One key to Build your Manufacturing Business
One key to Build your Manufacturing Business
It takes time and effort on the right things to build your manufacturing business. Today, our guest shared the key aspects of how effective using your technology assets can help to build your manufacturing business.
In this week’s The Faces of Business Episode, our guest speaker was Steve Rice. Steve is the Founder of Dotcomjungle and SR consulting. He is also the owner of The Ashland Outdoor Store. Steve is helping companies effectively utilize their technology by ensuring that it is providing the right solutions and working well for all people using these systems. Steve employs MBWA (management by walking around) to ensure the technology is addressing the needs at all levels.
The conversation of this week’s episode started with Steve sharing about his past. He said that his father was the inventor of bass fishing as a sport. This is why he also learned fishing since childhood before he found his true passion.
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After that, he went to do multiple outdoor jobs and hobbies. During this time he found jobs at outdoor stores. Later on, Steve’s journey started in the retail and manufacturing industry.
Moving on, Steve shared a bit about his company. He said that he started his company because someone came up to him and told him that he is wasting his skillset regarding technical stuff. Therefore, this is when Steve started dotcomjungle.
Further, into the conversation, Steve shared his views about how to build your manufacturing business. He said that in his experience, you don’t exactly know what’s going on in your business until you actually ask the people in it.
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Moreover, he also shared that to build your manufacturing business, you should also have a hierarchy of your company. This means that you need to have defined roles for your people as well as defined positions.
After this, Steve shared that when you build your manufacturing business, you have to make sure that you are present with your company. To further explaining this, Steve shared an example from his company.
According to him, unless you sit with your company’s people you cannot resolve any issue. Moreover, Steve shared his approach on how to build your manufacturing business when you have people working below you.
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He said that you have to ask yourself 3 questions in this position. Frist is, what are you doing? Second is, what did you expect to happen? And third, did what you want to happen actually happen? Steve said that your actual task is to find the answers to this question and if your expectations aren’t being met that means you need to correct that.
By the end of the conversation, Steve said that the purpose of a leader is to end the chaos in between the team. The conversation ended with Curt thanking Steve for his time!
people, company, steve, spreadsheet, technology, kurt, e commerce, business, client, website, magento, sales, tool, talk, outdoor, reps, work, manufacturer, phone, years
Damon Pistulka, Curt Anderson, Steve Rice
Damon Pistulka 00:00
on LinkedIn here, and we’re going to get the show started. So everybody, we’re going to get to wait for just a moment while the video plays on on LinkedIn. All right. We haven’t good week so far.
Curt Anderson 00:12
Yeah, Happy Friday.
Damon Pistulka 00:15
All right, everyone. Welcome once again to the manufacturing ecommerce Success Series. I’m one of your hosts Damon Pistulka. With my friend, Kurt Anderson, this is just a great time because you know, Kurt and I saw each other a couple of weeks ago, we’re able to go out hiking, we saw Pete Alexander, we are walking and we’re walking with the eagles and the otters and the seals up and up in the Pacific Northwest.
It was freakin awesome. And then Kurt takes me to a client that had an incredible place. If anyone knows me watch my Instagram a I like to drink beer once in a while and be I can eat with the best of them. So we had a great time doing that. I just want to say thanks that Kurt. But today I’m so excited for our guests on let’s get started. Kurt, take it away, man.
Curt Anderson 01:05
Absolutely. How’s my guys I’m in. I’m in the witness protection program. So I can’t tell you where I’m at today. So how’s my how’s my audio? I’m like hanging out in a hotel room. So make sure you look good and you sound good. I have a clean shave today. I’ve got this crazy light. So guys, Happy Friday. Welcome. We are absolutely thrilled. I’ve been on the West Coast for past couple weeks hanging my buddy Damon.
I’m down in California today. So guys, we have an amazing, incredible guests. This is such a thrill. Probably doesn’t need an introduction, but we’ll do it anyway. Our dear friend Steve rice, he’s up. He’s right in between the middle of us, Damon? Yeah, right. right smack in Oregon. Steve, welcome. Happy Friday. And thank you for joining us today.
Steve Rice 01:47
Thanks for having me on. Kind of like john oliver. He’s got the he’s in the white room. They put me in a green room years ago and I haven’t been let out. So maybe someday I’ll be asked on The Colbert show. Well, this is
Curt Anderson 02:00
awesome. I’m gonna give a big shout out and Happy Friday, everybody. Our friends in Wisconsin, Greg, Kevin. Chris. Good. Good. Well, good afternoon to Chris Gayle. Thank you everybody. Vale thank you guys for joining us, Steve. I’m ready to kick things off real quick. You have a fascinating, fascinating background. Can you tell us about was your father a professional fishermen of some type? Or can you tell us a little bit about this background guys? Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 02:26
yeah, it’s awesome.
