Notes from the President

Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

As I write this, we are approaching a very important date in the history of the United States. This may sound a little strange at first, but I choose not to celebrate the Fourth of July. Don’t get me wrong, our offices will be closed and I will be taking the day off. However, I will be celebrating Independence Day; it happens to be on July 4th.
I feel we have developed a tendency to recognize, observe, and celebrate dates rather than the events that made the dates important to us. So, while I think it is important to remember the special events that happened on a date, it is even more important to recognize why that date matters.
These thoughts can carry into your business management as well. Every day, week, month, and year we run a variety of financial reports to track how our business is operating. We look at a Balance Sheet and get a snapshot of the financial health of our business, but do we dig into it and determine what actually caused the changes on this report? We run an Income Statement, P&L, Statement of Farming Activities, or Statement of Revenue and Expenditures (depending on your type of organization), but, do we take the time to drill down and determine why the business is heading in the direction it is?
Every country and business has events and reports that they recognize and review at certain times of the year. Let’s make it a point to remember the reason we are running these reports, and especially the reason we are celebrating these dates.

Notes from the President

Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

This year the employees at Red Wing Software are celebrating forty years of providing software and related services to our customers. There have been an amazing number of changes over the years, and a few of the people that make Red Wing Software what it is, have seen virtually all of these changes. While we constantly look for new, talented people to join our team, we have been fortunate to have retained many of the people that had the vision to start this journey and help get our company off the ground forty years ago.
Throughout the year we will be organizing events that our employees, customers, and local community will have an opportunity to get involved in. One thing you may notice is a change in our logo for this year. You will see it on our website, advertising, and other places we use the logo. We have also asked our employees and customers to relate stories of how things have changed over the last forty years. We will share stories in our newsletters throughout the year.
We consider all of our customers and employees (past and present) a part of the history and success of Red Wing Software and wish to thank every one of you for the many years of support and service that you have given us.

Notes from the President

Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

As I pointed out in last month’s newsletter, when you have team members who have been with the company for many years, they eventually get to the point of a well-deserved retirement. At the end of May, we have two additional team members that have reached that milestone. Dick and Marlene Moore have decided to embark on a new phase in their lives.
Having worked with the two of them since the early 1980s, I could fill all the space on the internet with stories and lessons I’ve learned from them, but I will try to keep it relatively short for this newsletter.
In 1979, Dick founded Farm Management, Inc. that eventually became one of the companies that merged to form Red Wing Software in 2003. Over the last 40 years, Dick has led the development effort for many software projects, and his influence will last far into the future. Not only has his talent shaped the software you use today, through his participation in outside organizations, he has had a lasting impact on the financial standards of an entire industry. Don’t be surprised to see his continued influence even after retirement. Rest assured that Dick has done an excellent job of transferring knowledge to the rest of the development team and has mentored Aaron in his new role as Development Manager.
Marlene has touched the lives of virtually every user of our software. Most of you have had the opportunity to work with Marlene as you put your financial records in order. Marlene has served in several roles in the organization: accountant, support technician, classroom instructor, and most recently defining and recording educational videos for our products. She has been a mentor to many new team members as they get up-to-speed on our software and the industries we serve. Marlene’s influence on our software, team members, and customers will last for years.
I anticipate Dick and Marlene will spend much of their new free time on their passion of keeping up with activities of their many grandchildren. In addition, I’m sure you will find Dick enjoying his other passion in his new woodworking shop. (Come to think of it, I could use some new kitchen cabinets.)
Please join me in wishing them the best in their new phase in life. They will be truly missed.

Notes from the President


Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

One of the many things that makes Red Wing Software a great company is the average length of time employees stay with the organization. Unfortunately, on occasion, one of those long-time staffers decides they have reached the point they think they are ready to retire.
Janet Polski has been in charge of helping customers renew their Customer Care Membership for over 15 years. When Janet indicated a few months ago she was thinking of retiring at the end of April, we knew we had big shoes to fill. My opinion is, nobody should retire until they have at least 30 years of service in. As usual, my opinion didn’t carry much weight in her decision-making process.
Janet has been instrumental in creating and streamlining our current Customer Care Membership renewal process. I’m sure many of you have had the opportunity to work with Janet over the years, and know how good she is at making the process quick and easy. We certainly appreciate her role in helping maintain our excellent rate of customer retention.
Rest assured the renewal process will continue as it has with Janet’s protégé, Katrina. Like Janet, you have probably talked to Katrina over the last few years as she, among other things, answered the phones for Red Wing Software. Katrina has been working under Janet’s tutelage for a few months now, and as of April 1st assumes the position full-time while Janet transitions to retirement on April 30th.
We certainly wish Janet the best in retirement as she takes care of her horses and various other animals on her “ranch” with her husband, Tom. Tom is also the Fixed Base Operator at the Red Wing Regional Airport, so I hope to run into Janet occasionally at the airport as I’m sure he will talk her into helping out.
While we never like to lose great team members, we certainly appreciate all the hard work and dedication they have provided over the years, and Janet has been one of the best.

Notes from the President


Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

Since Red Wing Software is in the customer service business, I am always acutely aware of the kind of service I get from other businesses so I can learn the best ways to take care of our customers, and the kinds of service that can drive them crazy. (We try to avoid the latter.)
One day last week, I had the “opportunity” to be “WOWed” by the customer service at two local restaurants. Even though Red Wing, MN is a relatively small city, we have a number of “chain” eateries available to us. One such establishment is Culver’s, famous for their “ButterBurgers”. Since all their items are made-to-order, you order at the counter and they bring the food to your table when it’s ready. The food is good, but I also go there to watch their amazing staff.
As soon as I walked in, I was greeted with a friendly voice from behind the counter. I placed my order, took my number to place on the table, and sat down. I watched as the employees working as a team, cleaned tables and chairs, and picked up loose paper and fries from the floor. The neat thing is, they were interacting with customers, and smiling the entire time. While I sat there eating my meal, at least four different people stopped by to make sure everything was to my liking. When finished, I just sat there for a few minutes admiring how this organization was operating like a well-oiled machine. Finally, a young lady came over and said, “We have an extra ice cream cone - would you like it?” and handed me the treat. Most places would have just thrown it out, but she took the opportunity and effort to make an already happy customer even happier. I was “WOWed”. Then, as I walked out, a voice from behind me said, “Thanks for dining with us; have a great day”.
My other experience last week was with another national restaurant chain that shall remain anonymous. When the hostess finally noticed that we entered, she showed us to our table where we waited a few minutes for someone to take our drink order, and then a little later our food order. When our order arrived, we had to ask for another place setting because the three of us didn’t want to share the two knives and forks they had supplied us. The food was good, as usual, but then it came time to pay. I was fortunate to be a guest of the person across from me who was buying. There was a touch screen device on the table that was to be used for payment. After mentioning how disgustingly filthy the device was, I watch as he punched buttons and slid his credit card through the machine at least eight times trying to make it work. After struggling with the device, finally a server stopped by to help complete the transaction. Since he needed a receipt that was printed somewhere else in the building, the staff member had to retrieve it. I thought “WOW” wouldn’t it have been much easier for everyone if the staff member would have just taken the card, or even run it for us right at the table, instead of struggling with this device that was mostly in the way the whole time we were eating. A totally different kind of “WOW”!
In business, every contact we have with a customer, or prospective customer, is a chance to “WOW” them. We should all focus on making sure they are “WOWed” in the right way.