Why should I buy from you...?


Some time ago I was looking for a Gardener, and I shortlisted 3 based on their experience, reputation, and location…

To the untrained eye – mine – they all looked the same. Same promise, service levels and principles; it was hard to tell them apart…


So, which one did I choose…?


That’s right I chose the cheapest – if there is no clear differentiation regarding service, quality, and relationship; price becomes the defining factor…


Price however should not be the defining factor in the buying decision, if it is then we are on a slippery slope to reduced margins and low profits – plus if you allow people to buy on price they will and it’s likely that the length of relationship with them will be shorter. Once a cheaper offer comes along, they will switch – their loyalty is greater to their wallet than the value you are able to offer...


For many companies – around 98.36% - and I may be a little low here, differentiation and competitive advantage through service, value and relationship has to be the chosen strategy for sustainable success…


And you can’t do that with “Off The Shelf Software” alone…


We have all bought a standard software package for our Business.

Apparently the most known are the Office packages with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook etc.….

This software is fine if you just need a write a letter, create a simple spreadsheet or put together a presentation.


If we take a deeper look into the Standard Software for Business Branches there are also, plenty of  packages available on the market.


For accountancy, online web shops, maintenance software, you name it and there will be probably a standard solution for it on the market.


But… did you ever ask yourself the question


‘Does this standard software really cover all my company needs 100%?’


Does this standard software enable you and your team to deliver products and services that are unique and valuable to your customers in a way that differentiates you from the competition and all those price shoppers…


The answer is pretty simple…. It’s NOT!!!


With standard Software, your Company must always adjust to the Software which means the Company is following the Software instead of the Software following your Company as it should.


Your Company is unique and therefor needs a unique solution to all Software needs as well.


Standard Software solutions mostly apply up to 60-70 % of your Company Needs, which actually means you are losing a lot of money on not being fully productive and efficient in your work.


With Custom Software, the Software will apply the full 100% of your Company Needs.




Let’s look at the comparative benefits…


Standard Software                                        Custom Software


Cost Effective                                                   Matches Exact Needs

Free trials often exists                                      Lead to more Productivity & Efficiency

Quick Installation                                              Immediate Access to Developer

User Groups                                                     In House Support & Maintenance

Support & Maintenance                                   Ability to add Features


                                                                         Software Adapts to YOUR Company

                                                                          Long Term Solution


Now for the bad news – it is likely that the investment in custom software will be higher than for standard software…

But guess what – the rewards and returns are higher too…


Greater Productivity, Efficiency, and Profitability will be the long term returns on the investment!


As an IT Company, we’ve done a lot of research into Standard Software Solutions; Testing the Software, speaking with a lot of users, etc…


And amazingly enough there wasn’t anyone who said


“This Standard Solution covers all our Company Needs!!!”


For example

We’ve done quite some research in the Franchise Business only asking 3 simple questions


  1. Do you use a Standard or Custom Software solution for your Business?
  2. If Standard, which ‘Of the Shelf’ Software are you using?
  3. Does this standard Software Program covers all your Company needs?


We were amazed that no one answered the last question with ‘Yes, for the full 100%


It seems there is ALWAYS a lack of features in Standard Solutions. Custom Software can fix that!!


The Benefits of Custom Software:


  • Up to date Technology

The Software will be developed with the latest version of technology available.

  • Tailor Made

The Software is adapting to YOUR Company for the full 100%

  • Minimal Costs

Custom Software is a long-term solution which will lead to more Productivity & Efficiency.

  • Integration

Custom Software is always developed to integrate in your existing IT environment

  • Support & Maintenance

Support & Maintenance will be In House. You can add / change features as much as you want instead of waiting what the new version of a Standard Solution will bring.

And we all know what that can be only looking at the update from Windows 7 to Windows 8.

Never spoke a person who loved that upgrade.

  • You are the owner of the Software

Being the owner of the Software means you can do with it whatever pleases you, so you could bring it on the market and sell it to other Companies with the same needs.

If you think how to do the support and maintenance of this the Company developing the Custom Software for you would be more than happy to help you. (we do)


So, to get the right Custom Software for Your Company what should be done…


  • Analysis / Requirements

First you must know what you are missing and what you really need in your Company

What are the requirements of your Company?

  • Functional Design

Before you start developing the Custom Software you need to know exactly what the Specifications are into detail. You need to write a clear and complete description of what you want and need.

  • Development

With the detailed requirements, the developer will start developing the Software.

The Software will be developed in modules/units. This is the longest phase of the development cycle.

  • Testing / Feedback

After finishing the Custom Software, it need to be tested. Feedback will be implemented

according to the Functional specifications.

  • Deployment

After successful testing, the product is delivered / deployed to the customer for their use.

  • Maintenance

The maintenance plan will be set up according to the needs of the Company.


