November Vendor Spotlight: Eliason Corporation

Eliason Corporation was founded in 1952 and is headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Credited with developing the original double-acting traffic door, they originally manufactured walk-in coolers and freezers before developing the Easy Swing® hinge system which helped develop their first traffic door.

The original Easy Swing® hinge system was patented in 1964 and it immediately became a great solution for several industries where employees could easily open the doors with serving trays or boxes, allowing the doors to close automatically behind them.  Over the years several imitations have surfaced, though none truly compare.

Eliason is the leading manufacturer of high-quality specialty doors for use in a variety of applications, including restaurants, retail stores, supermarkets and industrial facilities such as food processing and manufacturing facilities.

Eliason is well-known for making the best double-acting traffic doors, but they also offer flexible traffic doors, sliding doors, strip curtains, corrosion-resistant fiberglass (FRP) doors and fire doors, all made to the same high-quality specifications. One of their biggest strengths is their flexibility in creating custom door solutions for each customer.

Eliason has served customers all over the globe for the last 60 years and has developed a reputation for superior customer service and quality, custom products. They are committed to green manufacturing and their products can potentially contribute to LEED points in many LEED-NC (New Construction) categories.

Restaurant, Retail and Grocery Facilities – Eliason offers many doors for these segments, including corrosion-resistant entrance doors and traffic doors featuring the Easy Swing® hinge. This hinge system features a safe time-delay closing action and ADA compliance (by taking less than five pounds of pressure to open), making these doors especially convenient in a restaurant, café, bar or other food service setting. They are easily customized and can be equipped with thermal insulation for use in temperature-sensitive rooms such as walk-in coolers. Heavier-duty doors are available for use in supermarkets and retail settings where they will be subjected to pallet jacks and other moderate traffic.

Industrial, Warehouse and Manufacturing Facilities – Eliason offers many doors suited to the industrial environment, including heavy-duty traffic doors that can withstand constant forklift traffic, flexible doors with top-mounted hinges for use in cold storage facilities, automated sliding doors in a variety of finishes to suit many applications, and corrosion-resistant FRP doors made entirely from fiberglass which are ideal for wash down and corrosive applications. Eliason also offers fire-rated doors (and frames) for these applications.

“Eliason is very excited to have a partnership with Indoff and looks forward to helping their Sales Partners create the best door solutions for their clients.” said Rick Proskow, Eliason Marketing Manager.

Indoff is very excited to continue to grow their relationship with Eliason!

For more information about their products, please visit www.eliasoncorp.com, and connect with them via Facebook (facebook.com/eliasoncorp) or Twitter (twitter.com/eliasoncorp) for the latest updates.

Getting the Most Out of You and Your Employees

A 9 to 5 work day has become the norm for most of the American population. For some, even longer hours are expected on certain days. Recently, studies have shown that the longer an employee spends in the office, the less productive they actually are.

An article from the Harvard Business Review suggests that longer work days are beginning to take a toll on employees and executives alike. CEO’s are beginning to lose valuable employees because the employee is simply burnt out. They were worked too hard for too long and finally decided that the outcome is not worth the stress endured.

Negativity can be the number one sign of a tired and stressed employee and a negative attitude is a lot more common than one may think. In fact, about 80% of the top 400 leaders tested in an HBR survey said that they spend the majority of their day feeling over whelmed and “negative”. As we all know, negativity can be hurtful to not only ourselves, but others around us. It can bring others down and make them feel unappreciated.

The article goes on to say that not only does negativity stem from a tired, over worked individual, but so does the idea of fight or flight. Fight or flight takes place when the brain decides whether or not you should stay and fight or turn around and run in a given situation. For instance, if you came face to face with a bear, your brain would tell you to do whatever you could to get away instead of staying and trying to fight the bear.

It is hard, sometimes, for our brains to decipher a real, life-threatening situation (like the bear example) from a metaphorical, threatening situation. This means that instead of finding a solution and fighting for a position or a job, we tend to throw in the towel and go elsewhere. That’s just how we’re wired.

