Monday, May 13, 2013

SMART COMPANY AWARD to Mayberry Pharmacy

Paul Mayberry runs seven pharmacies in South Wales and is a smart guy!

A recent innovation in Wales is for all doctors' prescriptions to include a QR code (the black and white square box that looks a bit like a bar code and can be read by smart phones) which has within it the specific prescription.

How did Paul react to this?

He bought a robot dispenser with QR code reader, and now has the prescriptions from all seven pharmacies sent to it, it dispenses automatically 24 hours a day 7 days a week and sends the drugs etc to the relevant pharmacy to pass to the patient.

The result? - already Paul has seen both stock levels and costs go down dramatically!

This is a really smart company, with an ability to be fleet of foot to adopt new technology in a way I believe we all need to be these days.

I am very pleased to give Mayberry Pharmacies a SMART COMPANY AWARD.


I love coming across world class companies that I’ve not heard of before.

Owen Mumford  are based in Woodstock, near Oxford in the UK and are a world leader in the design, manufacture and supply of drug delivery and capillary blood sampling devices.

They manufacture everything themselves in their factories in Woodstock and Chipping Norton, working 3 shifts, 7 days a week. Have over 750 employees and operations in USA, Germany, France and China as well as the UK with exports of over 80%.

Remarkably they have grown in every single one of their 61 years and have never borrowed a penny in all that time! Started by Mr Owen and Mr Mumford - and still on the Board.

I am so impressed by absolutely everything this company does - a truly remarkable, world class, company.

I am very pleased to give a SMART COMPANY AWARD to Owen Mumford

SMART COMPANY AWARD Vistage and John Watkinson

I have now run workshops for over 100 CEO groups,  in the UK and around the world. These groups are part of various Peer Group Organisations and the largest  is Vistage International based in San Diego but with over 16,000 members in 15 countries and I have spoken for a number of their groups.
Each group, typically around 15 non-competing members, has a Chair and as a speaker the Chair makes such a difference to the day and the value the Group gets from the session.

I have learnt over the years that best Chairs are those that clearly 'care' about every single one of their members and their personal journey.

The epitome of such Chairs is John Watkinson who runs V55 and K230 in the UK. He oozes his commitment to  his members to simply being as successful as they can be and one of his means of achieving that is to help the speakers to also be as successful as they can.

I am extremely pleased, therefore, to give John Watkinson of Vistage a SMART COMPANY Award - highly deserved!

STUPID Autoglass

Would you believe, three weeks after taking delivery of my new car - ding - I get a stone chip in the windscreen.

I then remember the Autoglass TV ad saying they fix them 'for free' so I go to their website and - it's excellent! They take you through the car, the chip ("is it smaller or larger than a £2 coin?") and finally the booking to fix it.A number of dates are not available but, joy of joys, they can do it at my home on a Sunday afternoon - perfect.
So I book it - and there's just a closing comment from Autoglass that 'we will call to just check to finalise a few details"

Autoglass at this point are well on the way to a SMART company Award.........but from now on it's all downhill......

The promised call comes. Then after a short while I realise that's she's asking me ALL the questions I have already answered online - like  "is the chip larger or smaller than a £2 coin?" and the only response to my comment that I answered this before online  is "I have to ask all these questions".

Anyway we get through it all until finally we come to the booking to have the chip repaired and she tells me there are no weekend dates available and the first availability is 10 days away.

At this point I politely tell her that I've wasted my time and to forget the whole thing.

However this is not the end......

The next morning my wife takes a call from Autoglass wanting to speak to me to fix an appointment (we find out later this is the local branch). My wife tells him I am out but that she would get me to call.

Two hours later he rings again complaining that I have not yet called! (I'm out for the day of course)

I ring him the next day. He has both my name and address wrong but shares with me that "the Autoglass systems are rubbish". All they ever get from the website is name and phone number and NONE of the other information that I had patiently entered. A complete wate of time.

- but, good news, he tells me he CAN do it the following Saturday - and we agree their 11am to 3pm slot.

Over the next four days I get six emails from Autoglass confirming the time and date of the booking.

THEN - on the nominated Saturday my wife and I are having a lie in and the phone rings and, yes, it's Autoglass:

"I'm 10 minutes away". I then point out that this is two hours early, inconvenient, and that they had emailed confirming the time six times!

