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 Blog for 5/02/12

Well it has been a busy two weeks. We have just wrapped up (pun totally intended) a coil kit job for a trucking company that was very labor intensive. It wasn’t difficult; it was just a large job. We also had to ship it in two sizeable shipments which meant we had a lot of raw material and a lot of finished material taking up a lot of space. The actual work area was small so we had the hourglass effect. That is the workflow of the entire process was shaped like an hourglass. A large body of work up front followed by a small body of work in the middle and finished product piling up at the end.
This is truly undesirable. The ideal would be to have the same amount of work coming in at the same rate it is being processed through the workshop and the same amount going out. This save a considerable amount of floor space and gives a cleaner work environment for more efficiency.
Unfortunately, things just don’t go always as planned. All the material was delivered at once since the customer provided the material and did not leave us with a lot of choice. They also wanted the material in two shipments only to get a better discount on their ship charges so that left the pile up at the end. Our portion of the work moved along at a good pace and produced good product that was accepted on first delivery.
Below are a few pictures of the project in process.



A two foot length tie wrapped to a thirty four foot length on each coil kit.



Jim- using our digital counter to measure and cut each length.

This is one of those jobs that will probably generate repeat business given the enthusiasm the customer showed. We gave them a great deal for the product they needed.


Until next time,
Richard



Blog for 04/04/12

Well April is here and it is time for me to cut the grass for the first time this year. With any luck I should be able to start the mower right up and have it done in an hour. Thank goodness for modern machinery.
Good machinery is essential to a business too. Whether it is a desktop or laptop computer, or punch press or CNC machine nearly everyone who works needs machinery.
Every now and then when you work you come across a situation that demands machinery, but there isn’t one out there to do the job. In that case you either take a pass on the job or you make your own machinery.
I have already told you about the situation where I encountered specs for shrink tubing that was too small and the wall thickness was too thin to use conventional machinery because it kept tearing the tubing. Therefore, I made my own machine that could do it and it was cheap to make, and effective. The customer still relies on me to this day to continue providing that material.
Now I have just bid on three jobs. All of them are small to the customers, but the parts they want made are critical in their production line. Each of these jobs would require some conventional machinery, which I either already have or would be willing to purchase, and they will also require some ingenuity to make some basic machinery or jigs that will do the rest.
I love these kinds of challenges. I am not a mechanical engineer, but I do like physics and anytime I can put my mind and hands to work to produce I’m in 100%.
What you don’t learn in a classroom, you tend to learn on your own through trial and error. The experience you gain over the course of your life can be immense. That aids you in finding ways to do a job that others either can’t do or won’t do. This is one of the talents we have here at Amerivet Solutions. Between me and the guys we can find ways to do a job other companies won’t take on.
So if you have a really irritating task that draws your production line away from their core responsibilities you might want to consider outsourcing it to us to help speed you along. Our pricing is very competitive and the results will speak for themselves. The repeat business we get should be some indication that we can do work that satisfies our customers in every way and that we care about their needs. This attitude also provides us with new projects from old customers to make our business grow and provide more services for all.
If you’re interested contact me directly at the phone number provided on the website. I’ll be happy to tell you more about Amerivet Solutions.


Until next time,
Richard



Blog for 04/11/12

Once upon a time in 1776 a new country was formed, and with it came the idea of free enterprise. Then came taxes… At first taxes were simple and used for the common good. Roads were built, and bridges, and centers for commerce. Then there was a need to manage and maintain those things so the government officials hired someone to do that and created the need for more taxes. Eventually more projects and more people to do the projects were hired by the government and the need for more tax collectors got so great the IRS was formed to collect taxes. Yes – it is that time of year again and since the IRS seems to be a familiar target for jokes, I thought this week I would drop a few in for your pleasure. No offense.

Enjoy…

A new arrival, about to enter hospital, saw two white coated doctors searching through the flower beds.

"Excuse me," he said. "Have you lost something?"

"No," replied one of the doctors. "We're doing a heart transplant for an income-tax inspector and want to find a suitable stone."


A businessman on his deathbed called his friend and said, "Bill, I want you to promise me that when I die you will have my remains cremated."

"And what," his friend asked, "Do you want me to do with your ashes?"

The businessman said, "Just put them in an envelope and mail them to the Internal Revenue Service and write on the envelope, "Now you have everything."

