Archive for March, 2009

A Day in Purchasing

March 26, 2009 by Malorie

A normal day in the purchasing department consists of many different tasks and in order to maintain accuracy they all must be followed.  From getting quotes to the actual order process there are many steps involved which seem to all be equally important.  It is so easy for me to skip some of the steps if I’m in a hurry or get interrupted.  When these crucial steps are overlooked I always regret it later because I can’t retrace my steps when an error or question arises.

One of our main focuses at Setpoint has been to make the Lean transformation and cut out as much waste as possible in our daily tasks and ongoing projects.  Purchasing is a huge part of Setpoint’s business so to cut out wastes is a huge deal and any savings that I can generate automatically goes to the bottom line as profit.  It’s a huge task that I want to achieve success at;  therefore I’m always thinking and looking at ways to change what I do to make it more efficient and achieve the same, if not better, results with myself, Setpoint, the vendor, and my customers being satisfied.

In the past five years that I have been in this department I have seen some dramatic changes for the better but I know it can still be better and leaner.  Success has yet to be achieved and that is my ongoing ultimate goal.

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Gratitude: the State of Being Grateful, Having Appreciation and Thankfulness

March 19, 2009 by Scott S

In our current economic state with two continuing wars and the pressures of day to day life, it is easy to forget how truly blessed we are to live in the United states of America, or even to be a part of the modern day world with its modern conveniences.

While “here” is not perfect, we have opportunities to solve problems, and to come out better in the end.  We have talented people working on problems, but more importantly finding solutions and providing breakthroughs to further build upon.  The human knowledgebase grows exponentially each day; opinions and new points of views can be shared, discussed, researched, and collaborated on with mere keystrokes using the power of the internet.

From the M.I.T. breakthroughs on batteries allowing quicker charge times, to power distribution partners such as IBM and their Smart Grid Technologies allowing the transmission of power, such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, or geothermal, from remote renewable production sites to the consumers.

It is not whether we can recover from the challenges we face today, but rather when we recover that is the only unanswered part of the equation.  Perhaps we should just take a moment to be grateful for the things we have, rather than focused on the things we’ve lost or don’t have.

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What Does the Customer Really Want?

March 12, 2009 by Clark

At Setpoint we follow the Mahan (Mahan Khalsa) culture of selling.  Following are some high level points we closely follow and practice in our daily business relationships with our clients.

Mahan selling is not a technique but rather a culture that establishes a partnership between Consultant and Client.  Too many times sales professionals spend an inappropriate amount of time advocating their products or service before even understanding what the client’s needs, issues and opportunities are.

Mahan selling focuses on understanding completely every aspect of the customer’s needs before trying to pitch a solution that may not be even close to what is needed.  By focusing efforts on the customers issues and opportunities, a sales professional can bring far more “value add” to the table and in the long run provide the solutions that exactly meet the customer’s needs.  Not kind of, or sort of…exactly.

The goal is to be in tune with the customer’s business issues and opportunities.  This can only be achieved by allowing the customer to express what these issues and opportunities are.  Too many times customers just want to know a number or be given a solution to what they perceive as “The” issue.

At closer examination, and with some sincere questioning by the sales professional, a complete, prioritized list of these issues and opportunities can be compiled.  The way to get to a solution that exactly meets your client’s needs is by a “No Guessing” approach to finding out what issues and opportunities your solution will solve or help the client take advantage of.

stoplight

Any time you feel the conversation or sales cycle may not be going in the right direction, Mahan calls this a yellow light.  Our typical reaction to yellow lights in sales is similar to how we drive on the road.  Most people speed up and zoom right through the yellow caution lights.  In the Mahan culture we are encouraged to slow down for these yellow lights and express your concerns to the customer.

If we let the customer turn the so called yellow lights to green, rather than trying to hurry through the issues and do it ourselves, we will be more successful in finding a way to serve their needs.  In fact, if done correctly, having the customer solve the issues or yellow lights can usually create a more positive impression of you and your company’s ability to serve their needs.

One of the main reasons we try to get an upfront list of issues and opportunities is because there is always a direct correlation between the customers likelihood of buying our solutions at a certain price and the number of issues and or opportunities we and the clients feel our solutions can solve or capitalize on.

So remember, never guess what the client’s needs are.  Ask clarifying questions on what their needs are.  Get out all the issues and opportunities they hope your solution will solve.  And always slow down for yellow lights in the sales cycle and allow the customer to turn any yellow lights to green.

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Open Book Finance – The Board

March 5, 2009 by Kara

What do your numbers mean?  Here at Setpoint we practice Open Book Finances.  Every week we look at the numbers that show us how far along we are on our projects.  In our newest YouTube video Joe Knight, our CFO, talks about how we know if we are making money.  He shows some key ratios that can be used in any industry to measure this.

 

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