27 Years. Since January 1996.
Twas the holidays of the season
On a hushed December night
I set about to craft this message
By electric candlelight
My stockings were hanging
In the air by thin wire
I don’t have a fireplace
Just a broken clothes dryer! 1
(1 Not quite though almost – I’m looking forward to my new set installed soon.)
My thoughts were a-drifting
To holiday tops spinning ‘round
To feasts and treats
And snow on the ground 2
(2 Unfortunately not likely in South Florida.)
Of all the subject ideas
Dancing in my head
I thought up a whimsical holiday message
For my December newsletter instead
What I am thankful for
Throughout the entire year
Is everyone who lends me
An occasional ear
Just a few moments of your time
In each of months gone by
Thanks to my newsletter readers
Who give me an attentive eye
The insights and experiences
I write what I know
The wisdom and expertise Is what
I want to show
To those on my list
And everyone to whom I link
I really appreciate your attention
When I post monthly what I think
Software and supply chain
Are two of my topics
As are ethics and governance
In short supply in the tropics!
The holiday season is hectic
And time is in short supply
Thanks for this final moment together
As we wish 2011 goodbye
The year’s end is upon us
And my final message is clear
“Have a happy and healthy holiday season,
And best wishes for next year.”
Imitation is not always flattering.
According to Charles Caleb Colton: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” However when it comes to theft of someone else’s work and claiming it as your own, that imitation is just down right fraud.
A Google® search I created for “supply chain fraud” recently yielded a conference taking place in November in Shanghai focused on supply chain and procurement fraud. This conference agenda is very similar to the one in Mumbai last September where I was the keynote speaker.
Finding the Shanghai conference agenda I saw that some of the session titles and topics were taken – word for word – from my presentation materials. Now I know that my supply chain fraud presentations are posted on the Internet and that stuff posted on the Internet is somewhat fair game. But clearly my material was being represented as if someone else had originated it.
In contacting the conference organizers I informed of the plagiarized content and I’m happy to say that – true to their word – the conference organizers have cleaned up their web site and removed my content. Apparently one or more speakers are the perpetrators who are passing along my content to the conference organizers as their own. I can’t necessarily blame the conference organizers because they trust the integrity of the speakers, but after my revelations I hope the conference organizers do their own due diligence before posting content on their web site.
While I am upset at this, I do confess that it is rather flattering. That my unique supply chain fraud business model’s material are so insightful that other persons (I’ll hesitate to call the fraudsters “professionals” though their titles and companies are impressive) are stealing it means I really came up with something special. And I have to tell you that this makes me feel pretty good.
The material in my presentations has been seen by hundreds of people over the past several years including an international audience; the authenticity and authorship of the information I’ve presented is now without question. I think the attendees who find this out might think twice about trusting the validity of the conference speakers and organizers.
Any of the attendees of the Shanghai conference who perform an Internet search on the term “supply chain fraud” will land at my www.supplychainfraud.com web site and will readily discover who really owns the concept and content they saw someone else pass along as theirs at an event they paid to attend. From a marketing standpoint that web traffic really didn’t cost me anything and the added visibility might lead me to a good opportunity.
Now if I was being imitated by Rich Little THAT would be flattering! Well, maybe when I’m famous.
Varied experiences = Versatile solutions
I received some very nice compliments and sympathetic condolences as part of the feedback from my last newsletter which highlighted my summertime predicament of receiving drenched newspapers due to a failing to ensure complete first-quality delivery resulting from a lack of double-bagging. From the responses I learned that other newspapers outside of South Florida do double-bag in the summertime; I’m not sure why it is not done in the tropics down here. All newspapers print the daily weather forecast so they should know – with reasonable certainty – the weather for the day.
One respondent complimented me on how I meld personal experiences into professional insights. As an entrepreneur there is little if any separation between my personal and professional lives, so I think it’s natural that my perspectives carry across from one to the other so effortlessly.
