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 Please hide well when you call the company while on holiday!
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
A help desk for those who carry their mobile phones on holiday, and even occasionally have business talks: 50% of employees find that people who use their mobile phone for business purposes while on holiday are merely pretending to be important and cannot relax.

This sounds harsh for all those who accept calls at the resort simply because they have already relaxed before their holiday :) — namely, who did not care about the fact that they are represented correctly 100% during their absence. Or that perhaps it would not be made known that perhaps not all processes are 100% perfectly documented, and a quick call might prevent this from coming to light.

On the other hand, should an employee have a bad conscience if he answers a colleague’s question more quickly by telephone, instead of insisting on the "I am on vacation, please take of it yourself” attitude? Particularly in companies where there is not a standardised procedure for every process, the people working there are able to live with it.

Meanwhile, there was a breakthrough, from the latest survey which was reported about today. Of the 50% who find it terrible to answer a business call or an email on holiday, 95% of them do not get reimbursed for roaming charges and mobile data usage. This is the real reason for the refusal, but it is just as "uncool", because the employee does not renounce the company while on holiday, but, rather, the employer and the colleagues do him...

You should distinguish between employees who "have" to use to their mobile phones on vacation (whether they are legally permissible or not) and those who “want to" or are even happy to “be allowed to". In my opinion, a compulsory answer while on holiday is totally inappropriate if it is not paid extra. But just because one personally finds foreign charges to be too expensive, it is probably a little exaggerated to condemn others who would like to know what colleagues and customers are doing. The solution for everyone: relax!
Like (10)
 Eastern Europe's new capital: Sicily!
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Me ranting about the locations of vendor events is nothing new. The latest hit: one of our vendors is inviting its Eastern European customers to a partner conference. Correct: the important event where products, markets and sales strategies for the year are meant to be discussed.

But where are they inviting them to? Sicily! A beautiful island, but there is not a single scheduled flight going there from Eastern Europe even during the summer. Each customer therefore has to change at least once. Why Sicily? Every Eastern European capital or major city has direct flights to Vienna, Frankfurt, London and Paris, every day, all year around. It could be so easy ...

Or why not plan a business meeting right where a lot of customers already are, like Budapest, Prague or Warsaw in this case. That would be more efficient, cheaper for most, and many would not even need to travel at all. An especially important point for corporate groups: mind the CO2 footprint!

A trip to a meeting in a metropolis also never is an issue with taxes. A holiday destination topped off with an entertainment programme that is even advertised in the invitation, on the other hand, is a feast for any tax auditor. Strangely enough, it's the American companies who don't understand this, while usually trying to coerce the rest of the world to follow their compliance rules. Especially when this vendor, apart from providing barcode-related products, also provides plenty of parts for American nuclear weapons. Someone posting a funny picture of the beach barbecue on Facebook is hardly avoidable ... and if anybody is laughing at a meeting, the tax office immediately perceives a private background.

At least this time the meeting is taking place before the flight plan changes to winter schedule. Vendors usually like to hold their island meetings after the winter schedule takes effect, because as there are almost no flights then, at least hotel prices drop. What's funny is that there usually is a super cheap flight with Ryanair or Easyjet from the vendor's headquarters to the conference location. Thus their own employees are already cared for. When the customer was king, those were the days :)
Like (15)
 Ultimate annoyance to the paper industry
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
What would you think of this? You put a pile of used paper into your printer – old printouts in black ink on white paper. You want to print a full-colour diagram on light-blue paper. The printer prints ... but without ... wasting resources. Without using water, the old paper is broken down to its fibres (better than any shredder could do) and put together again – in your chosen colour and thickness, and then it's printed.

I would believe that to be a magical development. But I'm late, because this device already exists, as this video shows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp-AZ6psL0c

In this case, the printer is not so much a "device" than it is a "machine", as big as a steam train and as expensive as an upper class limousine. Luckily only as a Japanese upper class limousine – because this steam train was made by one of our favourite Japanese vendors: Epson.

In my opinion, it is audacious to take the paper and printing industry on – this compares to a fight between Tesla and the oil industry. Did you notice the huge ink cartridges in the YouTube video? Just crazy.

Of course, there is nothing that anyone of us could be selling tomorrow. But it will come, and it will solve a massive environmental, cost and time problem. I just wish I will not have to choose between a Tesla and Epson's "paper mill" – because both need require space the size of a garage.

So, Epson, please: make the thing smaller, less expensive, and get that market. We can wait those few years.
Like (18)
 Premium Distribution
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
A trend is making a comeback:

Does shipping logistics only have to become cheaper (and automatically poorer, as a result), just because Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public feel like paying very little for it?
That's no longer true.

The more we invest into our premium logistics (24-hour warehouse operation, more employees, new types of quality control, continual technological upgrades), the clearer the results are: much less damage during transportation, packaging mistakes drop to much lower levels and there is an enormous increase in speed. Combined with the best parcel services and shipping carriers, this ultimately leads to a reduced workload for the customers. Hard cash!

And look here: performance is rewarded. We enforce (of course, still economical) flat-rate shipping charges because we, for example, are also able to serve end customers on behalf of our resellers, the idea being "order and forget" - with colour-printed "original" reseller packaging slips right up to individual packaging tape.

For free shipping elsewhere you get pseudo parcel services who heartlessly toss the boxes into the rusty van when loading it, and who then drop the well-shaken box at the customer's feet. What a treat for the electronic device inside.

On a side note, a part of "premium" also means that sales employees not only register articles, but they also know which product is needed. When we test the competition the answer comes back to the tune of "I cannot help you without an exact article number." Pitiful. But things can turn funny if you ask the "right" questions. I can amuse myself for days like this. Such as during a discussion about a particular receipt printer, when asking "Just how big is it?" or "Isn't that the neon yellow device?" The answer came back "Yes." – to both questions. :) So, that speaks volumes about the training level of the other person.

And because of this we are finally seeing slightly growing profit margins in the channel. Of course there are still customers, let's call the company "Audacious Computing", who expect that we deliver with a negative margin. Oh, and even better that we take care of his 30% returned goods. But the best of all would be to send (in advance) free-of-charge demo devices directly to the end customers: but right now, please! That would mean that we are not a "Premium Distributor", but rather a dumb distributor.

We prefer to work together with the 99% of reasonable resellers, and grow together. "Audacious Computing" might be causing a competitor of ours losses, but even they would realize that the supply of distributors is not limitless.

Apparently, the competition is of the same opinion as I am: Auto-ID and POS is not a broad line topic, but must at least be part of a separate department, and therefore always incurs higher costs. We cannot become solutions providers; that is our customers' job. We can, however, continue to push towards being a part of our customers' solution, and contribute as much as possible to achieving this.
Like (58)
 A hardware showroom in center city?
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Star Micronics invited us to the grand opening of its store located in the heart of Frankfurt. It is a small, quaint store with Star POS printers and POS systems in the display window, and that in the best location.

But, why?

Does Jarltech also need a showroom in the center of Paris, London, or even cooler, Frankfurt? And without selling anything there? Good question. Upon closer inspection, the concept from Star is quite interesting. Not only is Star on-site, but also the software solutions of three previous ISVs. Plus, Star really wants to actively acquire customers in the neighborhood of the shop, and to educate walk-in customers about the solutions of its software provider.

This suddenly makes sense. Apart from the very small increase in "brand awareness" as a hardware vendor, one generates inquiries for his loyal software houses. And also creates a central place for his trainings or for evening celebration invitations for the local shopkeepers.

Apart from this, the showroom is within sight of the Jarltech Networking Dinner, which is always held in the "Mantis" in the heart of Frankfurt, just like last Friday. Yes, the transition is so good that it hurts: in any case, you will find photos and the video of our event from last week on Facebook and YouTube under "Jarltech".
Like (31)
 Value Add
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
After Jarltech has boomed upwards in 2016 and achieved 18% growth, we are already looking towards the future. One task of a distributor is to reduce the balance of the reseller. We give credit limits, and we store for you. But in times of low interest rates, it is becoming more and more important to look at the bottom line.

We want added value to continue to be well paid in our industry. But not by pushing hardware without a trade margin, so that you ultimately need to hope for sales of service contracts or managed services. It also requires commitment on your part: Do I really have to sell the customer what he already knows and always orders - and which will always be cheaper on the Internet? Or should I invest a few minutes in convincing customers of a device that is not found on every corner?

All of our vendors offer innovative hardware solutions for the most varying sectors. However, we have realized that »standard« is frequently purchased. If we still had scanners that I started with over 20 years ago in stock today - I bet there would still be reorders for them.

But change is coming: what was unthinkable ten years ago has our technical workshops today regularly overbooked. We see that as our partners, you want to sell the latest technology to users, and know that your added value is in expertise. And that is exactly where we find the asset - through real added value. So, stay on the ball!

Looking back shortly to the beginning: many thanks for a successful business year 2016 - to you, to our vendors and to our employees.
Like (82)
 Down with PowerPoint
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
First of all, I can not completely forbid PowerPoint at Jarltech. Numbers for banks, as well as technical diagrams, occasionally find their way to the screen via PowerPoint. But principally, we have a "no PowerPoint" policy.

Some visitors’ facial features noticeably fall when we say "just forget about PowerPoint and tell us something about your company". Or “wouldn't we rather hold the product in our hands"? Good presentations are simply too rare. "Yes, this is from the marketing department, and we will just skip this page, and the next…" does not sound like preparation. And, if you do show slides, then please without text. Of course one would like to take a look at the factory of a vendor ... unfortunately right next to it is a box with 20 technical facts about the factory. This data, if interesting, has been comprehended after one second - but of course the presenter starts to read these numbers one at a time…beautifully looking away from the audience, always with his eyes glued to the screen. For you see, he does not know the figures, not even roughly, because they do not interest him either.

