25 Apr Orlando Business Journal: Tech Eating Up Profits? Maybe You Need More Tech
Zynergy has built a technology system designed to aid businesses being threatened by technology systems. Think of it as fighting fire with fire.
Small Business Products, Inc., a firm with Ohio roots and Celebration ties, has been in the business of manufacturing black payroll checks and other human resources forms since 1984, primarily for small businesses.
But the advance of electronic transactions for paychecks and other office functions has cut into the form and paycheck business.
That’s coincided with a slump in the number of new small businesses being established. The U.S. Small Business Administration estimates more than 584,000 closed up shop last year.
True, 550,000 small businesses opened shop in 2002 – and that’s up slightly from 2001. The trouble is, new small businesses are most likely to take advantage of computers and automation for their human resources and payroll functions.
So the leadership at Small Business Products asked themselves and Zynergy: What would small businesses need? The first two answers: computers and office furniture, sold via the Internet.
For a company in the paper forms business, that’s a departure. But, thanks to Web-enabled technology, it’s not that tough a transition.
Zynergy using Microsoft Corp.’s .net technology, has eliminated the need to warehouse the goods.
James Zimbardi, Zynergy’s CEO, calls it Retail Ondemand. It takes about 3 weeks to set up the system, now running at smallbusinessproducts.com.
New products can be added using web forms and a few clicks.
When Small Business Products gets an order, its software back office automatically generates a request from the manufacturer or wholesaler. The item, be it a wireless router or desk chair, is then sent directly from the wholesaler to the buyer. Those vendors like the system. “To them, an order’s an order,” Zimbardi says.
During the dot-com era many operations tried to put such an automated ordering system to work in a variety of industries.
Most of those offerings, under the impressive name of business-to-business application service providers, didn’t live up to their billing.
That’s because those efforts were designed to replace existing supply chains. The cogs and wheels in those chains resisted change.
In the case of Small Business Products, the setup isn’t replacing anything. And for the wholesalers, it’s a new channel to sell their wares.
“Retail onDemand gives the company the ability to have growth,” Zimbardi says.
In addition to building software, Zynergy’s staff has advertising and marketing experience. That led the form company, previously known as Software Business Products Corp., to change its name to Small Business Products. It keeps the previous line of work – but adds a whole new market.
By Chad Eric Watt – Senior Staff Writer
April 25 – May 1, 2003 Orlando Business Journal