We are excited to announce that we have moved the LaForce blog to our redesigned website, www.laforceinc.com. Visit the blog at: https://laforceinc.com/blog/ and be sure to subscribe so you never miss an update from the industry-leading experts at LaForce.
As the warm days dwindle down, LaForce is taking a look back at the good times we have had this summer. Between our Volunteer and Safe & Well programs, to kicking off Packer Season and office events, employees had a full schedule of fun at work.
LaForce prides itself on our employees drive to give back to the community, which didn’t take a summer vacation this season. Employees across our locations chose to volunteer both in and outside of the office in efforts to better their community. LaForce employees volunteered at the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin – Green Bay Strider Bike Camp, hosted a school supply drive for Jefferson and Doty Elementary schools and continued helping local veterans with yard work. Check out the slideshow to see more photos of LaForce employees volunteering throughout the summer.
Safe & Well
Living a healthy and safe life is pertinent to trends and culture. LaForce encourages employees to get up and be active to live their best life. We provide fun safety events and exciting wellness games that can provide incentive, knowledge and occasionally bragging rights! Locations across LaForce put their best foot forward this summer and participated in local runs, volleyball tournaments, tornado drills, and more. Take a run through the slideshow to view how we value safety and wellness.
Joe LaForce was an active Packer fan, and the trend continues for many of our employees and customers. Our Green Bay employees kicked off the 2017 football season with a LaForce employee tailgate, just across the street from Lambeau Field. It was a true Titletown celebration with good food, games and a Packer preseason win.
Everyone wants to have fun in the summer, and at LaForce, we encourage just that. Whether we are having our annual company picnics, golf outings, or eating some chips and dip, we want our employees to be excited about work. This summer was no exception!
Special thanks to Rob Russell, Security Integration Operations Manager, for providing the latest news and updates regarding LaForce’s expertise in electrical components.
In November, we discussed industry changes that affect how intelligent and electrified door hardware are specified in construction projects. Division 8 represents building openings (including door hardware) and Division 28 represents Electronic Safety and Security. The Security Industry Association (SIA) and Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) decided to move all intelligent devices for a door opening into the Division 28 category.
While this update will take several years to fully integrate into all construction practices, LaForce has already adjusted to the new norms. This allows us to be a great resource for not only General Contractors (GC’s), but also Electrical Contractors (EC’s), who usually work within Division 28 but may need support with door hardware components.
Why was this change implemented in the industry? The purpose of moving items from Division 8 to Division 28 was ultimately driven by end users. They require product and service providers who do not just supply products, but also provide installation, service, and support in addition to supplying the products.
LaForce provides the ideal solution in the Division 8/28 realm. We are a reliable resource for GC’s, EC’s, and end users. We are not just a hardware distributor, but a total opening solution provider. Our solutions essentially go beyond product distribution and focus on ongoing service. To GC’s and EC’s, this means taking care of the end user and ensuring their satisfaction. This involves commissioning and programming the intelligent hardware products as well as comprehensive training and ongoing technical support for the end user.
LaForce has access and expertise with many lines of hardware, power supplies and software, which gives us the ability to satisfy all of our customer’s needs. As technology and the IoT (Internet of Things) evolve within the door hardware industry, we will continue to take care of GC’s, EC’s and end users. These groups can lean on LaForce for their total opening solution. Read more about our Security Integration team in this link!
Stop 9: Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute in Ohio
LaForce handles construction projects across the country!
In this special series, we’re exploring 12 such projects.
The brand-new Ohio State Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute, part of the Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, OH, offers sports medicine research and treatment services. LaForce is honored to have supplied wood doors, hollow metal doors, frames, hardware, and security products for this beautiful new facility.
Doors, Frames, & Hardware
Providing both accessibility and security were high priorities throughout this project. For example, some doors had to be operated by automatic door openers to allow people to pass through them hands-free. In addition, we provided locks that are manufactured exclusively for Ohio State University.
Security Products & Services
We supplied electrified hardware and a flexible access control system so facility managers could monitor traffic and access to areas housing sensitive information or materials. Some of these locks are WiFi-based and some are PoE-based (Power over Ethernet). These technologies allow facility managers to monitor doors, change codes, and perform a variety of other operations.