There was a time when you saved up for your old age; now you save up for April 15th


Until next time,
Richard




Blog for 03/14/12

I’m pretty sure spring has definitely established itself early this year. Here in upstate NY the maple sap is done flowing, the grass is already to cut, and the days have been unusually warm. I like days like these. It gets everything moving. People come out of their home hibernation and begin to peek out into the world. The other thing that happens is business opportunities begin to pick up and we all get busy.
We just got a couple more contracts with the DLA and the Army, and we are almost ready to sign on to some project work with a government Prime Contractor. This will keep us busy enough, but I’m still looking for more work to push us to that edge where it would be worth it to hire some help into the company. Growth is important to any company, but the rate of growth is even more important. If you grow too fast you usually have a significant number of failures due to inadequate staffing and your future business suffers due to poor reputation. If you grow too slow your bottom line falls behind the cost of inflation and your business becomes unprofitable.
Along the way you find your stride and emphasize the things that need to be done to optimize your pace, but if you grow, eventually you have to hire. I am often asked what I look for in a potential employee. You see I have some experience in that. Over the years as I worked in Production Management for various companies, I have had the pleasure of hiring hundreds of people. I always say start with the basics.

1.Ability to make it to work on time every time. If the person doesn’t show up you have to ask- what good are they? Others depend on them doing their job so that they can do theirs. If they are not there they are no good to me.
2.They are trainable. Every job that a person walks into will require some degree of training. You want the best bang for your buck. A degree of some sort usually shows you can learn, but not necessarily perform. Book smart is very different from work smart. It works the other way as well. A person can have a lot of experience, but only know one way to do things. There may not be a lot of ingenuity there because of a lack of conceptual skills. The best bet is to find someone with both.
3.Interpersonal skills are a must. This is the 80/20 rule. This just means that 80% of your problems come from 20% of your people. It is an old adage and not necessarily statistically correct, but the idea is there. It is essential to find a person with the personality for the job to work with others, and those others will have varying personality traits, habits, skill levels, and reactions to situations so the potential employee will have to deal with all of these things eloquently.
4.Last of all they must have the ability to follow through on what they need to do. Throwing their hands up in the air when a tough situation comes to play is a certain way to have a job fail and the only way to solve it is through initiative and being a problem solver by working with the people around you to determine the best solution to the problem. Throwing the problem over the fence to have someone else fix it is bad policy.

These are the basics. There are always the specific needs that have to fill the individual job and those are just as important, but without the foundation listed above that job would be a house on sinking sand.
I look forward to the growth in our company and also to the challenges of finding the right people for the right job when it is time to do so. So keep sending the work our way and I’ll make sure the right people are on it.

Until next time,
Richard


Blog for 03/21/12

This week I’d like to talk about some tips from some “big friends” as I like to call them. What I’ll do is provide a bunch of links that you can copy and paste into your browser in order to find out certain information that I have found useful.
Since much of what I do is with wire and cable the first example of this is in understanding wire and cable size. Well my friends at Panduit have a pretty good chart that anyone can look at to understand cable size. Here is the link:

http://stevenengineering.com/pdf/34LABEL_WIRE_INFO.PDF

This is useful to those people trying to get an idea of the weight of material they are shipping since shipping costs are a critical part of your pricing.

The next one is a link for the value of metal by Kitco.

http://www.kitcometals.com/charts/copper_historical_large.html

If you are doing costing of raw material and want to know how the pricing of say- copper is; use the link to find history of spot price and track the trends so you can get a basic idea if someone is selling you over priced material in the metal market.

Next I have to defer to WikiHow. This is a powerhouse of knowledge and you can find articles on everything from making soap or candles in it, to negotiating a job offer if you are an employer.

http://www.wikihow.com/Main-Page

The video version of this is, of course, YouTube. While this is a wonderful venue for this it is also a source of major distraction, so beware.

http://www.youtube.com/

Here I find Small Business Tips, Shipping Tips, Manufacturing Tips, etc. The one caveat I must insist upon is to understand that these tips are given by individuals with their own individual knowledge so use your best judgment as to which ones to use or not use.

If you deal with the Federal government in your business this one is vital.

http://www.aptac-us.org/new/Govt_Contracting/find.php

This is to find your PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center) representative. These folks will give you free classes on how to sell to the government. The classes are usually a day or half day long and cover the absolute basics. When the classes are done they work with you one on one at no charge to nail down the specifics for your company in dealing with the Feds.

The list could go on and on, but it is obvious that the power of the internet is a huge influence on commerce in any area, whether public or private, but as I said before use temperance when judging the subject matter and of course it is best to talk with those people that are successful in what they do to verify any information picked up from the internet. You know the old saying, “It is better to get it from the horse’s mouth than the back end of the horse.”

