Engineers. Consultants. Partners.
Come build with us.
The Short Story
KIS is a registered Engineering Firm in the State of Texas providing MEP and Automation services in the Commercial, Industrial and Offshore markets.
Our organization integrates traditional MEP Engineering and Industrial Automation into the same workflow with interconnected tools, and cross-disciplined teams. Yes, we design in both disciplines!. The value-added strategy?
Our MEP clients get a commercial team uniquely capable of handling the challenges of a data-connected world with vertical integration of Controls design and strategy at the front end and System Commissioning at the back end. We call it Smart MEP.
Our Automation clients are provided with a Controls team backed by a network of MEP Engineers and their partners in Architecture, Construction and Products. We haven’t found a catchy name for it yet, but the end result is highly organized and financially efficient turnkey solutions focused on functionality and ergonomics. For example, we have put put together design/build bids on HVAC and instrumentation related manufacturing projects within the Houston Ship Channel. Check out our Ventures page for some unique projects we have an interest in!
Our Model is leading us to focus now on project types conceptually connected by their constraints:
- Lightweight projects requiring quick turnaround
- Technically unique projects requiring multi-disciplinary collaboration
We might not have all of the skills to complete your project in-house, but as true high-level Consultants, we can partner with them to get you set up on time, on budget and designed for maintainability.
? What is a KIS Solution?
The only way to buck the Triangle is to minimize all hurdles between all components, an endeavor wholly resigned to Process Management theory – fortunately, a passion of ours. KIS Solutions is the end result of our individual efforts to implement change within various firms.
The modern world was becoming increasingly at odds with traditional management standards, and new collaboratve technology hailed as the answer was only creating chaos. As the Tech Sector adapted brilliantly, our Founders’ constant attempts to even implement crazy (read: successfully proven) solutions to trivial (read: easily solvable, low-hanging) hurdles within traditional engineering firms ran up against the classic “you just don’t understand how business works” or “this is how we’ve always done it” arguments.
So one fine day, after many years of planning, there was a revolt. KIS Solutions was founded as the direct answer to the Project Management Triangle problem, and a personal experiment to see just how much business we didn’t know.
A few years in, we think we’ve built a rather unique, flexible and effective model.
For the record, we didn’t come up with this ourselves. The Business and Tech worlds have devoted archives of research and millions of programming man-hours to the subject of modern productivity.
The KIS Model
So you use Google Drive, too? Of course! Doesn’t everybody??
Google Drive moves the server off-site, but that does conceptually change workflow – only location. Over years of working in inaccessible, global environments, we learned that access to a File is not the end of the story. Useful project information is often locked away in disparate email chains and side conversations. This presents a large problem when time zones are involved or when you’re locked into the Nine-To-Five, No-Weekend mentality (Commercial sector). Simple information and tasks can take extra days to execute, shutting down Offshore field work or blowing a tight Commercial deadline by a week.
This is through no fault of People. We blame the model.
- Shackled to an office and a printer
- Zero Productivity due to meetings, site surveys, personal activities, etc.
- Expensive, inadequate or overly complicated tools with overlapping functionality.
- Systems and IT policies limiting collaboration of tools.
The engine behind KIS is a radically different workflow model. Unlike the traditional corporate engine defined by its’ large-scale legacy tools, license fees, IT infrastructure, Office space and Face-to-Face requirements, our Model drives every decision we make:
- Increase the freedom to be Productive
- Reduce wasted effort
- Automate out repetition
- Tear down Information Silos
- Get out of the way
…your basic Lean and Agile philosophies that power Google and Apple.
Tools are selected which achieve these criteria. They are specifically-purposed, flexibly licensed and integrate with each other (either out of the box or with some custom tomfoolery). If our basic needs change, we reassess our Model and re-evaluate our Tools. The Model drives the Tools, and our Model represents a departure, based on cutting edge research:
|No Email||Real Time Communication||Archive critical info|
|No Status Meetings||Eliminate Shoulder Tapping||Info Recall should be trivial|
The Email you just sent your Client Director could be the only email of the day. Expect a prompt reply.
We tested modern productivity Tools which addressed various points of our Model and a marveled as a highly unique process started growing organically from each one.
The productivity increases give us time to stay ahead of the little loose ends, relax enough to maintain consistent Quality and experiment as our Business Model evolves. Since the initial on-boarding was completed, we have been quite pleased with the results:
- Initiative is high
- Inboxes are empty
- Phones are turned on
The Model Drives The Culture and the one is necessarily as unique as the other.
Engineers often thrive off stability and repeatability and the traditional corporate model provides this in spades. So what happens when you deconstruct it entirely?
We have traded one Model that provides rigid, predictable structure for another that provides the degrees of freedom for Engineers to create their own. Nine-To-Five for On-Demand. A total shift in Work-Life balance, with encouragement to intertwine personal and work lives enough to most efficiently plan the day, manage stress levels and prioritize Clients and Continuing Education. It is sometimes difficult to explain and isn’t always understood out of the gate. We get the occasional “…So do I get weekends off?” in interviews. The on-boarding process which occurs to a greater or lesser degree with everyone.
Engineers may design on their own terms, provided they stay within a well-balanced set of rules. They’re a bit vague, but adherence to the Culture is critical to maintaining dependability and quality,
Once the onboarding process is completed, our Teammates have been extremely satisfied with the results.
Stay Connected Trivialize Interactions Share Knowledge Immediately respond to your Clients Minimize Shoulder Tapping Archive your design questions Answer your phone Don’t expect immediate responses Archive your resolutions Answer your Notifications Outlaw the Email Database Share wisdom in the Wiki
The first cultural shift is keeping a vigilant connection to our systems. If a tool cannot be utilized on a phone or tablet, we do not use it for everyday workflow. There is little room in our Culture for going radio silent, but the upside is that every component of The Model attempts to make the majority of interactions trivial and pushed on-demand rather than requiring random polling. It would be wrong to say just how much work has been done in between PlayStation sessions or on vacation
We are constantly striving for better documenting and retrieval of design decisions, RFI’s, Issues and Client interactions. Our tools can give targeted notifications, and recall of conversations which help to minimize distracting Shoulder Taps. Conversations are kept out of email and allowed to flow at an asynchronous but natural pace. Collaborative Spreadsheets and ERP systemsBecause most important information has already been made accessible by the enforced Project and Design workflows, most conversations are short and quick.
Some tasks require going dark for periods, the most critical being detailed design work. Regular distraction can destroy both productivity and quality. This is a critical concept within our culture and makes demands of both would-be Shoulder Tappers (to respect each others’ time) and Designers (to resurface regularly). Proper onboarding sets a mutual understanding that requests for communication are expected to be acknowledged quickly, but immediacy is not always the productive outcome.
When everyone is within the Culture, more work gets done in the margins, during longer times of day. What we’ve built affords us the time and resources to step back a generation and pick up the phone whenever your project needs attention. The benefit? Lightning fast response times.
Because our workflow is so effectively mobile, availability to our Clients has become far more flexible. What we’ve built affords us the time and resources to step back a generation and pick up the phone whenever your project needs attention. The benefit? Lightning fast response times.We answer phone calls, respond to emails and take frequent field trips.
Our team jokes that we work better apart than together. Which is exactly how we need it! Our Software Partners have decoupled us completely from the cubicles.
The Virtual Desk we are building for our Team allows us to work more closely with yours.