Particularly with Asian companies you will notice that the presentations mostly contain the company history starting from 1965, but rarely something about the future. If you talked about it, your conversation would get a better result. And, interposed questions are of course to be avoided, because then the whole spectacle takes even longer.

When we meet new customers or suppliers, we will first provide them with a small book about Jarltech. It has lots of pictures, and everyone can linger on the page that most interests him. Even hand-outs are even better than PowerPoint - so the speaker, if he is not completely ignorant, will at least register that his listeners (or fellow readers) have already turned ahead five pages out of boredom. If I am a salesman - and aren’t we all - I have to remember what the person sitting across from me really is interested in, and then take that route.

This is how time-wasting occurs, caused by PowerPoint (not only during preparation, but especially among the target audience), which is hard to outdo. Since we usually do not serve alcohol at meetings, one can not often effectively block out the happenings around him. I can not sleep with my eyes open. In addition, I snore, so that would be noticeable.

Why is it that just because you have an appointment somewhere, and therefore have driven for three hours, you must necessarily sit together for at least an hour? If you have a message which only takes fifteen minutes, then everything is fine. Or else you need a new message, or maybe several, but you do not have to get on someone else’s nerves. Unfortunately, in the IT industry not many people are really funny, to make such a meeting entertaining.

So please, bring us products, talk about content, show us interesting pictures - but please do not read any text from the wall. We can do that ourselves. Has anyone ever tried that? Just put a slide with text up on the wall, then keep your mouth shut and let the audience read for themselves? That would probably go faster. This degrades the presenter to the status of a fool though, since he now may only press the "next slide" button. Perhaps, however he does not talk until he is blue in the face, and has the strength to speak about what is seen.

A nice function is the display of the page number at the bottom right. If you see "Slide 4 of 274" that gives me a signal to suddenly receive an important call, causing me to then leave the room and actually do something meaningful. Do you know the apps that call you back at the push of a button? So, just a little touch of the hand is enough, and 20 seconds later the phone rings and my dog ​​calls me, or whoever, but of course urgently. Try it out!

Is that rude? Yes, so in the future you should rather have the courage at the beginning to say what you expect from a conversation, and especially what you already know and do not want to hear again. It would be even better to say right with the invitation: Please, no PowerPoint. Not even printed. And in no case an "introductory presentation before the round of talks" - because when I go there, I am already in the mood for a conversation. And, why increase the tiredness of the business partners right at the beginning?

Recently, in a round of managers who have been dealing with barcodes for 20 years, someone actually read three slides explaining what a 2D barcode is and what you might need it for. Why? Because the slides were there from the presentation the previous day. After all, to remain consistent, the meeting cookies were also from the previous day.
Like (106)
 Equipped for the year-end sprint 2016
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Perfect timing in the fourth quarter, Jarltech just opened new space for several thousand pallets, as well as an entirely new logistics area, which doubles shipping capacity. Our staging department, which by now is running on 24h operation, also received new space.

The next step, which is important for you, is to extend our customer support. Not only will customer support receive 600 square meters of brand new space mid next year (we are still waiting for building approval) – we are strongly investing here in service quality. With this we do not only mean the preparation of demo devices and the processing of RMAs, but also concrete support for you during the implementation of your solutions on our hardware – no matter if it is Windows or Android. This means a lot of internal schooling sessions are necessary, and also a high specialization of our employees. Even our service app and the RMA software will be further enhanced.

We wish to emphasize that »Value Add« is not just a bullet point in a PowerPoint presentation, but is truly lived and practiced on a daily basis. If you wish to gain further insight into Jarltech, I suggest viewing the videos on our website. There is also a »Jarltech book« about our history and our services – one call is all it takes!

That just leaves the hope that there is no sudden onset of winter hailing upon logistics this year as well – and that everything runs smoothly!
Like (57)
 From China by train
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Until now, we received our goods from China by ship, or sometimes, if we were in a hurry or could just not wait, by plane. Now, we are testing the railway connection for the first time. The Christmas presents for our top customers will not be ready in time – therefore, shipping by sea would take too long. It's not that air freight is too expensive for our best customers, but the train is just right in this case.

There has been a railway connection for a long time already, but a reliable two-week service even if you don't have a full 40-ft container, that's new. And now that I have told that air freight is not quite worth it and that the gifts are not big enough to fill a container, we could save ourselves the trouble with the Christmas presents. I'm sorry :)

The container will be loaded in beautiful Suzhou, which is not far from Shanghai. To us Europeans, however, it is far – but I would like to fly there in November because we are going to participate in the "POS China" trade fair. Unfortunately, Suzhou is the only megacity in China that does not really have an airport. Never mind, China has the best high-speed railway network in the world. Of course, only if you are at the national airport in Shanghai and not from possible destinations when departing from Frankfurt. But I don't want to complain too much.

There is one handy thing though: exactly in this city, Honeywell has its scanner plant, and Elo also has inaugurated a state-of-the-art plant there just last month.

The train's next important stop is Aktogay (which I never heard of) in Kazakhstan. It then continues through Russia – Osinki and Moscow. Previously to its transit through Belarus, the container must be loaded onto another train, because of the changing track width. It then continues to reach its last train stop in Malaszewice, Poland. That is to say, the last stop for our presents, as goods destined to Frankfurt are unloaded there and continue their way by truck. The train's final destination is either Duisburg or Hamburg.

The whole trip takes only 14 days, if nothing freezes on the way. My last train ride in Russia was 25 years ago, and yes: I was frozen. On the other hand, ships are becoming ever slower since they seem to be using wind and currents instead of their motors because of the strongly dropping freight prices. Shipping by train is twice as expensive as by ship, but only costs a third of the air shipping.

Even from Wuhan, Changsha and Shenyang, there are railway connections to Germany now. I'm impressed, and we will accordingly buy bigger gifts next year, as well as earlier. And, indeed, when I look at the Christmas stollen that are available in supermarkets again, I must admit, we are a bit late :)
Like (141)
 Our new catalogue and the beauty business
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
We are proud of our new main catalogue, which you should receive any day now. Why, because of the fact that our marketing department entirely produced the 400-page tool - whether it is the product photos, drone photos from the premises, ten thousand texts and, of course, the cover.

As an eye-catcher we look for a new model for each new issue, and take photos. That sounds like pleasure, but it's really hard work. Since our "mascot" is also always seen at Jarltech events over the course of one year, is shown at the exhibition stands in China and, of course, on our website, we also need a model that not only looks good, but also fits Jarltech.

This year we are pleased that we were able to win Laura Franziska for our cover, known from the current season of "Germany's Next Top Model”. We have never experienced such a professional model before; instead of working for hours on a single take, everything was an immediate success. Whether it was photos with data capture devices or with me in a Santa Claus suit: the smile is always present.

And believe me, this is not a given. It starts with the "casting", where you sometimes really feel like someone is pulling your leg, if - as known from the TV series - girls appear without a portfolio, show up hours too late, or during the test pictures would rather phone with their new love.

Or you choose someone from an agency database and then the person shows up with their whole family. Oh, and then the lady tells us that she will be 14 in just a few weeks. Of course, such a person would not be suitable at a Jarltech event tapping the keg with me, and giving a speech to our partners. However, as a result of this, I am aware of the fact that very talented make-up artists can dramatically change people’s age, and that one should ask beforehand.

The shooting itself, with our photographers and filmmakers, a make-up artist and various helpers, is rather hectic. And sometimes a picture is planned in the sun, but it is raining dogs and cats. Or my son, wearing a Jarltech football jersey, just does not want to smile when he sits next to Laura Franziska, only next to his mom. :)

Many thanks to Laura and the team for the great results! Quite a few pictures made it into the catalogue, or will be appearing soon. Your personal contact at Jarltech will gladly send you the catalogue if you have not already received it. And there is also a great "Making of" video that you can find on our website or on our YouTube channel. Have fun with it!
Like (77)
 The Teichmüllers on holiday!
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Every few days on our Facebook page we are currently publishing holiday pictures of our staff (Please have a look at them! Very worth it!). And since otherwise nothing much happens in the summer, even I had to go on holiday to have something about which I can get excited.

After I spent a completely useless weekend at Wimbledon (I was not allowed to play), the Eintracht did not take me into the training camp (splinter in the foot) and I did not play table tennis at the Olympics in Rio (I had forgotten to register), I ended up in Mallorca. With my family, whom I really like very much, even though they cannot help it that they have to go on holiday with me. I had booked only three weeks before departure, in the brand new Park Hyatt Hotel on the northeastern part of the island, and for almost "nothing". After all, as compensation for my frequent stays in China I always get plenty of bonus points from the Hyatt Hotel group, and I had to use them.

I learned a lot on this holiday, this time about personnel management. Picture this: an upscale hotel opens, with planned prices similar to those of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, and with a great concept, but it all goes terribly wrong. The near-highlight was my wife's birthday: on that day we were traveling and I had ordered (in writing) a bottle of champagne and a birthday cake. And because I know where, how and when logistics can go wrong (I know that because at Jarltech logistics never goes wrong), I called as well on that day: "We will be back in an hour, is the champagne there?". Yes, of course.

We arrive at the hotel: no champagne, but a cake! With the inscription: "Happy Birthday Mr. Teichmüller". No, my wife has the same beautiful surname as I, and also does not know anyone named "Teichmüller". There was also a card from the management, reading: "Dear Mr. Meier, we apologize for the problems with your door." Um, we also do not know them, our door is perfectly fine, but hey, at least there were cookies with the card. Maybe this Meier cannot get into his room because of the door problem and will visit us later.