Until next time,
Richard


Blog for 03/28/12

Today I’d like to talk about something important for every business- networking. No, I don’t mean something from the Information Technology realm. I mean communicating with people in your line of business to connect you and your business with those that are potential customers or vendors, or those influential people outside of your business that can connect you with potential customers or vendors.
There are a number of organizations that are out there where this is done. In this geographical area we have the August Group. This group of people has well over a thousand professionals in all lines of work. The only requirement to belong is to attend a couple of meetings where you can meet and find people that can point you in the direction of hiring companies and give you contact information inside that company. Once you are hired into a company you become a contact for someone else to speak with about connecting people that are outside your new company with people that are inside your company. In other words you “Pay it Forward” by helping others as a networking contact point.
This network builds out rapidly and across all lines of work, although it is mostly on a professional level and usually does not include traditional labor.
The other way to do networking is through cyber means. There is a website called Linked In where people connect with people that they have known in their career and they in turn are connected to other people that their connections know. It is sort of the Facebook of the business world except you don’t get to show baby pictures of your grandchildren. Here you connect with your cyber information and post your business acumen in order to meet others online and set up face to face meetings to make business opportunities happen.
There are also specialty groups for networking. Being a veteran I belong to the Rochester Regional Veterans Business Council. We are a group of veteran business owners that work together to further our businesses. We host monthly lunchtime talks where guests come in to build our toolbox of business practices. We also do a social networking period where we shake a lot of hands and hand out a lot of business cards. We also advertise our company to the other members who try to help each other out by pointing us toward business opportunities they may have heard of.
The big thing that we do is to host an annual business expo in the city of Rochester where businesses can display their business and meet other business people in order to foster growth.
These are only a few methods of social networking that are out there, and I could go on, but no matter what you choose to do, it is essential to do it. Doing all of your work from inside a brick and mortar environment without venturing out will only cripple and eventually kill a business. As the old saying goes “It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.”


Until next time,
Richard


Blog for 02/29/12

Well Happy Leap Day. Like Presidential elections and the Olympics, once every four years is plenty. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good day. We just scored two awards of good size today so I’m up late writing this after sorting out the details for the awards.
Details are important and they are also time consuming, but don’t overlook them. You may find out that you have to do an entire process over again if you overlook the details, in which case you just lost money by losing opportunity time and possibly rework time.
When you deal with the government there are a lot of details. I have contracts with nearly forty pages to them. That’s a lot of details to take care of.
Be thorough, and even then you stand a good chance of making a mistake. It will cost you extra time and money if you miss a detail, but remember even an entity as large as the government is made up of people. You can talk to people. You can work with people. You can even get help from people to fix an overlooked detail. The first thing you need to do is take interest in THEIR concern. A phone call backed up with an email is best and then immediate actions with a follow up phone call.
If you show you take an interest in the person at the other end of the phone, chances are you have a positive experience out of a negative situation. If you enter in with a combative attitude that you are right and they are wrong, you will only put up a wall that will only make matters worse.
When you speak to that customer- smile. Believe it or not they can sense that and will be more receptive. Ask how their day is going. Many will give you an honest answer and if it hasn’t been a good day then see if you should call back later when they aren’t having so much difficulty so that you do not add to it. If they want to forge ahead and work with you make it a pleasant experience by keeping the conversation light, but not taking a lot of time, and offering to give them some time for thought on how to handle things because you don’t want to give them more to do while they are having a bad day.
Remember these folks are your customer and if you want repeat business it helps to be remembered by the customer as the vendor who made a lousy day a little better. It sure can’t hurt your future sales.


Until next time,
Richard


Blog for 02/15/12

What a day. We just finished a kitting job for an up and coming Rochester area company and it got to them on time as they wanted it and how they wanted it. This company is not even a government prime contractor. It just goes to show you we don’t always work for the government or primes. We do industrial work in the private sector too.
This company helps the trucking industry save fuel costs by providing a sensor system that monitors a semi so that it can operate at maximum efficiency as well as track where it is.
Anyway, we put together an antenna bracket kit for them and it was our first time. There is no time like the first time to make a good impression. In order to do that the job of coordinating delivery of stock and ensuring quality of the parts are crucial to our end customer’s happiness. We needed two different vendors for the job, and what a difference in quality between the two. The first one was providing hardware that had some specialized parts to be plated. This increased the lead time somewhat, but with an accurate projection my vendor came through quite well. The only issue I had was a shortage of about half a dozen parts that would finish off the remaining two kits.
I immediately called my vendor to let him know, and in old school fashion they came through and made a special trip to Syracuse and back to Rochester to fix the problem. I love these guys, and I’ll use them again for sure.
The other vendor was a different story. While I got the samples for the metalwork I needed on time and in perfect condition, it was the production product that was disappointing. First of all when I went to pick up the production parts they were loose and shrink wrapped on a pallet with no protection to keep them from scratching and that was when they told me they were seven parts short. Come on….
It gets worse. Once the product got repacked and brought back it was compared to the sample batch and it was wrong. There was no radius on the corners, it wasn’t de-burred, and there was no brushed finish. All of them had to go back and get refinished and they still had to make seven pieces. I had two days left to get everything turned around to complete the promised delivery to my customer. I micro-managed the whole thing from that point on and the product came in the day it was due to my end customer. Needless to say I did a same day delivery myself.
I can understand when a vendor has difficulty getting something right the first time, but when a sample product comes through the first time as you wanted it and fully expect the production quantity to be the same but is not, it says your vendor does not have control over their processes. That said- it is unlikely I will use them again. I may even have to pay another vendor a little more, but if it does not take up my time, it is worth it.
As a business owner preventing disaster is part of my job description. So if I can’t do that and shield my end customer from delays, quality issues, or shortages I present no value to them. Remember, the first impression is the most lasting, and may make the difference between repeat business and being dropped as a vendor.

