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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Economic Conditions Affect Business

By Tim Reynolds
President, Tribute, Inc. and President, COSE (Council of Smaller Enterprises - Cleveland)

Well it’s official. Our economy is in a recession. Of course, economic conditions will affect different businesses in different ways and some of you may be having a great year. But for those of us that have seen our business volume turn down, it’s time for some clear thinking. This will be my third major recession as a business owner and I thought I’d share just a couple of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

First, denial is the enemy. If your business needs to be smaller for a time, bite the bullet and make it smaller. Failing to take the steps you need to preserve your capital and match your business expenses to achievable revenues is the reason businesses fail.

Only then are you in a position to take advantage of the opportunities recessions have always provided flexible business owners. For example a competitor may stumble, or perhaps a vendor may lay off a talented employee that can take your company to a new level. You may have to lay off employees of your own. That’s painful of course, but it also gives you the opportunity to rethink important business processes. What you do now will lay the foundation for profitable growth thereafter.

Fortune's Feb 18, 2008 issue has an article written by management guru and Wharton faculty member, Ram Charan, which is still timely and offers some useful advice to weather the recession. I found a couple of his tips relevant:

1. Keep building. When the top line looks shaky and the bottom line worse, the temptation is to go after discretionary spending. Fine - but do not consider product development, innovation, and brand building optional. Sacrificing your future for a slightly more comfortable present is not worth it. If you keep building, you can come back strong.

Tribute continues to offer our customers new tools to streamline their business and cut costs. Our users determine the innovations most beneficial to the group as a whole and we implement those tools in our regular releases. We’ve partnered with WarehouseTWO to offer our customers an easy and convenient method to do inventory-sharing, enabling them to get rid of excess inventory and provide another means to fill backorders.

The "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" has extended the Section179 tax expensing limit to $250,000 and boosts the overall investment limit from $510,000 to $800,000, so this is the year to invest in making your company as efficient and profitable as possible.

2. Communicate intensively. Get information from where the customer action is, and get it to the operating people - fast. Companies should do so routinely, of course. But they don't. It's counterintuitive but true that when the economy slows down, the pace of decision-making has to speed up, because you can't put off the tough choices anymore. The companies that are readiest to act on solid information are primed to shoot ahead of the business cycle.

Partnering with Rubber Tree Systems, Tribute now offers TrulinX Mobile and Tribute Mobile, a business intelligence and sales force mobilization system that extracts the data from our Tribute & TrulinX systems and shares it with any mobile device. In this economy, access to up-to-the-minute data is a must.

Clear thinking and an open mind are critical to small business success. Tribute is ready to help you take a hard look at your business processes, compare them against the best standards in distribution, and show you how our software can help you achieve Best Practice. We continue to invest in product development and innovation to best serve your needs. We can help you keep the “blinders” off and streamline your business so you can be ready for the good times to come.

To find out more, visit or call us at 800-874-2883 and press “1” for sales.

About Tribute, Inc.

Tribute, Inc. is the leading provider of enterprise-wide distribution management software to the pneumatic & hydraulic, power transmission, belting, sealing products, automation & motion control, instrumentation and hose distribution marketplace. We specialize in providing superior tools combined with personal and knowledgeable customer support for this specific niche. Our customers are more than just a number – they are partners with valuable input that drives the direction of our product. Tribute has provided a comprehensive management solution for industrial distributors for 28 years and is an active member of FPDA, ISD, NAHAD and NIBA.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Increasing Profitability Through Waste Elimination in Food Manufacturing and Distribution Operations

Food and Beverage manufacturers and distributors face complex challenges that few outside the industry appreciate – inconsistent raw materials, quickly changing demand patterns, and intense regulatory compliance just to name a few. And while you’re meeting all of those challenges, you still have to produce and deliver top-quality products.

On March 11, 2009 at 2:00pm EST, Evan Garber and Jeff Greenberg will be speaking in the webinar, Increasing Profitability Through Waste Elimination in Food Manufacturing and Distribution Operations. During the webinar, you will learn the five common types of waste, how to identify waste, tips and tricks for eliminating waste, and what tools to use to track and measure your results.

To learn more about this free webinar, go to
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