So how can companies fight this mentality of their ailing employees?

The answer is simple; work less. There is a difference between being busy and being productive. The majority of employees, tend to work the best when well rested and in a positive mindset meaning it’s not how long a person works, it’s how well a person works. Giving an employee the option of longer breaks or shorter work days may surprisingly increase their productivity, resulting in better business for the company.

Do you think that eventually the 8 hour work day will disappear? Why or why not?

Are We Becoming Too Commercialized?

With Black Friday just days away it seems like everyone is making plans to fight the crowds and score great deals on whatever they can find. This year though, stores are opening their doors earlier than the stroke of midnight; about four hours earlier. Many people are excited about the change, but others feel like it is taking away from the tradition of Thanksgiving.

It does seem like the brick & mortar stores are dipping into family time by starting their sales at 8pm Black Friday eve, but does it really pose that much of a change when it’s all said and done?

According to an article found on Market Watch, the number one online shopping day from 2003-2011 was actually on Thanksgiving. This means that for the last nine years people were already shopping the sales of the big name corporations and not spending as much time with family as everyone thought.  The stores that have decided to open on Thanksgiving are giving the folks who are already shopping the convenience of in store deals they may not find online.

When you look at the situation through the eyes of the business man, breaking tradition can actually be pretty profitable. The article goes on to say that the corporations that decided to open early actually had a 22% increase in business that weekend over those who didn’t.

Is it worth it? Some would say that we are getting too focused on making our next dollar and that we are becoming too commercialized. They say that we are breaking traditions that have been passed down for years for a sale that lasts a weekend. Others sew the craziness of Black Friday into their current family traditions making the whole situation obsolete.

What do you think? Are businesses taking Black Friday too far or is it a smart way to help increase profits? 

Being a Good Communicator

No matter the situation, communication is vital. Whether it is verbal, non verbal, physical, or emotional, it is one of the biggest challenges that people have when interacting with others.

Not everyone is great at communication. Developing good communication skills can be harder than most people realize. It takes a while and lots of practice for one individual to become “good” at communicating with the people they come across on a day-to-day basis. They have to realize just how important it is and how they have to engage others who have communication styles that are different from their own. Asking questions to those around you is a great way to better understand how different people prefer to communicate and how they are best reached.

When a situation goes sour, a good communicator must also be able to address the situation at hand and learn from the mistakes that were made. This is especially true if the mistake was made on their part. People tend to respect and listen to someone if that person can own up to and learn from their

Here are some qualities of a good communicator. Do you agree that these are a necessary part of a great leader? Why or why not?

  • The ability to motivate a team and understand how they think
  • The ability to take people as they are and to have a non judgmental mind
  • The ability to critique yourself and learn from mistakes
  • The ability to make clear communication a priority

Remembering to Say Thank You

Saying something as simple as “thank you” has the potential to make someone’s day.

People take pride in what they do and when another person acknowledges those actions it tends to boost their morale. So why don’t we take what we learned as children and apply it to the workplace?

Giving praise to an employee has been shown to not only increase productivity, but get employees engaged in the business itself. In an article found on Inc.com, companies that focus on rewarding and recognizing their employees have business results 14% higher than companies who don’t.

There are ways to begin praising your team effectively if you haven’t already started.

Be specific. While a “thank you” does go a long way, it’s better to reach out to the person and specifically praise them for the task they have accomplished. It’s not only a nice gesture, but it shows the person that you are truly paying attention to what they have completed.

Know your team. Some people don’t like to be the center of attention. If that’s the case, a hand written note would be more effective than a public acknowledgement of their achievement. If the employee doesn’t mind a little recognition, let people know. Share the success with their department or carve out a minute in a company meeting to give them praise.

Let others talk too. If an employee wants to thank a fellow co-worker, let them do just that! In many circumstances, a positive comment from an equal can mean more than a comment from someone else.