Until next time,
Richard


Blog for 02/08/12

Sometimes the little jobs are important. We just shipped some connectors to the DLA in Richmond for aircraft parts. It was only 5 connectors, but it was a crucial shipment for them because they had an aircraft in the field that needed one of them and the rest went to stock. An aircraft on the ground is very expensive. Maybe that aircraft was down because it needed that one part. Maybe it wasn’t down, but needed the part for a non-critical application. I don’t really know. What I do know is that I used to be an avionics technician and nothing annoyed me more than seeing one of my birds grounded because it needed a single part.
What happens in that situation is you find the “hangar queen” which is the one jet that we would have constantly on the ground because we would cannibalize it to get parts to keep the rest of the squadron flying.
This is chaos with me as the technician because I have to do the job twice. I have to remove the one part from the hangar queen and put it in the one that needs it, and then when the part finally comes in I would have to install it into the hangar queen and that jet would still sit there on the ground waiting for other parts.
Imagine having a whole multi-million dollar jet sit on the ground, and you ask –why?
The reason is lead time. Parts are not sitting in stock ready to come off the shelf for the customer. So why is that happening? The reason there is that keeping inventory is costly so you need to limit it. Why is it not made right away if it is not in stock? Basically because other people’s stuff is being made when you need yours, and there is a line of other customers that you are now placed last into. Why can’t my stuff move up the line to be made next? Because the right people don’t know it is a priority, and usually you have to pay a premium to move to the front of the line.
As you can see I am trying to use the 5 why’s method of problem solving to repair root cause. In this case I could go very deep and ask why far more than five times and still be digging for an answer.
The short answer on turn time is to work with your vendor by constantly communicating the level of urgency to get a better turn time. As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Once that happens and the noise goes away everyone is happy. Right now the DLA is very happy with this shipment.

Until next time,
Richard



Blog for 01/25/12

Late night after a job gets completed you just sit back and you can literally feel the endorphins flowing through you, bringing a sense of calm satisfaction. I’ve been doing a labor intensive project for Sigma Medical. It involves turning 2 foot lengths of thin walled shrink sleeving into 0.16” +/- .02”. Needless to say, it takes awhile to cut 400 feet total down into a lot of ~32,000 of those lengths manually.
Why manually? Simply because machinery can’t do it. Any machinery out there simply tears the material or leaves it with a tail, therefore cutting a notch into the next segment. How then can it be done? By making a simple jig where the tubing is pushed down the length of a metal rod just smaller than the tubing diameter itself where it butts up against a premeasured stop at a premeasured distance and it gets snipped by scissors that are anchored in place. It may look ugly, but it is effective. The result is there is not enough variation to go out of spec, and very little scrap. The material is collected in a box it falls into and is ultimately put in a bag for the customer to use as bulk stock.
Sometimes the simplest idea is best and most effective. The pictures below show the jig in use and the end result.





We come up with ideas like this all the time at Amerivet so the customer can get his job done in a cost effective way. Then we turn the ideas into reality and work diligently to completion which leaves the customers smiling as they walk away with their product.
If you have something that seems impossible give us a shot. We’re not saying we can figure out everything, but we are a bunch of pretty smart people that like a challenge.

Until next time,
Richard



Blog for 01/11/12

Well it is a new year and new projects are in the air. We just picked up a new job with the Department of the Interior for some fiber optic materials and one with a private company called Liban for some kitting. We also just completed a job with Getinge to add lead length to some fans they install in some of the cabinets they make. (Pictures below)




Next week I’ll be showing you pictures of the results of an ongoing project with Sigma to cut thin walled short tubing segments that can’t be done by machine because it causes tearing if you do. We designed a jig that can do the job consistently with very little scrap.