On the Katzscan website’s Clients By Industry page my partial client list over the past 15+ years is divided into 25 different categories. Granted, I made up the categories myself so it is a little unscientific, but I do think it is an accurate representation and division of the mix of different verticals I’ve been engaged in. I never wanted to be limited or segmented and I’ve succeeded in helping clients across an assorted landscape of industries.
The solutions I implement tend to be non-industry specific, and it is my experience that clients – or prospective clients – find difficulty in this perspective. This stems from the fact that they are simply too close to the problem and – not incorrectly – view solutions only from their industry vantage point. A benefit to Katzscan’s mixed background is the ability to visualize the same or similar solutions applied across a wide landscape of industry profiles. This enables me to readily offer potential solutions and apply best practices and lessons learned as I crossover from one vertical to the next.
Business tends to be business, and while different industries have different requirements – some of which may be regulatory in nature – the bottom line is that businesses all pretty much work the same way, regardless of the product or service being offered. This is best explained when I say that while my clients know their industries, I know their businesses.
I have witnessed a lot of “Ah-ha” moments when my clients see their problems through my eyes and realize that the solution is less specific – and more effective & efficient – then they had ever believed. In each and every project I enhance the solutions with my own insights and experiences gained from my broad background.
Katzscan has become more than just a clever name relating to a foundation skill: it has come to represent the deep vision and wide perspectives that accompany my services. If you know of a company – maybe your own – who needs a re-examination of its problems and some alternate opinions of potential solutions I’d be happy to take a look.
Don’t compromise customer service.
The summertime storms have returned to their daily frequency in South Florida. I’ve recently invested in new umbrellas and spent a few extra dollars on ones with larger and sturdier canopies that offer more protection and resistance to the strong winds that usually accompany the torrential downpours.
The rains also signify another regular occurrence I will experience this time of year: that of the water-soaked newspaper.
Yes – I’m one of those people who like to read the newspaper, and I really enjoy doing so while eating breakfast. I’ve done this my whole life and I really feel like I’m starting the day off right by this little ritual.
I recall a time not that long ago when my newspaper would be double-bagged during the summertime with a special outer bag that would help protect the paper against the elements. It’s been several years since I recall this being done.
So for the savings of what I’d have to believe is some very tiny fraction of a penny per weather-resistant newspaper bag for each newspaper that is delivered and left outside and exposed to the elements, I am now required to make one if not two telephone calls to my newspaper’s customer service center who then alerts a carrier – which may not be the same one who delivered my newspaper – to take the time and expense (notably gasoline) to deliver yet another newspaper to me at no charge some two hours or more later.
These independent newspaper delivery carriers make little money enough without having to redouble efforts all for the lack of a weather-resistant outer bag!
At a time when newspaper readership is on a decline, ensuring a positive customer experience may be a key strategy for customer retention. And if one tactic to ensure a positive customer experience is to double-bag newspapers during the summertime I’d call that a smart investment.
The tough economy has forced countless sacrifices in order to survive. Look elsewhere to trim expenses because cutting quality and service are simply sure-fire ways to alienate customers. It is typically less expense to retain a customer then it is to acquire a customer.
Disconnected organizations that only see the pennies saved are those that also fail to see the dollars bad decisions cost. No matter what product or service you or your company offers, keeping the bar raised high on quality and service is the right strategy for longevity and success. Pinching pennies may result in disintegrated dollars, not unlike what happens to newsprint when it sits out in the rain.
A Tale Of Two Clients
This is a little comparative analysis between two clients. Both companies are similar in size based on annual sales. Both have a similar business model even though they are in different industries. Both companies are privately owned. Both companies contracted with me to assist with operational improvements including documenting procedures.
I inform my clients that they need to take ownership and responsibility for the process documentation (including flowcharts) as part of our projects together. This includes making sure what’s written matches what happens in reality even as improvements are being implemented. In this way I teach my clients how to take their destiny into their own hands and not rely as much (or so much) on outside help. Typically my clients love this because process documentation ownership is something they’ve desired for a long time.
