For nearly twenty years Modular Elevator Manufacturing has been leading the elevator revolution. Like any revolution there are milestones or measurements that show the growth of that movement. Markers that point to the “normalization” or general acceptance of a movement. These include: a global awareness of the product and methodology, an overall increase in market acceptance, implemented examples of the concept in completed projects, general acceptance and understanding of the advantages, and ultimately expansion of the market. Now, MEM is pleased to say, “Next stop transformation”.
Those milestones are being realized. Now the focus is shifting from the necessity of revolution to the reality of transformation in the elevator industry itself.
When the concept of the modular elevator was first conceived, it was as a response to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Three individuals put together the original plans and started producing modular elevator units. Their concept was largely designed to sit beside an existing structure to easily and quickly make an old building compliant and more accessible. Great idea!
Many of those early units were sold and installed. But a modular delivery approach requires an understanding of construction and elevators. Ultimately, an overall lack of experience in the construction industry led to many difficulties in the installation process along with other issues. However, suggestions from the field for improvements often fell on deaf ears and so the concept, although sound, struggled to take off.
Enter TLShield. As the fledgling modular elevator company fell to failure, Tom Shield, who had installed many of the early units, took a bold step. His company, TL Shield and Associates began a new entity Modular Elevator Manufacturing (MEM) dedicated solely to the improvement and production of modular elevators. They instituted many product changes to improve the overall quality and installation process. The MEM Elevator System was born and they began producing the solution that many were looking for.
Since that time a steady march towards revolutionizing the old, tired model of conventional elevators began. Few realize the elevator industry had largely remained stuck in the mid-1800’s in the way an elevator was installed and produced. Since before the Civil War hoistways were built in a building and then the elevator was painstakingly assembled in the shaft. Crates of parts would arrive to be assembled in a closed, challenging space. That is still the way it is done in the conventional elevator sector. In an honest moment, the entire industry would agree, that makes no sense at all. Modular elevators changed all of that. They are produced in a factory, hoistway and all, shipped to the location and then the fully install elevator is lowered into place in a couple hours.
Since the beginning MEM realized that the product was revolutionary, but the revolution could easily die if a proactive approach to enlightening the construction industry failed. So education and information became the model to market the concept and high-quality product. “Next stop transformation” would take time, patience and effort but worth it. Change in any monopolistic industry is a slow steady undertaking and does not happen overnight.
To propel that change forward, the new model became education in place of the expected sales pitch. Older iterations of the MEM website contained a voluminous amount of data, facts and specifications. It even offered up links to drawings and engineering information. Previously many considered that kind of information proprietary to their brand and did not have plans on line. However, we found transparency was the best option in how we arrived at our improvements, created awareness and helped to answer questions.
This includes passing knowledge freely to other elevator companies. Sharing and opening our facility became a routine practice and is still in practice today. When Covid hit, we offered for the first time a one of a kind virtual tour of our factory to anyone that asks. That openness and outreach remains the only online virtual tour of an elevator production facility in the world. No one opens their doors as we do. We know allowing openness and full disclosure is the only way to make our “next stop transformation” a reality.
If you want to take advantage of our live virtual tour you can do so. Just click the button.
Early on schools in California embraced the modular concept and the idea that a modular elevator would be the best and most logical choice for ADA compliance. As the sole leader in the industry we were often specced into those projects. However, I remember the day that a modular elevator was specced into a project that was not in the education sector. Obviously the day passed with no fanfare or popping corks, but I knew things had changed.
Product acceptance on a whole new level had just occurred. That was followed quickly by approved architect training through AIA, integration into new building projects not just retrofits and design/build plans being altered. This was all to incorporate our modular units into ever-widening applications regardless of the type of construction method.
We also found that big players in the construction industry were more than just curious, they were serious. They saw that a fully installed elevator set in place before lunch break was a big deal. The realization and reality of an elevator off the critical path had enormous implications. The potential of that removal from the critical path changes everything. It reduces call backs of other trades and the entire timeline and costs. Suddenly, the light bulb clicked on…there was a better way.
Acceptance of the product was also demonstrated by increases in our Fast Track quotes, formal quotes and ultimately sales. In just two short years we had to double our manufacturing floor and we are currently at all-time sales heights requiring us to look at an additional expansion or space. We now ship nationwide routinely with projects as far away as New York. All of this success was due in part to our commitment to modeling of the concept in how it works and the advantages.