Improving your Business is an ongoing process, so after the last step you go back to step 1


As IT Company, we are helping lots of Companies out with their IT questions.

Small, Medium and Bigger Sized Companies with questions in all kind of IT ranches.


If you have questions already, like to know more how we can narrow down the Company costs as well improve Productivity, Efficiency & Profitability of YOUR Company please feel free to contact me.


We are always happy to advise and help you with your IT Needs.

Resistance is Futile

unless you know what we know…


The Borg…

“A collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones in a hive mind called ‘the Collective’ or ‘the Hive’.

The Borg use a process called assimilation to force other species into the Collective. The Borg are driven by the need for Productivity, Efficiency and Profitability and simply assimilate other races into their way of thinking…


If you come across the Borg you will be assimilated too….


Resistance is Futile…


Science Fiction….?

Or maybe Science Fact…?


Look at how we live and work – there are plenty examples of “collectives” that we all tend to submit to seemingly voluntarily…

In the somewhat misguided belief that we have freedom of choice we choose Windows and Microsoft for our PC’s or Apple if we are feeling a little rebellious…

We can choose Android or Apple OS (OK there are others but who really takes any notice…?) for our ‘phones without knowing anything about them…

Not only do we have limited choices, but we no longer even have the illusion of ownership; we subscribe to cloud based services that are dependent upon continuous updates that are equally dependent upon continuous subscriptions…


Resistance is futile – without participation in the game of restricted, subscription based choices we can no longer run our companies, manage our lives or communicate with our network…


We all know that we are being pushed in certain directions with the usage of IT sometimes. For example, the moment Microsoft Windows switched to version 8 with the tiles and without the ‘start button’ anymore.

As I can remember there weren’t many happy people with this version and at a certain point you must use it because older versions won’t be supported anymore.


Resistance is Futile…


Sure, you can switch to another Operating System, but what will it cost for your Company?

Personnel must learn to use the new OS, are your Applications working on the new OS?

Can we use our current documents in the new OS? And so on….

And who says the same won’t happen to another OS? So we have to adjust to the new situation whether we like it or not.

Isn’t there anything we can do?


Off course there is…


At AliaVita we help Companies with all their IT issues, requirements, and development needs.

We will have a look at the requirements and needs of your Company, analyze the IT Processes and then we advise you how you can Improve the Productivity, Efficiency, and Profitability of your company…

When we’re all done, we will help you implement the Improvements too…

So, on the question if Resistance is Futile the answer is clear – even if the focus of the Borg is Productivity, Efficiency and Productivity just like yours; it doesn’t mean you have to assimilated just yet…


Join the Resistance with AliaVita


It doesn’t have to be as long if you work with the right Company who can do the ‘assimilation’ as smoothly as possible with and for you….

So, it’s time to break free from the collective, take control of your business and the results you can achieve; and the team here at AliaVita are ready to help you…

Do you already have some questions about what to do with your IT issues?

Contact me today to arrange a time to speak and take action towards your non-collective Borg free, profitable future…


I will even bring the coffee…


Ever been 'Screwed' by your Software?

Buying “stuff” is easier than ever…

Simply click on the icon, give your credit card details and a brown box will magically appear on your doorstep within 24 hrs...

Making the choice is easy too – we live in an age of Trip Advisor and Customer Ratings. We can see what other buyers thought, how good the service was and if they’d recommend to purchase to a friend…

Buying a new computer, for example, is easy – apart from the fact that the time it takes to arrive within 24 hours will make the machine instantly 12 months out of date…

You can check the memory capacity, connectivity and storage requirements as well as the graphics performance, screen size and accessories; you can build your own machine according to your individual needs…

But what about the software…?

Now it gets a bit tricky – whilst your business is special and unique, most software isn’t. You get the same package for your company as the restaurant or flower shop down the road…

Yes, you can adapt it – but it’s like buying a ready-made suit – they look OK but even if you have the sleeves shortened; it will never feel, look and perform like a tailor-made suit…

So, for your business – are you prepared to make do with an off the peg solution or do you needs and deserve the very best in tailored solutions…?

A tailored solution will of course be more expensive in the short term – but consider the long-term benefits of having systems and processes specifically designed to support your products and services in relation to the market in which you operate…

Think in terms of Productivity, Efficiency and Profitability. Think in terms of competitive advantage, maintaining your unique position in the market and delivering excellence in customer service…

How do you get Tailored Software…?

Simple – you call AliaVita Engineering…

We will sit with you and discuss what your business needs, propose a cost-effective solution and support you all the way through from design and configuration through to implementation, training and support…

At AliaVita with developing (web) applications for our clients we always start to write clear and complete requirements together where everything of the project is covered.