At one client process documentation was started and placed into the hands of department management. Different department managers took the task of creating their documents and process flows with different degrees of interest and priority. Quite honestly I saw some work product that looked like it came from an elementary school student and it was disheartening.
At the other client the entire staff – customer service, accounting, purchasing, and warehouse – is engaged in the creation, review, and field-testing of the documentation I produce. This client is actively engaged in the entire process and wants to take ownership of the documentation.
At the first client one manager made the comment to me that I never finished the process documentation, a statement in-and-of itself that really tells the tale. At the other client they are excited that after several starts-and-stops they will finally have an operations manual that describes their business and can be used to train new employees, and one that they will have full ownership and control over because it’s being written and delivered in Microsoft Word®.
At one client there is chaos, albeit less since I was on the case. At the other client there is control and there will be more once the operations manual is completed. At the first client employees work excessive hours including weekends on a regular basis. At the other client the employees – including management – leaves by 5:00 and weekends are for personal lives, not business.
Like many companies both clients struggled through the down economy of the past several years. One client continues to struggle; the other client is planning for growth in the near future. One client has given some employees long overdue raises; the other client posts weekly and monthly incentive programs that enable hourly employees to earn more income. One client is shrinking its payroll through reductions and attrition; the other client is adding employees.
Can you guess which client’s business is stagnant or shrinking and which client’s business is growing? What opinions do you draw from the tone set by each company’s owners and managers?
Process documentation results in chaos being controlled and enables consistency to become normalcy. If you don’t write down the right things to do the chances are too great that the wrong things will be done; this will then require more work to recurrently right the repeatedly wrong, stressing the staff and damaging the entire organization.
It is nice to (really) know you, the client.
Most often I bring my lunch with me when I go on-site to visit clients. I’ve noticed that most other consultants I encounter do not do this. Granted it does take a bit of shopping planning and preparation discipline, two characteristics in which I’m fortunately very strong. It also takes a bit of social confidence to invite oneself to the lunch table among a group of strangers, but I’m a friendly chap and I think most people recognize this rather quickly.
I find lunching with a client’s staff very beneficial in several ways:
(1) It saves me money.
(2) It saves me time.
(3) It’s more comfortable especially in the hot & humid South Florida summers that are prone to thunderstorms: who wants to go outside in that weather?
(4) It’s convenient in that I can relax and enjoy lunch rather than having to rush, important since I’m a slow eater.
(5) I’m a very healthy eater so I can bring the “good stuff”.
It gives me a chance to get to know and bond with a client’s staff on another level. I’m careful not to open up personal conversations or delve deeper than I should. I try to stay away from hot topics such as politics and religion though I’m happy to chime in on sports. I won’t comment on company gossip or offer up confidential information even if I have to be up-front and state that I do know something but I’m not permitted to disclose it.
It’s nice to be able to sit down and meet some new folks too. I’ve lunched with both office staff and warehouse personnel. I don’t mind if a client’s employees get to know me more personally in return: people are welcome to ask the questions that nag at their curiosity, and I’ll provide honest and appropriate answers in reply. I typically work rather closely with many of a client’s employees and I want them to feel comfortable with me.
I get to learn things about a client’s business that would not normally come up in other conversation. People might be a little more relaxed when chatting over lunch in the break room versus at their desks or in the warehouse unless we’re in a secluded area.
Since I’m a consultant and not company management employees generally feel more comfortable in confiding in me rather than directly with the executives. These bonus insights have really helped me to be a more effective consultant.
I’m careful to keep the insights I learn from casual conversation anonymous when appropriate and I’ve refused to “name names” on more than one occasion. I absolutely do not want any of a client’s staff to view me as a spy whereby they need to mince words or withhold information when they communicate with me for fear of information or source being disclosed to company executives. However when the opportunity is right I make sure I give credit to the employee who passed along great insights or ideas so that executive management knows what a valuable resource they have in a particular employee.