Commonsense it seems has disappeared in some ways from our society. The hardest way of doing things has replaced ease and wisdom as in the construction industry’s use of conventional elevator companies. Unfortunately, their sales concepts is not one of openness and sharing. Instead we learned through our polling efforts they were sometimes sowing seeds of confusion an exclusion. There was just one way…their way.
One of the respondents to our poll said it best, “It’s unfortunate knowing when entering into a project where elevators are to be installed that there will be issues and complicated schedule situations. The elevator company knows there are not many alternatives for installation so they capitalize in the safety of us needing them more than they need us.”
We have become that alternative and change so needed. As our mission is not just to offer concepts, but actual projects that clearly demonstrate higher quality can accompany speed through manufacturing.
Most importantly we stress we need each other in the building process. We know that if you just say something is better, faster, easier greener, and more cost effective it would come off looking false no matter what the intentions. Listening and conversation is our mandate.
As a result we developed cohorts for each vertical construction segment. And we developed a short poll to enable us to hear what is wrong with our industry anonymously. We do not horde the results but in an unprecedented move provide the data openly to everyone that wants to see it.
Help us improve the elevator industry by taking our short poll. It will help us shed some light on industry improvements. It is anonymous and just five short questions.
We feel the product makes the most sense and with sincerity we share what we know and have learned.
It is a huge difference as we recognize that we have succeeded where the previous company failed by listening, understanding the elevator industry intimately and making needed change. Intuitively we knew immediate improvements that would make everything better in the engineering, design and installation. Honestly some were what we would call no-brainers, plain to see from the decades of elevator experience we brought to the table.
However, it is easy to be blinded by past success. So we continue to innovate, expand our knowledge and to assess our projects from the perspective of architects, project engineers, construction managers and owners. The communication is crucial to continued success.
It is important to know that this does not mean every idea is a good idea. We methodically look at new ideas against what has worked. We think deeply and don’t jump to quick conclusions. This has led to an ever improving product line that exceeds expectations.
As our market share continues to grow we know our ideas and concepts will be and have been copied. Sometimes they are just pretenders that think anyone can produce an elevator. They struggle with quality and often seem to grope in the dark with innovation. But, when you are driving towards the “next stop transformation” philosophy ultimately the next stop includes others in the business. When you are successful at what you do people will follow.
The result is two new reputable entrants into the modular elevator industry. They have seen growth and want to be a part of the revolution. It may surprise you but, we have no qualms with that as long as they copy our quality as well. As a pioneer in the modular elevator business we are glad to have help building on what we have done.
Resolute Elevator in North Carolina has stepped up to manufacturing modular elevators in a big way and they are seeing great growth. Their background is similar to ours. They were in the elevator business for several years and even installed some modular elevators. Likewise, they were concerned for the elevator riding pubic and the concept itself when they found the modular offerings they used less than the quality they and their customers demanded. At Resolute they felt innovation was lacking and poor workmanship was the order of the day. They understand that if modular elevators become equated with substandard quality then the better concept of a manufactured elevators would struggle. They have even participated in one of our cohort groups. Their input was invaluable.
Big congrats to them and best wishes!
But a second entrant into the modular elevator industry is more curious. Thyssenkrupp (commonly called TKE), having witnessed the wisdom and potential market share of modular, has decided to stick their decidedly big toe into the elevator revolution we began so long ago. As we all know big companies move slow and ponderously and big elevator is no acceptation. After all we have been grabbing more and more of the elevator market for over a decade and our innovations have now become a staple in many construction segments.
Why does TKE embrace change now? One can only speculate. However as we know in the “next stop transformation” theory, new entrants will come from a number of sources. We are just satisfied that they, although late to the party, see that modular is viable and the future. They are just now testing their new modular system in Hong Kong, but they will eventually make it to our shores. This is not just vindication, but product justification. Now they see it and soon everyone in the construction industry will as well.
Overall this is proof positive that what we are doing is winning the revolution.
Next stop…transformation and we have been leaders in that effort longer than anyone else.
If you are interested in being a part of the elevator revolution, we encourage you to dig, explore and ask plenty of questions. We are ready and willing to be a part of your period of discovery. To get started we offer a couple opportunities below. Just click a button.
Shark Bite and Modular Elevators – Newhart Middle School/Mission Viejo, CA. Innovation can be hard to accept and try. In Mission Viejo however, they are embracing innovation and teaching it in a brand new facility at Newhart Middle School.
At the recent open house Superintendent Kirsten Vital Brulte said, “We look forward to seeing how they use this innovative space to further their STEAM education.” There is no doubt the facility will be put to good use, but there could be a bigger lesson about innovation and acceptance of technology that we all could learn.