We are more than happy to help you writing the requirements for your project incl. giving you advice where needed to make everything clear and understood.

“Good, Clear and Complete Requirements will give you the application you want as well saving you money”

If you’d like to know more about how to define your requirements, need help to write the requirements for your current or upcoming project or even need a project manager to manage the project for you please contact us.

We are more than happy to help – and you will look so much better in a Tailored Solution…

What Quadrant is YOUR Business Really in...?

Ask someone what their business target is, and most likely you’ll be given a Sales or Revenue figure that they are aiming for…

They will discuss annual budgets and forecasts, comparing sales growth to last year or the seasonality of the business they are in…

People talk in terms of the “size” of their business rather than the profitability of it or its ability to generate cash…


So what Targets should you have for your business…?

Well for a start, begin with Cash flow not Sales as your objective. Remember, Sales is Vanity, Profit is Sanity but Cash is Reality…

Once you have your required cash flow requirements, you can work out what net profitability you’ll need and then work your way up to gross profit and finally a sales target…

Sales is simply the mechanism with which we generate profit and cash – it is a consequence of our activities not the driver of them…


What is your break-even point…?

If your business makes 10% net profit, then you will break even around lunchtime on November 23rd

In other words you are working for nearly 11 months to just pay your fixed costs – not very exciting is it…?

If you apply that to your working day, then you are breaking even at around 10 past 4 in the afternoon…

Doesn’t leave a lot of room for manoeuvre…


So how can we break this cycle…?

For a start we can become more ambitious with our profitability levels; both gross and net. How about if we had a breakeven target of end of September rather than the last week in November…?

What would that do to your business…?

Then we need to focus on the factors that contribute to the profitability of the business; and it doesn’t have to be just getting more sales…

Within every business there are hidden pots of cash – it could be that we need to buy more effectively, produce more productively and work more efficiently. Sometimes simply getting more sales is the wrong strategy completely – sometimes we have to make the business work at a lot closer to its full potential first such that when sales increase the benefits are amplified…

I will explain how important it is for your business to setup a Profitability Goal.


For example, you are selling this month products for the amount of 100,000 euro.

The costs you have made this month is 90,000 euro. So, you got a Profit of 10,000 euro this month.

In order to double your Profit you have to sell twice the amount of products.


If you, instead of having a look at how many products you need to sell, have a look at the Productivity and Efficiency of the employees and processes within your business and improve these it is guaranteed to lead to more profit.  

Besides the clients, and of course you really do need them, there are a lot of processes within your company that contribute to your profitability and must run as smooth as possible. There have to be a good and clear balance within those processes in order to get the best out of your company.

You can have as many clients as you want, but if the processes in your company are not running at their maximum possible, you will simply lose money on every client...

Rather than making sales, some companies would be better off simply sending their clients a cheque each month instead…


Are your employees working productively and efficiently enough?

Are the processes they have to work with productive and efficient enough?

Are other processes running as smooth as they should be?

How productive and efficient are YOU working in your company?


Just some questions to ask yourself about your company.

With one simple question you can already do the first step in improving your Business.


How Productive or Efficient is ……    ?


Most of the times you already know which processes could be improved. Some processes are easily to improve by yourself, other processes need to be analysed first.

And this is where Business Improvement companies like AliaVita are for.


“In order to get the maximum Profitability out of your company

you need to have the Productivity and Efficiency at their max possible.”


Two questions for you to check where your company is now…

  1. On a scale from -10 to +10 what number would you give for the Productivity in your business at this moment?
  1. On a scale from -10 to +10 what number would you give for the Efficiency in your business at this moment?


Fill in the point in on the chart below. The Y axis is for Productivity, the X axis for Efficiency.

For example, if you think the productivity is fine (5) and the efficiency is not that fine (-2), you put a dot in the chart on (-2,5)



If you end up in the GREEN area, but not at the top right, your company is doing fine already but could need some little improvements to get to the top right.

If you end up in one of the LIGHTER GREEN area´s you will need to improve Productivity or Efficiency in order to get back on the right track again. For example, in the first chart below, if you improve the Efficiency to +5 the balance between the Productivity and Efficiency will be fine again and from there on you go up to the top right for the maximum improvement.

If you end up in the RED area, you really need to call us right away. We will help you getting back on track up to top right in the GREEN area where your business should be!!




In order to get your Business to the maximum Profitability possible you need to improve the Productivity and Efficiency of your business together. If you just improve one of them, you never will reach the maximum out of your Business.

So where do you want YOUR Business to be? Exactly… at the star in the green area !!!



Using the example above, if you improve the Profitability by 10% you will have a profit of

20.000 euro that month instead of 10.000 euro. This means a Profit increase of 100% !!!


I hear you asking yourself     “this is what we are looking for, but how can we do this…?”


