March 3 of 2019 will mark my 35th year of employment at Hertzler Systems. I like to joke that I started working at Hertzler when I was four years old! As I take over as CEO, I look back fondly on the various interactions I have had with customers as a programmer, doing technical support, training, integrating systems, designing products, and the list goes on. Throughout all but the first six months, I worked closely with Evan Miller, our recently retired CEO. He will be missed by all of us.

One of Evan’s last acts (and gifts) to the company was to facilitate our strategic planning process this past fall. He stayed out of the content creation as he led us through the process, so the remaining employees own the results. At one point or another, the entire company participated and took ownership in our plans for the future. I am excited about the path we are on and honored to be leading the company going forward.

One result of our work is a revised Positioning Framework that does a great job of capturing our direction. I like to refer to it as our “elevator pitch”. The Positioning Framework clarifies our mission and vision by describing who we serve and the products we make. Here it is:

For:  Manufacturers with multiple facilities, a strong or emerging culture of continuous improvement, and a willingness to invest in their improvement efforts.

Who Need: Real-time insights from diverse devices, systems, and processes that facilitate decisions to improve quality, profitability, and customer experience.

And want: Confidence their systems will continue to deliver insights even as their operations evolve and change.

Hertzler Systems is: A Manufacturing Intelligence Platform Provider.

That: Empowers customers with a wide range of configurable data collection tools, dashboards, and analytic wizards optimized for manufacturing environments.

Unlike: Unsustainable, cumbersome and ineffective solutions that take years to implement.

Our Company: Is building a platform backed by processes and best practices that delivers results in weeks while enabling self-sufficiency without needing highly specialized skills.

Within this context, we identified six big goals for Hertzler Systems. I am especially excited about the goal that focuses on customer success. It reads “Maximize customer success over the short- and long-term”. Objectives related to it include increasing the percentage of customers that have trained staff, increasing customer satisfaction by 50% of baseline, and achieving 100% of each customer’s Critical to Success factors for 100% of projects deployed. This last item means that we will seek to identify what defines success for each project and work with the customer to make it happen. Our sales process and the use of Design Days already are a great start on this effort. Further refinement will help to elevate the daily status updates while on-site from a list of tasks completed (which is still important) to a higher-level strategic discussion around outcomes. This shift in focus will also support our effort to become more outside-in oriented as we seek to better understand and meet our customers’ priorities.

Thank you for your continued support as we look to 2019 and beyond. Happy New Year!