Intro: Welcome to the Sage Advice Podcast, energizing business builders around the world through the imagination of our people and the power of technology.
EK: Well, hi everyone and welcome to our podcast. I’m Ed Kless, and with me today is Steve Showalter. Steve is the Director of Sales and a Partner at ScanForce, which provides WMS, mobile sales, and manufacturing automation solutions for a Sage 100. Steve has been at ScanForce for over 11 years and has a B.S. in communications from Ohio University. Steve, welcome to the Sage Advice Podcast.
SS: [00:00:41] Thanks so much for having me, Ed.
EK: [00:00:43] First off tell our audience a little bit more about yourself and ScanForce.
SS: [00:00:48] All right. Well as you mentioned I’m the Director of Sales and a Partner here, and I’m actually involved in a lot of the day to day sales activities for the company, as well. Our company is a Master Developer for the Sage 100 product line, and as you mentioned we do things from WMS, meaning automating shipping and receiving and inventory counts, as well as mobile sales for capturing orders remotely out in the field and getting them seamlessly back into stage. And over the last 18 months or so, we’ve gotten into the manufacturing automation, automating work order and Bill of Materials in the Sage 100 product line.
EK: [00:01:22] And why do you do what you do, Steve?
SS: [00:01:27] That’s a great question. I’ve been actually doing this type of work now for over 15 years. So what I like the most about what I do, and why I do what I do, is I love solving a good problem. And you know some people talk about the Groundhog’s Day effect of, “Oh, you’ve done the same thing for so many years. Do you get tired of it?” And the answer is, I don’t. Because whereas the concept is the same with what we do providing automation solutions, no two businesses are alike. So we get to talk to different people all across the world and solve their problems as it relates to inventory and automating processes, so it’s never the same thing. It’s fun, it’s challenging, and when you solve a problem for somebody it actually feels pretty good, and I like that.
EK: [00:02:07] Tell me a little bit about how you guys prioritize adding new features to your products at ScanForce.
SS: [00:02:16] Another great question. I mean with software, you kind of have to always be evolving and always adding things to keep your current customers happy and obviously get people to gravitate towards looking at your solution. So what we try to do is we try to pay attention to what the market is looking for. From talking with our current customers, to just paying attention to the latest technology out there. And one thing that we pay close attention to is not adding something to our software or the way our software functions just because it’s a cool new technology. We like to make sure that something’s actually going to be applicable to our customer base and our future customers. So paying attention to that is very key for us, and that’s how we’ve built on our solutions from day one. We listen to people, if there is a need and we feel it’s a global need. We’ll add features to our software.
EK: [00:03:02] And could you maybe give an example of where you’ve done that in the recent past and what you what that feature was, and why it was something that was added from a prioritization standpoint?
SS: [00:03:12] Yes, there’s a couple that come to mind, really. Due to market circumstances. We partnered up with the DSD Business Systems, another Sage Developer, and we created a Multi-Bin solution. There was a need for additional solutions like that out in the market, so we worked hard, and we developed that. In fact, Sage adopted that as the Multi-Bin solution for the Sage 100c product lines. So we’re very proud of that, and that was something again that paying attention and really being put in certain situations in the market forced us to do that.
We’ve done that with the evolution of our Mobile Sales solutions, as well, adding things like a link into Avalara’s AvaTax, mobile device signature capture, credit card processing, and also the manufacturing automation that I mentioned earlier. There’s a need for additional solutions out there, so we’ve been happy to do that.
And furthermore, a few years back we brought our solutions on to a platform that allows people to use Android or iOS devices, as well, to do everything from the warehouse transactions to mobile sales which just opened up a lot of options for people out there.
EK: [00:04:10] And we have an exit question that we ask all of our guests on the Sage Advice Podcast, and that is: who is a hero of yours, Steve, and why are they a hero?
SS: [00:04:20] I always have found this a difficult question to answer. I’ve been asked this in other situations as well, and really what comes to mind when I think of a hero are two things. One is, to me, anyone who does things for a selfless reason. Whether someone is in a service industry, someone who has committed themselves to a career in the military, for example. You know, those people I really look up to.
There’s also one other thing I saw at one time, and it may sound cheesy, but there was a speech that the actor Matthew McConaughey gave, and his answer to something along these lines was that his hero is himself in five years. And when he got there in five years, it was him five years again. And then he went on to talk about that, and the concept that I liked about that was that it’s never a definition that stays, in my opinion. A hero is something that I look up to, and I’m always looking to something new and something more and someone more. And that’s who I’m always striving to be, as well. So it’s kind of a mix of those two things.
EK: [00:05:27] And lastly Steve, how can somebody contact you?
SS: The best way to reach me is my email: email@example.com
EK: [00:05:27] Great. Thanks for being a guest on the Sage Advice Podcast.
SS: Thanks so much.