Especially to improve YOUR Business growth to the Maximum Profitability, AliaVita has developed a 7 step Business Improvement Program called The PEP Talk Program.


We focus on the factors that drive your profits, we look for the hidden cash that is in every business and enable you to release it…


With The PEP Talk Program your Business processes will be analysed, improved and monitored to get the best out of YOUR Business. Guaranteed !!!


Want to find out if this Program is something for YOUR Business?

Just sent an email to fsteketee@ave.lu or give us a call at +352 621 356 601 to book your free meeting.


And…. The first 3 to respond will get the book ´How to Improve the Productivity, Efficiency & Profitability in YOUR Business´ for FREE


Looking forward improving YOUR Business!!


Kind regards,

Frits Steketee

The History of Big Data

Always interested in news and articles about Big Data I ran into the an article about the history of Big Data you simply don't want to miss.

It’s a quite interesting time line which will explain as well that actually Big Data has always been around in the world.

C 18,000 BCE

The earliest examples we have of humans storing and analyzing data are the tally sticks. The Ishango Bone was discovered in 1960 in what is now Uganda and is thought to be one of the earliest pieces of evidence of prehistoric data storage. Palaeolithic tribespeople would mark notches into sticks or bones, to keep track of trading activity or supplies. They would compare sticks and notches to carry out rudimentary calculations, enabling them to make predictions such as how long their food supplies would last.

C 2400 BCE

The abacus – the first dedicated device constructed specifically for performing calculations – comes into use in Babylon. The first libraries also appeared around this time, representing our first attempts at mass data storage.

300 BC - 48 AD

The Library of Alexandria is perhaps the largest collection of data in the ancient world, housing up to perhaps half a million scrolls and covering everything we had learned so far, about pretty much everything. Unfortunately, in 48AD it is thought to have been destroyed by the invading Romans, perhaps accidentally. Contrary to common myth, not everything was lost – significant parts of the library’s collections were moved to other buildings in the city, or stolen and dispersed throughout the ancient world.

C 100 – 200 AD

The Antikythera Mechanism, the earliest discovered mechanical computer, is produced, presumably by Greek scientists. It’s “CPU” consists of 30 interlocking bronze gears and it is thought to have been designed for astrological purposes and tracking the cycle of Olympic Games. Its design suggests it is probably an evolution of an earlier device – but these so far remain undiscovered.

The Emergence of Statistics


In London, John Graunt carries out the first recorded experiment in statistical data analysis. By recording information about mortality, he theorized that he can design an early warning system for the bubonic plague ravaging Europe.


The term “business intelligence” is used by Richard Millar Devens in his Encyclopaedia of Commercial and Business Anecdotes, describing how the banker Henry Furnese achieved an advantage over competitors by collecting and analyzing information relevant to his business activities in a structured manner. This is thought to be the first study of a business putting data analysis to use for commercial purposes.


The US Census Bureau has a problem – it estimates that it will take it 8 years to crunch all the data collected in the 1880 census, and it is predicted that the data generated by the 1890 census will take over 10 years, meaning it will not even be ready to look at until it is outdated by the 1900 census. In 1881 a young engineer employed by the bureau – Herman Hollerith – produces what will become known as the Hollerith Tabulating Machine. Using punch cards, he reduces 10 years’ work to three months and achieves his place in history as the father of modern automated computation. The company he founds will go on to become known as IBM.

The Early Days of Modern Data Storage


Interviewed by Colliers magazine, inventor Nikola Tesla states that when wireless technology is “perfectly applied the whole Earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole … and the instruments through which we shall be able to do this will be amazingly simple compared to our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.”


Fritz Pfleumer, a German-Austrian engineer, invents a method of storing information magnetically on tape. The principles he develops are still in use today, with the vast majority of digital data being stored magnetically on computer hard disks.



Fremont Rider, librarian at Wesleyan University, Connecticut, US, published a paper titled The Scholar and the Future of the Research Library.

In one of the earliest attempts to quantify the amount of information being produced, he observes that in order to store all the academic and popular works of value being produced, American libraries would have to double their capacity every 16 years. This led him to speculate that the Yale Library, by 2040, will contain 200 million books spread over 6,000 miles of shelves.

The Beginnings of Business Intelligence


IBM researcher Hans Peter Luhn defines Business Intelligence as “the ability to apprehend the interrelationships of presented facts in such a way as to guide action towards a desired goal.”


The first steps are taken towards speech recognition, when IBM engineer William C Dersch presents the Shoebox Machine at the 1962 World Fair. It can interpret numbers and sixteen words spoken in the English language into digital information.


An article in the New Statesman refers to the difficulty in managing the increasing amount of information becoming available.

The Start of Large Data Centers


The US Government plans the world’s first data center to store 742 million tax returns and 175 million sets of fingerprints on magnetic tape.


