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President's Blog



March 1, 2012
Letter from Jeff Lem President
Dear Valued Customer, As you may have read in the adjoining press release, qdata is merging with Viascan to create the largest data collection company in Canada. When completed we’ll offer services in both official languages with offices in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver, and very soon Calgary. As you know it’s not about being the biggest it’s about being the best. And I define that as being able to serve our customers like no other. Denis Kurdi, one of my new business partners, said it best, “It’s a merger of value, and together we will be able to deliver the widest ...Full Article

January 13, 2009
My Top 10 AIDC Resolutions for 2009
Welcome Back! By now most of you have made your New Year’s resolutions and if you’re like me have already broken a few. From an auto ID perspective here are my top 10: 1) Implement that #&*@!Barcoding System. Irrespective of whether you’re right sizing or freezing headcount right now; bar coding follows this simple rule: it makes people more productive, makes data more timely and accurate and improves decision making. 2) Get your Printheads cleaned. It takes less than 30 seconds per printer – not only do your bar codes come out clearer but the print head will last longer ...Full Article

December 3, 2008
T'is the Season to Take Stock
As we approach year end a number of companies are preparing for the dreaded inventory count. For many companies, not using a barcoding system, it means shutting down early on a Friday and then counting all through the weekend and sometimes into the following week. It also means overtime for all warehouse staff, salespeople, and clerical staff not to mention putting on an inventory freeze so nothing moves out of the building. When I visit companies I ask them how frequently they are supposed to do their inventory counts and the answer is quarterly but many admit that they get around to it ...Full Article

November 5, 2008
Taking Some of the Mystery out of RFID
This week's article comes courtesy of Greg Dow, Systems Specialist at qdata. He can be reached at gdow@qdata.com. Luckily, RFID isn't rocket science. In fact, it isn't even that new - there have been RFID industrial applications for decades. So let me try to make it simpler and friendlier to everyone by drawing some analogies against the humble barcode. As I mentioned, both technologies have been in use for decades, for the same basic reasons. All that they do is replace key entry of repetitive data. They are fast and accurate ways to get data into a computer. So let's look at some ...Full Article

October 16, 2008
Innovation – its not just about the Product
The talk these days is all about innovation and how it can save North American industry. One need only look at how products like the Blackberry and the iPod changed the fortunes of RIM and Apple respectively. In these instances innovation allowed RIM to become the dominate player for wireless email while innovation saved Apple from becoming an interesting historical footnote for having developing the first commercially available graphical user interface. By the same token in many people’s minds innovation means new or enhanced products. In reality innovation is not limited to just new ...Full Article

October 10, 2008
Learning to Make Lemonade When All You Got Are Lemons
It’s no longer a question whether North America is headed into a recession the question is now long and how deep this recession will be. With the stock market hyper sensitive to any bad news, one thing everyone can agree upon is that this is just the beginning. So what is qdata doing to prepare itself in this downturn? Actually we started almost a year ago planning for such an eventuality (if only I were as proactive with my stocks!). It began with our Board of Advisors to whom we pitched the question: what to do in a downturn? Given the pedigree of the Board they came up with some great ...Full Article

October 4, 2008
How We’re Taking qdata to the Next Level
I just returned from our annual company retreat called Roundup and this year’s theme was “Taking it to the Next Level.” This was our most successful Roundup ever helped no doubt by holding the event off site with all employees staying at the Nottawasaga Inn resort. In my view what made this event truly successful was the focus of the event as we chose to not only share our vision of how we were taking qdata to the next level but how our people could take their LIVES to the next level both professionally and personally. Day one and two focused on our corporate results, update, and roadmap for ...Full Article

September 12, 2008
So What’s holding our Economy Together?
I pondered this question as I drove into work today after hearing on the radio last night that gas was going up 12 cents a liter. While qdata had a very successful year (our fiscal is July 31), we experienced a lot of choppy results in fiscal 2008. Some months were great as in July and then August hit us like Hurricane Ike and we recorded the lowest sales in over two years. So I thought to myself how long is this going to last? Right now there is a lot of economic turbulence. First we have our big neighbor to the south teetering on a recession and now the rest of the world is dealing with the ...Full Article

September 5, 2008
The Value of Single Sourcing your Barcoding Solution
Hope you had a good summer! A customer recently asked me why he should consider buying his bar code scanners, printers, service, and software all from qdata when he could get better pricing if he purchased item from separate vendors. My answer (or in this case question) is how much effort and time do you have to integrate all these disparate pieces and who are you going to call when the system goes down? Unless you are working everyday with this technology chances are you’ll quickly forget all the small little details like the SSID code for your wireless network or remembering where you ...Full Article

July 23, 2008
Small is the New Big
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to participate in a panel discussion on how small is the new big. I was one of four companies who were invited to talk about how small or acting small can be a competitive advantage. The panel discussion was very well received so I’m sharing some of the highlights and insights. Q. What would you say your firm is doing "different" that is making the "difference" in your success? - back to a more personal focus on the customer; spending more time out in the field and just speaking with them - adding complimentary lines that allow us to sell more to the same ...Full Article