Steve Rice 02:29
Sort of Yeah. I’ll try and keep it short. Because I know we don’t have a lot of time because I could spend about an hour on it. But my father was the managing editor of Western door news, Western bass, US bass all the way back into the 60s. And, and so he’s he’s actually one of the people who helped invent bass fishing as a sport. I know that sounds weird, but there’s pretty much like 1020 guys back in 1963, who started putting together tournaments. And, and the guys you know, Ray Scott, who started BSS, Bob Cobb, those folks. And the folks on the west coast, my dad was one of the West Coast guys, they all work together to like create the tournament circuit.
So So I grew up driving around the United States going bass fishing. And if you’re into bass fishing, you name any famous bass fishermen from the 70s or 80s. I probably fished in the back of the boat. And the good part is I I am a pretty good fisherman, you can put me anywhere with any kind of rod, any technique, and I’ll do I know how to read water, whatever. The bad news is, I was out fished every day in my life, because it didn’t matter how good I was, the guy in the front of the boat was better, including my dad.
And, you know, to take the, you know, to go from birth to maybe the teens, when I started figuring out my own passions. I actually was a fishing guide in Alaska for a couple years. And then in Oregon, the outdoors was a big thing for me rock climbing. I worked at Rei, I became a manager, assistant manager of an outdoor store, I was the head buyer for all the hard goods. I was a rock climbing and mountaineering instructor. So I have these, these lives, you know, and somewhere in there, I like to say, I got a college degree and I have the dubious distinction of being a fine arts major, who got a sociology degree from a pre med University, which is all true.
And, and, you know, so through through basically working in the outdoor industry, as a buyer and a manager and eventually the owner of an outdoor store. I became connected with most people in the Pacific Northwest who were in the specialty outdoor retail industry, especially sales reps, you know, because basically in the 90s we’re all dirtbag climbers together, and they were driving around in their pickup truck trying to sell this new brand called our Carrick’s or, you know, this new thing called mountain hardware that no one ever heard of.
Yeah, so as we’ve progressed over, you know, over the years, 30 years later, a lot of those now own the sales rep company They’re their executives in CPG companies, especially outdoor retail, which is a big place in my heart for that, you know, so Patagonia, think of that world, the people who are pushing organic cotton and pushing better business practices and greening of supply chains in circular economy thinking and so.
So that’s the world that I live in. That’s exciting. So So now I now I basically do, I have a technology company that that helps companies like that. Choose and implement technology choices. Plus I have leadership stuff that I do. The globally conscious leader is a really cool thing that we’re working on right now. So that’s the short version.
Curt Anderson 05:44
That’s and Dan just done from Alaska just came on down you just miss a great intro. He owns a fishing lure company, the two of you need to connect at the tables after So Dan, Steve grew up with a professional fisherman father traveled all over the country and was asked a fishing guide in Alaska. So you two need to connect. JOHN in New Jersey, welcome my friend Happy Friday to you.
So Steve, you know, you’re a longtime e commerce guy, you go back, you know, I think Believe it or not, We’re the same age you look 10 years younger than me. But we’re around the same age, longtime ecommerce guy. Now you have amazing company called.com jungle? Do I have that? correct? That is correct. What an amazing, I love the name. Can you tell them? Just Where did you come up with that name? I’m dying to know, my
Steve Rice 06:28
my wife is the one who came up with that. Oh, all right. And yeah, she’s brilliant. It’s one of those names that I’ve had, you know, huge advertising agencies come to me and say that’s stupid, you need to change your name, because nobody knows what it means. And it’s in my mind, I think this is the greatest name because it gives you a sense of where we work. And I get to define it.
And frankly, like it’s changed over the years. And partially because I didn’t really know how to run my own business 20 years ago, and so it was doing all the wrong things. And, you know, 12 years ago, I took on a partner who changed the way I thought about myself and the value offering I give to companies and basically helped me realize that I was under serving the community with a skill set that I have.
And so and that skill set really is in looking at all the technology pieces, from an overview 10,000 foot, you know, technical architect overview, and making the connection between the human experiences on both ends, whether it’s the consumer, all the people in the middle, and the people in the business who are using it. And, and that’s really fun for me. And it sort of speaks to the topic, you guys asked for topic, about management by walking around that we can talk about today. And I can tell some pretty fun stories about that.