IBM mathematician Edgar F Codd presents his framework for a “relational database”. The model provides the framework that many modern data services use today, to store information in a hierarchical format, which can be accessed by anyone who knows what they are looking for. Prior to this accessing data from a computer’s memory banks usually required an expert.


Material Requirements Planning (MRP) systems are becoming more commonly used across the business world, representing one of the first mainstream commercial uses of computers to speed up everyday processes and make efficiencies. Until now, most people have probably only seen them in research and development or academic settings.


Possibly the first use of the term Big Data (without capitalization) in the way it is used today. International best-selling author Erik Larson pens an article for Harpers Magazine speculating on the origin of the junk mail he receives. He writes: “The keepers of big data say they are doing it for the consumer’s benefit. But data have a way of being used for purposes other originally intended.”

Additionally “business intelligence” – already a popular concept since the late 50s – sees a surge in popularity with newly emerging software and systems for analyzing commercial and operational performance.

The Internet Kicks Into Gear


Computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee announced the birth of what would become the World Wide Web as we know it today. In a post in the Usenet group alt.hypertext he sets out the specifications for a worldwide, interconnected web of data, accessible to anyone from anywhere.


According to R J T Morris and B J Truskowski in their 2003 book The Evolution of Storage Systems, this is the point where digital storage became more cost effective than paper.


Michael Lesk publishes his paper How Much Information is there in the World? Theorizing that the existence of 12,000 petabytes is “perhaps not an unreasonable guess”. He also points out that even at this early point in its development, the web is increasing in size 10-fold each year. Much of this data, he points out, will never be seen by anyone and therefore yield no insight.

Google Search also debuts this year – and for the next 20 years (at least) its name will become shorthand for searching the internet for data.

Early Ideas of Big Data


A couple of years later and the term Big Data appears in Visually Exploring Gigabyte Datasets in Real Time, published by the Association for Computing Machinery. Again the propensity for storing large amounts of data with no way of adequately analyzing it is lamented. The paper goes on to quote computing pioneer Richard W Hamming as saying: “The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers.”

Also possibly first use of the term “Internet of Things”, to describe the growing number of devices online and the potential for them to communicate with each other, often without a human “middle man”. The term is used as the title of a presentation given to Procter and Gamble by RFID pioneer Kevin Ashton.


In How Much Information? Peter Lyman and Hal Varian (now chief economist at Google) attempted to quantify the amount of digital information in the world, and its rate of growth, for the first time. They concluded: “The world’s total yearly production of print, film, optical and magnetic content would require roughly 1.5 billion gigabytes of storage. This is the equivalent of 250 megabytes per person for each man, woman and child on Earth.”


In his paper 3D Data Management: Controlling Data Volume, Velocity and Variety Doug Laney, analyst at Gartner, defines three of what will come to be the commonly-accepted characteristics of Big Data.

This year also see the first use of the term “software as a service” – a concept fundamental to many of the cloud-based applications which are industry-standard today – in the article Strategic Backgrounder: Software as a Service by the Software and Information Industry Association.

Web 2.0 Increases Data Volumes


Commentators announce that we are witnessing the birth of “Web 2.0” – the user-generated web where the majority of content will be provided by users of services, rather than the service providers themselves. This is achieved through integration of traditional HTML-style web pages with vast back-end databases built on SQL. 5.5 million people are already using Facebook, launched a year earlier, to upload and share their own data with friends.

This year also sees the creation of Hadoop – the open source framework created specifically for storage and analysis of Big Data sets. Its flexibility makes it particularly useful for managing the unstructured data (voice, video, raw text etc) which we are increasingly generating and collecting.

Today’s Use of the Term ‘Big Data’ Emerges


Wired brings the concept of Big Data to the masses with their article The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Model Obsolete.


The world’s servers process 9.57 zettabytes (9.57 trillion gigabytes) of information – equivalent to 12 gigabytes of information per person, per day), according to the How Much Information? 2010 report. In International Production and Dissemination of Information, it is estimated that 14.7 exabytes of new information are produced this year.


The average US company with over 1,000 employees is storing more than 200 terabytes of data according to the report Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity by McKinsey Global Institute.


Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, tells a conference that as much data is now being created every two days, as was created from the beginning of human civilization to the year 2003.


The McKinsey report states that by 2018 the US will face a shortfall of between 140,000 and 190,000 professional data scientists, and states that issues including privacy, security and intellectual property will have to be resolved before the full value of Big Data will be realised.


The rise of the mobile machines – as for the first time, more people are using mobile devices to access digital data, than office or home computers. 88% of business executives surveyed by GE working with Accenture report that big data analytics is a top priority for their business.

