Measure Twice and Then Some

construction workers integrators installers measuring a space

American mathematician Alfred Korzybski coined the phrase, “The map is not the territory.” He was talking about psychology and the human mind, but his analogy is just as apt for our businesses.

Just when I feel like I’ve seen everything, something happens that proves me wrong. No indeed, it’s still possible for me to be surprised.

Since most rAVe [PUBS] readers either got their start in residential or commercial AV or are deeply embedded in one or the other, most of you will be familiar with the dreaded variance of “As-Drawn” versus “As-Built.” We’ve all been there: You’ve received the plans for a structure, whether it’s construction or a retrofit project. You make initial estimates for your wire runs, equipment locations, etc. Then, you get to the site and myriad surprises await you. Ductwork where no ductwork should be, or worse! Honestly, after a certain point, you have to expect it. That’s why it’s imperative to always do site visits and walk-throughs. Not only do you need to expect the unexpected, but you also need to document it.

All of this is a roundabout way to introduce my story. One place I did not expect to encounter As-Drawn versus As-Built was within the fleet management channel.

Believe me, I’m as surprised as you are.

So it’s like this: One of my client B2B dealers sells a variety of products and services for fleet management to their clients for their work trucks. Some of the go-to products they order from me are tablet/laptop mounts in which the base attaches to the seat bolts of the passenger-side seat.

What you need to know about that is different models and years of trucks have different spacing between the seat bolts. So, based on knowing the make and model year of the client’s trucks, my dealer and I specified mounts in which the base has a space between the set bolts of 15.125″ center-to-center.

So far so good. We do this all the time. We’re professionals.

The mounts arrived. We shipped them to my dealer. The dealer scheduled the first wave of installs. Then my dealer’s general manager called me.

“Lee!” he exclaimed, “The seat bolt distance on these trucks is 13.25″ center-to-center.”

There’s a professional term for that. It’s called “a problem.” Every problem has a solution. In this case, I roped in my contact at my vendor to let him know that the specs from Chevrolet that they based their specs on were wrong.

Right from the jump, I found it hugely weird that published specs from a major automaker would be so far out. But the proof is right there, so we’ll roll with it.

My vendor and I will support my dealer, get them what they need and help them support their client. It was a big surprise, but like I was once told years ago: “Professionalism isn’t about not having problems, it’s about how you handle them.”

I know every one of us has repeated the aphorism “measure twice, cut once.” I propose some addenda to that old saying:

  • Measure twice.
  • Measure again.
  • Check the published specs from your vendor.
  • Double-check those against the public specs from the brand your vendor’s product will interface with.
  • Check those again.
  • Go into the field and access the real product you’re going to interface with (like, say, your client’s new trucks).
  • Measure the actual real-life measurements, looking for deviance from the specifications.
  • THEN, you’re done!