Curt Anderson 07:50
Absolutely. So you have a great tagline. We help you make and implement wise marketing and technology choices. And so with our conversations, I just love how you simplify things. So that was a perfect segue. Let’s dig right in. So explain to everybody that’s not familiar with it. And hello, Jean in New York, my friend Happy Friday to you, thank you for joining us share a little bit what is management by walking around?
Steve Rice 08:14
Well, excuse me, I’m so excited. I’m starting to go pear. So you know, it came to me as a joke, and I’m sure somebody else is has come up with it, you know, but I was joking with a friend because I don’t have an MBA, you know, I have a degree in sociology, like Go figure. And like I said, I was a fine art major. My claim to fame is I, I, I made a piece of art on the UC Irvine Campus that it took them about 18 years to eliminate the effects of it. So, but the sociology degree, managed by walking around is maybe an outshoot of that. I mean, because I’m a very personable person.
But I also in my experience, learned that you don’t really know what’s going on in your business unless you actually ask the people who are in it. And what what happens is, we all assume competence for the people that are in our business, or at least Let’s hope we do.
And if you’re an executive, let’s say you’re the owner, the CEO, you have a CMO, CTO, maybe you have people who are acting in multiple capacities, but you build a hierarchy in your mind. And those of us who are consultants always say, well, you have to have a structure, what’s your what’s your organizational structure and, and we’re right. And, but eventually, what you have is silos, inside different departments.
They’re unintentionally made, and then you have mechanisms to break down the silos, and a lot of those mechanisms, I think all of them work, okay. The only one that I know of that really works is MB w a like if you if you have your MD who you will notice about your business with other people. And what I mean by that is, in the typical example, a company with a couple of C suite executives, they’re tasked by maybe the there’s a leadership team that may or may not include them, that says, you know, you need to know what’s going on in your area, and you need to be coordinating that with the other area.
So, you know, Jane, and Bob and Bill and Gwyneth are all going to get together and then they’ve got people below them. And it’s natural for them to turn around to the people that are reporting to them and say, This is what I need you to report to me. And then those people generally are one layer above the people who are literally doing the work, the hard working folks in the shipping room, people that are manufacturing products, people that are pre assembling the people that are assembling the people that are boxing, those are the people that are doing the work, people that are picking up the phone.
And, and so they generally go down and say if you guys have any trouble, let me know. And I’ll report it back up the stream. Well, these are people who have their hard workers, they’re great human beings, and their job is to get something done. And I’ll give you an example of the typical thing that happens. I had a client who we had come in and streamline all their business processes and all their shipping things. And then they brought on a company that created an infomercial.
And part of that infomercial included the decision to bring on a phone company, a telemarketing company who had answered the phone for the infomercial, take those orders. So we basically had a new channel that created a new stream of information that was supposed to come in to the AARP. Well, we’re the people who help and make and implement wise technology choices. And be we’re working with an IT person who is essentially alone. And so if this wasn’t her challenge that the company had put her in a place where she didn’t have any help. But the the folks in the finance department said this is the format that we need stuff to be in.
And they got that from us because we said this is what it needs to look like in order to get it into the PRP. They reported that to the phone company who double checked it with us. And he said, yeah, that’s the correct format. This is the place you put it on the server, we set up all the secure stuff. So that could happen safely. And it turned out that the the so the IT person checked it to she did her job. Well, this shipping guy was having a hard time with the AARP. And no one had ever asked him about what effect this would have on him. And somewhere along the line, he found out that there was a spreadsheet that had all the people from this, this phone order company in it.
And then he being the person who he is a really good person. He’s now you know, head of major departments. He had a job to be done, which was he needed to get that stuff out that day. And it wasn’t coming through the gear p the way he needed it to for other reasons, right. So he found that spreadsheet on the server, opened it up, sort of it did some things. Got it so he could import it into worldship. And he click a button and he’d print out 269 labels for this single product was was this infomercial. And then they’d slap together 269 boxes, and they’d ship them all, like they could do it in an hour, you know, maybe less.
So it’s incredibly efficient. But he had to spend, he had to spend an hour on that spreadsheet. I watched through the business one day because that was what I was paid to do. And I just started asking people what they were doing. And I looked at him and I said, what, what are you doing? You’re actually working on a spreadsheet. And I realized, because I know systems that that what he was doing was the reason other people who I had asked earlier in the day, were saying, Well, I’m trying to fix this other problem, because the stuff from the phone people isn’t coming through correctly.