And the best wife of all, in any case marked from her bad milestone birthday (she turned 25 - or at least she looks it), was not happy. My 8-year old son, on the other hand, greatly. He ran with the cake through the hotel complex and asked everyone who was Teichmüller. No such luck. No Teich, no Müller. Only a Meier who might be detained because of door problems, who is probably locked in his room, and does not even get cookies.

Of course, you can be polite and do not have to furiously storm into the hotel lobby, but it was perhaps not helpful that for an hour no one had answered the hotel phone. Not even the "Emergency Hotline". Everyone was too busy labeling cakes I guess. And then you are always treated as if you only wanted to point out an error to "cash in" on an apology. No, I would have just liked to have had a cake and a bottle of champagne, not 500 Hyatt points as compensation. My wife turned XX years old and here: Darling, happy birthday, I have 500 Hyatt points for you!!!

I realize I'm getting upset again, so every one of you who is now thinking, you know, Jarltech sometimes made a wrong delivery, had better keep quiet. :) Or call ol’ Teichmüller in the complaints department. You should know though, he is often ill… those are the consequential damages of having to constantly eat cake.

Interestingly, my wife (probably out of anger over the cake), left the bedroom at three o’clock in the morning, and walked through the living room (we will never know the real reason why). If it was not because of the cake, then perhaps her advanced age… (Honey, I know you never read my blog, but just in case: I do not write it myself). The room is dark, the only source of light is a red light next to the door, indicating that we have activated the "Do Not Disturb" sign. And at that moment that same red illuminated door opened, and a man came in. My wife said "Hello" - he said "Pardon" - exit. What the heck did he want?

The hotel says: “We have no idea what he wanted and who he was." I say: "Sorry guys, we also sell these RFID room door openers, so I know darn well that you can find out within seconds who has opened the door." Aha. What do you know. It was someone who was to make a repair in room 113. (Maybe he needed to change the inscription on a cake. At three in the morning.) Of course, room 113 is not even in the same building as our room. And of course, "Do not Disturb" indicates on the one hand: "The guests are in the bedroom and are sleeping now, so you can safely clean out the living room.”. Or it indicates: "You have to repair something here, but the guests are obviously still in the room and are sleeping, so better call the reception desk and ask.”. After all, you have to know whether the Teichmüller’s are asleep or not. As I now know,"Do Not Disturb" can have multiple meanings. Up to now I had truly underestimated this sentence.

Oh, and before I forget: the weather was beautiful, the food was delicious, we are very relaxed, and you can never relax better than when you know that you are not responsible for the whole mess.

And again: away after dictation, your Teichmüller.
Like (115)
 This was 2015!
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
In keeping with tradition, I would like to say a few words about last year, after having also given our financial partners the final documents during our annual results meeting today.

The group turnover increased by 25%, to EUR 173 million, the EBIT to EUR 4.5 million (by 15% after all). Turnover has thus more than doubled since 2011. Both values lie significantly over budget, as usual. :) It is also nice that we could continue to increase our capital; the ratio exceeds 26% and furthermore continuously builds upon itself.

On average we engaged 200 employees in 2015, and we are further expanding, particularly in logistics and sales. In 2015 we processed 153,000 shipments, totaling more than 400,000 packages and pallets. The average order value surpassed the 1,000 euro mark for the first time.

2016 is already marked by continued strong growth. To support this we are executing two new construction measures in 2016, to expand our 24-hour logistics. As a result, several of our departments will be relocated within the premises, in order to make space for approximately 3,000 new pallet spaces.

My thanks goes to all employees, customers and suppliers. We continue to work hard to expand our position!
Like (106)
 The perfect Bloody Mary comes from China!
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
I admit, I do enjoy a good glass of wine. But I never ever drink the hard stuff - not even cocktails, because usually they contain "that type" of alcohol. Even our suppliers, some of whom try with all of their might, have been unsuccessful in getting me to drink a schnapps after hours. You know, I actually wanted to write another blog entry about one of our joint suppliers, but I am in a good mood today.

Alex, the head bartender at the "Penthouse Bar" in the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen (the best hotel in the world), went against these principles and imposed a cocktail upon me, which I could not deprive my readers of.

After the recipe for "Sam's Chili con Carne" got the most likes and requests, the time has come again for a recipe.

This recipe resembles a "Bloody Mary" and it sort of is. But you can in no way compare it to pre-packaged tomato juice, store-brand vodka and tabasco - tomato juice and vodka mixed 1:1, like for Hemingway in Harry's New York Bar. No, no, any drink that takes 30 minutes to prepare is well worth the wait. Supposedly, it's even healthy. :)

Here's how:

2 cl vodka Belvedere
Put 30 green Szechuan peppercorns into the bottle and let them sit for a half year before using the vodka.

6 cl tomato juice
Roast 25 cherry tomatoes (with the skins) in a pan with a little olive oil. Quickly cool them to room temperature and then puree them.

Add to this celery salt, freshly cracked black pepper (with the Jarltech pepper mill, of course, see the Jarltech Bonus Shop!). No ice, please. The juice is watery enough, and lukewarm is just the right temperature for it. Thanks to the tomato seeds and chopped up peels you automatically chew after each sip, which brings the pepper to life on your taste buds.

In case anyone is thinking of asking whether you can make the 3-minute version in the blender: forget it! Drink your homemade banana shakes instead!

Like (63)
 Thank you for the compliments!
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
We frequently host events in Usingen, such as a technical training from Honeywell this week. As marvelous as the technology of our vendors is though, we still try to impress our customers each time by paying attention to the littlest details… not only with a company tour by the owner himself and with excellent cuisine, but also with a "personal touch". In this case, a "Head of Research and Development" from one of the prominent system houses asked how he could travel to Usingen using public transportation (and he was coming from quite a distance). He would be old by the time he arrived.

My gut feeling said immediately: "Send the good man a chauffeur and a limousine, and pick him up!" This was in no way intended to impress anyone – the question that I had no immediate answer to tickled me, and I spontaneously decided to solve the problem "Jarltech-style". Note: Every one of our employees would have reacted exactly the same way. See the customer's feedback on the same day, at 23:00h:

Dear Mr. Spranger,

First and foremost I wish to thank you for the friendly transport service from Mr. Kollek. I have never experienced such exclusive customer service anywhere else.

Additionally, I wish to thank you for the successful Honeywell seminar. Thanks to it, I gained good insight into the Honeywell product portfolio.

I truly enjoyed the Showroom as well, where I could have a look at the other products and convince myself firsthand from their quality.

Unfortunately, you were no longer present after the tour, so I was unable to personally thank you for everything.

I am very impressed by the self-sufficient, familiar and cordial structure of your company. As someone who appreciates fine cuisine I was particularly positively surprised by the unusual giveaways, and I look forward to trying some of the recipes myself.

I look forward to a good cooperation and wish you steadily increasing turnover, as well as a successful remaining week.

What can I learn from this?

First, to be approachable as the owner of a company is a good thing. Second, after giving a tour of our company it would be beneficial for me to remain present for a while longer. See you soon at an event at Jarltech!
Like (80)
 Banknote counters for managing your own poverty :)
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
At 1,000 orders per day, there are unfortunately also occasionally times when a customer does not want to (or cannot) pay his bill.

What makes me really suspicious is the case involving a company that ordered multiple banknote counters for Euro banknotes with us - and then 14 days later we received the notice that they are insolvent.

Um, what exactly did they want to count? :)
Or was that a concrete reference to the insolvency judge that senior management wanted to know at the very least exactly how much money they could settle with?
Like (99)
 Millennials: No more desks in hotel rooms!
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
I cannot seem to find the sense of it: The hotel chain Marriott has announced it will remove all desks from its 500 hotels worldwide. No, it is not April Fool’s Day, and Marriott would still like to continue welcoming business travelers.

So, what do you do? You ask your favorite search engine and learn that this is an idea of ​​Marriott Design Labs. The reason is because the "Millennials" do not like desks, but would rather "hang out" in their room than sit at a table.

I enjoy "hanging out", but don’t these "Millennials" (who were born somewhere between 1990 and 2000) have to work on business trips? Or possibly set down their laptop to recharge? No, says Marriott, because "Generation Y" only uses smartphones and tablets, preferably while “hanging out" on the sofa. Printed seminar documents, files or something of the like is so 80s. If you take a moment to look around the room, you will see that there is still a minimalistic "coffee table" in front of the sofa, too low to work on it or to eat. So does that mean that room service food can only go on the bed? Sitting on the sofa would not work with me, since my laptop, iPad and iPhone are charging there, in addition to my briefcase, because I might secretly want to pull out a file (which I now do find embarrassing, because that's obviously completely old-fashioned). If you are not alone in the room, the problem multiplies.

I think Marriott is shooting itself in the foot and simply followed the design people who were already of the opinion that a bathroom can be separated in a hotel room only by a pane of glass, and that the tub should stand beside the bed in front of the window. This is certainly very great on a honeymoon, but when two colleagues are sharing a room, does that mean that one has to wait in the hallway when the other bathes? I imagine it is also interesting when a spouse has to get up early and the other tries to go back to sleep and relax in the harsh bathroom light, with hairdryer noises in the background.

Suits are also “out" now, nobody needs a landline anymore, and instead of television there is YouTube. Accordingly, wardrobes, ironing boards, telephones and televisions may also disappear from the rooms. Instead of a coffee maker I suggest caffeine pills, and, because light bulbs are obsolete (thanks to the lighting provided by the tablet), the entire electrical installation is rendered unnecessary. Windows are a waste, since they only interfere when reading the small screens.

