Recently, during our visit to Ft. Lauderdale, FL for the IBPI Board of Directors’ Meeting and The Taylor Business Group Big BIG Conference, Mark Grice and I decided to visit a few local IBPI Members to get a first-hand view of where some of our Members conduct business! Our travels took us to Barlop, in Miami, FL.
Barlop was nudged into existence in 1983 from necessity, when Saxon, where Jose worked as a National Parts Manager, closed its doors in the early 80s. Juan Barroso, also a National Parts Manager with Saxon, and Jose, decided to open their own business. They named their company from the “Bar” out of Barroso and the “Lop” out of Lopez; thus, Barlop Business Systems was launched!
Today, Jose Lopez (General Manager) and his daughters, Michele (Supplies and Parts Manager), Monica (Vice President of Business Development), and Mallory (Comptroller), are at the helm of Barlop. Although they started in a 600 square foot space, they have since expanded into 15,000 square feet with 34 employees, 6 of whom are family members! The company services, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward counties, and carries Lanier, Samsung and HP products, as well as managed print and managed IT services.
Mark and I ran into the Lopez family again at the Taylor Business Group (TBG) Big BIG Conference. One theme encountered repeatedly at this conference is the concept of “company culture.” So, I asked Michele what Barlop’s company culture looks like and how do they reinforce it with their employees?
The Lopez sisters all agree, that working with family “…is the best!” Monica says, “I can’t even imagine not having my sisters and father with me all day.” It seems that this family relationship has expanded into a company family culture. Employee birthdays are celebrated with a cake and pictures are posted on Social Media. Retirees are celebrated with a party, as well! An “Employee of the Quarter” is selected, their picture posted, an award plaque given along with an $100 gift certificate. All nominees for the “Employee of the Quarter” are added in a nomination pool for an “Employee of the Year”. The department managers take a poll from this group of employees and select the “Employee of the Year, ” The winner is given one extra day of vacation and an $100 gift certificate.
Barlop has some sort of fun event every month. Every year, a company picnic is provided at a local park. On Halloween, each department chooses a theme for costumes and a nice lunch is served. For Thanksgiving, a potluck is held after work and all employees bring a homemade dish. Christmas is celebrated at an outside venue the weekend before the 24th. “Feed them and they will come!”
To further increase a Barlop family culture, the employees participate in a Charity Corporate Run. They put up a company tent, close early, and run from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. to support a local charity. They also participate in charity walks which support autism and breast cancer. On Red Nose Day, those big red balls can be found on the smiling faces of Barlop employees. The company brings in food items, sells them and contributes the proceeds to a charity which fights against childhood poverty.
More and more companies like Barlop, are finding that a vital key to a well-run, successful business is employee satisfaction which directly corresponds to work relationships. Dr. Larry Little wrote in his book, Make a Difference: in the lives of those you love, live with and lead, that healthy relationships require an investment. They also require reciprocation, or an ability to give and take. Simply put, if you want a good relationship then you must take responsibility to create a good relationship. Having a healthy relationship is a choice. It is not an emotion. It is choosing to be kind, compassionate, and considerate to those with whom we are in a relationship, whether that relationship is professional or personal.
On May 16, 2018, Barlop celebrated 35 years of business with a special event for their prospects and current customers. The event featured technology stations set at various locations within the building. Each station highlighted services and products which Barlop offers their customers. It was a huge success with 200 people in attendance! Growing a business for 35 years doesn’t happen by accident. Their skills and intentionally-developed tight-knit family culture has created a powerful team! Dr. Little also says, Powerful relationships and powerful teams produce powerful results.” Barlop appears to embody this statement!
IBPI wishes many more successful years of business for Barlop! Thank you for allowing us to visit you. It was our pleasure to see how you “roll!”
IBPI VIP Event Series
NA Trading and Technology
IBPI and NA Trading and Technology (NATT), located in Minneapolis, recently organized a joint event for several IBPI Members who are Sharp dealers. We kicked off the event with a delicious dinner Wednesday night near the Mall of the America.