We hope this will be our first burst of growth and that business booms with possibilities all year coming at us. Before I sign off this week I want to leave you with a very famous quote that all people in small business should live by:

Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re probably right.
Henry Ford

Remember- Henry was a small businessman to start with.



Until next time,
Richard


Blog
for 12/21/11

For this week I would just like to wish you all a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year


Until next time,
Richard



Blog for 12/07/11
December 7th will always be a remembered as a day of “infamy” due to the attack on Pearl Harbor that began the Second World War for the USA. We emerged victorious from that and shortly thereafter began reparations with the defeated Axis powers.

Japan began to rebuild little by little and as they did they became a manufacturing powerhouse. They weren’t very well accepted in the world market due to the poor quality product that came out of the country during the early 1950’s through the late 1970’s. The problem was so prevalent that “Made in Japan” became a cliché for poor quality and the Japanese decided to take a look at how other people made products. Then an unlikely hero emerged for the Japanese; an American named William Edwards Deming trained hundreds of engineers, managers, and scholars in statistical process control (SPC) and concepts of quality. He also trained the top executives of each corporation to get total buy in from top to bottom of a company. By the 1980’s the Japanese were the powerhouse of quality and the American brand name fell behind.

Both countries realize the importance of quality and it made them leaders as a world manufacturer. We are beginning to see the same thing happen with China and now they are a world manufacturing leader as well. The problem is that by putting a world economy to work it has stripped the American public of job opportunities and devastated the American economy. The other thing that has come of this is that it introduces problems into projects that are going on in American manufacturing. Without local support a project can be stalled indefinitely and more time and money lost.

Here at Amerivet we can supply that local support and just recently did Honeywell a service
by updating some parts they needed a quick turnaround on at a fair price. Here is a picture of the set up.

While I won’t go into the details of it, I can say it was a simple job so the turn time came in well under expectation.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that the job of manufacturing a quality part should not rely heavily on overseas suppliers. Any changes in project requirements, possible manufacturing errors, Intellectual Property violation, and logistics complications with shipping all need to be factored into a decision to go overseas before a project is launched or disaster will surely come to that project that will cost dearly.

Small scale projects are certainly a high risk for failure to be done overseas unless they are staying there. Amerivet thrives on this type of project and can provide Process engineering services and documentation as your project is built in our flex factory. We can also provide your company with Independent Quality Control Auditing and Inspection if you need certification of your product meeting specs before being released to your customer. Our costs are reasonable and our expertise is unparalleled. Stop in and show us what you want, we’ll show you what we’ve got.

Until next time,
Richard


Blog for 11/30/11

We’ve been quite busy as of late working on 2 projects. One project is fairly large scale for IEC and involves cutting 30 meter coils from a 1000 foot reel and stretch wrapping them to a certain size coil so they fit into the packaging that will be ready for them when IEC terminates them. Here are a few of pictures of what we did so far:

1000 Ft. reels being measured out

Our digital Counter

Mike removing coil from spooler

Mike Stretch wrapping the coil.


Finished Product quickly filling up.


It was a lot of work and we moved the material quickly and the customer even got the parts sooner than they expected, which made them very happy. I will be changing the website soon to add a corporate resume in which some of the work we have done will be posted.
This should give potential customers an idea of our capabilities so they can see if we can be a fit for their needs.
In addition to our office of 650ft2 we are very fortunate to have a flex factory of 3900ft2 with power and pneumatic drops that give us the ability to change over for customer need in minutes.
We also have 750ft2 of climate controlled warehouse to store customer material for Just In Time (JIT) release to the customer or to us to modify before sending to the customer.
It really is a nice little place. Stop by sometime. We would love to show you what we can do. We may be a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, but it is our abilities that count.
Until next time,
Rich


Blog for 11/16/11

So since my last entry we have been busy. I created a corporate Facebook page and I am slowly building upon it. It isn’t anywhere as interesting as my personal page, but it is brand new.
I plan on adding bells and whistles like the ones I have on my personal page, but that takes time so keep an eye out. I do have a couple of things to show soon since we just got some work from Honeywell and IEC so I plan on taking pictures of finished work and putting them here in the blog and on Facebook.
For some reason I have not been successful in linking the two together, but that will come in time as well. Social media is gaining in importance at a breakneck pace, and I for one am happy to be part of it.
It has connected me with many people I have not seen or heard from in years. I recently found a whole branch of my family that has been out of touch for the last 20 years because they moved to Texas when we were all kids and drifted apart.
Talk about catching up.
The same happens in the business world with Linked In as the social media leader. I have now found many colleagues that I have missed and are now very successful, and since reconnecting we are looking at ways we can help each other’s business.
The one I haven’t tried yet is Twitter. It isn’t because I don’t like them, it’s because I already have too much going on with social media, and I have to balance it with actual work time. Everyone needs to pick their battles.
All this said, I just dropped in this week to let everyone know we are getting easier and easier to reach through social media networks as well as website information and our toll free number. If you’re looking for great quality work at a fair price and on time delivery, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Richard