To my consultant colleagues if you are not availing yourself of opportunities to get to know your clients better, you should. To the business owners and executives out there you should engage your employees more – at various levels of the organization chart – and really listen to what they have to say. Better communication and a free-flow dialogue of insights and ideas can have a profound positive effect on an organization and help avoid costly mistakes before they happen.
The "Professor" is in!
As my faithful newsletter readers know I accepted a position as Adjunct Instructor of Information Technology at the Johnson & Wales University (JWU) campus in North Miami this past Spring term. Well the term is over and what an experience it was!
Yes, it was cool to do. I’m regularly complimented after presentations that I’m an entertaining & informative speaker, and I treated my college-age classrooms no differently than my professional audiences. I brought real-life experiences to my students’ attention so they could understand the value – and application – of what I was teaching. Overall this helped me to create a very good relationship with my students as I got to know them during the three-month term. I really did enjoy my interaction with the students and I received very nice complements from many of them.
Teaching is a whole lot of work! Even as an adjunct there were administrative tasks to perform on top of lesson preparation and homework & exam grading. It was overwhelming at times but I made it through just fine. I’ll be better prepared the next time – happily JWU has asked me to come back in September for the Fall term – and thus it will be easier overall as I’ll already be settled-in to the role.
The classes I teach are a beginner and an advanced course in the foundations of information technology. Primarily they are focused on Microsoft Office® products Word®, PowerPoint®, Excel®, and Access® along with a wide range of various technology concept topics. The examinations require the students to create and manipulate various Office files per a set of instructions. The students are required to create presentations or write essays based on the technology concept lectures.
I think many of my students were somewhat over-confident in their technology skills at the beginning of the classes. As the students learned there are different types of technology, e.g. software versus hardware, application software versus operating system software. Just because they may be fluent in social media those skills do not necessarily translate to being effective at understanding & solving business problems with business software like Microsoft Office. The students simply don’t have the experience or knowledge to understand this yet: they simply don’t know what they don’t know. Being enrolled in university gives them the ability to acquire knowledge and to be introduced to instructors like me who share real-world experiences to reinforce what we are teaching.
Similarly the businesses I help often suffer from not knowing what they don’t know. This can cause: (1) poor software purchase choices; (2) excessive software customization or modification; (3) underutilization of software; (4) inefficient operations; (5) disappointed customers; (6) frustrated suppliers; (7) excessive operating costs; etc.
I educate my clients on good business practices, data setup & entry standards, operational procedures, and how to select, implement, and utilize software. I teach my users tricks I’ve learned over the years to help them use software products like Microsoft Office to a fuller potential. I instruct on strategies for growth and tactics for achieving analytical reporting that was previously unavailable.
The “Professor” is in!
Sometimes too many pipes cause problems for the plumbing.
According to an article posted in the April 3, 2011 (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Sun Sentinel, those hands-free faucets popular in restrooms all over were, according to research performed at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore (MD), “more likely to be contaminated with Legionella bacteria than the old-fashioned manual type” of faucet. When the hospital discovered this they replaced their electronic hands-free faucets with the more traditional manual models, and new clinical buildings due to open in 2012 will be fitted with traditional – not electronic - faucets.
The statistics comparing the two types of faucets are rather glaring: the noted bacteria were present in 50% of the electronic faucets but only 15% of the manual faucets. The researchers believe that the higher levels of bacteria in the electronic faucets were due to the fact that they have a more complicated valve system that is more difficult to clean and thus offers more places for bacteria to settle and grow.
Aside from the apparent increased health risk I often find these hands-free devices don’t work and I’m forced to make contact with them to get them to activate or, as in the case of the towel dispensers, I go for the manual feed.
This reminds of a scene in the movie Star Trek III – The Search For Spock. Briefly, our heroes – minus Spock – are aboard the Enterprise preparing to hijack the ship to retrieve Spock’s coffin from the Genesis planet that was created in the previous movie where Spock sacrificed his life so the Enterprise could escape destruction. (Sorry if I spoiled the movie ending for anyone.)