Well, the reason the GRP wasn’t working, is that he found the spreadsheet and was updating it for him to use it correctly. And then that the AARP tool was coming in like every hour and in trying to import it was breaking. And and so the finance department went to the phone people and to the it gal and said Are we getting the right file? And then they came to us and said, Are you getting the right file? We said yes. Because we looked at it right, the file they sent us was the right sample. Nobody besides me decided to go down to the floor and ask what was going on?
So so we ended up having a meeting, we had to sort of call a meeting of the different teams that were involved. So we had we had finance, we had marketing because they were making promises to the customers that stuff would ship out, you know, the same day and it wasn’t always happening, at least before this gentleman fixed it with a spreadsheet. And we had the CTO and CFO and the owner and one of the CFO bases like why am I here like this is a waste of my time I got stuff to do and we said just give us give us a half an hour to talk this through.
And as we as we ask people questions, we knew what was going to be happening. In this meeting, when we got to the guy who’s building the spreadsheet, he said, Yeah, I opened the spreadsheet, I do this. And we watched the the CFOs eyes light up. And she said, she likes that. She said, Isn’t this the same spreadsheet that you guys confirmed was put on the server in that location? And we said, Yes. And she’s like, so this is why I have three accounts at the end of every day had matching 269 orders to our eirp accounting package. And I said, Yes. Right. It’s like, okay, now I know why I’m here. And I said, Yes, we can fix this, with a couple simple things. But now we know what’s going on. So
Damon Pistulka 15:39
that’s such a good example. Because, you know, even back in my past, when I was running companies, it is so valuable for the executives to walk around a for two reasons, really, you’re gonna see things like this. And it’s not just the, the, you know, the head of the company that needs to do it, but people need to do it and in different areas, because you see things that other people that are there every day Don’t.
And, and you’re and that that togetherness and working, that kind of stuff, is is so valuable, and you will find and fix things that will just go on unnoticed, robbing your people, making them you know, just satisfied with their work, and wasting time, money and energy, that that you can fix all those things, just by taking the time to talk to people and figure out what’s going on. And that’s this, this example I listen to you talk to before.
So cool, because I the way you’re doing it is making sure that technology works, right? Because most times, when that technology is implemented, you hit it this it works for the CFO, it works for the you know, the the people that speak up the loudest. And then there’s the the masses that get to use it however the hell they got to figure out to use it, because it’s, it’s what they told they get.
Steve Rice 17:01
Yeah. Well, and I would, I would actually say that a little different. Because we do you we do make sure that technology works, right, sooner or later. But it all starts with the human element. Yeah. And if you if you work, there’s leaders at every level of the business. And if you work at any portion of a business where people are doing things, below you on the organizational chart, I think you will benefit from taking this approach. It’s as simple as asking three questions. You know, what are you doing? What did you expect would happen? And it did, did what you want to happen actually happen?
Regardless of what your expectation for hitting the button? Should it be doing something else? And that that’s what’s missing from most conversations. It’s, it’s one thing to go if you went to that gentleman in the shipping department and said, is everything working? Great? He’d be like, yeah, is it? Is there anything wrong? You have any challenges? He probably be like, no, works fine, you know, but if you actually said, Well, what are you doing? When I’m working on it? This is the exact conversation I have. I’m working on a spreadsheet, so I can get the stuff into the into worldship?
Really? So we’re Why are you working that spreadsheet? Well, because whenever I click the, you know, the button, it spits out 269 ups stop signs instead of 269 labels. Okay. So his expectations weren’t being met. And here’s what’s true if we backup The job of a company, you know, the leadership team is to reduce the chaos inside the business, in a certain sense, right? And, and we do in the end, lean on technology for that. Now, you can implement technology poorly, and do not do bad things to the chaos, you can increase the chaos in your company that happens all the time.
What’s true, is it no matter how wonderful your implementation is at any one moment, and let’s take the massive implementation of E RP and its connectivity to the website and maybe your other channels, Amazon and eBay and whatnot. That could be beautiful. Guaranteed, chaos will enter that system over time, unless you battle that chaos. And so that’s all we’re talking about is if you stay in touch with what’s going on in on the production floor, whatever you want to call it, you will identify that chaos before it turns into something that will seriously affect your business.
Curt Anderson 19:32
Right. This is awesome, Steven, and a couple shout outs I’m gonna give Eric just joined us welcome Eric Scott and Chuck, thank you for stopping by Chuck has a couple comments, Steve. So Chuck says the back to when we’re talking about calm jungle, the jungle is where folks feel like they are when they entered the.com world and you know it was true 20 years ago. It’s still true today, you know, and then Trump comes back.