Should the number of bookings decline, I say it's the fault of the guests who are just not cool enough.
Like (91)
 Thank you for 2015!
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Our team worked great in 2015: Our order intake grew by 26% compared to 2014, and the total order volume of 183 million euros speaks for itself. We handled 153.000 deliveries this year, and about 15.000 RMA cases.
I am very proud of the Jarltech team, which contributed to this success on all levels.
I also say thank you to our customers and vendors, who helped with their loyalty. Also in 2015, in case something went wrong, we were able to find good solutions with our partners.
This night all counters go back to zero, but we take the challenge and are happy to work with all of you in 2016!

Like (103)
 Conference calls - work should be fun!
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
So, who besides me has absolutely no desire for endless conference calls? You know the drill: everyone says something (just for the sake of saying something), dogs can be heard barking in the background from other participants, and others are participating in multiple conferences at the same time and, of course, confuse what is being talked about in each case.

If it is not an important call, yet you just have to be there again, just because you have to, then you might as well make a joke out of it. In most cases, at least two participants should be involved and conspire together.

You don’t have to surf long to find sounds for downloading. For example, the mooing of a cow, or the approach of a local train at the Boston station. Rooster crowing or snoring sounds are also very popular. Simply play these sounds during the conf call from time to time, and the colleague who has ideally allegedly dialed in via mobile phone has the task of coming up with good excuses for the various background noises. "Der Spiegel" recently wrote so beautifully about telephone conferences, under the title "And suddenly in the background you hear the toilet flushing”. It’s just that someone can, of course, also do this intentionally. :)

What is really good is playing inappropriate music, let it be a hit song or even the theme music from Star Trek. Then you both repeatedly each accuse an unsuspecting third party, and ask them to please switch off the car radio because it is interfering with the call. This can be quite entertaining, especially when competitors are participating in the call. They often cannot bluntly defend themselves, and suddenly you receive text messages in addition to the conf call, asking if you have completely gone bonkers.

A well-known game is “Bingo”: you give five notions to your partners in crime, for example, "monkey, sesame bread, a state of war, wig and snail", and these words must then be incorporated into the discussion. That's not so easy when it comes to the fiscalization of POS systems in Austria. Try it once.

John Lefevre (of the Goldman Sachs elevator blog) writes in his book that he used to always enjoy dialing in ten minutes earlier from another line. Most systems require you to say your company’s name, and in his case, being from the banking world, he would say, for example, "Deutsche Bank" (the name of a competitor). In case an unpleasant requirement came from a customer, he could simply hang up. The conference voice would then announce “Deutsche Bank has hung up and left the conference call”, which regularly lead to hasty justifications by competitors (not a good impression with the customer, and then what’s really stupid is when the competitor has simply switched his phone to mute, is taking a shower and does not notice anything).

And that's why there is hardly videoconferencing, because everyone would be forced to really focus on the conference and work would stop. Nothing is worse than getting a FaceTime call from the boss, causing you to move the wineglass and the ash tray from your desk in a panic. Plus, you cannot even shave undisturbed during the conversation. At the latest then it becomes obvious that you are more often to be found at the pool than in the conference room during strenuous technical seminars in Las Vegas.

In fact, most conf calls usually end with one of the participants being made to take minutes on the “decision criteria”, which should have been discussed and decided upon during the call itself.

But, we would rather make a joke out of it.
Like (62)
 Jarltech put their trust in Scotland Yard: Frauds raiding in auditor's disguise ...
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Watch out! Unfortunately, we recently fell for a ploy that is not entirely unknown in the IT mail order business. Because we thought that our specialised hardware is not that easy to fence in large quantities, we maybe were a little too careless.

A big international auditing company - one of the "big Four" - and more precisely their technologies department in England won a project for Panasonic hardware and entrusted us with the delivery. Of course, a credit limit was available within three minutes.

After several weeks of negotiations, our English sales team accepted the order, which came on genuine letterhead with the correct VAT ID and signed by an authorised representative.
The delivery address was of course not the main office in London, but a warehouse in the outskirts where software was to be installed on the devices. The goods were delivered and the receipt was even signed.

When dunning letters were sent later on, the auditing company was quite taken aback: the employee with whom we e-mailed does not exist. Neither does the delivery address. We then learned from Scotland Yard that goods worth millions were delivered to this address within a couple of days and are untraceable until now.

There is no sign whatsoever of our Panasonic Toughbooks, which seem to be easier to fence than cash drawers. Our credit insurance will not pay, because there was no payment default, but a fraud. The auditing company is upset, but that does not help me.

Leads will appear later. Some laptop is bound to break down at some point and the unsuspecting customer will send his laptop to Panasonic for repair. This means either that the customer was so credulous to buy such goods - my goods -, or I win and get a broken laptop, which will probably not even be up to date by then.

Fortunately, the financial damage is bearable. But we did rethink some of our processes. We deliver to different addresses all the time for our resellers. This is our daily business. However, with first orders and before payment was received, Jarltech will verify delivery addresses much more strictly with the purchaser, and especially: the order itself.

In fact the scheme was well done: even in its demeanour, the auditing company's pretend subcompany was so confusing and complicated as one would expect from one of the "big four". :)
At first, even the auditing company itself said it was their order, but that the employee had left the company in the meantime. It took them weeks to find out that the fraud not only did not work for them "any longer" but rather never did ...

All the time while corresponding with the frauds, their e-mail address just was not "auditing-company.com", for example, like the parent company's, but rather "auditing-company-technologies.com". At first glance, this seems logical, but it nevertheless is a completely different domain and probably registered on Bert and Ernie in the Caribbean.

I can therefore give this advice: check which of your products might be on the line. And concerning first orders with differing delivery addresses: hands off! Or check closely. Finally, do not ask for confirmation at the phone number stated on the falsified letterhead ...

Well, let us hope Sherlock Holmes is doing a good job at Scotland Yard and puts the frauds behind bars. Or I will go and get them!
Like (93)
 I'm staying CEO at Jarltech!
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
For nearly 25 years now, I have been the owner of and CEO at Jarltech. This week, already three human resource agencies -- headhunters, really -- called me to hire me away from Jarltech. This is very flattering, especially because the offers were quite enticing ones mostly at big American corporations in our industry. They also had nice locations!

Still, dear recruitment consultants, please briefly inform yourselves about who you are calling. And if I were to accept a job, I would only take one as CEO at our direct competition, and only under the condition to remain the lone shareholder of Jarltech. Let's see who is going to profit then :)
Like (95)
 Tennis fever and the bathtub
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
For my 44th birthday my wife gave me tennis equipment, and since "suggestions" from the best wife should be implemented as fast as the hints come, I succumbed to tennis fever. Training sessions in the morning before work, and even in China I found a ventilated indoor tennis court, in which you can really learn tennis despite 40 degree temperature outdoors and a typhoon warning.

A side effect of all of this is that I now suddenly like to watch tennis on TV: Wimbledon – since I want to participate next year at the latest. I used to find it aloof and boring, but now I am even more captivated by an exciting match than I am from a three-hour presentation about new mobile printers.

During Wimbledon I am in Shenzen, and thanks to my many visits there and the many bookings for employees, my favorite hotel (the Grand Hyatt) always has a large suite reserved for me, with a large bathtub. I fill it up right away when I arrive. Foolish though, to forget about the bathtub during the match between Serena Williams and Marija Scharapowa.

After the match is over I think, hey, a bath would be great! Crap, it’s already running. On my way to the bathroom the water rushes out to greet me. Lots of water! Of course such a bathtub has an overflow, but it does not need to forcibly work. The bathroom itself is a centimeter lower than the rest of the rooms and also has a drain in the floor. But even it goes on break now and again. Since the recessed bathroom is now completely flooded, it is not just water, but a LOT of water we are talking about.

Ok, not my mistake, I think to myself. So, in the late evening the hotel cleaning crew had to come up with the heavy-duty equipment. The chic, super-slim scale in the bathroom also was a victim of the flood: electronic damage. The carpet in the bedroom (thankfully one you can pull up and exchange) also needs to be taken out to dry. So far, so good. The entire process cost me an hour though. I could have been more careful, since I already have enough experience with Chinese installation companies (they worked on our Chinese office). I should have known better.

The next evening I called my wife: "It happened again!". I got belly laughs instead of sympathy. Who was to blame? Not me, but Roger Federer, of course, who simply could not finish his match. He should beware, in case I can ever really play tennis.

Back to Sea World… Luckily, only the bathroom was affected this time. What to do? Call reception? Better not, that’s too embarrassing. Ok then: towels, bath robe, anything that can possibly soak up water comes into play. I thought the hotel had fixed the problem, but it was apparently only an excuse. Well then, Spranger has to spring into action and clean for two hours. A punishment is in order. Oh, and remember to leave housekeeping a nice tip, since they will certainly wonder why there are so many wet towels hanging up to dry the following morning.

How crazy do you think you will be taken for when you casually ask for a new scale again the next day? They must be thinking: is he really so fat so that the scales won’t work? Or will I receive a manual stating that scales should not be used in the shower? Thankfully, everything was taken care of with a friendly smile.