Aboard a damaged and soon-to-be decommissioned Enterprise, James Kirk signals his faithful and reassembled crew to leave space dock. They are warned by the captain of Starfleet’s newest ship, the Excelsior, to stand down. Given the Excelsior’s newer engines the Enterprise, especially in its current condition, would be like a tortoise to a hare in a race. As the Enterprise leaves under impulse power for the Genesis planet, the Excelsior follows in pursuit. The Enterprise then goes to warp but when the Excelsior matches the maneuver their engines shut down. The scene changes to the bridge of the Enterprise where Scotty – having sabotaged the Excelsior - removes a handful of parts from his pocket and says to Kirk: “The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.”
Often I find my clients have overthought and sometimes overbought (or are about to) when it comes to solutions to solve their problems. Among the ways I help my clients I reframe and dissect their troubles and get to the root cause of the chaos by inserting myself in the thick of the operations. With a clearer understanding of the problem I can recommend the right fix which is often a combination of process and technology, and is often overall simpler then what they were considering. (Sometimes my clients have the technology but are not utilizing it to the fullest potential.) I believe the failure to perform this analysis in the beginning is why more technology and process projects fail to deliver the expected – if not also sometimes the needed – solutions.
If you or a company you know of is suffering excessive costs and chaos maybe it’s because there are too many pipes and the plumbing is backed up. If so and they need someone to break up the blockage and allow a smoother flow of information, goods, documents, etc., send them my way. My waders and plunger are standing by.
On the speaking circuit.
It sure seems like my name is getting around these days on the speaker circuit, at least with various groups of accountants, internal auditors, and fraud prevention professionals. Having presented in my local Miami – Fort Lauderdale – Boca Raton area on many occasions I’m getting inquiries from groups in other regions of Florida such as Gainesville and Pensacola. Coming from outside those areas the groups are kindly paying for travel expenses plus a speaker stipend. As long as I can fit it into my consulting & teaching schedule I’m saying “Yes” to all requests.
From a marketing standpoint I sure appreciate the opportunities to be introduced to other groups of professionals who are not familiar with me. One never knows where the next consulting assignment will come from.
The subjects of interest are the same: supply chain fraud detection & reduction and good governance. When the group needs extra content I offer up my presentation on establishing effective supply chain vendor compliance guidelines with the explanation that it provides the baseline against which aberrant behavior (which can be due to sloppiness or fraud) can be measured.
Aside from the marketing boost through greater visibility, the additional benefit I found from all these presentations is the confirmation of my supply chain fraud & good governance business model. I like interacting with my audiences and it’s very beneficial when attendees can chime in with their experiences in fraud detection and reduction or tell the tale of fraud activities they know of or have happened at their employer’s locations. These topics – and how I have formulated the business model – really resonate with the attendees based on the positive nods I see as I scan my audience, in their comments during my presentations, and in the feedback after I am finished and avail myself of one-on-one introductions.
It is one thing to create something of interest that looks good, but it’s another thing to have the substance of the creation accepted by a growing group of peers. My supply chain fraud business model is only a few years old yet is gaining good ground from interested parties who are, I believe, not just looking for speakers to present on the same old topics but rather are looking for people to present some out-of-the-box ideas.
Recall that this is the same business model that took me around the world to India back in September 2010.
Meeting the other speakers – and if my schedule allows, partaking of their presentations – is a great opportunity to share ideas and learn from other experts. Conferences represent the chance to meet famous, or sometimes infamous, folks. In Gainesville this past March I had the opportunity to hear from William Owens and Mark Whitacre. Mr. Owens was the former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of HealthSouth Corporation who served 5 years in federal prison for his role in that company’s fraud. Mr. Whitacre served over 8 years in federal prison for his role in the price fixing scandal that his employer, Archer Daniels Midland, participated in with its main competitors. The movie “The Informant” is based on Mr. Whitacre’s life during the time the fraud was being studied and uncovered by the FBI. Both speakers described how they and their organizations carried out the frauds, and how the frauds eventually unraveled and were revealed. The stories and the individuals telling them were both fascinating!
