Behind the scenes: Interview with the sales department of Fink & Partner GmbH
Successfully distributing FP-LIMS nationally and internationally: What distinguishes the sales department of Fink & Partner GmbH?
December 7, 2020 – by Anna Freddi
In an interview with Michael Kramer and Marleen Haack, who have been working in sales at Fink & Partner GmbH for many years now, we will analyze together the sales department’s daily tasks and the upcoming standards in the laboratory industry.
A.F.: Mr. Kramer, you might like to start by telling us what your responsibilities are at Fink & Partner.
M.K.: My daily routine at Fink & Partner GmbH consists of different and exciting tasks. My primary duties include general customer support and passing on and analyzing technical information about LIMS installation. The sales department is always available to customers: We are the framework between customers and support or development.
A.F.: Ms. Haack, you are a member of the internal sales team. What are your tasks?
M.H.: Like probably almost all employees at our company, I would describe my job and the tasks associated with it as “wide-ranging”. My job concerns organizational tasks as well as data maintenance. A larger part of my work consists of processing incoming inquiries and depending on the volume. I also forward these to my more experienced colleague Mr. Kramer.
Like our IT project manager, Ms. Baumann, I was previously “on the other side” as a CAQ software user and administrator. I know the feeling of “someone that just wants to sell me something” – instead of offering real solutions that can be implemented quickly and are not unnecessarily cost-intensive.
A.F.: Let us talk about the software in detail now – what makes it so unique for the customer?
M.H.: The answer to this question depends on the point of view: industry, type of use, and purpose of its use. Many customers appreciate the fact that they get the software with standardized interfaces at a reasonable price. Our smallest version, the [F.P.]-LIMS Light Edition, is used in most cases. Other customers, on the other hand, appreciate the modularity of the product and combine the large Professional Edition with, for example, test order and/or recipe management. Our customers’ requests combine the desire for automation, simplifying procedures, process reliability, and secure traceability of data. The software should also be structured in its operation and equipped with a comprehensibly navigable system.
[FP]-LIMS, previously [DIA]-Analysis Management, is a standard software for the laboratory that offers all this and is developed in such a way that it can be adapted at any time.
A.F.: Behind the scenes – how can a standard laboratory software be customized?
M.K.: With our LIMS solution, customers can plan their quality management and pursue quality goals in the long term. Fink & Partner GmbH offers numerous modules that can also be added later. This means that LIMS software can be introduced step by step and can still react flexibly to changing conditions later because we are aware that workflows in a laboratory shift quickly and adapt to the upcoming standards of Industry 4.0.
Thanks to our know-how and many years of experience, we can connect different measuring devices (M2M communication) with our [FP]-LIMS, even if other device manufacturers produced them. In fact – no measurement device is too “exotic” for our software developers: our development team has been working with different interfaces for almost 30 years, and this enriches our expertise.
Fink & Partner GmbH has everything on board: fast evaluation options, reports, control, and management of quality management processes. These are powerful features of our LIMS software solution.
A.F.: We are aware that, depending on your field of activity, you will deal with customers differently. Could you tell us what the goals of your respective contact person* are and how you react to them?
M.K.: Every customer from the laboratory environment has specific requirements. And my job is to discover and fulfill each of them. On the one hand, [FP]-LIMS has the advantage of being flexible and modular: Our software has been developed to adapt to customer needs. On the other hand, the amount of device interfaces offers our customers the possibility to connect different measuring devices and plan for the long term.
With new customers, my focus is always first on the devices or measurement instruments in the laboratory, which need to be connected to the LIMS software. It is also essential to understand how the laboratory technicians work and whether they prefer manual rather than automated data entry, for example. Besides, statistical analysis and traceability of laboratory results also play a significant role. Here, the customer can send us the data from his measuring device to check it according to the criteria of “measurement uncertainty”.
A.F.: 2020 is a difficult year for all industries due to Covid-19, but there are new opportunities and potential behind every problematic situation. How would you describe this from your point of view?
M.K.: From the point of view of our customers, it is a great advantage that we have quickly switched to web presentations via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype. However, this was already part of our range of services before the pandemic. We know that laboratory technicians and managers have a full calendar, and online presentations and calls have made communication easier for years and will probably remain in focus.
M.H.: Looking outside the company, the Corona crisis has hit almost all industries hard. Nevertheless, we could still successfully implement many projects with existing customers in 2020 and have carried out new installations worldwide. We will indeed all be facing another challenging year in 2021. However, IT and quality are forward-looking and worthy of investment from the perspective of our customers. And with our high-performance LIMS, an experienced team of sales, development, and support staff, we can look positively into the future.
A.F.: To sum up: What does a successful sales department need?
M.H.: At Fink & Partner GmbH, we all see ourselves as one team, and we are united by the goal to provide every customer with a suitable solution. As the sales department at Fink & Partner GmbH, we support our customers during the purchase of licenses and continue to provide personal service to our customers. I think this is a crucial factor that distinguishes our sales team from others.
M.K.: As my colleague, Mrs. Haack, and my colleague Mrs. Baumann, our IT project manager, have already mentioned, the IT industry is future-oriented. Therefore, it is essential always to offer a LIMS that follows market trends and satisfies the actual needs of the end-user. [FP]-LIMS is flexible standard software and is one of the IoT technologies that quickly adapt to the laboratory environment’s coming standards. This includes high configuration, user-friendliness, as well as great independence. A successful IT sales team quickly learns and understands customer needs and requirements and always looks to the future.
Personally, for me, a quote from Charles Lazarus is incredibly inspiring: “The best ideas come to me when I imagine that I am my own customer”. And this is exactly how I start each day at work.