Following breakfast on Thursday morning, we were transported over to the NATT offices in nearby Bloomington, MN. After a few short presentations, Ted Johnson, General Manager at NATT, gave us a tour of their facility. We visited their administrative, warehouse and shipping areas, but the real eye-opener was their testing labs. This company has several engineers on staff and it really shows through their processes. We saw first-hand the careful and methodical testing that is conducted by NATT before a new product is brought to market. Regardless of whether this process takes years or months, NATT adheres to high standards, as they analyze the success and failure rates for all of their products. Their current average success rate across all products is 99.74% and across all Sharp products, the success rate is 99.83%!
NATT is also committed to recycling electronic waste. They pay for your shipping, so it doesn’t cost Members a dime to recycle old drums and cartridges to reduce landfill waste.
After the facility tour, the weather cooperated, and we were treated to a cookout lunch complete with hamburgers, brats and Spam sliders. Yes, I said Spam sliders...they were delicious and considered to be a local “delicacy”. We also had plenty of sides, some made by NATT employees. It was a great time to enjoy the sunny Fall day and get to know everyone a little better.
After lunch, we had a real treat! Jerry Mathwig visited with our group. Jerry started in this business in 1965 and has a wealth of knowledge. He briefly shared his personal industry history followed by a great discussion about where we all felt the industry was going.
We wrapped up the event at the NATT facility and drove about 45 minutes north to Lake Minnetonka. There, we boarded a beautiful boat and had a wonderful dinner cruise on the lake. The leaves were just beginning to get a little color and the homes on the lake were spectacular. Our captain pointed out the largest home on the lake, which was just over 65,000 square feet.
This was a great event for all attendees. If you ever have the chance to visit the NATT facilities, don’t pass it up. I know they would be glad to host you!
Top Row: Continuum CEO Michael George and me; IBPI Member ImageNet Consulting (OK) was the big winner in the MSP Shark Tank competition; Middle Row: MSP Shark Tank "Sharks"; 2 pictures of the Continuum Studios; Bottom Row: Always glad to see my home airport in the window; Continuum Cyber Attack Simulator; Navigate 2018 was very well attended
What a great week in Boston! The weather was not perfect, but the Continuum Navigate event was one of the best events I have ever attended. As you know, IBPI has added 2 new Partners this year: Taylor Business Group and Continuum, Both of these Partners are in the Managed Services space. Members, if you do not read anything else in this post beyond these next few words, please read this:
All IBPI Members need to be in the Managed Services space.
There are some folks in our industry that discourage dealers from getting involved in Managed Services. There are some dealers who have tried and failed. But IBPI has set you up with 2 great Partners that will allow you have have a very profitable Managed Services Offering!
The big theme of the week was Security. I heard it over and over again what a huge issue IT Security is for every business, but especially those in the SMB arena. I heard example after example of all types of businesses that have had ransomware attacks and are forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars to get access to their data.
Earlier this year, Continuum purchased the IT security company CARVIR and they have now folded their offering into the wide breadth of products offered. Continuum now has a Security Operations Center (SOC) near Atlanta and their partners leverage that SOC to provide a tremendous security offering to their own customers.
There was a Cyber Attack Simulator booth at Navigate that was a huge eye opener for me. It showed how an attack happens, how it affects a business and how it is resolved. The group of Managed Service Providers (MSP) were asked how many of their own customers had experienced a ransomware attack. Almost every hand went up. This is a very real threat.
Continuum also provides many other basic IT services including Backup and Disaster Recovery, Remote Monitoring and Management, Help Desk and a Network Operations Center (NOC).
IBPI was well represented at Navigate. I met folks from Thermocopy (TN), Capital (NE), Prosource (OH), ImageNet (OK). There were also other IBPI members present that I did not get a chance to visit with.
One of the keynotes delivered at Navigate was by real estate investor and Shark Tank star, Barbara Corcoran. She was full of energy and she inspired us all with her story. After her keynote, she participated in a Shark Tank style session where 4 Continuum partners pitched 4 “Sharks”, including Barbara, on a new offering they wanted to launch at their own company. I am very proud to say that our own IBPI Member, ImageNet Consulting, won the $15,000 first prize! Congratulations Juan!
NOW is the time to provide a Managed Services offering at your dealership. Taylor Business Group can provide you with the metrics and coaching necessary to make sure you have a profitable offering. Continuum has the tools necessary for you to have a Managed Services division that you will be proud to offer to your own customer base.
International Business Products, Inc.
PO Box 975
Queen Creek, AZ 85142