Barbara Payne's Capitalist Cleveland Blog

News and Views: Entrepreneurs a-thrive in Northeast Ohio

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

SOAR takes Ohio companies higher

Hey, just heard about a Cleveland-based company that has been recently recognized in the national media. The press release says:

SOAR to Strategic Excellence™ is a unique business process improvement program that evaluates a company’s health and helps to identify areas of potential growth. Traditionally, this type of evaluation process takes 4 to 6 weeks, however, SOAR accomplishes the task in a 1-day workshop. The program was invented by Larry Goddard, President of The Parkland Group.

Industry recently covered the results that SOAR brought to Chardon Rubber Company; most notably that it helped them to increase margins by $1 million in one year. This is good news not only for Northeast Ohio’s economy but for manufacturing, distribution and construction companies nation-wide that are strained by global competition.

Larry, congratulations. As one transplant (I'm from Chicago) to another (you're from South Africa), it's nice to hear you've come to make a difference for Cleveland companies.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Observations on a fine old Cleveland hotel

Ever stayed at the Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland? It's a venerable old facility that's done some refurbishing over the years--interesting to note that it's owned by Marriott. One of the staffers explained there used to be around a thousand rooms and now there are only 500-some. He said at some point they tore down walls to combine rooms. Wow, I gotta tell ya those early rooms must've been really tiny.

Got a cool shot of the interior patio area lined with mirrored windows that towers above the pool. Very creative use of tight, convoluted space.

As I sat working in the business center on the ground floor, I watched several groups come in with their room keys, sit down at one of the three public computers provided there and blanche at the cost--$5.95 per every 15 minutes of use. All except one person, who explained she was desperate to reply to a job offer, got up and walked out. Luxury hotel guests or not, and even with the lack of wireless access in the hotel rooms, people simply felt the price was out of line.

Service was generally helpful, except in the Brasserie, where I got the distinct impression that the waiter didn't feel it was important to wait on a single (female?) guest when there was a table of men to be taken care of. They were seated after I was and soon received coffee and juice without having to ask--I had to ask if these items were included and then request them. I had to inquire of a fellow guest where the toast was to be found, and upon being told that the waiter was supposed to provide it, had to ask for it separately. Then I was nearly finished with my breakfast before the cold toast arrived. Good thing I like to eat my toast last. I did get one thing in a timely manner--the check--and didn't know whether I was more glad I didn't have to wait for it or aggravated that he didn't bother to ask if I wanted anything else.

Oh, well. The food was delicious--I've never before had scrambled eggs from a buffet that were actually soft the way I like them--the doormen tried really hard to get me a cab in the terrible storm the day before, the bed was comfortable, and the clerk did "allow" me to work in the business center after I was officially checked out (my flight was not until 8:30 that night). So all in all, it was not a bad experience.

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