Final Thought

What this teaches us is that Big Data is not a new or isolated phenomenon, but one that is part of a long evolution of capturing and using data. Like other key developments in data storage, data processing and the Internet, Big Data is just a further step that will bring change to the way we run business and society. At the same time it will lay the foundations on which many evolutions will be built.


Quite interesting isn’t it?

If you do want to know more what exactly Big Data can mean for your company simply sent an email to bigdata@ave.lu and we will be more than happy to explain how we could help you and your business.


Frits Steketee


Source: Bernard Marr

Can Confucius really Improve Your Business...?

From time to time you’ll see quotes from great visionaries who lived many years ago.

One of the quotes you’ll see a lot is the one above by Confucius which in my opinion, applies equally to us today as it must have done all those years ago; even with all our technology and modern techniques, the principle holds true in Business and in Life…

First time I saw the quote was at the school I was studying; which was sometime in the middle of the last century…

I was engaged on a four-year Programme to become a Civil Engineer. The study involved 3 years in school and 1-year internship. The internship was divided in two sessions of 5 months each.

So when I discovered this quote I could immediately see how it applied to my studies.

During our classes the teachers told us a HUGE amount about the world of Civil Engineering, large amounts of data, principles and concepts. Imagine, sitting in a classroom and being TOLD all this information; it’s overwhelming and the brain simply can’t cope with it, so that’s why we don’t remember very much when we are simplyTOLD things… 

It also explains why I fell asleep a few times too….

It’s because this style of teaching only affects our Short Term Memory – which lasts around 30 seconds, hardly surprising that we forget most of what we are told…

A few times each year during the Course we would visit a construction site, concrete factory or exposition where we’ve been SHOWN how certain processes actually work in the real world.

Some were interesting some really weren’t, and as you know we tend to remember just the most interesting ones.

The one I remember being the most interesting was the building of the second ‘Brienenoord’ bridge near Rotterdam. Entering the cellar of the bascule bridge we experienced a sense of amazement and WOW factor….!! It was an impressive sight...

The experience of participating in this meant that the memory became locked into my Long Term Memory – much more powerful than simply hearing about the bridge – we actually experienced it…

Throughout the last year of the study I was working the first half at the Province Zuid-Holland and the second at the Commune of The Hague, both as Supervisor.

Can you imagine, just coming out of College with not a single day experience, and then working outside checking up on people with years of experience to make sure they were doing their job correctly…?

Me neither…

So, I simply remembered the quote of Confucius. I let them INVOLVE me into their work. I helped with driving a road roller, placing guardrails, even digging holes in some of the worst weather conditions possible.

And because they involved me into their work I learned so many things I didn’t find in school books and it really made me understand how the real world of Civil Engineering actually works.

Back to the present and this famous quote of Confucius is applied to our PEP Talk Program launched at the beginning of the year to enable you to make dramatic improvements to your business performance...

With the PEP Talk Program, a 7 step business improvement program, we are not onlytelling and showing you what we are going to do, we will involve you and your team into the program.

For me it’s normal to involve people in Business Improvements.

Amazingly enough I still hear from some companies where the people weren’t involved in any of the Business Improvements being made.

No surprise that the improvements in these companies didn’t work out as they hoped for – short term memory applies to businesses as well as individuals…

It’s pretty simple…

Involving people will make them understand which will lead to success and business growth – the PEP Talk Program is about long term sustainable improvements…

If you’d like to find out more about our PEP Talk Program and how we can transform your Productivity, Efficiency and Profitability to improve YOUR business, just send me an email to arrange a time for a coffee and a chat…

Which would you like to improve in 2016 – ProductivityEfficiency orProfitability…?

Or would you like all three…?

I look forward to hearing from you…

And yes.... Confucius can really Improve Your Business !!

Kind regards,

Frits Steketee


72% of Business Professionals get this simple Test Wrong…

Of course you want to improve your Business results – but you’d be amazed at the responses we get to some very simple questions when ask Business People about how they should go about it..

Here’s a little quiz, with possible answers based on real life conversations – see how you get on…

1. What is the #1 thing you can do to improve your business?

    a) Fire the CEO.
    b) Get rid of moaning Clients.
    c) Analyse all processes to establish where positive changes can be made.
    d) Have a new Logo designed.

 2. When is the best time to start improving your business?

    a) Next Quarter.
    b) Now – before our competitors do.
    c) Our business is perfect and cannot be improved.
    d) When we start getting complaints from clients.

3. Can everything in a business be improved?

    a) No, we’ve always done it that way and it works just great.
    b) Absolutely, with the right approach and know how.
    c) But my team are a bunch of idiots.
    d) Don’t need to – we are fine thanks.

4. What’s the best way of reducing costs?

    a) Drive Efficiency and Productivity to grow Profitability.
    b) Get rid of the work force – they don’t like it here anyway.
    c) Screw our suppliers to the ground.
    d) Pay people late.