June 29, 2008
The Joys of Materialism
In today’s consumer conscious environment we are all striving to have a smaller footprint. Whether it means saving on gas, electricity, or money. Conspicuous consumption is out and politically incorrect. Well I’m going to buck the trend and speak out in support of materialism and spending. I’m an avid cyclist (of the pedaling kind) and recently purchased a new Cervelo road bike. It’s very similar to what the pros ride and priced north of $7,000 – fortunately qdata does work for Cervelo so I got a vendor discount. Buying the bike itself was a great thrill because I got to test ride a bunch of bikes and ...Full Article

May 30, 2008
Business Networking – getting the most out of it
This has come up a lot lately only because of my volunteer work on various committees and councils. According to surveys, this is the number one reason why people join alumni or technology associations with Learning coming a close second. It’s one thing to be physically there and it’s another to really get something out of each networking event. Here’s what works for me: 1. Attend industry events especially if your suppliers are attending. This is a great source of industry news and gossip because they’re dealing with your competitors and customers everyday. They may even give you a lead or ...Full Article

May 19, 2008
Thank you Motorola Partner Advisory Council
As my term on the council comes to end, its time to reflect how my participation on this council has helped qdata grow and mature. I started on the council in May 2005, and we just completed a painful acquisition of a competitor. We were going through huge growing pains from having to scale operations to handle 300 percent more orders to managing a newly acquired workforce spread across the country. At the time Symbol Technologies (as it was known before Motorola acquired it in early 2007) was transitioning to a channel centric model not to mention getting us resellers to lead with and sell more ...Full Article

May 9, 2008
Project Rollout Approaches
I’m often asked by customers how to best implement new projects. Often a process review (see April 28 2008) will identify which approach works for them. In absence of such a review you need to carefully consider not just vendor capability but that of your team’s which is by far the more important consideration. Here are some ways: 1. Big Bang. This is a swing for the fences implementation that will see all essential requirements being deployed all at once. Venture forth if you or your team has prior experience with the technology or you’re not prepared to live through multiple go lives that a ...Full Article

May 2, 2008
What's Chargeable vs Not Chargeable
A major sticking point in any customer–vendor relationship is extra charges. Vendors routinely access additional charges for items that are not in scope, while customers argue that they are part of the project. Before I start any project I have a discussion with my customer and provide these four points when it comes to extra charges. These points have saved more than one relationship and certainly allows me to charge extra while maintaining trusted and respectful relations on both sides. 1. Semantics. You may say ‘tomodo’ and I say ‘tomayto’. In these situations I will absorb the extra costs ...Full Article

April 25, 2008
A Case for Process Reviews
So you’ve decided to move forward with a new bar coding system – congratulations! The excitement level with the company has risen quite dramatically and all of a sudden everyone can’t wait for the new baby to come home. But maybe you should take a little time out… In my fifteen plus years of implementing bar coding systems, the best projects are the ones where a study or review has been done prior to implementing bar coding. The reasons are simple: a review of your current business processes will pinpoint other areas that are bottlenecks, labour intensive, or error prone – not just the ones ...Full Article

April 8, 2008
In Praise of Award Shows
On April 5, I received the Award of Merit from the Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs along with six other category winners. This was the 12th year of the event and was well attended by 800 people including politicians and the media. In the past I've shunned such events as gigantic acts of self promotion, thinking I don't need an award to prove my self worth. But a funny thing happenned on the way to the award show; they can be an opportunity to really thank those that made it possible and to inspire someone to start living their dreams today. So let me start with the thanks: To Randy, my ...Full Article

April 1, 2008
Buying from a Full Service Provider vs an Internet Broker
Internet bar code equipment brokers are considered the scourge of our industry for driving down prices. However internet brokers do have their place. Generally you should consider buying from an internet broker if: a. you know exactly what you’re looking for – make, model, configuration b. you have the ability or know someone who can setup and support the unit c. you don’t need demo or trial equipment to test out an application d. you’re not a first time bar code user e. you don’t need to return the equipment for refund or exchange If your answer is yes to all of the above, then it’s a ...Full Article

March 26, 2008
Welcome to the New qdata website!
As part of our 15th year anniversary, I am pleased to launch this new web site containing a lot more information about qdata, our people, product, and services. In my view we have never done a great job of telling the qdata story and there has been some amazing work. So it is high time we told the world because I suspect quite a few other people could use a similar solution. I look forward to your comments and feedback. I can be reached at jlem@qdata.com. ...Full Article

March 23, 2008
Getting the Most Out of Your Vendor
Good relations is the lubricant of commerce. While the title may sound a tad manipulative it's really about establishing and maintaining respect, trust, and open communications with your vendor. These points will help reinforce these principles. 1. Understand your vendor’s strengths (see last week’s blog entry). Don’t ask your vendor to provide something that is outside of their experience/skill set. And if it is essential – maybe it’s time to consider other vendors. Play to their strengths and you’ll reap the benefit of their wisdom and experience. 2. Set measurable milestones and tie them ...Full Article

March 17, 2008
Selecting the Right Vendor
Figuring out who’s the winner in your beauty contest is not just choosing the best price or best product/service. Here’s my spin; I guarantee you won’t be finding these on any ‘how to buy’ guides: 1. Understand a vendor’s true strength(s). Is it marketing, customer service, software development, product knowledge, experience, or process re-design. Hint check out what they tout the most when you ask them “why should I buy from you” or “what is your competitive differentiation?” Talking to their customers also helps. For example qdata’ strengths are process re-design and best practices. 2. ...Full Article


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