Q&A with ErectaStep Employee: Shep Davis, Territory Sales Manager

Shep discusses product customization and customer feedback

We believe one of the key ways to improve workplace safety is to talk about it regularly. Our employees at ErectaStep have valuable on-the-job insights that we share with one another in safety meetings — and now here with you. In our ongoing employee interview series, we’re offering a behind-the-scenes look at the people who make ErectaStep a leading innovator of safety solutions.

In today’s interview, we sit down with Territory Sales Manager Shep Davis to get his take on how ErectaStep helps businesses stay safe and productive.

Q: Tell us a little about your background and how you became a territory sales manager at ErectaStep.

A: I have a varied background, with quite a few years experience working sales for other businesses. I came to ErectaStep a little over three years ago. To be exact, it was three years, three months and six days ago — but who’s counting?

When I started, I was part of the sales team, which was a lot smaller than it is today. Eventually I was promoted to a territory sales manager. There are ten of us working under our North American Sales Manager, and we’re each responsible for a different region. I’m in charge of sales in the southeast for ErectaStep, including the RollaStep and YellowGate product lines.

Our leaders here do a good job of recognizing when someone has a niche or area they excel in. People really notice your strengths, and then try to put you in the right role to get the best out of all their people. They really promote people’s talents.

Q: What are some of the strengths and skills necessary to be a territory sales manager like yourself?

A: We work in a very fast-paced environment, and there’s always something to get accomplished. There’s always something moving. It’s very important to stay organized and focused on your priorities each day on the job — which, for us, is making and delivering high-quality products and, of course, safety.

Q: How exactly do you make safety a priority at ErectaStep?

A: I think most of it comes down to training and making sure everyone is educated on new technologies and processes. We have regular safety trainings, which are especially important for the workers on the factory floor.

When you walk around our factory and offices, you’ll notice there are safety signs posted everywhere. This helps remind people that safety is a priority and should always stay top of mind. We also have a designated safety officer who does regular inspections and makes sure everyone is following the rules and regulations.

It all boils down to this: We take safety seriously. Here, safety is (and should be) a forethought, rather than an afterthought.

Q: How does this safety focus show up in your interactions with customers?

A: I know how important workplace safety is and how dangerous and deadly some violations can be. Because of this, I find myself always “on the clock” when it comes to safety. If I’m driving around and see someone using a ladder incorrectly on a construction site, I’ll get out of the car, go introduce myself and talk to them. I want to let them know they’re in danger if they keep doing things that way. And if you invest in the right solution to that problem, you’re not only going to save someone from getting injured or killed, you’re also going to save yourself a $250,000 trial. Nobody wants an expensive and unnecessary lawsuit.

We always make a point to be realistic with safety. We’re constantly talking with the folks in engineering and our customers to see how we can improve things and make processes safer while keeping them efficient on the worksite.

Q: What’s the benefit of having an ongoing relationship between the engineering department and your customers?

A: We’ve learned a lot from these relationships. We see so many products on the market today built only to minimum standards. Customers are tired of seeing safety products that aren’t durable. So many modular stairs and platforms wobble, shake or creak when they’re being used — and that’s never a good sign.

I’ve also heard about how difficult some other products are to assemble. We’ve really listened to that, too. Our products come partially assembled. For instance, when an 8-foot RollaStep mobile platform arrives on site, the customer or installation team is responsible only for putting on casters, assembling the stairs and securing the handrail. It takes people two to three hours at most, and they don’t need much more than a wrench to do it.

Industry feedback is something our engineering folks take very seriously. Because of this, we’re able to produce something our customers have told us they want — products that are easily assembled and very secure. They want a higher standard, and we’re equipped to give it to them.

Q: What kinds of industries do you find benefit most from these safety solutions?

A: The great thing about both the ErectaStep and RollaStep product lines is that they can be used essentially anywhere. They’re completely customizable so they’re perfect for a lot of different types of industries and workplaces.

Some of our biggest success stories, recently, have been in the areas of aircraft manufacturing, shipping and ship building. A lot of these types of worksites have really big projects and complex workspaces where our customizable solutions can truly outperform other products on the market.

Q: Can you explain a little more about the customization of your safety solutions?

A: ErectaStep products are customizable by nature. They’re made of only five components, but with these components, you can build whatever safety solution you need. The ladders, supports, platforms, stairs and handrails can fit together in a variety of work platform or crossover stair configurations.

Our standard RollaStep lines include our MP series (our most common), the G series (whose stairs are elevating), the C series (with a longer walk surface), and the TR series (which stands for tilt and roll).

The MP series is really our workhorse. With six models available ranging from two to seven steps, this type of mobile work platform is extremely customizable. We can change its height and width and add on options like removable handrails. Even better, the customers themselves can help us customize this product easily to fit what their site calls for as well.

Q: Do you have any last words for our readers?

A: Just remember to stay safe out there and be sure you’re using the right tools for the job. I know that workplace safety can sometimes feel like a tug of war, but it really does pay off when you make safety a priority.

Do you have any additional questions you’d like to ask the team about safety? Contact your ErectaStep representative here.