Blog for 11/02/11

Well Halloween has come and gone and sadly few trick or treaters came by my house to revel in the grotesque glory of ghoulish costumes and sugary treats. I think much of it is due to fear of the unknown on the part of the parents. With today’s media hype about child abductions and other awful things that happen in real life to kids, who can blame them for not wanting their children to go out into the night scouting for treats when they can easily find safe haven in a neighborhood party among friends, or at the local mall where the stores freely give away candy in the daytime.
Fear of the unknown has always given rise to caution throughout all mankind and it is no different in business. Why would someone want to buy anything from someone they don’t know as opposed to someone they have gotten to know? If you have something to sell, whether a product or a service, a customer is much more reluctant to buy from you rather than someone they already know.
This is the definition of competition. If you want to compete, you not only need to provide better product or service at a better price, you have to get to know the people with the purchasing power and let them know who you are as well and how you see the answer to their problems. You also need to touch base with them often enough to gain familiarity with them so that you become the person they think of when they do have a need. Sometimes a quick note is all it takes, and sometimes a phone call with a bit of personalization for their concerns. You may get some insight into their company from this.
For example if I were to call xyz company and talk to Joe Smith the Senior Purchasing Director- “Hey Joe I hear you are really busy this year. It sounds like good news for you.”
Joe shoots back, “It seems like that, but we are wrapping up a big project here so our buying needs are going to change in the next three months. With some luck we will win a contract for running data lines through the Rochester school system within the next couple of months and we’ll be ok, but if not I’ll be in a slump and we’ll be scratching for work.”
I now make a note to periodically check on the progress of xyz getting the contract Joe mentioned and when I do call again I would ask what he knows about the buying requirements to see if I can become a provider.
The thing to note is I don’t try to sell him anything until he gets to know me better and I get to know his needs better. It will probably take a few calls over a month or so.
From there we can talk about ways to help out and quite probably he would want to take a look at our pricing and terms, etc. and we are invited to the competition with “Best value” in mind as opposed to simply best price. I say this because Joe would feel secure in my being easily accessible to him and getting answers to any questions he may have about a quote we could provide, as well as knowing I have a good understanding of his needs and expectations that I could execute well upon.
The take away here is that it is easier to sell to someone who knows and has a level of trust for you than to sell to the unknown. Don’t be a hard charger and look like a one time good deal. Build a relationship with your customers since it is more profitable for you and the customer in the long haul.
The other thing to bear in mind is to keep in contact even when your customer is in a slump. People will remember if you are just a fair weather friend, and when they come out of that slump they will think of the people who think of them first and foremost.
No matter what being an unknown to your customer is like being an unknown in Hollywood. You can be the greatest entertainer ever, but unless you actually get to know the right people you will never see the big time.
So converse with your customers regularly and get to know them, and see if you don’t hit the big time yourself.

Until next time,
Richard


Blog for 10/26/11

As autumn progresses and the days grow shorter, so does the time to do outdoor projects in our personal life. It leaves us with the ability to pursue more indoor activities. One I recommend is continuing education.
As an entrepreneur you get to have so many avenues to chase that sometimes it is confusing, but chasing something close to your heart makes for an enjoyable experience. Therefore I have been participating in TEN Rochester. TEN stands for The Entrepreneurs Network and is sponsored by Monroe County here in Rochester NY along with High Tech Rochester. It is a way to cultivate new small businesses so that they may thrive and have a way to benchmark successful business ventures and utilize the things learned to improve.
It is a good concept with an inexpensive cost to the entrepreneur. The other thing gained out of this is the social networking that comes from meeting other entrepreneurs.
Like many classes it can’t be all things to all people, but incorporates certain universal concepts and serves as a pool of information exchange for B to B, B to C, and B to G companies. It utilizes a great many guest speakers and topics so that if one does not apply to your business you do not need to attend. Like all classroom education it is not without flaws so your better judgment is required of the things you learn there.
The three main areas of concern in this class are:
1.Writing a plan for investors.

