There’s no doubt about it, Edge Imaging is leading edge! I met Dave Pond and his management team when I interviewed them for the Burlington Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. It was no surprise when Dave and his team won the Innovative Technology Award. Businesses need to meet a number of criteria to become a finalist and Edge Imaging certainly made the grade. The company, since its inception 4 years ago, has experienced phenomenal growth due to an exceptional management team, the integration of leading edge technology and a continual investment in their people. Edge Imaging understands to grow you need to deliver exceptional customer value and they do that by having the right people and processes in place. When I caught up with Dave they had just won a key account and were in the process of expanding their lab – in spite of these challenging economic times Edge Imaging continues to find opportunities and grow their business.
1) What is the number one thing you are doing right now to foster hope in your organization?
We’re working on much better communication with our external sales team and internal lab group, we have more regular planning meetings, ways to improve products and work flow. We always get a lot of feed back but we’re doing even more of that, talking with our field people about what our customers are saying, empowering people, showing them that they are having a positive impact into the direction of the company. It’s amazing how, depending on the people in your group, negative fear mongering can rear its ugly head. We’re aware of that and looking for ways to dispel those rumours.
2) Where are you still investing?
We’re investing in R & D; we just hired an HR person for the training of our people. We are not shrinking; we are taking the time to make sure our people are tuned up to the best of their ability. We believe by training you are showing your confidence in the business. We’ve also increased our direct mail pieces to get our name in front of customers more frequently.
3) Where are you cutting back?
Internal costs – we are looking at all of our current suppliers. There’s a lot of trickle down effect, they have been able to get better costs on their materials, and we’re making sure we are getting those cost savings. We are also investigating our current lease for cost savings.
4) What three things do you think are most important during tough economic times?
#1 communications – both to customers and staff
#2 our customers – it’s important to review costs and programming as they are likely considering shopping as well. Loyalty is important and they need to feel they are getting value – if you don’t review these things with them you don’t know what their perception of your business is and what they are thinking.
#3 our people – making sure we are making the time to get them trained and improving the quality of our people.
5) What would be your number one advice to business leaders?
Develop a plan.
6) According to the Conference Board of Canada less than 25% of companies have a strategy and plan in this slow economy.
First of all do you have a strategy and plan?
Yes we do – a one, three and five year. We go away for a three-day retreat every year with our management team. We review the past year, review our competitors – look at what’s changed, look at our forward plan and decide where we want to go. The big thing is we break down where we want our sales growth to come from – X % from this market, X % from this product, X % from this sales rep in this area. We are looking at costs – are we getting the best bang for our buck ? Where do we need to invest more or less?
7) Why do you think so few companies do?
Quite simply they get caught up in the day to day and don’t make the time to get away. It’s really quite easy – book it and do it – it’s amazing how your nose can get above the weeds after sitting around and chewing the fat. Some of things we were so busy doing day to day, once we get away and talk, we realize they aren’t that important.
8) How do you feel government could help improve the current economic state?
I don’t really have a strong comment to this. One government initiative – the incentive to purchase capital equipment is a big motivator for us to purchase a few large pieces of equipment.
9) Where do you feel the economy will be a year from now?
At the end of the day I have no idea, thinking optimistically as we tend to do here, we think we are at the bottom of the trough and things are getting better. That being said I think it is going to be a slow recovery.
10) What do you think Canadian businesses need to do to thrive in a commoditized global market?
Funny, I don’t have a lot of knowledge in this area because we don’t compete at that level. We are a service-based company and I think whether you compete nationally or internationally you need to provide your customer with exceptional value and you do that by investing in the right people to make that happen.
Thanks Dave for providing leading edge insights – your winning ideas have obviously worked in growing Edge Imaging.
Enjoy the upcoming holiday season