When he does finally come he apologies for all the emails but explains that every time they just look at a booking the system automatically sends a email confirmation.
It's raining so I ask him if the repair works in the rain - "no" he says "if you do it in the rain it slides down the screen"

I have totally lost the will to live..........................

(Epilogue: he comes back the next day, Sunday, and does the job)

So there we have it a stupendously STUPID company who work really hard to go from hero to zero in the eyes of their customers in just about everything they do.

Autoglass therefore receive a STUPID COMPANY Award.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Stupid Audi

I have now had two Audi TTs in succession and I’m looking to replace my latest..

Another TT was certainly a possibility and I went onto the Audi website to look at the specs and configure it. The standard colours, however, are very limited so I am thinking I will go for one of the non-standard colours that are available at a price only to find that you cannot configure the car with one of these online.

I then read in the press that, with much hype, Audi are opening their first ‘digital’ showroom in Piccadilly London. This is what Autocar said:

“Audi has opened the doors to its first digital showroom in London, dubbed Audi City. The compact showroom — that showcases the marque’s model line-up digitally – gives the firm new outlets in major cities.
Visitors to the new digital showroom can spec an Audi to their tastes and then digitally view the model on large computer screens that fill much of the showroom’s interior space.
Details such as drivetrain, bodyshell or LED tech can also be presented 'in order to make innovations understandable on an intuitive level' according to Audi.
Audi marketing and sales boss Peter Schwarzenbauer said: “Audi City combines the best of two worlds – digital product presentation and personal contact with the dealer.
“This new retail format brings us even closer to our customers – geographically, of course, but first and foremost in terms of the quality of our relationship. Audi City offers new freedom for tailor-made services and an even more individual contact with the customer.”
Sounds good?
So I went to the showroom in Piccadilly, London to have a look at the colour and specification of TT I might be interested in. In fact there was a strong chance I would commit to it there and then.
Well - Audi could not have got it more wrong - STUPID  - the showroom is a disaster, manned by miserable people who don’t understand their products and with inadequate technology - and the last thing they want to do, it seems, is for you to buy an Audi!
This was my experience:
I arrived mid morning and there appeared to be no other customers but about 6 or 7 members of staff. Two speaking German to each other immediately as you came in - who didn’t even look up, a guy with one of the electronic lecterns apart apparently repairing it and others, presumably salespeople, one sitting and the others standing around.
The showroom was bare floored, bare walled and felt somewhat cold and unwelcoming.
A lady came up to me and asked if she could help (no smile, and a little hesitant). I explained that I was interested in a TT, had heard about their new ‘digital’ showroom and would like to configure my car  (lots of buying signals I would have thought!). She took me to the first lectern, which apparently didn’t work, so we moved to the second. She then helped me get configuring but the touch screen was awful - it was like a first generation version - very user unfriendly. She had to keep telling me to be softer or harder or to be more precise in touching!
I then get to the colours and go for the non-standard, select the colour I am interested in and hey presto the large picture of my car on the wall shows - NOTHING!
She then enquiries of a colleague, who then joins us (he does smile by the way), and explains that the configurator cannot show the non-standard colours as there were ‘too many’…...he then admits that in fact this highly hyped configurator is, in fact, just the same as the one they have on their website displayed on a digital wall. That’s all it is. 
I then ask how I can see the colour I am interested in and he says he thinks he has some swatches ‘downstairs’. He disappears for ten minutes and returns with some wooden swatches - each a few inches square ( hi tech stuff)
I explained that I appeared to have wasted my time coming to London and that I felt very let down and went to leave - at which point there was no attempt to ‘sell’ to me.
The lady who had been sitting down throughout all this then stood up and said she was a researcher for Audi and would I mind answering some questions about my experience in the showroom. This was very long - and with some very biased questions- and you can imagine the replies she got - and would you believe that the moment I sat down with the researcher the salespeople came and stood a few feet away so they could hear every word I was saying!
I finally went to leave and the guy who had shown me the swatches came over and asked if I had finished the ‘inquisition’ and if there was anything else they could do. I made clear to him that when I had entered the showroom I was minded to buy an Audi but that was now very unlikely.
From beginning to end this was a case study in how not to do it.

Audi are a STUPID company - who could have been smart if they had thought about their customers needs first and the harnessed the available technology to deliver something special.

After reading the superb book about the future of business (and it's here now!) "Smart Customers Stupid Companies" I thought it would be great for us to list organisations we come across or do business with that fall into either category.

So there are "SMART" and "STUPID" company awards, and I'd love you to contribute!