If you know of or are a member of a professional organization who believes the topics of supply chain fraud detection & reduction and good governance would be interest, please feel free to pass along my contact information. (And these are not the only topics I’ve presented on, so I’m always open to new subject matter requests.) While I’ve never failed to impress a professional audience, the fact that I can keep college students engaged in what I have to say is, I think, a real testament to my ability to educate in an entertaining manner.
The classroom calls.
A friend and colleague who I’ve known for 10 years now and have worked with on different projects will call me by the nickname of “Professor” once in a while. I’m not sure where this came from: perhaps it’s because I have been known to profess many things…..some of them even factual! J The nickname may stem from some of the clever software solutions I’ve come up with on our projects together.
Whatever the reason I think it’s a pretty good nickname, and now it has a ring of accuracy to it:
Starting this spring term – from March to May – I’ll begin my teaching career as an adjunct instructor of Information Technology at the North Miami Beach campus of Johnson & Wales University.
(According to the US Government Bureau of Labor Statistics the post-secondary career track starts at Instructor and then progresses to Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and then Professor. I won’t be able to use my nickname in my new role, but I don’t want that to stop my friends from using it when they refer to me!)
For those who know me how this came about should be of little surprise by now: networking and volunteering.
I met one of the university’s staff professors who – after discovering what I did for a living – asked me to speak to her e-commerce class. I created three presentations and on three separate occasions took the time to provide some real-world insights and information to her classes.
That led to my being asked to present to the entire business department during an in-service day continuing education session. My presentation – The Law of Unintended Consequences and the effects on the Education System – was exceptionally well-received and ranks as one of my favorites of all those I have created.
So impressed was the audience of College of Business professors that I received other requests to present to classes. I was asked by the professor who teaches fashion merchandising, retail marketing, and management to participate in a student leadership program, which I was happy to do.
When it came time recently to select adjunct instructors to fill some vacancies my name came up and I received a call to interview. Paraphrasing former radio show host Paul Harvey, I think you know the rest of the story.
Instructing at the college level is something I’ve thought about and is now happening sooner than later in my career. It’s a chance to bring real-world experience into the classroom. The class schedule is an easy fit into a consulting practice like mine; several of the professors I’ve met at JWU have outside consulting businesses. I’ve often handled multiple client engagements simultaneously and I view this no differently.
Being a good leader should also include being a good mentor, whether in the classroom or in the conference room, office, or warehouse. I’ve always made a practice of educating my clients and now I’ll have the opportunity to educate people at an earlier stage. It’s a great opportunity and one that I’m really excited about.
I’m ever mindful that the education exchanged will likely be passed both ways: I’m sure I’ll learn from my students as well as they will learn from me, and I’m sure this experience will be an education itself.
Much of the chaos I quell for my clients revolves around a lack of training, mostly when it comes to their business applications software, typically their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, and on good operations procedures. If you know if a company – maybe your own – suffering from confusion and conflict it may be from a lack of proper training on what to do and how to do it.
Setting standards settles interpretation disputes.
During one consulting engagement I was curious about the somewhat contentious relationship between two managers in their interpretations of report. I had changed some operational procedures and created a check-and-balance between two departments. I had informed the managers I was doing this and both believed it was beneficial towards the goal of a more efficient organization. I spoke with each manager individually and then decided to plan a meeting between all three of us. At the meeting both managers discussed how they used the report, and both managers were correct in what they were doing.
As I listened to the managers I noticed that they each called their report something slightly different, and it was just about as subtle as the pronunciation of the word THE, where one pronunciation rhymes with TEA and the other pronunciation rhymes with DUH.
I asked both managers to place their copies of the report on the table, and they looked nearly identical save for one or two columns of data. Being near a computer I accessed the ERP system and found that there were two reports with near identical titles that had slightly different data qualification parameters, meaning that the two reports gathered and reported slightly different information.
