Carolina Business Equipment, Inc. (CBE) has been providing business solutions to South Carolina since 1975. We spoke to John Eckstrom as we take a closer look at the innovative company.
As an established leader, CBE performs like a 43-year-old start-up, with every day at the company providing a new challenge or opportunity. There is a sense of urgency encapsulated in the firm’s motto ‘will it amaze?’, which looks at astonishing the customers. With a 4000-strong established print base of MFPs & MPS, and a 14-year history of ever evolving IT services; the CBE team is constantly looking to improve the services, products and support provided to its established and new clients. John outlines the company mission, explaining what steps the company takes in order to reach the targets it sets itself. This is not intended to be a road map for how to start a managed network business, it is just a recap of how we went from a start up in the MNS space to the company we are today.
“CBE strives to be a no excuses top level provider of technology and business solutions. We do not try to be all things to all clients, but rather be the very best at what we provide and deliver fully integrated we well thought out and cleanly executed solutions.”
Following on from CBE’s aims of being at the top level of technology and business-related solutions, John states how the company marks itself out as the best option for clients, highlighting the infrastructure within the company as a key aspect of its success.
“Essentially, CBE’s investment in internal infrastructure and support tools sets us apart from any provider in the territories we support. Rather than say we are the best, we strive daily to empower our clients to tell others that CBE is substantially better than anyone else in our field. Our constant efforts towards improvement and no excuses approach combine to set CBE as the pinnacle provider. In summary, a client can find someone to do it cheaper but they will not find anyone to do it better.”
Being recognised as Most Reputable Business Solutions Provider 2017 in South Carolina in the Corporate Excellence Awards 2017, is a sign that the company is heading in the right direction. John explains what it means to the company to be recognized, before going on to explain what this means for the firm going forward.
“It is always humbling to receive awards and we try to keep a proper perspective. This award helps to validate that we are moving in the right direction and encourages us to strive to be even better. Clearly, to have been picked by CV Magazine as the Most Reputable Business Solutions Provider for 2017, the IT Management group pulled together to talk about it. There is a term ‘Technology Disrupters’ that is common when you are a solutions provider. Long before that term was common, we at CBE have operated under the charge that we will bring solutions to the market place for the way business will be conducted.
“To be relevant, it is crucial to recognise the subtleties that are going on all around us, and to be able to adapt to what is happening, presenting solutions to the client base, so that they too are not sitting in the dust wondering what happened. Given the significant changes in the world as far as technology goes, we are often asked, “What is next”? Here is the answer, we simply don’t know. What is going on right now with mobility, social media, cloud computing and big data has put us in an era that is unprecedented. What we can tell you with conviction though is that, for most of you, if you do not embrace technology you will struggle to remain relevant in your respective industries. The solutions that will be necessary to survive in a meaningful way will be developed by the SMB business. No longer are these being developed by the “Big Guys” and handed down. It is our job as the solutions provider to quarterback these often-complex solutions.”
“The concept of bringing business solutions to the market place for the way business will be conducted, is really something that was hard for most people to understand years ago. The forward-thinking nature of our entire management team is a testament that we are on the right track and in fact we are, in many cases, installing that track. Simply put, it means that we are yet again seen by an outside source as the premier solutions provider in the southeast. The award echoes our motto of “Will it Amaze”: and it is nice that we have been recognized for our ongoing efforts to provide quality business solutions.”
Teamwork can be an integral part of a growing company, with John explaining that the teams at CBE are always training and communicating openly, something which they are encouraged to do. There are weekly meetings which means staff can get across their point of view, and John comments on the fact that active management is a key part of ensuring everyone gets their say.
“From our most tenured to the least tenured person, we encourage open and passionate discussion about how we can improve. Performed at the company are weekly strategy meetings, the use of SWOT’s and encouragement for different teams to work together as one team for the combined success is our continuing goal.
“Furthermore, we assess new possible internal tools, products and services; not many make the cut but once we have chosen we are confident in that selection. Here is where the very active management is necessary to make sure the team leaders are always communicating with one another, as well as staying on the lookout for some of the new stuff mentioned above.”
Part of being the leader in the industry is providing not just the best solutions, but also the best customer service. Therefore, John tells us how staff go about undertaking a new project, and what steps they take to ensure clients receive the best possible outcome, which can sometimes provide a measure of the company’s success.
“Considering new engagements, this process always begins and ends with listening to the clients to understand their needs and desires. Then, our team sets the expectations seeking to become the people who say yes. While it always feels good to say yes, it is imperative that we fulfil our promise and deliver the best service possible to the respective clients. When we must say no, our task is to find a way to deliver the desired outcome via a different path. As the expert in the engagement, we lead our clients to solutions that exceed their request within the budget and limitations for that engagement.”
Regarding the future of the firm, John is keen to emphasise that the company will have to adapt along with the industry and the new technology that will be developed. Monitoring trends and being pioneers in the industry is one of the key factors of CBE’s success, with John stating that the firm enjoys being ahead of any advances that develop, both in technology and business.
“As the industries and technology change, we too must adapt and work to stay ahead. Over the past year, we have been seen as a solutions provider for other managed network services providers and frankly that is the easy part. For the foreseeable future, we are on a good path, and we must stay vigilant to ensure we make the relevant adjustments, plus, be ever watchful for the next best opportunity that fits into our wheelhouse. This is the real fun part and it also is what has differentiated us from the others. Remember, before Technology Disrupters was a common term. we were bringing solutions to the market place the way business will be conducted.”
Company: Carolina Business Equipment Inc.
Contact: John Eckstrom
Contact Email: [email protected]
Address: 5123 Bush River Road, Columbia, SC 29212, USA
Phone: 803 798 7522