Working on integrating this into a company can take a little getting used to. The results, though, are sure to be worth it. Creating an atmosphere where your employees not only value their job, but really feel appreciated will directly affect your company’s prosperity in the long run.

Does your company do something unique when it comes to employee recognition? Leave a comment below!

Tips for Blogging on Your Partner Marketing Site…and Everywhere Else!

Blogging can become frustrating if you find yourself at a loss of topics or if you see your weblog is lacking page views. While having captivating content is a goal that every blogger should aim for, we sometimes get stuck in a rut.

Don’t get discouraged!

There are tricks to making sure that your blog is not only readable, but relatable. There are many articles out there that will tell you to go buy expensive software or hire a social media “pro” to look over your site; that isn’t necessary! From doing some research of my own and looking through several articles, I have come across a few easy steps to follow to leave your readers wanting more.

Brainstorming is the first step. By writing down your thoughts about the message you would like to convey, and the possible interests of your audience, you may find that your ideas begin to stem into new, interesting blog topics.

Take a closer look at your audience, or the audience you would like to begin to reach. What are they interested in? Do they want to hear about the industry you are in or do they want to hear about tips about things like time management? Keep in mind that while not all post should stray from your main purpose for your blog, you shouldn’t consistently turn to sales when deciding what to write about.

After you finish brainstorming ideas, it’s time to free write. This is the part where you take a topic and just write what comes to mind. You don’t have to start at the beginning and you don’t have to create full paragraphs at this point! Free writing is all about writing what you are thinking and not having to worry about whether or not it makes sense. Edit what you have written after you think you have all your ideas down.

Don’t think you have to know everything about blogging. There seems to be a new “method” of blogging every day. Sometimes it’s okay to just blog the way you see fit and focus on your audience rather than the new fads.

Being yourself in your blog is very important. Many readers look for some sort of voice in any material they choose read. It is necessary to provide a viewpoint and stick with it. A writer with one, solid stance on something is a lot more credible than someone who seems to change their views in every blog post.

Other than these suggestions, there are a lot of other great tips for aspiring and current bloggers out there. Check out this article for more!

Do you have any helpful hints that you use when writing your posts? Sound off below!

Indoff’s National Sales Meeting Recap

Last weekend, Indoff hosted our National Sales Meeting in St. Charles, Missouri. Our Sales Partners came in from all across the United States to take classes and learn from each other about being a better, more effective sales person and about the Indoff family.

“The NSM (National Sales Meeting) was a great opportunity for our Partners to reconnect with old friends and colleagues and meet new friends,” said Angela Suntrup, Indoff’s National Marketing Manager. “The theme of our meeting was social media and technology – Be Different. Be You. Be Social. Hopefully, the Partners not on social media will take the jump and ‘be social’.”

The weekend started with registration and a cocktail hour on Thursday evening. Our Partners enjoyed a relaxing evening of mingling with other Partners and Corporate employees alike.

Friday began with classes that were put on by a few of the Vendors that Indoff works with. The Partners got to learn about new selling opportunities as well as develop their relationships with a few Vendors. Friday afternoon continued with a Vendor show. This was a chance for everyone to talk more one-on-one with the Vendors and to see what they offer up close. It was also a great opportunity for Partners to converse with Partners and Vendors in one of Indoff’s other five divisions that they may not have had the chance to before.

Saturday was the final day of the National Sales Meeting. Indoff Corporate employees shared their knowledge on various topics from social media to online ordering in breakaway classes in the morning. The afternoon consisted of a few more classes and a general meeting for all of Indoff. The Sales Meeting concluded with an awards dinner celebrating the Partners that have excelled in the last year.

