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A Video Conversation with Roger Kauffman, CEO of EMR Company – Part 3- On Technology

Click Here for Part 1, Part 2 Providing commercial equipment, parts, and repairs to the region’s businesses for over 85 years rogerkRoger Kauffman is the CEO of Electric Motor Repair Company (EMR), a service company based in Baltimore, Maryland. For more than 85 years, EMR has served generations of businesses across the Mid-Atlantic region. The company splits its service areas into two divisions: Industrial and Commercial Kitchen. EMR’s Industrial division handles equipment installation, repair, and fulfillment in industrial, printing, elevator, and processing settings; while the company’s Commercial Kitchen provides parts and services in the commercial cooking and refrigeration industries. Last year, Roger celebrated his 50th anniversary at EMR—he joined the company in 1964 as a repair technician. How has technology changed what EMR does? This past year, we’ve started to introduce tablets into the field with our technicians, and employing this technology has allowed us to have better information in the technician’s hands. He can pull up a wiring diagram, a part schematic, while he’s in front of the piece of equipment, and do a better job diagnosing and troubleshooting that piece of equipment. If he needs parts, he can put them in the tablet, and it immediately comes into our Baltimore fulfillment office where they either take it out of our inventory, or order it from the manufacturer and have it drop-shipped to a UPS drop box where he can pick it up and finish the repair. On the billing side, instead of a 10-day turnaround for billing, we can bill it within 24 hours of him completing the job, which helps cash flow quite a bit.   What kinds of employees do you look to hire? ROGER KAUFFMAN: We don’t employ machines, we employ people, and those people have to have a certain skill set, which, in our industry and many other trades—plumbing, electric, HVAC—those people are very scarce. And they’re going to get more scarce, because the schools for 40 years have been promoting college, not… I remember when I went to school, it pretty much implied if you didn’t go to college you could be a trash man—that’s about it. So, everybody was clamoring to go to college whether they wanted to or not, because nobody wanted to be a trash man. Now, because of that, there’s a great shortage of technicians. We do in-house training. We have factory training. Finding the raw material is tough because kids today don’t play with mechanical things when they grow up. I used to tune my own car. I used to set the dowel on the points and change the spark plug. Kids don’t do that anymore. I couldn’t do that on my car now. I don’t even know where they are—it’s all shrouded in some kind of plastic. So, we’re up against a real tough battle to bring into our industry and to train talent that will be the future technicians. Right now, if I could find 10 technicians, I’d hire ‘em—because we have room for ‘em.

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