This lesson of trying innovation struck a cord with me during a recent home renovation. We added on to our modest farmhouse a kitchen and upstairs bath. Of course to keep the costs under control, my wife and I decided to do some of the work ourselves. I am not totally without skills. The result is we took over some of the obvious stuff that we knew we could do. Painting, trimming out windows and doors and baseboards.
I also considered making the plumbing a DIY project. It was just a sink and dishwasher in the kitchen. Pretty straight forward. However, I was worried as it had been sometime since I sweated pipes. I then looked into Shark Bite plumbing and my suspicious mind started racing. It looked easy…too easy. If I used the snap together plumbing, I would definitely be able to avoid the difficulties of copper, but at what cost? Was this truly going to snap together so easily and hold?
I would have definitely saved a ton of money, been able to put the plumbing in faster and complete the job on my schedule, meaning the kitchen would be ready sooner. You can only eat take-out off of paper plates for so long.
Ultimately, however, I wasn’t convinced. I just couldn’t do the job with this new fangled product.
We got a great reference for a plumber and so after he saw the plans and agreed, I wrote a check and scheduled the job. Weeks went by but in his own sweet time he arrived. However, as he clambered out of his van, what did I see? Rolls of PEX tubing. Also, all his shelves were filled with connectors and fittings for snap together plumbing. He said that for jobs like mine, that was what everyone is using. It was easy and quality.
I watched agog as he went to work. It was as he promised and I had been a fool. I could have saved money, time and effort by doing it on my own with a more advanced product. Before lunch, he was out the door telling me to call if there were any problems and let him know when everything else was done so he could set the fixtures.
I guess you sometimes just have to live to learn.
I immediately saw parallels between Newhart Middle School, Shark Bite and Modular Elevator Manufacturing. The MEM Elevator System and snap together plumbing have been on the market for over twenty years. Both are innovative and have revolutionized their industries. They are proven to reduce time, reduce costs and are just as good as what they have replaced. High-quality is a must for a commercial elevator.
Lastly in my case regarding plumbing anyway, both struggle with acceptance. Shark Bite and modular elevators have a hurdle to clear. They must convince the market by seeing them in action and by being open and honest about what is offered and the differences between the revolutionary and conventional.
So we are working hard to provide examples of our product, like Newhart Middle School pictured. What you are seeing is a fully installed elevator being placed through a hole that was left in the build. It was set in just a couple hours and was started up in a couple of days. Revolutionary!
As you can see, the project looks great. It went in faster for the school with no disruption to classes and overall their embracing of innovation in what they teach and how they teach it, will be a lesson for all.
If you would like to see about this project or others like it, we are opening up our factory to live, virtual tours at your convenience. All you have to do is click the button and fill out a simple form. We will then schedule the tour at your convenience. During the tour we will answer any and all questions. You can also schedule an in person visit as well.
Lastly, if you have a project in mind and want to speak directly to one of our representatives fill out the Fast Track form. We can provide you a thumbnail number in hours.
For more great photos of the project, visit our good friends at Miller Construction. Their team did a great job!
I just finished writing a great blog about how Modular Elevator Manufacturing (MEM) is in complete in support of the Modular Building Institute (MBI). Also, included is how we support the modular building industry as a whole and promote the benefits of modular construction. We are even going to the MBI annual convention (see more below)! Then I realized that many could confuse our support with use of our elevators. To be clear and to set the record straight, our MEM Elevator System is compatible with any structure type.
The ability to be compatible, depending on the height, is that MEM elevators are designed to be self-supporting. That means they can be place on the interior or exterior of buildings. Regardless of the construction method used MEM is a fit. Everything from post-and-beam construction to heavy steel framing can use a modular elevator. Even concrete structures can and do incorporate modular components, including the MEM System.
In real terms there is no difference in the use or components in a traditional or a modular system. Our commercial quality elevators are just that, high quality. Modular is just superior. The MEM System provides a fast, high-quality solution that allows you to decide when the unit arrives. When you need it, it is delivered. An elevator shaft lowers into place with a factory installed elevator inside and ready for start up.
Another application that traditional elevators really struggle with are when it comes to retrofit projects. They are a piece of cake for us. Modular elevators are used in additions to structures, exteriors of existing buildings, stadiums and also in the center of existing buildings. And, it is not as hard as it sounds. The good news is that we have had decades of experience. With our help you can determine the best way to place the elevator regardless of the structure type. To assist we will not only provide you with drag and drop drawings, and engineered plans but expert advice. With our system and our help you will accomplish your goals for your project.