Having fun at our annual golf outing is par for the course! This year was no exception. Over 150 LaForce employees enjoyed golfing, dinner, and prizes on Friday, June 23. We are especially grateful to our many event sponsors who made the day especially enjoyable.
Golf Outing Fun
Want to read more blogs like this one? Check out last year’s golf outing re-cap!
Thank You Sponsors!
Let’s close out National Safety Month with information that applies to everyone – Home Safety. We recently celebrated “Safety Days” at LaForce, giving employees an opportunity to learn practical safety tips and strategies. Here are the highlights!
- Home Safety Checklists are a great way to assess your home for safety concerns. Check out some examples from Home Safety Smart Check:
- Proper smoke alarm procedures and fire alarm precautions are essential homeowner skills. Click here for a fire extinguisher cheat sheet. Next, check out our video of LaForce’s on-site fire extinguisher demonstration, compliments of the Green Bay Metro Police Department.
- Kitchen safety and cleanliness should also be observed. These guidelines from the Education Network provide practical tips for maximizing food and kitchen safety.
- Finally, severe weather awareness is vital for family safety. A severe weather safety tip sheet for your home can be found here, courtesy of the National Weather Service.
So far in this series, we have covered Life Safety and Jobsite Safety. Today, we zero in even further, showing how LaForce prioritizes and promotes safety in the workplace.
We have an active Safe & Well program that provides resources for employees to learn about safety and wellness topics. They can even earn points for participating in a variety of health and safety-related activities.
In addition, we encourage team members to report potential safety concerns through our ongoing Safety Ideas in Action Program. Since 2015, this program has generated 85 ideas, over 75% of which have been implemented. As a thank you for their safety awareness, LaForce provides employees with a chance to win money for submitting good ideas. So far, employees have taken home $2,800 in incentives from this program!
Here at LaForce, we pride ourselves in providing a safe, supportive working culture. We maintain an active Safe & Well program for our team. In addition, we encourage employees to report potential safety concerns through our ongoing Safety Ideas in Action Program.
Taking a step back to view the construction industry as a whole reveals jobsite safety as an ongoing concern. According to the National Safety Council, construction is one of the top occupations that results in workplace injuries requiring days away from work. But there are many resources available for contractors and workers. Check out this useful infographic from our friends at Granger Construction!
Safety continues to be a top concern at LaForce, and we do everything we can to contribute to safe jobsite experience! For more information on our close relationships with general contractors, check out this blog.
LaForce has always valued continuous improvement as a core business value. A key hallmark of our founder’s personality was his philosophy: “It can always be better!” Joe LaForce encouraged people to challenge the status quo, and this value is baked into the culture of LaForce. We strive to be fast, efficient, and productive for our customers, and recognize that improving our processes is an ongoing journey. We also invest in people and promote from within, as evidenced with Lean Six Sigma Training and on-site business analysts.
All three Continuous Improvement Business Analysts recently completed Lean Six Sigma training, earning their Green Belt certifications. This dedicated team focuses on internal projects that prioritize lean education and process improvement. Recently, we completed several initiatives that further streamline LaForce’s processes and provide the utmost in quality control.
- We helped our Hardware Purchasing team eliminate unnecessary steps in order fulfillment. The new process is electronic instead of paper-based, which not only saves time, but speaks to our commitment to sustainability.
- The Engineering team received advanced training on existing software (Bluebeam) to increase efficiency and expand their knowledge and comfort with the program. In addition, Engineering’s “Prelims” team changed its process to clarify communication with the Engineering team, which increased efficiency as projects are engineered.
- We improved the process for tracking Shop drawings, leading to a more accurate assessment of lead times. This allows us to successfully assess our workload and allocate work among members of the Engineering team.
- Our manufacturing team is currently aligning three press brakes to provide a “one piece flow” work cell, which will almost double the velocity of parts moving through those operations.
Our Continuous Improvement team will continue to identify opportunities for further development. These analysts will also spend time training others in the company to recognize areas that need improvement and address processes on their own. Stay tuned for future updates on our lean improvements!
