Practices, Habits and Planning

Today as I write this I have heard from several colleagues who are either staying at home as they are not feeling well or else they were not feeling well and wishing they had stayed home.  It is definitely the flu season and as the weather turns colder it seems more folks become susceptible to the flu and other flu like illnesses.  So how’s business?  Has the “weather changed” and business is a little under the weather?  Keeping healthy requires living a healthy life style, good habits and sometimes even preventative measures like regular doctor visits,  vaccinations and medications.  Keeping a business healthy is somewhat similar.  We need to practice healthy business practices, develop solid work habits and when required, take planning measures to assist in keeping our top and bottom lines healthy.

So, how’s business and how happy are you with your practices, habits and planning to contribute to a healthy income statement and balance sheet?

Do You See?

“I see”, we use this term both literally as well as figuratively and regardless, it usually refers to understanding.  Seeing can be something we take for granted, not really appreciating until something threatens our ability to do so.  Just close your eyes and that is what life would be without sight.  Now close them again, now I suggest this what business would be like without customers, lost because they no longer understand the value of doing business with us.  We should never take customers for granted, we should always be acting out our brand with every touch we make enforcing the understanding of the value of conducting business with us.  If we injure our eye, we’ll be worried and concerned about whether we will heal and will we see again and we will put effort into taking care of the injury in hopes of full recovery and wishing the injury never happened, particularly if it was caused by an avoidable accident.  We should remember the same with an “injured” customer; it would be far better to avoid the injury than the effort required to try and heal the relationship.  There is no more valuable customer than the one we have today, avoid injuries and keep them seeing the value of our Brand with every touch.  Do you see?

Summer Sales Meetings

It has been a good week here at Stellar, bringing the sales team together is always a fun endeavor and these last few days have been filled with lively conversation and good camaraderie.  The main focus of our conversations has been taking an “ownership” approach to our sales process.  So what does that mean?  Well, since our sales folks are compensated with a heavy weighting on commissions, it is natural to want to optimize individual sales territories.  However, as an ESOP company, and as owners, we want to focus on optimizing overall company sales.  Does this create conflict?  Well, there is competition for resources which oft times includes manufacturing capacity.

 So what to do?  One potential solution is to have enough manufacturing capacity that sales doesn’t have to compete for it.  So, then, what capacity is needed?  This is where we sales owners now struggle.  We want enough to fill our today’s orders but we also want adjustability for tomorrow’s – whatever that might be.  Not a good answer, for sales drives the need for manufacturing capacity and we need to plan on not only what do we need now, but where will we be tomorrow, and the day after that.  Now comes the struggles because we begin to steer our own future with a forecast, but forecasts have inherent risk of being wrong.   What to do?

This is where we in sales have now landed.  What we need to do is belly up to the bar and give our forecast or else we need to refrain from belly aching if we fail in doing so.  I for sure know I like bars a whole lot more than belly aches!  Cheers to creating our sales forecasts!

Think Safe, Work Safe and Be Safe.

It looks like Old Man Winter has finally decided to give up and Spring is actually making its way to North Iowa and across the country.  Outdoor activity will be increasing including service and construction not to mention more cars on the road.  Whether we are working at our jobs or around our homes, we must all stay vigilant to work safely as well as efficiently and to only use tools for their intended purposes.  Taking unsafe short cuts or trying to get creative in our use of available tools to perform  jobs can often lead to injuries to ourselves as well as others.  Ask yourself how many times you have injured yourself or had a close call while doing something that in the back of your mind you know is unwise?  Diligence is the friend of Safety, negligence and complacency are enemies.

Think Safe, Work Safe, Be Safe.

Have a great Summer!

Why We’ve Upgraded Our ERP Business System

Successful businesses not only need to have the right product at the right place at the right time at the right price, and with the right people to deliver and support, but it also requires the right business systems and processes to support the entire effort.   Now that’s quite the sentence, and not sure how my high school English teacher would grade it, but it certainly supports the rationale of why Stellar Industries has taken on the monumental investment in both capital and people resources to upgrade our ERP business system.

We have experienced significant growth over the past ten years or so, thus we needed better systems horsepower to support us better in our effort to support the customer.  While business systems are often internally focused and have the habit of being restrictive, Stellar took the position that our new system had to conform to our customer first attitude and not force us to conform to a sub optimal process.  So, the big “Go Live” date was this past week, and while we have asked for our customer’s patience and understanding during the transition, we certainly won’t let it be an excuse to not continue our “Stellar” attitude towards our customers.