5. How can you reduce the unproductive time of your employees?

    a) 24,000 Volt Cattle prod would help.
    b) Involve the team in the processes and identify associated costs.
    c) Discipline and warnings are the best way.
    d) Shouting, bullying and passive aggressive management techniques.

6. How can your employees work more efficiently?

    a) Make them work longer hours.
    b) Give greater responsibility, control and flexibility to them.
    c) See 5d above
    d) An upgrade from Windows 98 would be a start.

7. How do you get more profit out of your business?

    a) Don’t pay invoices – just ignore them.
    b) Cancel the Christmas party.
    c) Improving the Productivity and Efficiency of every aspect of it whilst       building Sales and Margins
    d) Who cares – it’s not my money anyway.

8. When changes have been made should you…

    a) Go on holiday and relax.
    b) Keep on monitoring the processes for more improvements and refinements.
    c) Buy a Ferrari.
    d) Drink a bottle of Jack Daniels.

9. How would you encourage your customers to keep coming back?

    a) Hope.
    b) They only come back to complain.
    c) Discount everything.
    d) Through service excellence such that they become raving fans.

10. What help do you need to succeed with your Business Improvement program?

    a) I don’t need anything we can do this all internally – we are all geniuses.
    b) Our CEO knows everything about that stuff.
    c) An experienced Business Improvement company with a great Business Improvement Program.
    d) YouTube has some cool videos. 

Note: You can find the answers at the bottom of this page.

If you got all 10 the answers correct, then we are on the same wavelength and we could do some great work together…

If you got 7 – 9 answers correct, you probably need us more than you think.

If you got 6 or less answers correct, you definitely need help – right now, immediately and instantly…

At AliaVita Engineering we deliver the PEP Talk Program.

A 7 step Business Improvement program based on the principles of Productivity, Efficiency and Profitability to improve YOUR business. 

No matter if you´ve got all questions correct or just one, we are here to help you and your Team achieve great results in all areas.

Just have a look at our website what the PEP Talk Program can mean for your business.

The first stage is to simply drop me a note and arrange a time to talk and see how we may be able to help – it’s quite painless and there are no injections or anything…

Looking forward helping you improving YOUR business.

With kind regards,

Frits Steketee


Answers:  1c 2b 3b 4a 5b 6b 7c 8b 9d 10c

5 Ways to Improve your Customer Service TODAY...

A few weeks ago I went to the garage with my car for a checkup. Oil changed, filters changed, new wipers etc… just a regular checkup. I got a courtesy car for the day so all good fun.

Whilst driving the courtesy car I started to think that it could actually be a good replacement for our own car; we are actually looking for an ´in between car´ because we are driving long distances each year – around 60,000 km and the depreciation on a new car makes them really expensive...

In the afternoon I received the call telling me that my car was finished. So when I got back to the Garage I asked them if the courtesy car was for sale…

They were, but I had to ask the sales manager in the show room…

No problem, so I went to the show room to the office of the Sales Manager.

As I stepped into the Sales Office, he looked up and then down and simply got back to working on his papers.

After a few minutes he looked up again and asked if he could help me still with the papers in his hand. 

He didn’t even stand up, shake hands, and offer me a coffee or even a simple smile…

I explained that I was interested in buying the Courtesy car, and had been referred to him for further information…

The answer was ´yes we sell it´; Nothing more nothing less.

Ok, we were making progress, he was selling the car. So I asked what the car would cost if I wanted to buy it.

The answer… ´I don´t know, maybe this, this or this amount´.

Ok, at least I’d got an indication what he was looking for, so I asked him if he could tell me exactly what he was looking for in exchange for the car…

The answer… ´but then I have to go outside and have a look at it´.  Uhh… duhuuu….

So we went outside to the car, he walked once around it and gave me a price.

As there were two marks on the car, I asked if they would be fixed; Perfectly normal question to ask I thought.

Apparently it wasn´t… ´Off course not, this will cost me a lot of money to fix, we have to do a lot of things already on the car, etc… etc…´  Sorry I asked!!!

He really gave me the feeling that he was doing me a big favour allowing me to buy the car from him.


Did I buy the car? Off course not !!!


With the guys who did the checkup it’s a totally different story. Always polite, little chat, asking how I am doing, really giving me the feeling that I am the client and that they are happy having me as client.

As I am always early for appointments, the garage was still closed when I arrived. But seeing me standing outside, they simply opened the door earlier to let me in offering me a drink.

Now that´s the customer service I really like.


Unfortunately I hear a lot of stories about the lack of customer services at companies, and it’s really affecting their Sales and Profits…

There is so much to be improved and itcan be done so easily.

And sure, there are always clients, no matter how nice you are to them, who will be never satisfied.