Revealing this discovery during the meeting, the three of us had a good little chuckle.
We quickly agreed on what the purpose of the report should be, what information – what data gathering criteria – the report should use, and I adjusted one version of the report and deleted the other. Everyone was now looking at the same singular report; the relationship between the two managers was instantly improved, as were the overall operations.
I believe it’s important for front-line supervisors and managers to be able to access data for analysis and “what if” queries, and to do so without the need to involve their information technology staff (including consultants). In my opinion this is part of what supervisors and managers should be doing: investigating exceptions and identifying opportunities for improvement based on reviewing data from their unique and familiar perspectives.
However, when it comes to the corporate reports that are used to run the organization, these must be well-defined and the information mutually-agreed upon by the supervisors, managers, and executives who are stakeholders in the various reports.
These reports should be documented as to the data gathering parameters and formulas used for calculations. Corporate reports should be given names that identify them as such; in fact report naming standards should be a requirement for all organizations.
The failure by organizations to create a uniform set of management reports that are used to make business decisions, identify exceptions, and highlight out-of-bound performance parameters is one of the crucial “disconnected dots” I see my clients suffering from. If you know of a company – maybe your own – where there’s tension between team members and decision-makers can’t quite see eye-to-eye, perhaps this is the cause of the confusion.
Celebrating 15 Years!
Whew! 2010 was a tough one for sure but despite the adversities there were also achievements that resulted in the year ending on an overall positive note.
It was both a year of triumphs (Katzscan went international) and tribulations (knee surgery – ouch!) but still Katzscan continues forward. And while I’m not ready to pop any champagne corks just quite yet it would seem that the worst is behind us now, and I am cautiously optimistic about the twelve months ahead.
The dawning of 2011 marks a significant milestone for Katzscan:
Celebrating 15 years
That’s right! I can’t believe it myself! I started Katzscan on January 1, 1996, so it’s been a full 15 yearsin business.
Along the way Katzscan has grown beyond – and yet still staying true – to the core consulting specialties of automatic identification (e.g. barcode scanning applications), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI and other forms of eB2B & eB2C), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, supply chain vendor compliance, and better business operations. Projects got larger and more involved, clients got bigger and went beyond the local region to national prominence, and business models were created to present collective specialties in new perspectives. New consulting roles & responsibilities have included customer relationship management, staffing reorganization, merger & acquisition analysis, e-commerce web site integration, industry education & standards development, data analysis of all sorts, software development, mediator, and executive management advisor.
The exponential growth of the Internet, the relative ease of developing a web site, widespread use of e-mail, and the evolution of cellular telephones to smart phones have been some of the most influential game-changing technologies to come along over the past 15 years. (The Katzscan web site has gone through four or five upgrades and design changes over the years on top of adding several subject-matter domains to highlight complimentary business models.) The world really got smaller as it got more connected, information is literally at our fingertips, and it’s become easier to keep in touch. These advancements have certainly helped this small business to get noticed and grow.
What has not changed – and will never change – is how I conduct business: I maintain open & honest relationships with my clients; I never accept an assignment that I’m not completely confident I can successfully accomplish; I treat my clients’ businesses as if they were my own; I educate my clients to help them become better companies, sharing my knowledge & experiences to help their employees be more effective in their respective roles.
I deploy my full technical capabilities, business savvy, and creativity to help my clients solve some of their most pressing problems. I’ve pleasantly surprised clients with my approaches and solutions which one client recently stated were “elegant” in their simplicity and effectiveness.
The proverbial ice seems to be cracking with regards to the economy, and companies cannot sit still any longer to ensure they are operating optimally and achieving great customer satisfaction to garner both repeat and new business over their competition. Katzscan has already been helping companies do things better for 15 years. If you know of a company – maybe your own – who needs help to be on the leading edge of the economic recovery, contact Katzscan sooner rather than later.
My thanks to clients for their business and colleagues for their assistance in helping me get to this point, and I look forward to many successful years ahead, building on an ever-growing and solid foundation.