Creating the Cornerstones
What does every business need to be successful? Some business experts call them pillars, but at Transoft, we have cornerstones. They are the core aspects of the company and form the basis for all future success. Transoft has three cornerstones: Our Products, Our Customers, and Our People.
We’ve touched on a few aspects of the Transoft cornerstones in previous posts. So what do these cornerstones mean and what do they do for Transoft?
Cornerstone No.1 - Our Products
This cornerstone speaks to living our belief that it is imperative to build innovative, high productivity products that provide our customers with the comfort of quality, ease of use and a high rate of return on their investment. The energy that is applied to this function of our business is awe inspiring for a company our size.
“In our development process, our operational culture comes into play,” says Steven Cheng, Vice President of Technology and Software Development. “We spend a lot of time planning and challenging ourselves. We discuss how it should work and build a prototype with ease of use being top of mind. Right from the beginning of our company, there has been this relentless pursuit of quality in terms of innovativeness, accuracy, ease of use and stability in performance. That has paid off in the long run – we get accolades for delivering on these goals.”
AutoTURN was the first of our well received and highly recognized software, but it didn’t stop there. To traffic engineers and later airport planners and designers, GuidSIGN and AeroTURN (initially called AutoTURN Aircrafts) were big hits too.
“Our QA process is thorough, so much so that our post release bug fix requirements are abnormally low,” notes Milton. “It’s not like we have unlimited resources, but it speaks to our efficient approach that begins at the outset of the planning and early development phases.”
Cornerstone No 2 - Our Customers
“Many companies give customer service lip service – all talk and no action.” says Milton “For us, we are energized by this function and believe strongly in ensuring that every single customer is given the same quality of service – no matter how small or big the account.”
“AutoTURN brought about a tremendous response from the market place,” says Milton. “So the proverbial ‘breaking the ice’ wasn’t even a factor when it came to customer contact. Instead it became a jovial and friendly communication. Customers became huge fans of ours because most of them were the early adopters and despite the fact that they numbered in the few hundreds at first, we took in the time to call customers by their first name through a quick look up of our database.”
Another aspect of customer service that sets Transoft apart is having a live person answer the phones. “The world was moving to automated call routing services,” notes Milton. “We decided to stick with the personal touch. The reason is simple – throughout the years that Val was answering the phones, then later our other first in line staff, we noticed the joy in the voices of our customers. At the time, most of this was US customers who were thrilled to be speaking to a Canadian with a kind, friendly voice at our end! It was that simple! The cost benefit of providing this personalized service is a no brainer – why most companies believe it’s an operating overhead to be outsourced or worse, cut, is beyond me!”
Our level of customer service is delivered by a group of people who really enjoy what they do. The spirit and energy is the same today as it was in the early days in large part because many of the key staff members are still with us and have the customer spirit ingrained in their day-to-day work. Of special note is
the high percentage of positive accolades we receive for our quality tech support.
“Most companies would rest on their laurels in such a situation. Not us! We aim to take our customer service to the next level. By the fall of 2013 we will have a dedicated customer experience team. This is unheard of in a company our size.
Cornerstone No 3 – Our People
We have a commitment to our people to provide them with a fun and exciting work place and to ensure that they are fairly compensated. We are committed to giving them opportunities where such opportunities are to a mutual benefit and to empower them to do their jobs better. Making coming to work feel desirable rather than a ‘need’ could be considered a victory in ensuring that this cornerstone is well attended to. This can be measured in how the employees gel together and support each other, both at work and at social gatherings.
That collective energy is something that Noel Dolotallas noticed early on.
“What made me take notice that we were really different were the social and after-work activities that we did together,” says Noel, the Vice President of Corporate Marketing. “Whether it’s taking the afternoon off to all go see the first Spiderman movie or going to indoor rock-climbing or a fun yet simple camping weekend on Mayne Island, including cook-outs and canoeing around the island, the group turned up and participated with enthusiasm. These activities really allowed us to gel and we brought that energy back into the office.”
But we recognize we are not a video game company or a “Google-like” shop – where the setting and work schedule is ‘relaxed’. Our customers are professional engineers and architects and our expectations require a high degree of professionalism in what we do. This knowledge is reinforced throughout the organization. Recognition of top performing staff is high on the company’s radar as is accommodation of the employees’ personal needs (all of course within reason). Transoft supports its staff’s charity activities with enthusiasm and is consistent with the wider human respect we have for each other.
As Milton says, the way the current staff works together is like “keeping a promise that we make to ourselves” about living the Vision, Mission and Values. Our three cornerstones are of equal importance and Milton strongly believes that if we can excel in these pillars of strength, through sound financial and operational management, the company, not only can weather economic storms well, but also sustain itself indefinitely.
The American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”
It seems this is what Milton set out to accomplish, even unconsciously when Transoft Solutions began operating. The success of AutoTURN stemmed from doing something that no one else had thought of previously. From those small beginnings, a global company was born.
How did this group of six people evolve into the Transoft you see today, with offices in Canada, Europe and Australia? Read about the beginning of the global expansion in the next installment below.