Yeah, Steve, it’s about the system augmenting the humans not the other way around. A couple of days, I’ve dropped Steve’s LinkedIn profile and his website in the chatbox, please connect with Steve rice, if you’re not already connected, as you can tell, he is just amazing. Steve is you’re talking what we love is like you humanized you, you’re humanizing these issues are these problems in creating solutions. And by creating new solutions for humans with technology, you know, it’s like the human first technology. Second, as you’re describing Human
Steve Rice 20:28
Centered Design, like the D school at Stanford design.
Curt Anderson 20:30
So we’re huge being that most of us are based on manufacturing. And if you haven’t read the book, you need to go out and get it this weekend, the goal? Dr. Gold rat wrote the book called The goal back in 1984. I’ve got to read on my phone over here. He is the master of Theory of Constraints. And Steve, I know you’re a big Theory of Constraints to see. And what’s great is for a shameless little plug in, there’s a there’s a book out there called stop being the best kept secret demon, you know, that book, don’t you?
Damon Pistulka 20:59
I’ve seen it before.
Curt Anderson 21:01
Yeah, and stop being the best kept secret, we actually have a chapter in it’s called using applying Theory of Constraints to help with your e commerce strategies. And that’s exactly what you do. Steve, as you go. And you look for those those constraints, those bottlenecks, talk a little bit like, say, when you enter into a client for the first time, or if you want to share a case study success story, when you walk in for the first time, and you’re tackling that Theory of Constraints, how do you What’s your approach? How do you tackle that?
Steve Rice 21:28
It’s all about asking questions. You know, clients often come to us and they’ll say, Hey, we have a budget, our CFO, or we sat down with our, our whole company, and we have a budget for x 1000s of dollars for a website, and we want to pay you to do it, because we heard about you. And my favorite thing to do is say, No, you know, and then they get to say like cartoons mom on South Park, global but what you know, there, we want to give you money.
Why are you saying no? let’s back up a second. And, and let’s learn more about your business. Because, you know, we could be out my case and just turn around and throw a website up for you. What we really want to do is actually build the right webs read right website for you. And to be honest, I might actually do an assessment and say, You don’t need to do website, maybe I can save you 50 or $250,000, depending on the size of the company. Because you don’t need one.
Yeah. And so, so the answer to the question is Is, is I insist that we spend a lot of time talking to the company and actually find out who they think their customer is. and talk to the people, the other leaders, even if they’re not viewed as leaders in the company, I like to talk to them and talk to the doers at the bottom and actually understand what’s going on in the business. Because I don’t want to be the guy that implements something that all the people you know, down below so to speak, don’t use, right. So I was actually talking to a woman named stay Ha. Kumari, who you guys know,
Curt Anderson 23:03
Damon Pistulka 23:04
She’s on. She’s on LinkedIn live commenting there. So is she really? Yeah, she said it hard. We’re good.
Steve Rice 23:11
I was trying to find a quote from her. Because she said something. To the extent like, you know, tech technology implementations can’t just be an executive decision. Like you can’t expect it to work overnight. It often requires a cultural change. And hence, it’s really important for your associates understand and embrace it, for it to be successful. And she’s 100% correct in that right. So there you go. Yeah.
Curt Anderson 23:39
So now in your I know, you’re a big WordPress WooCommerce. Guy, your e commerce expert. So let’s take it to the next level. So talk a little bit about, say, you identify that they do need a website, or they’re going to go into e commerce, you know, talk a little bit about those next steps, that strategy, and I know you have some extremely powerful solutions that you’ve shared with me that you delivered.
Can you talk a little bit about that? As our friend john says, That’s why it’s called a digital transformation. JOHN, and back to Chris. Chris has read the goals so many times that her book is flimsy man, I agree. We got to get Alex through to the success story, right. Yeah. So talk a little bit about your process with your clients when you when you are going to marry or make make that plunge into e commerce?
Steve Rice 24:25
Well, first, let me say that for you know, the 20 plus 25 years that we’ve been doing this, we’ve always been platform agnostic. And I think you have to be like it, you know, the world is changing so fast, the technology that’s available to us. And so we’ve built sites in in Magento. We build sites in WordPress, we were actually we actually built 17 years ago, 16 years ago, a plugin that wrapped Joomla website design around WordPress, I think we were the first people to ever do that.
So that you can actually have a blog look like the rest of your site. You wouldn’t have to manage theme as a secondary theme, right? So So we’ve worked in Drupal, commerce Zen cart, all the derivatives of OAS commerce, and Joomla. Frankly, that was back when the internet was really annoying, because those tools by the standards of even then sucked. Can I say sucked?
