Fort Wayne to assistL To R John Clark Jeff Morris Tom Strupp1 with future flooding and water transfer needs. The pumps vary in capacities from 60 gpm (gallons per minute) up to 264 gpm and are ideal for high-volume water transfer and dewatering, such as flood water removal, emptying excess ditch water, removing swimming pool water and more. The pumps are gas engine driven and do not require electricity for operation, often making them a desirable solution during power outages and other urgent need water removal applications.

“Given the high volumes of rain and flooding across not only much of the U.S., but also in our local community, Franklin Electric recognized the need to provide an inventory of gas engine drive water transfer pumps to the City of Fort Wayne to combat similar challenges when they occur in the future,” said Tom Strupp, Franklin Electric Vice President of Global Human Resources. For the allocation of these pumps, Franklin Electric contacted the United Way of Allen Country, who then referred the offer to John Clark, Deputy Director of City Utilities at the City of Fort Wayne. Clark expressed the need for the pumps and implemented a plan for utilization. Fort Wayne residents will have access to the pumps when needed to protect their property from water damage.

“These will be a nice addition to the city’s sandbagging efforts and the current large pumps we use to protect entire Franklin Electric Gas Engine Drive Pump1neighborhoods,” mentioned Clark. “It is a very emotional and stressful time when water is threatening to enter residents’ homes. For residents who’ve experienced flooding in the past, they know the threat is real. The portability and size of the donated Franklin Electric pumps are a great match for homes that are being threatened by rising water. The recent donation of 34 pumps will help residents protect their investments and symbolizes the partnership we have with a valuable company to Fort Wayne.”

Click for more information about Franklin Electric gas engine drive water transfer pumps or the City of Fort Wayne.