Tonight is the women’s final match in Wimbledon. My solution: set the alarm after turning on the faucet. And connect the video camera of the iPhone to the iWatch, in order to keep a visual on the liquid level. And to be on the safe side, this time I will put the scale on the bed. :)
Like (87)
 A different way of checking-out of a hotel
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
When we talk about the optimization of the billing process I have to ask myself why this trend has done everything possible to avoid hotels. Checking-out at a hotel can take forever, even without a long waiting line. Please review your bill, the sample print-out, yes – please show us again the credit card you used upon check-in, separate private expenses from the corporate portion, and then, of course, the billing address is incorrect. I have often experienced many of these things. TV check-out takes even longer and the "Quick Check-Out" option with the card you return in the slot (which you still need to fill out by hand, however, with all the information that you already provided the hotel with at least five times) is not offered in many foreign hotels. Should we charge your credit card in euros (so that the hotel can pocket the exchange rate difference) or in local currency? How was your stay with us – even though you receive the obligatory customer satisfaction survey email not ten minutes later. We added a one euro donation to UNICEF on your bill, or should we remove it? (That’s a good question, because how on earth will the company account for it?).

The best solution is often the simplest: I just leave. No check-out, I get directly into a taxi and send a short email to the hotel: I just moved out of room 222. Please take the minibar into account and send me the receipt by email. You already have my credit card number. And please refer to my email signature for the correct billing address. The hotel room magnetic stripe card can be confidently left behind in the taxi, because, after all, we sell magnetic stripe cards and driving sales is always a good thing. :)

Does it work? Of course! And no matter whether I am in China, Vietnam, the USA, Belgium or Germany. It has never taken longer than an hour for the invoice to come via email. Thank you for your patronage. Gladly. I should have thought of this earlier. Now my alarm goes off ten minutes later on my check-out day.
Like (61)
 Events in the back of beyond
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Our vendors expect us to participate at certain events. Annual partner meetings in each region, quarterly updates, »Global Summits« and so forth. If I attended each one, I would probably never be in the office (and I like my office).

Sometimes it is a lot of fun, but usually it is a good lesson in how to make wasting your time complicated.

Usually these events are set up to have one entire day filled with relevant content. However, you should plan to arrive one day prior in order to attend the opening ceremony and partake in the Welcome Cocktail. The third day is equally important, since that is the day that everything is summarized. On the second day your eyes are bombarded with PowerPoint presentations, and at such an early hour that you cannot plan your arrival for that day. Often these presentations are given by people who are unable to present (or who do not want to).

But it gets better: There is always a »fun« event, which is kept »top secret« ahead of time. It ends up either being a ride in an off-road vehicle, a brewery or winery tour, or something similar. The location is also top secret, of course. It’s like a kid’s birthday party for adults! There is a bus to bring you and pick you up, meaning that you cannot escape earlier. These "fun" events are well intentioned, but should be placed – optionally – at the end of the entire event. Not everyone wishes to spend his free time with his competitors and suppliers.

And if so, then please make assigned seating in the evening, so that you meet the right people. How many times have I spent evenings with vendor partners from South America and vendor employees from North America… They were all nice people, but they simply are not a part of our business region. Usually there is not even a polite exchange of business cards. That tells you everything about how your time was wasted. Generally even our vendors’ contact persons are not in attendance, because they do cut travel expenses and the time expenditure. Hark!

The main problem, however, is the location. We have been pleading with our vendors for years to please pick a location that you can easily reach via commercial airliner nonstop. There are plenty of them! The reality shows that event agencies always choose super exciting vacation destinations, and always either right before or right after the airline summer season.

If you want to go to Madeira, Malta, Faro or Jerez de la Frontera from Frankfurt during the off-season, there is only one flight a week, or you have to change planes. And that is just for Frankfurt – if you are coming from Bremen or Seville then it is even worse, and it will probably take you seven hours to travel.

Why do people hold events at these locations? It’s quite simple: because it’s inexpensive. In the off-season hotel rooms in five-star hotels are often ridiculously cheap, as are the travel costs for your block of attending employees. That is how destinations are chosen, since coincidentally a Ryanair flight from the corresponding headquarters happens to be flying to no man’s land. Yet, how the customers will arrive remains secondary.

And why is the venue location so inexpensive? Precisely because nobody willingly wants to go there at that particular time of year. The more isolated the location, the less likely you can combine the conference with anything else. Frequently you will hear »Our customers like to arrive days ahead of time and spend time at the beach at the company’s expense.« Hopefully these people do not forget to attend the conference. :)

Since everything is arranged with an event agency, it is often the case that no one from the vendor’s side has ever seen the location, let alone tried the food. Hotels also regularly make loud renovations during the off-season.

Normally there is no agenda available until just prior to the start, but rather a »Save-the-Date« for all of the three days of the event, so that you have no chance of being able to make travel arrangements ahead of time. But I want to make plans, and early enough too! I will not simply surrender three days of my time to a supplier without knowing for what!

What is even worse is when you realize that there is nothing worth discussing on-site, because perhaps the vendor did not finalize his partner programme in time, or pricing and delivery times of new products are still not yet determined and presentations contain many business formulas which ultimately say nothing. When we attend a vendor event, we want to know how we can make more money for ourselves or our customers by working with this vendor. The vendor’s maximization of profit does not interest us.

These meetings are of course intended for »top executives«, meaning that the general manager should attend. However, I do not know one general manager in our sector who gladly sits in a stuffy meeting room and listens to someone reading product data sheets aloud. So please provide a correlating programme! There are frequently also individual meetings with the vendor’s top level from the USA or Japan. We happen to be sitting across from each other, however the top dog has no earthly idea who Jarltech is or what we do. And where on earth is this strange place called Europe?

Plus, a partner programme is no good if I need 20 PowerPoint slides to explain it. Our reseller customers will definitely not even read it once.

But wait, the nice hotel on the beach only has conference rooms without windows. And because of the expensive »fun« event there is unfortunately only enough budget left over for a buffet with tomatoes and plastic mozzarella cheese. I won’t even mention the wine in Tetra Pak. Frankly, if an event is interesting, then the guest will also gladly pay a portion, and can even pay for his meal. Are the vendors afraid that this would keep people from attending, because the costs would then no longer be in relation to the contents?

It also has become trendy for vendors to let customers pay for the events. We are needed to provide a buffet »sponsored by Jarltech« or a Jarltech banner in the breakfast room. Another favourite is spending 5,000 euros on lanyards (those cords worn around your neck to which you clip on your name tag). We often are able to pay for this from our vendor’s marketing budget, but up until that point it was »our money«. What does this mean in reality? I give you marketing money, but I tell you how you have to give it back to me. The marketing effect is supposed to be great, since only »the largest reseller partners« are present. However, there are only three pan-European distributors, and if the reseller does not know all of them, then he will not be comparing prices and services at all.

The worst: The quality of the above-mentioned buffet does not change because of our sponsorship (you are not able to make any changes or personalize it), and my competitors are also not happy if they have to drink a »Jarltech Breeze« the whole night. I have received enough malice for this: »Thanks for sponsoring the lunch, but I think you are trying to poison us.« Sorry, the event agency is responsible for the quality, and they must also take their cut from the measly food budget authorized by the vendor.

I have the impression that corporate group leaders often have to hold such an event once a year (to stay close to customers), and perhaps they even receive a bonus because of it. I would prefer to hold an event because there is something to say, not just because you have to hold an event.

Like (103)
 Time for self-praise
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
It's time to be proud of ourselves:

If a company attains a growth of 54% compared to the same month of the previous year, that is a great achievement. This is not solely a matter of the sales department (who are the "face" of the company to the customers), it also concerns all employees of the marketing, IT/ERP, purchasing, administration, accounting and technical departments, who "casually" manage such a "jump". Also do not forget the logistics team, who even handled 100 pallets that arrived from Zebra in a single week; people who start as early as 4 AM and always have new ideas about how to improve the flow of goods.

Jarltech's philosophy also plays a role here: Every process must be scalable. And we find a solution for everything. We employ lawyers for our M&A processes, but not against our customers, banks, suppliers or employees; we haven't for 20 years now. We avoid ill feeling, without losing our backbone however.

After such a great month, I can only feel happy. And in such a case I don't care that the winner's champagne for our employees costs 30% extra wage tax. A big thank you to all the team, customers and vendors.
Like (111)
 The decline of the East
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Behold! In the best hotel in the world, its best restaurant has just eliminated the jacket requirement for gentlemen. Scandal! No, I do not belong there myself. Why should I put on a jacket for a private evening out, and besides, it is a fish restaurant. I am allergic to fish, caviar and everything that wiggles underwater. Unless the caviar is molecularly produced and tastes like gummy bears, but that's another story…

Ultimately, I've always enjoyed sitting at the bar at the front of this restaurant. Fat rich men accompanied by spindly and half-as-old models arrived to take their reserved table. Unfortunately this was impossible, because these gentlemen were not wearing a jacket. It just stood there as a barrier between them: the 1,000-dollar menu, the attractive dinner companion, the reservation which was made months ago, but here in front of the bouncer it was all over ... ergo, the restaurant had a large pool of gentlemen's evening wear. And so the gentlemen were made to change their clothes as many times until they looked just as glamorous as their female companions. However, the "I can buy anything because I'm rich" theme came to a halt, due to improper attire. You know what it's about: respect for the chef, the restaurant, and, of course, the dead fish. All the millions in the world did not help here - no suit, no fish.

When leaving the bar, I always enjoyed a quick last peek into the restaurant. Ultimately, all the men had the same jacket on, Kenzo, in blue. Well, the restaurant did not want to sell them, but rather simply cover the colourful shirts underneath.

Even this fun had to come to an end. Soon you can directly enter a star restaurant from the beach without changing clothes first. The blame, of course, as always is the Ukraine crisis: every guest who still has money and is entitled to travel is welcome. And if the Ukraine crisis is not to blame, then it must be the lowered growth forecast for China.