They were horrible. And I think Magento was the first one where we looked at it, we’re like, finally someone’s getting it. Right. And, and so we worked in Magento for eight or 10 years. And when when Magento went from one to two, we started looking back at WordPress, because they had started developing shopping cart WooCommerce. And there’s no way four years ago that you would take an industrial manufacturer with 1000s of products and put them into a WordPress website.
It’d be crazy. Yeah. But you can do that now. And so we’re always looking for the highest value, we’re really the advocates for our clients, we’re not just trying to sell them a particular thing, right, so. So right now, we actually switched to WordPress from Magento, because we felt we could develop what we’re doing for our clients in WordPress, for a lot less money for our clients, and be more nimble. And so the tool that you’re talking about is we basically built a full manufacturing distribution tool out of WordPress, out of a bunch of plugins that didn’t really talk to each other.
And we’ve written our own custom plugins that allow them to work together. And we did it from the human perspective. So the way, the way I like to say it is if, if you’re, if you’re a person, you can go order on the web, like every, every website should do that, if you’re just a consumer, if you’re a dealer to those consumers in your state running, you know, Bob’s Bait and Tackle in eufaula, Alabama, you should be able to log in to the same website and get the kind of pricing you need, right? Because you’re going to be given maybe a 40% margin plus 2% 60 terms, or maybe you’re part of a bi group, so you get an extra 30 days, right?
Yeah. Likewise, if you’re a sales rep, and Bob is one of your customers, and you’re representing the manufacturer, you’re an outside sales rep, you should be able to log in and see all those orders.
And then usually companies like that will have an internal sales team that’s supporting the outside sales reps, maybe has their own set of dealers, maybe even has a separate sales team that works with Home Depot, and Rei, or whoever the big column, the box stores. And all those people have different needs. So from a user experience standpoint, with this tool, what I love about it is, if if you’re an inside sales rep and you’re at a trade show, you can pop onto the phone service. And I say that because a trade shows are typically very difficult to get on Wi Fi is 15, maybe 6000 vendors and 30,000. People all trying to connect, but the phones usually work pretty well.
So instead of handing somebody, this typical the outdoor industry, you go through your line, you hand them a spreadsheet, or you give them a little thumb drive, and they go home and have to learn a new spreadsheet that’s different than the other manufacturer. In our case, the clients who use our tool, they can sit down with a client and go Yeah, let’s just place the order right here. And you can modify it later, if you want, we’ll set a date out for March of 2022. And they can literally just do it on a phone or an iPad. And the same experience gets, you know, had by everybody that’s entering the system. And so that’s that’s what we like to do.
Damon Pistulka 28:42
Right. And it’s so cool, because that’s, I mean, what you describe is exactly the kind of company I ran a number of years ago that we had outside sales reps, we had internal sales people, we had house accounts, we had outside accounts, we had warranty. And and each one of those sales reps, even though an account may not necessarily have been theirs, they would still understand what was in their territory. And we had to do that all manually on the backside of this thing.
And we literally had one person, that’s what they did every month, keep that data, which and then you don’t have the interface, like you said at the trade shows we would be at trade shows we’d be in Chicago at the trade show the big retail show every year and never took a single order. Yeah. And just think what you could do with your kind of solution and sit there and just be taking orders, putting them out, you know, and it’s all set up. They didn’t have to the customer didn’t really have to do much of anything other than show up at the trade show like they want to do and talk.
Steve Rice 29:42
Right. Yeah. Well, and here’s the challenge for most industries. It it It starts with the vendors, you know, somebody like Patagonia or whoever right and I’m not bagging on Patagonia because I don’t know what what they do specifically but there’s a there’s a sub issue. industry that supports those companies.
And they make these wholesale dealer portals that are designed to somehow connect that vendor and their products to the buyers that are all over the United States, whether it’s, you know, a buyer for Rei that has a whole territory, or it’s, you know, Ash an outdoor store like I used to. And the challenge is that there’s a couple level, and there is no industry standard for usability for these things. And so so as a as a buyer, once again, whether you’re from a box store, or you’re from a little mom and pop shop in a town, you have to learn several different systems to even get your job done. And what the companies, the service companies are trying to do something good, right.
But what the the companies that hire them to do that forget is that we already have a standard operating procedure for web based portals. It’s, you know, we every one of us has ordered from a website. And we all know what a good experience looks like. And we know what a bad experience looks like. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel around that and create an additional problem for someone who’s already the challenge that they’re trying to actually deal with maybe 70 vendors in place something like 250 orders in a three week period for ship dates, six to 12 months from now, right?