2 Writing a sales plan.
3.Writing a business growth strategy.

No matter what, it is all about writing down your intentions so that you have a step by step map to follow for the foreseeable future to accomplish your goals. Writing it down is key so that it is presented to a panel of experts that will basically read it and see if it is understandable to them so that they can offer feedback in which case it should be understandable to others and can be brought to light for action.
At Amerivet we have been writing our growth strategy and our sales strategy annually to improve how we do business with our customers. The things learned in this class are certainly of help, but our greatest help comes from our customers. The feedback that they provide to us is a class each time we talk with them. The key here is also to write down what they say.
I keep a logbook of particulars that each customer has spoken to me about and refer back to it before I go to talk to them again so that I can speak with accurate detail about subject matter previously discussed. That way, opportunities do not get lost and I can converse intelligently with them to meet a particular need. (i.e. the basic formula of- what is your pain- what is the solution- what is the next step?) This approach will get you quite a bit of unexpected work and in the good graces of the customer.
Try writing things down even if it is a simple note and look at them later when you have a moment at your desk. You will find it to be a fantastic aid in approaching customers to strike up useful conversation that may win you future business.

Until next time,
Richard



Blog for 10/12/11

Over the years I have learned just how important “Value Add” is to the bottom line of our business. The thing is that a business “value add” works both ways. While you provide value to your customers, be sure the vendors you use provide value in whatever they are doing for you.

As an example, I recently took an entrepreneur class. The class was a few hundred dollars and it ran once a month from early this spring to mid-autumn. They were either half or full day sessions so it seemed like a bargain and that I would learn a lot from it. It also required homework and some networking with classmates, so it took a good deal of time. It seems the return should have been great.

I’m disappointed.

Here I thought I would have a team of experts that would sit down with me one at a time and go through the way I run my company, that would offer help and ideas, that would increase my bottom line and show me the best way to plan forward so that my business would thrive. Instead they spoke first and listened later. In fact today was the first time the panel of experts even heard what it is I do.

I have to question those that throw out expert advise simply because they are successful in what they do, but don’t care a whit about what it is that I do. If you want to help me, get to know me, then see if you have constructive, specific suggestions to offer me or just admit, “I’m not qualified to help much in this area.” That adds value to me. I don’t want to hear a lot of generic rhetoric. I’m a nuts and bolts kind of guy. Show me how to make the machine that is my business run better, and don’t rehash information that I heard in the first year of my MBA program and tell me how much better off I am because of it. Humbug. In essence, I hired you to paint my house, not to paint my fence. The fence looks nice when it is painted, but meanwhile my house is rotting.

This may seem like a rant, because it is. I just paid money to be told something I already knew. As a customer you shouldn’t either. Be sure that in your business dealings that anyone that comes to talk with you about a solution for your company, comes for a conversation with you and is not presenting a dissertation. If they are not interested in your business you should not be interested in them. Be sure they know what you do, and why they are there to help you. Be specific about the area of help and invest some real time, as long as the issue gets across so that a viable solution can be tried and it improves your bottom line. Last, but not least, ask them flat out if they can measurably show you how their solution has helped you earn even one penny more when they are done with implementation. If they can’t show you how they made (not- will make) you money, then they don’t get to come back, and you should feel free to let others know that you were not satisfied with their performance.

On the other hand, if they can come back to you with examples of the things they brought to you as solutions and they were implemented in your company, and then can show you the positive financial results you should not only invite them back to solve something else for you, but tell all of your business friends about them as well.

At Amerivet we make it a point to see exactly what you need to help provide a solution for you and then follow through with quality checks and numbers to show you how we did. If you like what you saw, spread the news, if you didn’t like what you saw, spread the news, but give us a shot and I think we stand a good chance of proving our “Value Add” to you and your company.

Until next time,
Richard


Blog for 10/5/11

So, just as we would take a breath to re-evaluate the calendar New Year with resolutions, so does the government. In this time where new budgets are evaluated for project management, meetings are held to coordinate, and finances are prepared for release of new projects we at Amerivet are doing much the same.

Of course we are looking at the Prime Contractors and available solicitations, but we are also looking at how we are to physically grow ourselves over the next government fiscal year. Our friends and closest allies at Simcona which house our main office are busy clearing out available space to lease to us as we bring in more Value Add work. We are also able to house customer inventory with any extra space we have and provide Just In Time release for them at very reasonable rates.

At the same time we have pneumatic and electrical drops within the f
acility to run tooling for virtually any kind of work imaginable. This allows us flexibility to utilize our additional space in a variety of conceivable ways to accommodate customer projects and inventory.

Now the hard part.

Like everyone else looking to take on work, we need to find where the opportunities may be. With the economy in such a state, everyone is being conservative in their business practices and they look to find best value for their own sake. This means more looking and less doing until the circumstances are right. While this is prudent, those that do offer out work would be reaping the benefit of less expensive labor available in a super competitive market. We are no exception.

