Fast turnaround time on orders is a sure way to satisfy customers and increase business. For Tasos Argiras, president of Sparta Fish, based in Manchester, N.H., two purchases of office equipment and one directive solved a nagging problem at his company.

Each day at dawn, Argiras buys some 2,000 pounds of fish and shellfish on the docks of the nearby Atlantic, then he and his three coworkers cut and package it for delivery to restaurants. But figuring out which fish to buy proved difficult, because restaurant owners didn't place orders until late morning, long after Argiras had gone to the docks. Back at his office, Argiras always found himself short on time for processing orders and unable to plan purchases in advance.

So, he installed an answering machine and a fax machine in his office and asked customers to place their orders at night. when they were closing their restaurants and had a good sense of their needs for the next day. Now Argiras heads for the docks knowing what kind and quantity of fish to buy. The machines also allow fishermen to leave word of the day's specials before the boats even reach shore. "We are known for our fast service," says Argiras. "The machines have made us even faster and more accurate. The restaurant owners like that. The machines have increased our business by at least 5% to 10%."

Copyright 1997 G+J USA Publishing