Luckily, our business at Jarltech is not first-class cuisine, just first-class distribution. And as long as we only make calls with customers, they will only hear the friendly people on the other end of the line, and will not notice the absence of a jacket.
Like (63)
 Spranger-tested suitcase
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
In our bonus shop category "Jarltech & more", you will now find a silver carry-on trolley with Jarltech engraving. I have been searching for this suitcase for a long time and have tested a large number of them -- then finally found a model I liked so well that I bought 100 right away. Our managers each received one engraved with their name for Christmas -- practical, especially for flirting at the baggage claim. Or, if you are a lonely traveller and want to talk to your suitcase, it at least has a name.
We engraved the remaining suitcases with a discreet "www.jarltech.com" for our most loyal fans. The trolley is available in our bonus shop starting today, for merely 19,000 points. Whoever mails me the nicest travel picture with his or her Jarltech suitcase will be reimbursed the cashed-in points.
Like (55)
 Will you marry me?
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Our Head of Purchasing, Leon Schrodt, had a very unusual idea for his proposal: he convinced Empathy Shoes in Berlin to send him shoes with "Will You Marry Me?" lasered on the soles in mirror writing. Reportedly, a couple of footprints in the snow were enough to get the desired "Yes". Success, so far.
Here is a link with pictures of the successful act:
Empathyshoes Blog

I must say though, a few questions cross my mind in this regard:

1. What if the beloved woman does not want to follow me a few metres behind as befits?
2. How do I propose if there is no snow?
3. Is there a pair of shoes with "Yes" and "No", so that my girlfriend, hopping on one leg, might stamp her answer?
4. While walking through the snow and looking ahead, how do I make sure that no other woman is walking behind me?
5. Does this also work in the sandbox or on the beach if there is no snow available?

However, it is a brilliant idea, and in advance all the best wishes for a wonderful wedding. Of course, we will now have to order some shoes with "Jarltech" soles as a wedding gift. They even have a second advantage: walking on tiptoes, you should be able to print "Ja", which means "Yes" in German. ;)
Like (144)
 Thoughts at the year's end
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Is it really the beautiful side of Christmas that everyone is doing the same thing? No matter where you go, you get the impression that everyone else had the same idea. Supermarket parking, restaurants, tunnel in the Alps - all full. Christmas would not be such a logistical disaster if the end of the year would not almost simultaneously also come. Who came up with that anyway?

Even before Christmas people start talking about New Year's Eve parties (Should I throw one myself? Would it be better to invite myself somewhere else instead? What about the children?). And add to this everything else that needs to still be done before the end of the year: clean up the accounts, collect money, renegotiate target achievements with suppliers ... of course, you still have to attend to x-number of matters with the notary, and so on. The final sprint of the year is then complicated by school holidays, because thanks to this one finds himself in a ski lodge on the last crucial days of the year and not in the control room. Now, although I have finally Bluetooth ski gloves with a microphone and speaker, I suspect it will not be the same as in the cozy office. You do not want to lose sight of the pretty ski instructor just because of a phone call.

Oh yes - gifts. The trend is rising again. Two years ago, the majority of partners and suppliers had reached rock bottom, namely, by sending e-Greetings (please, please spare me this spam if you cannot spare a printed card). Now again some packages are gathering around us. And, my compliments, often with creative contents that go beyond a bag of cookies plus re-gifted junk. Some things are really personal: even some Eintracht Frankfurt memorabilia has arrived. Some people not only have football expertise and good taste, but have really thought about what would make the receiver happy. Incidentally, we prefer to buy from companies that give us Eintracht Frankfurt memorabilia, to clearly emphasize that again.

What's still left to do before the end of the year? The most stupid thing is when you still have to spend a budget that you will lose next year. Since you can really nicely waste corporate or government money pointlessly it need not be a surprise if this company someday ceases to exist, just because of the mindless spending. For the authorities, of course, this does not apply, because yes, you can increase a tax or a fee in case of an emergency. My tip: do this just before Christmas, because all are far too busy to get excited about it anyway.

In this sense, Merry Christmas, accident-free skiing, a beautiful year’s end and a higher budget in 2015! Work hard, party hard.
Like (49)
 ... and the news from Q3
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
As always, here's an overview of our performance: +21% growth in Q3 compared to last year. And without acquisitions, just thanks to our customers' loyalty and the efforts of all of our departments. I am pleased to report that Jarltech's growth course continues unabated.

September was definitely our top month. October started off just as well, plus the business of our sister company in China is noticeably picking up.

Q4 will again bring a great final sprint. Even if I just picked the design for the Christmas cards: the year is not over yet!
Like (48)
 A thief in your own home...
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Sometimes you have bad luck with new hires: during his probationary period one of our sales employees from an office in Western Europe actually managed to steal the bag of another employee after our Networking Dinner in Frankfurt - complete with company laptop, etc. Suspicion fell immediately onto him, but he said he knew nothing. Well, the next morning the camera recording at the hotel clearly showed - before he took the bag - how he had been looking around for cameras. So, criminal AND stupid - two things we do not need.
Like (114)
 Finally a game changer in sight
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
"Killer products" are too rare in our market. By this I mean products whose additional benefit to the customer is instantly appreciated, so that he throws existing hardware overboard with joy and replaces it. No boring evolution, but please revolution.

There has not been anything like this in the field of label printers for a long time anyway. Either the printers only print in black/white, or very slowly and maintenance-intensive in colour.

And then, there it stands today on the table, a pre-production sample from Epson: a colour printer that delivers high-quality labels like those from the print shop. Imagine the speed like this: take a toilet paper roll, hold it firmly by the open end, and hurl it across the room. That is how fast the printer "spits out" the colour labels, which are then instantly dry. Epson is a global leader in ink technology for office and photo printers -- and has made a technological leap on top of it.

Why should we do without colour in the warehouse? We can encode countries in colour or print the customers' logo in perfect quality. Or if I now need to individually mark food items, then, for a similar label price I would prefer colour, please, and they should be promotionally effective. Tickets, vouchers -- imagination knows no boundaries.

No, the printer does not look like an office printer. Instead, it has a professional metal housing. The ink comes out of tanks made for 20,000 labels, and the print head never has to be replaced. There is a winder for giant rolls, and a cutter.

The only drawback is the purchase price. It will easily be five times the amount of a comparable single-colour printer. At the moment it is only for companies which recognise a strong added value, and which, for example, wish to save on the costs of pre-printed colour labels and logistics. But I bet this miracle printer will only be the start of a complete printer series, because there is a lot of room for growth.

It is unclear whether Epson really can produce enough printers to meet the initial onslaught. Nevertheless, it was time that something started moving again -- something to delight customers. I myself admit that I am not very interested in most "new" products. I am, however, as happy as a little child about this device. Congratulations, Epson!
Like (84)
 Dear Telekom!
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Nothing new in Taunus: thunderstorms all around Jarltech's headquarters in Usingen.
There was thunder and lightning non-stop and this had to happen at some point: lightning struck not far away and all companies of the neighbourhood were knocked-out, internet-wise.

It quickly became clear that the loss of our fibre optic internet connection must somehow be connected to the lightning strike. With a night-time call at Telekom, we learned that there was a problem with the lines, but that there were no need to worry and that we could go home, everything would be operational again shortly. Not so, unfortunately. And Telekom were not at top form either. Note that we are not talking about a standard DSL line here, we are talking about our fibre optic lifeline.

As the internet was gone overnight, a technician came at 8 AM the next morning and confirmed that our internet was gone. However, the fibre optic cable to Frankfurt was intact. Everything is fine, I thought, the problem will be fixed soon then.

That is what I thought ... until the technician packed up, saying: "I am only in charge of the fibre optic network availability. The problem here seems to be the router and that's not my responsibility. A local colleague will contact you shortly." Unfortunately, it was impossible to call this colleague, so we started our emergency procedures to secure our shipping capability. At least, that worked like a charm -- no wonder, as it is not Telekom who make our deliveries.
Well, there is nothing to be done about. Not until noon finally the second Telekom guy arrived, checked the router and made his diagnosis: "The router is probably defective; it reacts neither to internal nor to external requests and needs to be replaced." We already knew that. Just give us a replacement router! Telekom answers: "We don't have one, only in Hanover." Great. Not only do we have contracts with courier services, we could also go and get it within the hour with Jarltech's jet.
The commiserate employee of the T-Club tried to explain us why it would unfortunately not be possible to conciliate this with their own processes and stated that the router may only be delivered by Telekom's own courier service. Additionally, it must also stop over in Gießen to be configured, which ate up even more precious time. They could e-mail and upload it, but no way, the configuration is "secret".

Our administrator's offers to support the Telekom guys with getting the router from the specialist shop around the corner or to fly the T-Com router in from Hanover, or even to configure it ourselves via Telekom's phone support were all refused.
That is disappointing, especially as this line alone yearly costs us a five digit sum. And all assertions as to when which problem would be solved were just so short every time that it would not have been worth it to switch to our backup line from Arcor.

At last, there was a happy ending when a very friendly Telekom employee finally showed up at 8 PM, bringing us the last Cisco module available in Germany, which was found to be the cause of the failure. The module was then replaced within 5 minutes by his trainee and placed back into the rack. After exactly 15 minutes and a call with Telekom central support, internet was available again. This should have happened much faster!
What upsets me is that you are powerless, because you cannot call anyone at Telekom. All the technicians hide their phone numbers. They are all very friendly and competent, but they hide themselves. We thought only the CIA would hide their caller number nowadays.

Of course, we also must hold ourselves accountable. While we have a couple of internet providers for emergencies, as well as a replacement for every in-house router and server, this one, mysterious Telekom router was the weak spot, with no backup. This cannot be -- I wonder if it is possible to get another one from Telekom, because if we had one, we would also have that top secret configuration twice. It would even be sufficient if Telekom were to stock one fibre optic router in the Frankfurt area.