So every piece of every tool, you make them re learn every six months, because they that’s your lucky if they do is it gates, the gates to their success in a gates your success? I can’t tell you how many conversations actually I can tell you this last fall spring, I spoke to no less than a dozen sales reps, somewhere around the tradeshow time. Because I was coming to their town, I said, What are you doing, and they’re like, I can’t even meet you for coffee, because now I’m entering hand entering all the orders from my dealers, because my dealers refuse to use the portal from New Order or one of these other tools that are great tools.
They’re like, they can’t use it. Or we gave him a spreadsheet with with macros and stuff, you know, and it maybe 5% of the people know what a macro is, and have the correct version of Microsoft that it would work. Yeah. And so they’re literally doing the job that should be automatic. Yeah. And, and they’re like one of them said, like, I’m starting tomorrow, and I’ll probably be done on, you know, a week from Thursday.
Damon Pistulka 32:33
Steve Rice 32:34
right. This is a sales rep whose job is to sell things. And now I’ve got like a 14 day period where dad, he’s not servicing anybody, right? not helping anybody. And it’s just because the tool was was an unwise decision was made around the tool. And they didn’t take into account the human element at either end of the spectrum. Right. That was a soapbox. Thanks for giving me the time I’m out.
Curt Anderson 32:59
That’s awesome. In the seat. What’s great is what you know, conversations with you, you talk about like, not necessarily even meeting customers where they are, but meeting their customers where they’re where they are helping them where they need to be, you know, a lot of us, you know, Damon, we still love to listen to our eight track players, right? If we could, but we just can’t that technology’s not available anymore.
We need to move forward and get moving. So efficiencies, you’re taking advantage, a lot of opportunities, bridging gaps, technology communication, removing silos, removing those constraints. For datca. What’s what do you see for the future for.com jump jungle, or as we’re hopefully coming out at COVID? what direction you see for manufacturers and for your company? Steve?
Steve Rice 33:43
Well, that’s a great question, Kurt. From the manufacturing standpoint, I think we also have to talk about the not just manufacturing, but sales, both direct to consumer and to dealers, and whatnot. And I think the main thing is that the habits of every single person in the world have been rewired, we’ve changed, right. And we’re gonna have a certain percentage that go back to the old way. But really, what COVID did is it speeded up, everybody’s adoption of whatever technology pieces have been presented to them, right. And if it works, they’re not going to go back. So we want to make sure that it does work.
So, so for us, for.com jungle, we’re one of those companies, we don’t take on just anybody. And, you know, that’s not super special. But we want to make sure that the companies that we work with are ones that sort of get what we do, we get what they do. Definitely have an ethical stance that, you know, that we apply to the companies that we bring in. And because of that, you know, my my average client retention is over 12 years. I know like I’ve got people that have been with me for 2022 years. In fact, I have one customer has been with me before my company began. Right. So back in the day, right, right.
So. So yeah, I think the manufacturers they know that this digital transformation is happening. And and I don’t mean that word in the sense that all the marketers in the providers like si you need to have digital transfer. Yeah, I mean, but the world is transforming your eyes, they know it’s happening. And there are challenges to be met. And we don’t know what all of those even are yet. Yeah, I mean, just even the idea of blockchain security, I have a feeling in 10 years, like there might be like, the entire web is going to be running web sites with some sort of underpinning of blockchain security that I don’t even understand yet. Yeah. So so you just, you have to stay on the ball.
And look for advisors, I think that are outside your business, who can bring you the intelligence that they’ve learned from other companies, because because, frankly, some of the best things I’ve ever done for, you know, Company A, was something I learned while I was working with company, he, you know, and B, C, and D all benefited from it, too. Yeah. It’s when you’re in a business, it’s hard not to just look conceptually down at your business and not be looking out. You need people to be looking out and you need people to bring information in. And go back to the thing like even with your third party vendors, you need to be asking questions, why are you doing that?
How is that going to get that? You know, a quick example that is actually sat as, as an advisor with a company that was talking with NetSuite who had flown in to very expensive salespeople. And somebody asked, because we needed to, does this integrate with Magento? And the person said, Yes, it does. And I said, also, can you tell me how they kind of looked at the other guests? I don’t know. Do you? No, no, no. What? Why don’t you make a phone call? And then we’ll keep talking. Right? And that was just part of that question. Like, why? Why are you Why are you saying that?
