Customer Connection

Business Value

What if you renamed”Marketing Department”? Instead “Department of Dynamic Customer connections. – Tom Peters

A basic business principle: no customers….no business. Often businesses forget this….or more so, it isn’t instilled in the culture of the company. Almost daily, there are reports of one airline or another that does something to irritate their customer. Of course since the planes are near capacity….it probably doesn’t bother management. There will always be another person in line or coming through the door.

In our business, we had to maintain a strong customer connection….otherwise they would not return. Not all connections were 100% and we did miss some. In hindsight, 100% would have been our business goal….even if the transaction was unprofitable.

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Competition

Kroger

Last week Kroger announced that it was leaving the Triangle  and closing 14 locations.

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article213090544.htmlhttp://

Eight the stores are being sold to Harris Teeter….which is owned by Kroger though operated as a separate business entity. The primary reason given for exiting the market was that the Kroger stores were no longer competitive and profitable. “we have not been able to grow our business the way we would like in this market.”

The Apex Kroger (photo) has been an adequate store….with a drive-thru pharmacy and a gas station. However, over the years it has worn out. And that is the real reason….Kroger is leaving the Triangle….it has been unwilling to make the investment in its business. While other grocers….Harris-Teeter….Publix expanded in the market as the region grew….Kroger maintained the status quo.

Kroger depended more on name recognition….rather than the product it presented to its customers. While the stores will be missed by loyal customers….if a business is not willing to invest in its future….than better competitors will take its place.

Cruise on the Great Lakes

Pearl Mist

From mlive:  https://www.mlive.com/expo/news/erry-2018/06/f838d4da255473/first_cruise_ship_of_2018_seas.html

Unlike mega cruise ships with 5000+ people on board….the Pearl Mist has a capacity of 210….just right for Muskegon as a cruise destination on the Great Lakes.

Muskegon will always be a manufacturing town….as all the Great lakes states are manufacturing states.

However, fresh water plays a major role in local economies. It’s significant that Muskegon has ten visits from the Pearl Mist and capitalizes on its Muskegon Lake harbor (one of the largest on the lakes).

Note the nice docking facility.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_Mist

Old School Business

Russ’

Russ’ restaurants have been in business since 1934. Founded in Zealand, MI….there are 12 locations in Muskegon, Holland, Grand Haven and Grand Rapids.

Russ’ longevity is simple….what it does – it does well….nothing fancy….just consistent….and that is what the customer expects every time they enter the front door.

The photo is of the Muskegon/Henry St. Location….while the carhop service is no longer available it does have something that few other restaurants might not….and what makes Russ’ unique. Though it may be out-of-date….the tel-in-dine area is still in use.

 

 

 

 

 

Just pick up a telephone and call an order in to the kitchen (the wait person brings it to the booth).

Old school for sure….yet still effective and part of the Russ’ culture.

http://www.russrestaurants.com/

Built to Last

Marquette Castings

From CrainsDetroit:   http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20180527/news/661916/firing-up-a-cookware-business-marquette-castings-manufactures-michigan

Cast Iron skillets were the predominant cookware in the late 1800’s and early 1900s. Cooks prefer cast iron because it holds temperatures longer and produces a desirable sear on foods.

As expected, many companies produce these skillets off shore….primarily because of cost.

Marquette castings in Royal Oak Michigan manufactures quality cast iron cookware using the investment casting process.  Investment casting….which has been used across diverse industries for cast-iron parts….yields skillets that are much closer to the original cast-iron process.

A good benefit: The warranty extends from the date of purchase through the lifetime of the product.

While made in Michigan (Marquette being synonymous with iron) is a nice touch…..the ultimate test is product quality and value in the marketplace.

https://www.marquettecastings.com/

Doggie Wash

Trademark Infringement

From Triangle Business Journal:  https://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2018/05/31/doggie-wash-business-in-wilmington-files-lawsuit.html

The Tru-Blu and Evolution Doggie Wash companies are almost identical….after all, Evolution was licensed until 2013 to sell the K9000 dog wash system in the US.

The courts will have to determine the outcome of the trademark infringement. What is more interesting is:

  • Apparently there are numerous doggie washing vending machines throughout the US (and Australia).
  • Unique ideas and products can come from anywhere on the planet!

http://www.trubludogwash.com.au/

https://evolutiondogwash.com/

 

News Roundup

May 2018

+ Where are they now from May 2013:

+ Robot factory:  http://www.businessinsider.com/adidas-high-tech-speedfactory-begins-production-2018-4

+ Mary Barra, GM CEO:  https://www.wharton.upenn.edu/story/8-insights-leadership-gm-ceo-mary-barra-wharton-people-analytics-conference/

+ Purpose Driven Business:   https://www.fastcompany.com/40552232/want-a-purpose-driven-business-know-the-difference-between-mission-and-purpose

+ Warby-Parker insights:  http://firstround.com/review/how-warby-parker-makes-every-point-in-its-employee-lifecycle-extraordinary/?_lrsc=f2d8a2d2-0ccc-4a99-b50f-e3ad4d6ff739

+ I want to keep the “MBA,” but I want it to be Master of Business Arts. – Tom Peters

+ Being missed when you’re gone is a worthy objective. – Seth Godin

+ Chick-fil-A’s success: http://www.businessinsider.com/chick-fil-a-franchise-model-success-2018-5