We want to answer your door industry-related questions! Our wide range of expertise includes Doors, Frames, Hardware, Keying, Security Integration, Building Specialties, Architectural Services, Fire Door Inspections, Pre-Installation, Installation, and Custom Pre-Finishing. Submit a question by commenting on this blog or on our social media posts, or email us.
“Your door opening specialist for life safety and security.” – LaForce tagline
“Life Safety” is a familiar concept to those within the building industry. But the phrase may not carry as much weight without an understanding of the history behind Life Safety Code. Today, “life safety” represents a commitment to protecting human life through building standards and codes.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is the most well-known organization that develops building standards and codes to minimize danger from fire-related hazards. The NFPA developed its first standard (for the installation of sprinkler systems) in 1896, and started publishing materials that lead to the current Life Safety Code in 1913. Over the subsequent 100+ years, this publication has updated to reflect the latest developments in construction and lessons learned from fire catastrophes.
Unfortunately, it took several tragic incidents to solidify the urgent need for such standards. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York, NY (1911)
A fire in a clothing factory, located on the top three floors of the 10-story Asch Building, lead to 146 deaths on March 25, 1911. Business owners locked the exit and stairwell doors during the workday to minimize worker theft and unauthorized breaks, which exacerbated the victims’ inability to escape the flames. The doors themselves opened inward, making it harder to escape in an emergency situation. In addition, aisles to building exits were narrow and obstructed. Finally, the building was constructed with one fewer staircase than required, since the architect insisted an outdoor fire escape was sufficient. During the fire, people crowded onto this fire escape, which quickly collapsed.
Cocoanut Grove Nightclub Fire in Boston, MA (1942)
A fire in a nightclub caused 492 deaths on November 28, 1942. The space was designed to hold 460 people but over 1,000 were crowded into Cocoanut Grove that night. Once the fire began, it was difficult for victims to escape, since nearly all of the exits were hidden or non-functioning. Some side doors were bolted shut to prevent people from leaving without payment, and others opened inward. The main entrance was only accessible via a single revolving door, which quickly became obstructed. In addition, the establishment’s décor featured highly combustible materials such as cloth wall coverings and faux palm fronds, which intensified the fire’s spread.
Our Lady of the Angels School Fire in Chicago, IL (1958)
A fire in a K-8 Catholic school resulted in 95 deaths (92 of these were students) on December 1, 1958. The school did not have fire alarms, heat detectors, second-floor stairwell fire doors, or fire sprinklers since state and city fire codes (at that time) did not require existing buildings to comply with new construction standards. The fire alarm within the building did not automatically connect to the fire department. In addition, there was only one fire escape and fire extinguishers were stored seven feet off the ground. Classrooms were overcrowded and the floors were highly combustible due to flammable varnish and petroleum-based waxes. Glass transoms above classroom doors allowed flames and smoke to quickly permeate the rooms. Stairwell doors that were meant to be kept closed were chained open by staff, causing the fire to spread quickly.
Cook County Administration Building Fire in Chicago, IL (2003)
A fire on the 12th floor of an office building lead to six deaths on October 17, 2003. The victims were trapped in a stairwell a few floors above the fire and died of smoke inhalation. They entered the stairwell to escape the fire, but because the stairwell doors were locked due to building protocol, they could not re-enter on another floor and escape the smoke. Codes require such stairwell doors to be connected with the fire command center so that they automatically unlock when activated by fire alarm or emergency personnel in an emergency situation. In addition, the 12th floor did not have a fire sprinkler system installed at the time of the fire, which could have drastically minimized the destruction.
As a result of these tragedies, life safety codes now address building features that decrease the chances of death by fire. LaForce is committed to providing building materials that meet building codes and standards. We provide continuous training for staff members, to keep them apprised of the latest developments and technical requirements. Our certified fire door inspectors can confirm that a building’s fire doors have been properly installed and maintained to help building owners increase safety, limit liability and avoid fines. In addition, our Architectural Services team is knowledgeable in building requirements and can provide personalized specification writing services.
“Life Safety” is a vital concept that LaForce takes very seriously. Let’s learn from yesterday’s lessons to create a safer future!