Now let’s be clear there are some limitations. MEM elevators are engineered for low and mid-rise applications. Also, depending on the location of the build, there may be some issues with crane use or getting under bridges. But, those are usually minor problems and usually we find ways to circumvent almost any challenge. Here’s an example.
So is the MEM Elevator System perfect for modular building? You bet. But, our elevators are utilized for almost every structure as well.
If you want to find out more about our system you can come and see us at World of Modular. We would be glad to speak with you about the benefits of modular and how our elevators are leading a revolution in construction. This year the conference is in San Antonio, Texas – April 25-28, 2022. If you go (and we highly recommend it) make sure and stop by booth #4. There you can discuss the elevator revolution with our national territory manager Ken Grider.
He will be able to answer any questions you may have and give you a thumbnail price on the spot. If you just can’t wait for the show, you can contact us below for a Fast Track Quote. This quick quote will give you all the pricing information you need to begin your project. You can also sign up for a LIVE VIRTUAL TOUR of our production facility. During the tour you will see how we produce the highest quality modular elevator in the industry. We will take any and all questions about MEM while we show you what we do. Find out how we are taking the elevator industry higher.
We say elevator revolution a lot. After all it is in our vision and we truly do think we are leading the charge to completely change the elevator industry:
We believe in challenging the status quo…in revolutionizing the “elevator process”. We don’t just think outside the box…we think BEYOND the box.
Of course that is accomplished by moving the elevator process, design, engineering and installation, to the beginning stages of a project.
But what does that mean in real terms? Below is a project that exemplifies “elevator revolution” and how it is a benefit to you. Give it a read and let us know if you want to be part of the elevator revolution.
In this surprising conversation Clay Hubbell talks about savings from a perspective rarely discuss, the true value of taking the elevator off the critical path. He also says what it was like working with MEM for the first time and why more modular elevators maybe in his future.
But first, a little background. The Olive View/UCLA Medical Center project involves constructing a new Restorative Care Village with a Mental Health Wellness Center, Residential Treatment Program and Recuperative Care Center. It is a huge sprawling complex with six elevators.
The purpose of the facility is a needed one. In other words, addressing the pressing need for increased mental health, medical, and homeless support services in local communities is necessary and crucial. The surroundings of the project are impressive. It is purposely placed in quiet hills with nature paths and stunning landscaping and design. The new Restorative Care Village will provide an unparalleled opportunity for mental health and community renewal.
Abbott Construction took on the SWA Architects plan and all the challenges including using modular construction. In many ways it was a test for the modular concept and in particular the MEM elevator system. Due to the size of the project, timelines were crucial and had to be met. The project superintendent, Clay Hubbell was understandably skeptical. He has worked with just about every elevator company and usually sees delays and excuses.
Could the elevators really be taken off the critical path? And would there be any real savings? As the project wraps up we sat down with Hubbell to find out.
“It is hard to put into words what they have meant for this project. Elevators are a challenge when built onsite, but the modular elevators went in with no problems.”
“This is the best elevator team I have ever worked with and I have worked with them all. For instance, they across the board are all about solutions and getting the project done.”
“I can’t say enough about their knowledge, abilities and service. They even worked on Saturdays when we needed them. Great team!”
“Usually when dealing with elevator companies it is a struggle to get personnel when you need them, but working with MEM was an incredibly pleasant and enjoyable experience.”
When was the last time you heard such high praise for an elevator manufacturer or installer?
“The MEM elevator allowed us to move up the whole process. Everyone can can be pushed forward in sequence. Normally the elevator slows everything down. You have framers, rock and tape crews, floor prep, flooring, painters, electricians, sprinklers. They usually come out and work to the elevator openings on each floor. Then they have to stop.”
“With the fully installed modular elevator, all those crews complete their work in sequence. They make one trip out and no call back because the elevator’s openings came finished with door frames already installed.”
“The results, we estimate that saved us $30,000 to $40,000 per opening.”
“Then you have a similar savings on the exterior. Framers, coping metal, parapet work was all done in sequence with no call backs and up charges. The result is tremendous savings.”
Think about the math for a second. With that savings per opening, plus an additional savings on exterior work, that results in MEM elevators saving over a half-million dollars on this project. Why consider anyone else?
“MEM has an incredibly clean operation. We visited the factory for a tour and it’s impressive. Tom (Shield – President) and his team led us on the tour and then answered all of our questions.”
“The entire process was extremely smooth. The dedicated MEM project manager Tim Dolan even consulted with the inspectors before hand to iron out any issues.”
“Usually when dealing with elevator companies it is a struggle to get personnel when you need them, but working with MEM was an incredibly pleasant and enjoyable experience.”