What do you think you’re going to get out of it? We knew what we wanted to get out of it. And that wasn’t really the answer. Yes. isn’t the real answer. It turned out there was a third party vendor for $30,000. That would do the integration. Right. So this, the salespersons job is to land the client and worried about pricing later. And if we hadn’t been there, they would have, you know, probably signed, I don’t know, 80 to $150,000 contract, and then probably had, that wasn’t the only tool that was like that, they probably would have had another $100,000 and add on fees that they hadn’t budgeted for, that they would have had to come up with in the next two years.
Because the salesperson, you know, sold NetSuite to them and they got stars in their eyes about this great tool that could do everything when it is a great tool. I’m not bagging on it, I am bagging on the sales people who don’t know the capacities, or the reasons for those capacities of their own system, and how to actually market it and sell it to the people who actually need it. I’ll bag on those people all day long. If you don’t mind,
Curt Anderson 38:07
or the courage to just say, I don’t know, let me get back to you. You know, so that’s I absolutely. Let’s so as we recap, guys, so what I want to do, Steve, So reach out to you again, I’ve dropped your guys, if you’re on please connect with Steve rice, what would what an amazing conversation and see what I love, you know, high integrity, you come in with strong ethics.
And I love what you’re saying is is you know, with this specific example, is having the ability to ask the right questions, you know, and again, shame on this person not to throw anybody under the bus, but to, you know, say yes on something that would, you know, drive up the price for that client. So we’ve talked today about humanizing first and then providing human solutions with technology. You’ve talked about, you know, removing those constraints, those bottlenecks.
We are we’re all huge goal fans daymond I saw your post, you’ve given out 100 copies of that book, guys, if you haven’t read it, go out and get the goal. It’s a phenomenal book. See if I have your website, I have your LinkedIn profile, any other thing that you want to share as far as how to reach out to you how to connect, we’re in we’re going to jump back to the tables we’re at. We’re coming into time. love for you guys to stick around, Don especially I’d love for you to meet Steve, any last parting thoughts that you want to share? Steve with everybody, any words of Steve Reiss wisdom that you want to share? Be fearless and be kind. Be fearless and be kind man.
Steve Rice 39:33
If there’s one thing I have that that I have, I think given to my children, and that maybe sets me apart. It’s that fearlessness. I’m not afraid to fail. I’m not afraid to look like a dope. I want to ask questions. That’s where the fearlessness comes in. And because I don’t know and if you can say I don’t know and ask a question. That’s, that’s fearlessness.
Curt Anderson 39:57
That’s half the battle. So So again, and I know you’re Great dad, we’ve talked about your kids and so see what a blessing this has been what a gift and again grew up with a professional fish fishermen father, you’re a fishing fishing guide up in Alaska, you’ve you’ve traveled all over the place. You’re just crushing it with e commerce been doing it for decades now. Long. You’re a pioneer in many fronts on e commerce. So guys reach out to sea rice manufacturing expert, Damon, we have a super exciting program come up this Wednesday in New York.
Yeah, we do. EP so if there’s any manufacturers out there that want to hang out with myself daymond Jeffrey Graham, we have a three hour manufacturing workshop, a b2b sales workshop at the New York MEP at few sub. So we have that going on this week. So I want to give a shout out there. David, why don’t you take it away. Steve, thank you so much. What you absolutely crushed it today. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your passion. We appreciate you, dude.
Steve Rice 40:53
Thank you. And I want you to know, I appreciate you guys. You’re wonderful hosts. It’s been a pleasure talking and really appreciate you having me on.
Curt Anderson 41:03
Absolutely. What an honor. So with everybody go out and crush it this weekend. Last weekend of July for 2021. Damon take it away my friend.
Damon Pistulka 41:13
All right. Thanks, Kurt. Thanks, Steve. Again, dropping all the words of wisdom on us. We have great people like, yeah, just drop it. We have people on LinkedIn. Thanks so much for link or watching us on LinkedIn. Listen to us. Whatever you’re doing there. Go like Kurt says.com jungle, check out Steve connect with him. And we’re gonna drop off here on LinkedIn live. And if you want to join us here you can get on remote view. Look at my post Kurt post Kurt’s post for the week. You can get on remote here and talk to our speakers after when we have these events every Friday at 1030. Pacific. We’re all in Pacific now.
Curt Anderson 41:54
Get your code Kurt’s get usually he’s gonna have a room and post.
Damon Pistulka 41:58
He’s gonna have the brutal realization when he gets home Saturday that how quick Sunday morning comes. That’s right. Great to see you all today. Thanks so much, Steve. Thanks, everyone, for attending. I’m dropping off a LinkedIn live right now. We’re going to go back to the table so people can talk with Steve
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