A router that costs as much as a second-hand medium-sized car obviously is not helpful as long as its configuration is locked away at Telekom. Only them, and probably the NSA, know these ultra-secret data.

Dear Telekom, there is room for improvement!
Like (111)
 Russian tank technology?
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
I just received an e-mailing advertising METO / ARGOX label printers that said: "Printing with Russian tank technology."
We couldn't believe it at first. What we think of it: considering the current situation, this could hardly be more distasteful.

Our advice: if you don't have any tact, still switch your brain on at least sometimes.
Like (626)
 A new trick
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
It is really interesting: a label printer manufacturer is trying to plow its way across Europe, plus win over our employees via a headhunter. When the results came back negative we suddenly received an offer: "Would Jarltech like to become our distributor?" No, we wouldn't.
Like (84)
 Sam's Chili con carne
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Traditionally at our "Networking Dinners" at the Mantis in Frankfurt we serve chili con carne at midnight. Over time we have been asked more and more what the secret is that makes it so tasty. The house chef was kind enough to share his recipe with us:

Sam's Chili con carne

250 grams onions, cubed
3 garlic cloves
1 Thai chili pepper, browned in olive oil
Add to these ingredients 1 kilogram of ground beef and spice to taste with salt, pepper, cumin seed and a bunch of chopped coriander.
Deglaze with 250 millilitres of red wine.
Add 2 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and 250 grams of finely chopped root vegetables.
Puree 1.2 litres of peeled tomatoes with some coriander and half of a Jalapeno chili pepper.
Add this to the meat and let it simmer.
Now add 700 grams of kidney beans and 300 grams of corn.
Re-check the spices and add salt, pepper and cumin seed as needed.
If you wish, add a little beef broth and dried chili peppers.

Enjoy! See you again in Frankfurt!
Like (174)
 How annoying!
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Do you know what is really annoying: when job applicants only realize on the way to the appointment just how far away the company is from home. Can't you look that up ahead of time? Do we all need to sit here and wait in front of a pot of coffee and a plate of cookies, only to receive a phone call with the message: "I am turning back. It's more than 10 minutes from home."

And, of course, the call came in 20 minutes after the scheduled appointment time.

Well, at least the cookies were good. :)
Like (82)
 Zebra buys Motorola
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Today we are preoccupied with the news that Zebra bought Motorola (for 3.5 billion USD, according to Reuters). Very interesting, but with a little thought, it was forseeable. After all, Zebra had to do something to keep up with Honeywell (who just acquired a new printer line with Intermec). We are asking ourselves the question, of course, how this will affect the distribution market in Europe. There will be some concentration risk, on both the vendor and the distributor side. However, the situation remains exciting!
Like (58)
 Jarltech iPhone app for field technicians
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Our iPhone app for support technicians is now availble in the app store. If a service engineer encounters a defective product in the field, he just scans the barcode and receives the warranty status in return. The app will also show any service contracts connected to that unit, as well as the country-specific return-to address.
The Android version is ready as well, and will be available for downloading early next week.
Our known "web app", which has been available for many years, delivers all other Jarltech contents (including this blog) to your mobile device. In the near future, we will combine the functionality of our different apps into one.
Like (68)
 The first quarter in 2014 ...
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
I am happy that our team was again able to increase order inflow by 23% compared to the same quarter last year. Such news fit the bright weather.
Like (43)
 Vendors instigate unnecessary price war
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
Just about every day now, we are working on "negotiations" regarding the turnover targets for the calendar year. These are always resolved by all the vendors only after one fifth of the year has already passed. The word "negotiation" is in quotation marks because in most cases, a stipulation exists, to which we then are allowed to say "yes" to. The popular excuse: "the stipulation comes from USA / Japan / from wherever" and "Management also gets its bonus only when a growth of XX is reached".

This is not a nice excuse, because the underlying translation is: "I did not have the guts to stand up to my supervisor, therefore I will just apply the pressure I am receiving onto the Supply Chain further and hope you shut up."

It is true that we achieved or surpassed our goals last year with all the major vendors, and that's a nice thing, because the result is that we get goal achievement bonuses. Since last year went very well, I have the impression that some vendors this year are simply "going bonkers". If a market leader is of the opinion that 14 % or even 20 % growth is needed to justify a bonus for the distributors, then something is wrong.

The market environment may be good for Jarltech, but one or the other distributor must definitely live with a loss in revenue. Thus, the under-performers should first get higher goals and finally work hard, instead of repeatedly punishing the over-performers for their good performance from the previous year.

If the bonuses (which are so important for the profits) depend on unrealistic growth, this will ultimately lead up to the fact that all distributors will retaliate with ridiculous prices. One of our vendors even acquired a new wholesaler, but nevertheless thinks that all others could grow by 10%.

My dear vendors - to whom this applies - think again: if a target is unrealistic, you will either not even try to achieve this goal, but instead focus on other products - and you lose sales. Or else, you are fighting with hook or by crook (which means price cuts), and therefore the profit margin collapses. Besides, once the prices are bled dry, then our Sales team will push the products of your competitors by next year, at the latest. A price war does not help any of us...
Like (104)
 Christmas Style
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
The least stylish things around Christmas time are e-mailings with "Season´s Greetings". Please: Do not do it. It is so OUT. Send a card, or a gift, but those e-mails are nothing but: spam. And embarrasing as well.
Like (93)
 This is what happens without distribution: customers get lost in the shuffle
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
When it comes to distribution a really poor sector for me is the business with high-quality furniture. There are great furniture stores everywhere, but anything beyond Ikea or Segmüller only comes with endless delivery times. Why is this? Is it because the pieces on display only belong to the manufacturer anyway? The product portfolio is not very large, so a distributor in the back wings could handle it, right? It is just a matter of a drop shipment directly from the distributor to the end customer a few days later and everyone is happy.

Recently we had two chairs delivered at home - I almost refused the delivery because I completely forgot that we had ordered them a few months before. How is it that a move on short notice is possible, but your couch from Italy takes 16 weeks to arrive?

In my opinion there is a need for action here, because manufacturers lose business if they cannot deliver furniture. I have often purchased other items, simply because the product I wanted to have was not available. I have also ordered tailor-made furniture from China, because it was finished in ten days, then took only four weeks to be shipped; no furniture store in Frankfurt could match that. Our tables at home are all from one carpenter - not just because they should be different than the standard, but because we did not feel like going through furniture stores only to have to delay the changes to the living room by three months.

If any of you need an investment idea: this is a good place to start!
Like (58)
 Just ask Mr. Neumann!
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
One can often fend off a telemarketer with a friendly "thank you", since most callers are very nice people. I do turn evil though if someone tries to get to me with lies like "I was in the army with Mr. Spranger." (where I had never been) or "at school" (where I rarely was) or something similar.

However, there are also companies where you never get off of the list. Every week someone calls, asking "Who is in charge of your ... ".

For cases like these, we now have Mr. Neumann! Because instead of simply hanging up and still repeatedly receiving the same calls, I prefer to answer: " ... For this only Mr. Neumann is responsible. However, since Mr. Neumann is deaf, unfortunately you can only really reach him by e-mail at dirk.neumann@jarltech.de. There is no other way."

Sometimes there are newsletters that you cannot easily unsubscribe to, because you have to show interest in a specific provider. But a quick note by email, asking to please address all future messages to Mr. Neumann is polite, and the problem is immediately solved.

And lo and behold ... it works. The number of calls is less, and I do not see whether or not Mr. Neumann receives e-mails, because I have chosen a 16-digit password for him, without looking at the keyboard.

We find it funny that now also mail for Mr. Neumann comes to our office. Catalogues, giveaways and even invitations. Even this mail is not annoying, because it can be put straight into the trash can. Since Mr. Neumann is now already included in a number of marketing lists, where you can obviously not make any mention of him being deaf, several companies still call here asking for him. For example, they want to try the latest investment tricks directly from London. Of course, each caller would say that he is naturally not making an "unsolicited" call, because he has been in a business relationship with Mr. Neumann for a long time.

This just came to mind: I kindly ask our marketing department to print business cards with Mr. Neumann's contact information, which I can then use at trade shows.

It's lunch time, so I will call Mr. Neumann into the conference room, so that at least I can eat meeting biscuits in peace and quiet. And if you want to write something from the soul, simply write to dirk.neumann@jarltech.de. He is a good listener and I promise you he will not annoy you!
Like (269)
 Promo mania as a last resort
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
In the last quarter, Jarltech has again met or exceeded all targets set by the vendors, and we are pleased to continue experiencing steady, double-digit growth.

What's funny is that some of our competitors who are losing revenue say over and over again during their analysis conferences: "Although we are losing revenue, we are gaining market share." Sorry, that is a bold-faced lie. But I do not have to buy your shares.

You can see where one or the other vendor on the market is losing points in the fact that some vendors again dig deep into the "promo" box in order to stimulate sales.

Leading the pack in this hustle and bustle is a large vendor of ours, who actually hurled eight "promos" with one stroke on 1 October. Plus, some of our employees are to be paid directly for the sales (which we cannot stand, because we want to decide for ourselves what products we promote). When a vendor employee wins a prize at our Networking Dinner there is immediate compliance-terror - but suddenly the companies can pay cash directly to our employees.

Or there are massive "retrospective rebates" on products which are still not selling better. Our dealers do not now go and buy 100 extra scanners if there is not a job order.