“The delivery and set up time was just like they said. And above all the timeline was met each and every time.”
“Seeing elevators delivered on a flatbed (see a video of the project) and craned into place on time was incredible.”
We are elevator experts in every sense of the word and provide you with a highly experienced project manager. In other words to keep the experience seamless, on track and on time we provide you the help you need.
“We can’t wait for the next project. The incredible savings and ease to work with are unmatched in the elevator industry.”
At the end of the conversation we discussed other applications beyond modular construction. The modular elevator is flexible enough for interior or exterior placement and therefore, can be used in almost any type of construction project for a high-quality solution you can count on.
And of course the feelings are mutual, the Abbot Construction team proved time and time again they are top notch. And we can’t wait for the next one!
Although it seems like high praise, Clay Hubbell’s experience is the norm for people willing to join the elevator revolution. People are tired of the promises and prodding needed when dealing with the conventional elevator industry. When you couple our easy process, experienced and supportive team and money saving product you get a happy and satisfied client.
In conclusion, you can partner with us too! Just click the button below to take a live, virtual tour of our facility. We will honestly answer any questions you may have. You can also give us a few details of a potential project and we can supply you with a Fast Track quote in 24 hours. MEM – Quality Elevators taking you to a higher level.
Modular Elevator Manufacturing Vision. At the beginning of the year it is always a good idea to take stock and recalibrate. To do this at our annual meeting we looked at successes, failures, losses and wins. The conclusion, 2021 was a tough year in many respects. COVID hit home and supply chain difficulties continued. We had increased demands, production growth and a shifting of our perspective on sales. Celebration of accomplishments, hitting goals and we looked forward to a bright future. But, our national territory manager Ken Grider stole the show when he reviewed the 2021 Modular Elevator Manufacturing vision, mission and core values.
Below is an excerpt of an email he sent me when we first started hammering out a new vision for MEM. He drew from this email extensively in his presentation as we revisited our vision, mission and goals and rediscovered the “why” of MEM.
I was thinking about the state of things last week and I have some “Vision Insight”.
I just lost a mentor/leader of mine two weeks ago and he would always say “get to the why”. That got me thinking. So, why does MEM exist?
It is tempting to believe that we exist- “to preach the modular message” or “increase market awareness” or “convince customers that MEM is better than the competition” or “to make a profit” or “grow year over year and build a lasting company legacy”. Those are all good things however, NONE OF THAT IS WHY WE EXIST…
I don’t think people buy WHAT we do… they buy WHY WE DO IT. I don’t believe people are buying the MEM system because we are selling modular elevators… I think (whether intentional or not) WE ARE SELLING A BELIEF SYSTEM, A VISION, A REVOLUTION.
If that’s the case, our customers will be people who believe our ideology. People who want to push back on the elevator establishment and believe that they are a visionary (on the RIGHT side of history) because they align themselves with MEM.
The “why” of MEM is bigger than an elevator.
We need to present the case that we didn’t start a manufacturing business because traditional elevators are awful and the process takes too long. It just so happens that our desire to challenge the status quo and revolutionize the elevator process has the beneficial side effect of sticking it to the old ways of the elevator business.
We must sell our WHY!
With that thought in mind, what do you think of this?
We believe in challenging the status quo…in revolutionizing the “elevator process”. We don’t just think outside the box…we think BEYOND the box. (That is accomplished by moving the elevator process, design, engineering and installation, to the beginning stages of a project.)
To fulfill the vision we will employ the mission of…Ken Grider, National Territory Manager – March 2021
To revolutionize and simplify our customer’s experiences with the elevator process. To build the best engineered, highest quality modular elevator on the market while maintaining our values of innovation, consistency, quality and simplicity.
Core Values: Innovation, Consistency, Quality & Simplicity
Ken was right in his analysis, the thought process and his take on the Modular Elevator Manufacturing vision. The result is we adopted the vision, mission and core values immediately. Yes, 2021 was a tough year, even considering our growth. But, tough times creates tough people. They also create opportunities for continued expansion as we apply the vision by explaining the “why” of the MEM system.
If you are even slightly intrigued and want to learn a bit more about the elevator revolution, contact us. You can even contact Ken directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is more than well-versed in the benefits of the MEM system. You can also click on the links below for a Fast Track Quote or a Live Virtual Tour. If you are curious and have a current project that needs vertical transportation just click. You can also schedule a factory visit or Live Virtual Tour of our facility. That way you can see how we are leading the next big revolution in the elevator industry.
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