By Rick Bastinelli
This month we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Centric Business Systems, and I want to say thank you to all the customers who have put their trust in us over the years. Our relentless pursuit of excellence in serving our customers as their trusted document management solutions provider has delivered success not only to us but to the organizations we serve.
It’s humbling to know that two-thirds of new businesses don’t survive 10 years, and more than 80% don’t make it past 25 years. Beating those odds requires a business culture that provides outstanding experiences for both customers and employees, a strategic outlook, flexibility and a willingness to embrace change, and the ability to be part of the community.
Commitment to these values and practices has helped Centric grow and prosper over the last three decades. As I share what they mean to us, I hope you find some of these ideas helpful as well.
The Right Culture
Centric got its start 30 years ago in Baltimore as a small business named Copy World. Our goal was to build a world-class office products company with an uncompromising commitment to customer satisfaction. In an extremely competitive industry, we built our culture on being transparent and honest with customers about how we could help their businesses. We also committed to exhibiting the highest level of integrity by going beyond what was promised and working hard at exceeding our clients’ expectations. As we focused on demonstrating those attributes daily, credibility in the technology and services we deliver grew, and the trust of our customers followed.
Our employees have always been, and remain, committed to those ideals. With their dedication to build on the pillars of honesty, integrity, credibility, and trust, our business culture has grown strong and delivered the success we envisioned when we began in 1990. We have grown our client family, expanded from one office in Baltimore to eight locations in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, and grown from an employee team of fewer than 10 to more than 200 team members. We’ve been recognized as an award-winning business receiving numerous accolades, including being named one of the Fastest-Growing Private Companies by the Baltimore Business Journal, awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, and listed as a Top 10 Workflow Solutions Provider in CIO Applications. While we can’t guarantee that any company with a business culture similar to ours will be as successful, our experience has been that establishing the right culture in the earliest stages of a business can provide long-lasting success.
Strategic and Flexible
From the beginning, we have been driven by a “customer-first” approach. We know that each organization we work with is unique and has its own set of problems and expectations. Our strategy has been to view each client individually and gain a thorough understanding of their specific document management processes and issues. We established our style of analyzing the specific needs of organizations to understand not just what technology to propose but, more importantly, to understand what our clients can do with the technology. Treating each customer individually prevents a cookie-cutter approach to problem-solving and allows us to deliver and configure the products, technology, and services that meet their needs and exceed their expectations. Carrying out this strategy successfully has required us to be flexible and willing to embrace change, and we are proud to say we have continued to be up to the task over the last 30 years.
For example, in the 1990s we learned that we couldn’t meet many of our clients’ diverse document management needs using just one manufacturer’s line of office copiers and fax machines. That’s why we added product lines like Sharp and Ricoh and extended product offerings to include wide format printers, high-speed production devices, and digital duplicators. We continued to add network printers from HP and other integrated software solutions through the early 2000s. In 2005 we changed our name to Centric Business Systems after realizing our original name, “Copy World,” didn’t adequately portray that we were a full-service office technology provider. In recent years, as firms began to create, receive, use, and share more digital documents across their networks, through the internet, and in the cloud, we added software and services solutions for content management and workflow automation, helping our customers in their digital transformation. We changed and grew, following the lead of our customers’ needs.
That flexibility to change continues as we pursue our strategy of delivering document management solutions that uniquely fit and energize our customers. Our long-term experience has shown us that companies that never stop looking for new and better ways to meet and exceed their customer expectations will not only survive but thrive.
Remember the Community
When we started in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Baltimore, we realized we were more than just another business in town. We were part of a community where we interacted with and served other neighborhood businesses and employed local people. Through our growth over 30 years the community we belong to has extended to include the entire Mid-Atlantic region. All along, we have been committed to giving back to those communities we serve. We encourage our employees to remember the community they are part of by volunteering, supporting local organizations and buying local. We’ve found that measuring success is not just about the business done in the community, but on the positive impact of giving back to the communities we serve.
We’re excited to start our next 30 years of growth. If you are a current client, thank you! Let us know how we can serve you even better. If you aren’t yet a client, we invite you to check us out, even if it’s only to read our blog and get ideas on how your business can benefit from using the latest form of office products, solutions, or services. We look forward to being of service to you.