It was great to see everyone and to meet a few new faces. Overall, it seemed like the Partners, Vendors, and the corporate staff in attendance really enjoyed themselves. One Indoff Sales Partner in particular agrees. “I love the fact that we have a sales meeting once every 18 months not two and three a week,” Indoff Partner, Ken Hebert said. “Indoff Values our time selling and doing what we do best. This company treats me like an adult, and I really like that!”

We are glad that everyone had a great time and were able to take home something they didn’t have going into the meeting; this wouldn’t have been a success without the attendees!

“I want to thank all of the Sales Partners and Vendors that took the time and made the investment to attend our sales meeting,” said Robin Migdal, Indoff’s VP of Human Resources. “It is YOU who made it the success it was!”

While it is bittersweet that this year’s meeting had to come to a close, I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we can’t wait for the next Indoff National Sales Meeting in April 2014!

October Vendor Spotlight: Tombow

 

Overview

Tombow is a market leader for arts, crafts and office products. Serving consumers and businesses around the globe, Tombow was established in Japan in 1913 as the wood-case pencil provider for Japanese students. Since these beginnings and supported by a history of unparalleled customer service, Tombow has grown the company’s portfolio to a worldwide provider of adhesive and correction tapes, ballpoint and rollerball pens, drawing pencils and erasers, dual brush marker pens, glue sticks and liquid glues manufactured in facilities located in Japan, Southeast Asia and Thailand. Worldwide operating divisions distribute Tombow branded products in their respective geographies.

Maintaining market leadership in these categories is achieved through innovative product design, exemplary customer service and a time-tested commitment to exceptional value for Tombow’s retailers and their consumers.

History

Tombow was established in Japan in 1913 as a manufacturer of wood-cased lead and colored pencils. From these beginnings at the turn of the 20th century through the Internet age, every student in Japan has grown up with the Tombow pencil.

Beginning in the 1960’s and continuing for the next three decades, Tombow has worked to diversify its manufacturing program which today includes ballpoint and roller ball pens, glue products, marker portfolios, and an extensive series of adhesive and correction tape offerings. This expansion of the brand led to worldwide demand for these unique, innovative and well-designed art and office merchandise. In 1983, Tombow answered the growing interest by the western world by opening American Tombow, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Tokyo-based parent company, in Thousand Oaks, California, a Los Angeles suburb.

In 1991, Tombow made another international mark by opening a production and distribution arm in Bangkok, Thailand. Through this strategic move, Tombow was able to combine its strict quality control methodology and the growing international price competition to continue its mission to provide art, craft and office products at a value to its devoted customers. This has allowed the company to maintain its position as a top five office product manufacturer across the Asian continent.

Following the best practices established with the Thailand operations, American Tombow seized an opportunity to move to Georgia, where the division opened expansive offices which are now located in Suwanee, Georgia. Awarded the renowned Red Dot Award in 2010 for the AirPress and Mono Zero Eraser has made the brand known publicly for what its loyal customers have known for generations – that Tombow is synonymous with superior quality for products serving the art, craft and office environments.

What We Offer

 Products

Tombow’s exemplary products are defined by their quality and the creative uses of those products by consumers around the world. The products are available in more than 100 different retail businesses ranging from nationally known office suppliers to boutique fine are providers throughout North America.

Adhesive Products

There are 30 adhesive products spanning the Tombow portfolio, including the Stamp Runner, Liquid Glue and Glue Sticks.

Correction Products

There are 17 correction products in Tombow’s office portfolio, with the consumer favorite of the original Mono Correction Tape.

 Writing Products

Tombow has created patented AirPress, Ballpoint, Ultra, and Rollerball pens to meet the expanding demand of today’s on-the-go professionals.

Tombow’s AirPress technology and patented rubber grip provide the perfect writing utensil for scenarios involving air travel, underwater documentation, and even vertical or upside down engagements such as writing on a board or ceiling.

Tombow’s award-winning Zoom 707 and Zoom 727 series pens feature a sleek and contemporary design. The soft, comfort grip is undergirded by a lifetime guarantee as the ultimate writing experience.