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June 28, 2011

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Using technology to save time

December 3, 2009

Everyone says that time is the new money. Sure, you can’t make more of it, but shave seconds or minutes from your operation, and you’re likely to boost productivity. That can result in making more real dollars.

We are all given 24 hours in a day. Nobody wants to waste a second on a mundane task. Technology has offered us some great and convenient options. I can no longer imagine a world where I would have to wait in line at the bank just to withdraw some money. Nor can I imagine a world without everyday conveniences such as email, video conferencing, or even those license plate tab renewal machines at the Secretary of State (I’m serious about this one; my five minutes with this machines was the only good experience I’ve had there. And that’s saying something).   

Our customers probably can’t recall a time when they’ve not had the convenience of streamlined online order entry and tracking. And we’ve invested heavily in technology to make sure that they don’t have to. As a Michigan delivery company, we’re expected to get important deliveries where they need to go precisely when they need to get there. But Reliable Delivery specializes in saving our customers time and money by ensuring that it is easy to do business with us.

Being able to place an order online is good but we also offer our customers the ability to save frequent addresses or frequent orders. This enables an order to be placed with a few simple keystrokes or clicks of the mouse and can be a real time saver. Order tracking is also available. Everyone can follow the status of their order from creation to delivery or we can send an email with the order updates. We also offer reporting, online invoicing, and more all with customer convenience in mind.

Our customers seem to appreciate it:

Stephanie Eckley, laboratory manager at Saint Mary’s Health Care, says “In the past, we didn’t have a convenient, reliable way to track the pick-up or delivery of our samples or specimens. The Web order system they offer has made a great difference in our day-to-day operations. It greatly improved the overall transmission of our information.”

If needed, we can become the logistics center for nearly any customer, leveraging our technology and know-how to boost efficiency and reduce waste.

Before too long, we’re certain that technology will evolve. And you can bet that we’ll be tracking it, and investing in those new technologies that will help our customers have a better experience and save time. And after all, time is money.

How do you use technology to save time? Please leave a comment below, email us at or connect with us on Twitter at

Family Business: A son’s point of view

December 1, 2009

I started working for my father in 1996. It was a weird transition, coming into work and calling my dad, Paul, and learning to deal with my brothers and sisters as colleagues. My brother and sister were already working at the Detroit delivery company and they helped train me.

There are obviously positives and negatives about working with family. I’d like to talk a little bit about both.

I enjoy being with my family. That is a huge positive. It’s also an important starting point if anyone is thinking about starting a business with family or friends. You might like your family, but can you spend eight to 10 hours a day with them, every day of the week? For me, that answer was, “of course.”

There is a level of trust with my family already established that would take a stranger years to attain. When we set out to make Reliable Delivery the leading provider of courier services in Michigan, we needed to be able to depend on each other. Now we have started a Grand Rapids delivery service, a Flint delivery service and a Toledo delivery service. Another plus? My father already knows my strengths and weaknesses. I don’t need to pretend to be something I’m not and we can have open, honest communication.

Now for the good stuff; the down side of working with family. Reality TV has created a lot of shows that play up the friction between family members working at a business. While this makes for great TV it doesn’t make for a great work environment. Relationships are always tricky and adding a business relationship to a personal relationship only makes things more complicated. I could never walk up to my sister and say, “Hey, your work stinks. See you at dinner.” That would definitely create some awkward moments. Luckily my dad has created a company where we all can have honest communication with each other tactfully.

Honestly, I can’t imagine working for another company. I am blessed to be able to work for a man who is not only my father but a boss that allows his employees to take ownership. He cares about everyone on our team and wants Reliable Delivery to be a place where people are happy to come to work. He really understands what it takes as a leader to manage a great team.

Now hopefully I’ll get that raise.

Do you work at or have you had an experience with a family business? Leave a comment below, email us at or connect with us on Twitter at

Market your business for less

September 29, 2009

guerilla marketingDon’t cut your marketing when times are tough! That’s the advice of many experts, but the question for the team at Reliable Delivery was: how do we market a Michigan delivery company when the budget is not there?

I found the answers in “Guerrilla Marketing Excellence” by Jay Conrad Levinson. Jay has been called the “Father of Guerrilla Marketing” and his books have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. This book contains 50 golden rules for marketing. I’ve listed five of my favorites below.

Rule 1: Do not seek instant gratification, but find rewards with farsightedness. Six months ago, we began the process of revamping our Web site, Our old Web site barely promoted our Detroit delivery operation and did nothing for our other locations. Only recently have we seen results from these strategies, with more still to implement.  If you have a well thought-out plan, stick with it.

Rule 12: Do everything in your power to employ marketing techniques and tactics that are honest beyond reproach. While watching TV, I saw a commercial for a “miraculous” piece of plastic guaranteed to take my abs from pale and shapeless to tan, rippled, and glistening inside of eight weeks. Really? My abs aside, if you want repeat business, your promises need to be based on reality. When you are unable to fulfill those promises do what you can to fix the error.

Rule 27: Marketing will succeed only if time and energy are regularly devoted to it. You don’t need the resources of a Fortune 500 company to have great marketing, but you do need to take the time to make sure it’s right. Creating keywords for our Web site was a painful process. It took months of questions and talking to customers to narrow us down to Michigan delivery, Detroit delivery and same-day delivery, to name a few. Now we spend our time analyzing reports to make sure these words are actually helping people find us on the major search engines.dollarsigneyes

Rule 32: Realize that everyone to whom you market is a human being first. Don’t focus on your profits. Focus on the customer. What are their needs? And how do we, as an organization, solve them? Learn to treat marketing as a one-on-one experience rather than a mass-selling device.

Rule 33: Avoid humor unless it is pertinent to your offering and does not detract from your offer. This one I really didn’t agree with at first. Like most people, I really enjoy funny commercials, especially the Super Bowl commercials. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I find myself talking about how funny the commercial was but it didn’t create an urge to buy. Make sure any humor doesn’t overshadow the message of your marketing.

There are 45 more rules with great information about marketing and plenty of other resources at the Guerilla Marketing website. If you have any creative ideas about marketing please leave me a comment or contact me at or @adamalberts on Twitter.

Technology is one easy route to cutting costs and saving time

September 24, 2009

Who would have thought we’d ever reach a day where we could get minute by minute updates on our friends and family? The advancement of technology can provide a lot more value than just knowing what your friends are eating for dinner or where they like to shop.  Technology is also helping hospitals and other businesses with the all too important task of cutting cost and improving productivity.

In 2003 Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center began implementing speech recognition and computer-aided medical transcription technology. This solution from Nuance Healthcare Solutions, called eScription, allows clinicians to dictate and record information from patient visits into handheld devices that sends the information to a server to be changed to text. What normally would take up to 5 days to turnaround medical records has been reduced to less than an hour and saved the medical center over $5 million dollars since 2003.

At Reliable Delivery, we are using software to build routes with stops that are optimized to meet delivery deadlines and lower costs for several Michigan hospitals and pharmacies. ArcLogistics - Map ViewRoute drivers also carry handheld devices that provide real time proof of delivery, barcode scanning and even signature capture. All of our same day deliveries can be tracked via our website and allows a customer to view detailed order information and analyze trends, costs and areas of improvement. Laboratory manager Stephanie Eckley, MT (ASCP), of Saint Mary’s Health Care says, “The Web order system they offer has made a great difference in our day-to-day operations. It greatly improved the overall transmission of our information. For us, that’s been the most valuable benefit of working with Reliable Delivery.”

With technology constantly changing and evolving, who knows what the future holds. If you would like to read the full article on Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center please click here.