Well… those aren´t the clients you are looking for anyway J


So, a simple top 5 how to improve Customer Services…


     1.Give your clients or prospect clients always the feeling that they are special and that you need them instead of the other way around. Because you need them for your business, they could always go to your competitor.

     2. Contact your customers from time to time. If you don´t hear something from your customers for a while, just give them a call or send an email just to say hi and ask how they are doing. You could also send a birthday card, season greetings, etc. Just to let you know you didn´t forget them and letting them know you are here as well for them.

     3. One of the easiest ways of improving Customer Services is asking your clients what can be improved in their experience. This information is worth gold for your company. Analyze the experience and see where your Customer Services can be improved.

     4. Involve your employees in improving your Customer Services. They do know when the clients are happy or unsatisfied. Ask your employees what they think can be improved.

     5. Only promise what you can deliver. Some companies make the mistake to promise more than they actually can deliver.

     6. Over deliver. Give your customers more than they expect. This will make your customers happy and they will tell it further to other people who might be your future clients.


Pretty easy to do this for your company isn´t it…?  I thought so.

And this is just one of the processes within a company where you can improve your business pretty easily. You will definitively get more clients and keep your current clients with good customer services.

This is where we come in – we are here to help you and your team develop your Customer Service levels so that you Clients love you and tell everyone how great you are – great for Sales, Profits and Team Spirit too…

If you would like to improve your business on all fronts, just have a look at The PEP Talk Program.

The PEP Talk Program is a 7 step business improvement program where multiple processes of your company will be analyzed and improved in order to get more Productivity, Efficiency & Profitability.

The Bitterness of Poor Quality remains long after the Sweetness of Low Price is Forgotten...


As we all know, Start Up companies don´t really want to spend more than a few hundred Euro to get a 5000 Euro website. Not willing to invest in a website, most of them always seems to have a friend, family member, acquaintance etc. who can build them a website for a few bucks.

Great… if you are the lucky one who has found that one person who actually has the knowledge, time and experience to complete the project of course…

They’ll also have to get your website completed within a reasonable time, put the domain name on your company, set up the email accounts and website hosting for you, and be there immediately whenever an issue comes up which needs to be solved asap….

Unfortunately most of these guys are hard to find and, in my experience, most of them aren´t there when you really need them. Not because they don´t want to help or are bad guys, but simply because they have their regular job during the day, at home a family to take care of and the weekends to spend with their family.

And not being there at the moments you really need them means that at some point you are bound to look for another provider who can be…

Only then it will costs you much more because the new one needs time to see how the website has been developed, accounts are being setup etc.. before he can continue with helping you. 

So in this case Cheap ends up being REALLY  Expensive.


The Bitterness of Poor Quality remains long after the Sweetness of Low Price is Forgotten…

A while ago someone working at a small company was having a look at our website to see what we were offering for the development of websites. He looked at all our  marvellous packages. 

Then he phoned me up….

´… I´m looking for a new website and was wondering what the quality and service is of the websites you are providing because they are not expensive and I´m just wondering how you can manage to develop a decent website within this price. ´

I thanked him for his call and simply explained that a decent website using a really user friendly CMS doesn´t have to cost that much. When I told him we even give him a little explanation of how to use the CMS he was even more surprised.

It was a really nice conversation being clear of what we are selling, that we could help him as well with all hosting and email issues, and that we will be still there after going live with the website.

Told him we are Cheap but that we don´t sell Cheap products….

“We are Cheap, but we don´t sell “Cheap” solutions/products…..”

For us it´s pretty normal to be there for our clients (as long as they are reasonable J ).

We are listening to our Clients helping define their requirements before making the scope of the project.

After making the scope we can create a perfect offer with the lowest price possible.

When the client decides to give it a GO we start developing keeping the client informed about the progress of the project right up to  the end.  And even after going live with everything being done we still be around to give support.

 Like said before, we are cheap but we don´t sell ´cheap´….. J

Besides having a great customer services, according to our clients, we are not the kind of company who wants to give you the idea you are stuck with us.

For example when buying a domain name for a Client we buy them in the name of the Client, which we think is normal and how it should be.

The same with the hosting companies. If a Client likes us to advise regarding the hosting and we arrange the hosting for the Clients everything will be done under the name of the Client.

Simply because if the Client wants to work with another IT company for what reason ever they can simply go to them already having all information needed.

“We are in the Customer Service Business and it shows…..”

So, whether you are looking for a New, Gorgeous and Business Generating Website, or an Upgrade or Extensions to your current Website, please feel free to send an email to fsteketee@ave.lu or give us a call at +352 621 356 601

Just to have a coffee and a chat about your requirements.

Ps. This counts for all the services we are providing J

Many thanks in advance.

Frits Steketee