Lift fitters help one another
Initially, there was an idea and a smartphone – that was all that was needed: the Facebook group "Lift fitters help one another" was born. The idea is a success – the number of members is growing constantly.
"Today I was at an old lift XY, which had to be put back into operation. But it was set to ‘Fire’…How can I clear this setting?" This is a typical query.
Typed in fast while the fitter was working on the lift. And the answers did not take long in arriving. The members of this community are glad to share their knowledge.
The idea was born while "nattering"
And that’s just how it should be – at least, in the view of the two founders, Martin Reichl and Markus Strohschneider. The idea occurred to the two Bavarians one evening while "nattering" after a long trade fair day five years ago. Reichl pulled out his smartphone and within a few minutes the group had been born.
Markus Reichl is the managing director of a lift company while Markus Strohschneider is a sales representative at a lift door manufacturer. In short, they know the industry and get around a lot. From the start, they exploited their contacts to advertise their idea. However, in the meantime, this is hardly needed: the number of members has been growing steadily.
Just before Christmas, it was still 600, in mid-March there were already 837. They come from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Bosnia Herzegovina and Sweden – never mind where: the main thing is they can more-or-less understand each other.
Interface between manufacturers and fitters
The boom is considerable, since there is a clear hurdle to becoming a member. Admittedly, anyone who is already in the Group can invite their Facebook friends. But everyone has to justify to the two administrators why they want to join.
This is because the group has a clear profile. "We don’t want any operators, owners or janitors in the group, but rather only fitters, lift companies and manufacturers," emphasised the 39-year old Reichl.
In fact, most of the members are currently lift fitters. Reichl would like to have more companies, because the Facebook group is supposed to be an interface between manufacturers and fitters. "In addition, the companies can answer many of the fitters’ technical questions."
Nobody knows everything…
Some companies have recognised the opportunity and are using the group - for specific answers, as well as to look for employees. Reichl and Strohschneider are not only pleased with this, but actually amazed that the Facebook forum is not used more frequently to advertise jobs. "After all, we have the specialists!"
They are also irritated that some fitters do not dare join the group, out of fear it could discredit them at their companies - for example, because sometimes they do not know something.
Yet, "No one is an expert with every controller or manufacturer and everyone is pleased when they can get good advice" – according to the "statutes" of the Facebook group. "On top of this, a Kone fitter for example may also maintain lifts from Thyssen, Otis or Schindler," explained Reichl.
Nobody makes fun of anyone…
This is why Reichl is pleased no one mocks some of the questions asked by young fitters - where he himself sometimes thinks to himself, "They really should know that..." No one makes fun of anyone, no one insults competitors’ products, no one offends others – Reichl and Strohschneider set great store by good manners and a certain niveau.
"We’ve already expelled two people who didn’t stay objective." Of course, the professionals are allowed be funny or comical. Striking job adverts, funny YouTube videos, links to interesting TV programs, photos of unusual lifts or building sites – it’s all there.
An example? "13 passengers, 100 kg" reads the display inside a lift, photographed and posted by a fitter. The dry comment of a colleague, "Is that the stage lift at Germany’s Next Top Model?"
Flea market: To prevent things getting too mixed up, Reichl and Strohschneider have set up another Facebook group: the flea market. Here people can offer and look for parts. All members of the "Lift fitters help one another" group automatically receive access to the flea market on request.
Other Facebook groups: Of course, particularly in the English-language sphere, there are many other lift groups at Facebook, which in part - also thanks to the language advantage - have a great many members worldwide. These include, for example, "Elevator Technicians" with over 23,500 members and "Elevators-Lift & Escalators technology" with over 9,000 members. These groups are often used by large and small companies for their own advertising or also for job offers. Exclusively for job offers and job searches, the group "Elevator & Escalator Jobs" - with over 25,000 members - points to the fact that the shortage of skilled staff is a worldwide problem.