Usually I can have bragging rights that we are able to save a customer at least 10% on labor costs, but this time of year it is closer to 15% and anyone that wants value knows how that can improve their bottom line. I know it seems as if I would lose on my bottom line, but I count on the fact that I would be able to do good work, on time, every time, and build a reputation that will make for a loyal customer that I can add to Amerivet’s resume. If the customer likes what they see from us, word of mouth advertising will ensue and we can pick up more customers. Hence, we grow. Stratagem successful.

Over the next few weeks we find out what fate will bring our way, and I hope to spend a good deal of time meeting with new potential customers to put this strategy to the test. The result will show up on our bottom line at the end of our calendar year which coincides with our fiscal year. Meanwhile, off I go scouting for new business.

Until next time,
Richard



Blog for 9/29/11

Well this is the end of the fiscal year for the Federal Government as of 9/30/11. Usually procurement business quells a bit starting next week while everyone goes over their new budgets and determines how and when to deploy the new budgets for the projects at hand.

It seems the end of a flurry of available solicitations, but does provide time to breathe and reflect. The biggest thought that comes to mind is a shift into more “Value Add” work for us. We just finished a job of coiling twin axial cable into 30 meter hanks for IEC and we are continuing forward with a job for Sigma in cutting 3/8” shrink tubing to .16” lengths. Our customers are very happy with the results and value we are providing, and we are beginning to realize it is time for more growth in this area.

Value add production is always beneficial to larger companies when they outsource time consuming, labor intensive work for two very important reasons:

1. They are almost always supporting a higher rate of overhead than a small business and therefore it is not worth their time to do the work themselves so it is business prudent to outsource and utilize the opportunity loss that would have incurred had they done the work themselves. This essentially gives them increased output.
2. They can consign material to a small business for value add at pricing the large business enjoys and therefore can easily calculate the small business mark up of the end product to see if their labor price is competitive. Thus the best of both small business and large business advantages are employed.

In the world of Prime Contractors to the US government they also enjoy the preference points it gives them on large government contracts by utilizing set asides such as Small Business, 8A, HUB Zone, Veteran Owned Small Business, or Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB).

In other words- It is a win/win. The small businesses get good work to build upon, and the large businesses get improved profit.

Be aware that these set aside small businesses don’t dwell on the fact they are a set aside on order to get subcontracting opportunities from Primes. It is just an added benefit to them. No, companies like Amerivet pride themselves on ability, not disability to get a contract. All we want is a chance to prove ourselves to each and every client. We have done so in the past and hopefully word of our capabilities will get around building our reputation further and more business will come from it.

So if there is a large business out there that is looking for a small business with any of the capabilities our website shows please feel free to contact me directly by phone. I’d love to discuss it.

Until next time,
Richard



Blog For 09/01/11

Everyone tells me writing a Blog is a good thing to have for the website and after reading a few I can honestly say I believe it. It relates information about the company on the website and combines it with interesting facts and some occasional humor whether fictional or based on reality.

 

I hope to develop this blog over time to include pictures, videos and audio files. I also plan to get it set up so people can subscribe and leave comments on the blogs I send out because feedback is essential in continuous improvement, and it keeps me in immediate touch with what is happening out there in the world.

 

This is all coming, but the first order of business is to let our readers know what we are all about. Simply put we are government contractors that procure products in the world of electronics and perform value add service for government agencies and their Prime Contractors.

 

We are young, and newly successful, and actually came out in the black in our first year of business which is quite a feat for a small company. We would like to continue the trend.

 

I like to think the main reason people took to us so quickly is that we have a knack for listening to the customer needs. Many vendors tend to be order takers without questions. We like to pry (politely) into the customers order to find out why they need something in particular. It gives us a clearer idea of how we can provide a superior product or service, and be prepared to help them better the next time they need us.

 

For example we may find out a potential customer is installing data lines for a fiber optic network and they want pricing for one thousand foot rolls of Corning cable. We may dig in and find out if they need an exact match or if they can use a Brand name equal that may cost them less. We may find out they will be needing to order more in the future, and with that information we may be able to get a schedule with pricing that reflects a sizeable discount that we may negotiate with our suppliers that would also reflect shorter lead times because they were planned rather than purchased on the fly.

 

A simple example I know, but by doing this you establish a working relationship that will be long term and quite probably get you on a preferred vendor list as we have with Aberdeen Proving Ground Md.

 

Anyway, I’m happy to post my first blog and hope that over time people will return again and again to see what is happening here at Amerivet Solutions and maybe pick up a few tips and the occasional chuckle. It should be an interesting relationship for all of us.

 

Until next time,

Richard