Notes from the President

Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

Think big, take small steps, and keep the end goal in mind. When we, at Red Wing Software, are contemplating any major change, addition to functionality, or new software module, we always start with the end in mind. We first ask, “What are we trying to accomplish with this project?” We want to make sure the result is what our customers want out of the new functionality, and we then plan how to achieve that result.
Once we decide on the plan, and the path to reach the goal, we start to lay out the “baby steps” to get to the end. No big project can be accomplished by thinking we can do it all at once. We lay out and document all the steps it will take to complete the project.
Many of our changes and new projects are the results of requests from customers. They may need additional information on an existing report, a totally new report, or even a completely new module. We work with the customer to determine the correct result, and the best steps to accomplish the process used to get there.
In your business, whenever you are faced with a task that may seem insurmountable; think big, take small steps, and keep the end goal in mind.

 

Notes from the President

Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

How do you know if you’re doing something the best way, if you’ve only tried one way to do it? Look at any important process in your organization and think about a way to change it. You might be surprised to find out the way you’ve been performing that process isn’t the best way.
You may ask someone to be more efficient, at a lower cost, or with fewer errors, but is the system they are working in allowing them to accomplish any of these results? Trying one or more alternatives to a given process might produce the results you’re looking for, or even better results than expected.
At Red Wing Software, we never assume that there is only one way to accomplish a task. We constantly challenge our staff and debate new ways to improve, move new requests for changes through the process faster, or make our software faster, easier to use, with fewer errors, etc. Sometimes we need to think outside the box and try some ideas that feel a little strange at first. Quite often this exercise yields a result that wouldn’t have been considered without a group of us throwing out ideas and hammering through to a conclusion.
Try it. You might be surprised. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but a wise customer told me once, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you already are.”

Notes from the President

Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

I seem to be writing about this month’s subject way too often this year. One of our Accounting Software Support Specialists, Ron Delaney, retired at the end of September. Ron was an employee early in the company’s history and started his second tenure with Red Wing Software in 2006. Many of you have likely talked to Ron as you migrated from our legacy products to CenterPoint, or when needing a little help using our products. I’m certain Ron will stay busy in his retirement attending his granddaughter’s soccer games and other activities. I hope to continue to see Ron at our regular Tuesday golf outings, and I know he’s been brushing up on his game as he’s won enough this summer to have to give up his amateur status. We wish Ron the best in his retirement, and he will certainly be missed.
On a related note, many of you have probably talked to Renae, the newest member of our Support team. Renae comes to us with accounting, payroll, business, and industry knowledge, and is quickly learning CenterPoint to help our customers get the most out of their software. We’re excited to have Renae as part of our team.

Notes from the President

Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

It’s hard to believe, but summer is almost over. While we’re busy year-round at Red Wing Software, it does seem to let up a little in late summer. This gives many of our dedicated employees a chance to take a few, well-earned, days off, travel a little, and get ready for a busy winter. Based on the number of calls we get on our support lines, many of our customers are also not spending as much time on their recordkeeping and financial analysis.
Now that many of us have had a chance to rejuvenate, it’s time to get back focused on our business. Let’s take some time to make sure all information is up to date. Check inventory and verify that accounts receivable are not getting old. It’s a great time to check actual financial information compared to the budget for the year. Are we on track with revenue, and are expenses in line with projections? If numbers are a little off, there may still be time left in the year to get things back on track.
I hope everyone has had a chance to have a little down time, and if you’ve had that opportunity, now is a great time to get back focused on the business.

Notes from the President

Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

As I write this article, my wife, Pam, and I are halfway through a road trip. We haven’t been on a long road trip for some time, and now I remember why, but that’s a story for another time. We decided to drive to a meeting of the Farm Financial Standards Council in Durham, NC so we could stop near Dayton, OH to visit some customers, and tour the Airforce Museum, and then circle back through Michigan’s upper peninsula and stop by to see some relatives near Detroit.
We have several customers in the Dayton area, and because of time constraints, we were only able to visit two. Our first stop was Bowman and Landes Turkeys. I had earlier contacted long-time customer Stan Landes to see if we could get a quick tour of the operation. He was out of town during our visit and had arranged for Drew Bowman to show us around. While we expected a quick tour, Drew spent about two and a half hours with us, showing us the entire impressive operation. They raise turkeys from two days old and are vertically integrated all the way to selling whole turkeys and numerous deli products in their on-farm retail store. Bowman and Landes Turkeys is a real success story now, having their fourth generation of family involved in the business. If you live in the area or just passing through, you need to stop and get some of their awesome products.
Our second visit was with Lavy Enterprises. They started using our software in 1982, one of our first customers ever. They have used many products before the release of CenterPoint and have used CenterPoint Accounting for Agriculture for their crop operation and sod farm, CenterPoint Accounting for their equipment repair business, and CenterPoint Fund Accounting to keep track of financial records for their church. Ivan showed us around their operation, Lisa explained how they use CenterPoint in their business (and had a couple suggestions on how we could improve their user experience, which we always welcome), and Gary showed us the small but high-tech and very capable airplane they use to travel the country. We were honored to share dinner with the Lavys at a popular small-town eatery and enjoyed time reminiscing about all the changes we have been through over the years.
One thing that we noticed about both operations, and we believe all successful long-term businesses, is the great people that own, manage, and work at these companies. At Red Wing Software, we too take pride in hiring the best people, and are proud to be known as “the friendliest software company on the planet”.