And if I lower a scanner price by 30%, then I have to massively sell more to reach a similar turnover. Of course, we distributors also preach that quarterly targets need to be reduced accordingly. Since all vendors should sell 30% more, it is quite logical that the price also is in the basement. It has taken just three days for the promos to be sent via data feed into all retail web shops - and thus the product is not interesting for a software house, since there is nothing more to earn.

Apparently, one or the other manager wants to reach for quarterly target by any means necessary - but maybe you should re-negotiate the goals realistically with your employer, rather than to give away a massive margin and to annoy the channel.

If one looks for the cause: every one of this vendor's employees which one talks to finds this promo mania completely useless and cumbersome, and nobody wants it to be "it" again. Maybe it was just a hacker from the competition, and it's all been just a stupid joke in the end.
Like (74)
 Jarltech Networking Dinner II/2013
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
What a party! Thank you to all of those who helped!

Jarltech invites all EMEA employees to Frankfurt at least twice a year, as well as the employees of several vendors. Over the years we have perfected this event. Both bands only ran out of steam at 3am, and the last guests did not depart until 7am - in order to meet colleagues for breakfast. :)
The largest Carrera race track in Europe attracted many "children at play".

The cost for such an event is naturally enormous, especially if you do not wish to offer a pathetic buffet, but rather, reward both your employees and partners. Here and there during events held by our vendors one could ask the question "What did I do wrong?" when you see the catering.
Thankfully we gratefully receive amounts in the form of sponsorships from several vendors, although the bulk of the costs lies with us. Because of this, such an event is often controversially discussed. At the end the conclusion is always unanimously in favor of it.

We believe that a company which has 14 branches in Europe and the Middle East alone definitely needs a forum for exchanging ideas in a relaxed atmosphere. We also believe that it makes sense when an account manager of a Spanish scanner vendor has the opportunity to see our headquarters. It is also helpful for him (or her) to be able to exchange ideas with a Country Manager from the Netherlands. Plus our sales employees in Poland should know who it is packaging their orders or processing their expense reports.

After each Networking Dinner my iPhone is stuffed with new ideas from at least fifty short discussions. The most important thing to heed is my last note for the evening: do not schedule any appointments the next day!

P.S.: You will find photos and a short video of the event on
Like (52)
 Off for holidays?
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
From the banking sector I frequently hear that bank managers are not reachable during their holidays. And that with force: some banks cut off the Blackberry feed, close all email addresses, plus all access to the bank system is inaccessible for the employees. Quite drastic actions for those who want to keep working. Or for those who are not bothered by an occasional email, and who hate cleaning up 100% before holidays begin in order to hand over work assignments.

In addition, employees must obligate themselves to take two weeks of holidays at once at least once per year, or else the company will assign them a block of time.

My suspicion that this is action on the grounds of employment protection to punish achievers for their intentions is completely wrong. No - it's management that enforces this rule with all their power. For those who play with banking and client funds on the securities markets could indeed cheat the bank, or at least try to cover up what's not going so well.

The calculation is that after at least two weeks of inactivity, or takeover by a foreign representative, 90% of all fraud and concealment attempts are busted. Well then - off to holidays. Not as a reward, but because your boss does not trust you and hereby can much more adeptly check what you are actually doing.

As a side effect roaming charges for 100,000 employees are also quickly gone. In case of an actual emergency, you can even leave the hotel address :)

P.S.: My spell check says it does not know the word "holidays". I just had to laugh at that. But it was a grammatical error. Maybe I'm slowly ready for holidays.
Like (42)
 The first half-year 2013
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
An increase of 46% over the previous year is simply a great result. Adjust this number to the new subsidiary "Jarltech China," and still a 35% increase in order intakes remains.
The result is even sweeter when you read in the competitors' reports - sometimes now over several quarters - and see declines. Thus Jarltech grows disproportionately in market share.

We are especially proud that we have continued with double-digit growth in the home market Germany / Austria / Switzerland. This area accounts for 45% of our sales.

To continue to encourage growth, we are still looking for new employees in many countries, especially in sales. The training activity continues to progress; in June we celebrated the acquisition of six apprentices in Germany.

You can find pictures of Jarltech continuously at
Like (72)
 Falling from the sky
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
In the past years, I lifted off a runway about 150 times, which fortunately coincides with the number of successful landings. Accidents in aviation are becoming less frequent, while they are moving to geographical regions that use outdated equipment for lack of alternatives.

As a supporter of aviation and as a professional pilot (don't worry, I stopped flying aircrafts myself a long time ago) I know well how difficult it is to break a modern jet. Only wilful damage, gross stupidity or abysmal training can achieve that. It's unbelievable that such things still happen, even within global aviation alliances.

Who should one travel with? I am lucky enough to mostly travel with the most secure airlines worldwide, such as Cathay Pacific, Emirates, or Singapore Airlines. But what do statistics tell? Thai Airways uses the most modern A380, Turkish Airlines was recently re-elected best airline company in Europe, and China Airlines actually comes from Taiwan, one of the most modern countries in the world. France has a long tradition in aircraft construction; yet, of all companies, Air France seemingly leaves a lot to desire in regard to its pilot training. And of all companies, it is those companies who scrapped so many tonnes of flight equipment, and who count many more casualties than many other companies. However, is ten years without an accident reason enough to change the companies training culture? Just because there is a new training programme, will the young co-pilot answer back and order a "go-around" when the "seasoned" pilot balks his landing?

Unfortunately, one does not always have a choice. It's not always possible to take the train instead of a domestic Chinese flight, besides being able to analyse whether the pilot has a good or a bad day beforehand, or whether he is overworked. What use does the statistics have when the airline only existed a few months?

Specifically in Asia, there are plenty of brand new aeroplanes, which make Lufthansa's fleet look like scrap metal regarding statistics. However, is an Airbus that was produced in China as good as one produced in Hamburg-Finkenwerder? Of course, says Airbus. If so, then it should be possible to train pilots centrally, as well as monitor crew resource management.

In my opinion, there are way too many questions that cause worry. Even Asiana never had an accident with a Boeing 777 - yet, the current case shows that the cockpit crew made elementary mistakes, only because, exceptionally, the approach didn't match the standard. That's sad.
Like (52)
 When Participating in a Telephone Conference
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
(Now a text swiped from: SWISSCOM)

Telephone conferences are annoying.

Sure, we are (among other things) a communications company, and a "telecon" instead of a meeting saves money, but even more, it does not just benefit us, but also our customers and the environment. Nevertheless, there are some points that should be noted:

1. A tight agenda at a teleconference is of no importance. Colleagues can indeed work as usual on other things when they are bored. If they happen to be driving, they have nothing better to do anyway.

2. Even if you have nothing to say, do not mute your apparatus, so that you can always react promptly. The other participants should be used to any background noise, plus they contribute to a more authentic experience.

3. If you're on the go, let the other participants know, although they might hear the telltale train station announcements or passing trains anyway (as the microphone remains on!). It underlines your appreciation of your colleagues and of the cause.

4. If you are currently in the train, do not shy away from discussing internal company matters on the phone. This way you can also contribute to your company's Public Relations.

5. What's more fashionable to discuss than PowerPoint slides via screen sharing in the telecon? The other participants will love it if you explain your text-heavy slides by telephone in every detail.

6. In contrast to a real meeting, it does not interfere in the telecon if you are late or leave early. You can remedy this situation by again welcoming all the participants personally and giving the reasons for your delay in great detail.

7. A summary of what was said or even a protocol is not necessary for a telecon, since we colleagues all have (well, except for those who dialed in by mobile phone) seen the detailed PowerPoint slides, which speak for themselves.

8. Even if the voice quality is sometimes reminiscent of short-wave radio because of tunnels: dialect is still ok!
Like (49)
 Impaired Business because of Customs?
Ulrich Spranger
Ulrich Spranger
1) Customs and the IT industry should in itself be friends, because there are on most goods simply no duties. A device with a power cable dos not cost any duty. But if we get 100 units, plus 60 cables for Germany and 60 for England, which we then selectively distribute, then customs says that does not fit together, so duty must be paid for the cable. Annoying, but we are talking peanuts here.

So it came to pass, that a customs inspection over a period of several years not only gave us at headquarters weeks worth of work, but also ended with a tiny subsequent payment - as was expected. It's not that you can just specify at customs what you want: occasionally a customs examination is carried out, and you can rest assured that samples will be taken. The only positive aspect here was that the customs examiner was very friendly and that we even learned a few things along the way.

2) Now it gets even better: even customs can make a mistake and misjudge something. In our case, touch screen monitors believed to be televisions. The negative impact on us: 70,000 euros. Clearly an error, but this can happen, and a refund request should go through easily. This it did, but it has taken more than a year - and all we heard was: you got lucky. And regarding telephone inquiries at customs: please do not call anymore. Written requests? No answer. And that's where the German government is supposedly so well organized.

3) What has really annoyed us was a delivery of cash drawers via the Port of Hamburg last week. An examination of the container was requested. So what normally takes less than an hour, and I have seen it personally once: the container was opened, the officials only just peeked inside, and then they closed the container - 30 seconds tops.
It was only harmful to business because for this brief act, whose meaning I do not want to doubt, we suddenly needed ten days lead time. "We have too much to do." Very well, but the economy has to run, right? So couldn't night shift or temporary workers carry this out? Alternatively, how about a 24-hour lead, and if the examiner cannot look at the container in this time frame, it just gets released? How are we to explain to the customer that the goods are just standing around?

My goodness, my dear customs office - get your act together - and please try to keep from hindering the economy as much as possible. Duties should be understood as a service to the economy, protect it from dumping prices, moonlighting, criminal goods and plagiarism - and this at a reasonable speed. It's not nice if everyone goes on a rant about you!
Like (80)
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