Value Stream Mapping Boosts Productivity for Awning Maker

Rader Awning shade sails

Rader Awning shade sails; courtesy Rader Awning

Sometimes it just takes a fresh perspective — and expertise in lean manufacturing — to help a respected manufacturer streamline productivity and increase profitability.

The owners of Rader Awning & Upholstery Inc. requested that type of feedback when their 70-year-old company, New Mexico’s leading supplier of quality custom awnings and shades, faced challenges satisfying growing demand. Continue reading

New Mexico Employers Should Plan Now for New Overtime Rules

By Randy S. Bartell and Randi N. Johnson, Montgomery & Andrews, PA, Employment Law Group

flsa-overtime-graphicbyfnmAbout 20,000 salaried “white-collar” employees in New Mexico might be eligible for overtime pay in 2017 when an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) takes effect the last day of this year.

The U.S. Department of Labor in May published its final rule revising the FLSA’s overtime exemption regulations. The most significant change was to the minimum salary levels that salaried employees must be paid to be considered exempt from federal overtime requirements. Continue reading

Multigenerational Workforce Can Be Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

By Finance New Mexico

Multigenerational workforceThe generation gap of the early 21st century is different than the one that led sociologists to coin that term in the 1960s, when young adult baby boomers were advised not to trust anyone over 30.

Today’s workplace might include people in their late teens up to their 70s. Managing that multigenerational mélange presents many of the same challenges as managing a multicultural one, but it also offers a rich resource for businesses that understand the strengths and benefits of diversity and appreciate that every employee, regardless of age, wants to work with others toward a common goal and feel productive and valued. Continue reading

Entrepreneurs Work Together to Get Help From Lab-Affiliated Program

By Finance New Mexico

Greg Scantlen, Chuck Bulow, and Paul Saxe

Left to right: Greg Scantlen, Chuck Bulow, and Paul Saxe

Entrepreneurs Greg Scantlen, Paul Saxe and Chuck Bulow depend on high-speed, sophisticated computers to run their individual businesses. And even though they’re developing different products, the trio decided to apply collectively for free technical assistance from scientists at Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories through the New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) program.

Scantlen owns CreativeC, a Los Alamos and Albuquerque company that works with graphic processing units (GPUs) — chips composed of thousands of parallel processing threads that can process multiple calculations simultaneously at computing speeds about 100 times faster than the traditional central processing units (CPU) used by most home computers. Continue reading

Businesses Find Advice at UNM Small Business Institute

By Finance New Mexico

SBI client with UNM Anderson students and UNM professor Dr. Raj Mahto; courtesy UNM Anderson School of Management website

SBI client with UNM Anderson students and UNM professor Dr. Raj Mahto; courtesy UNM Anderson School of Management website

Albuquerque transplant Chris Mayo was 47 when he decided to ditch social work and build his chimney sweep/masonry/handyman sideline into a full-time business. Within a decade, Amrak Enterprises was growing by 30 percent each year and Mayo was paying a subcontractor to help with the workload and aiming to compete with the city’s top chimney-cleaning company.

“I’m 57 years old and need to position myself to either sell the business and be a silent partner or manage a fleet of chimney sweeps,” Mayo told Finance New Mexico. To help him prepare for the future, Mayo took the advice of his friend Dimitri Kapelianis, associate professor of marketing at the University of New Mexico School of Management. Continue reading

New Mexico Angels Welcome Entrepreneurs to Monthly ‘Office Hours’ at WESST

New Mexico Angels President John Chavez at the 2016 Angel Capital Summit in Denver; photo courtesy New Mexico Angels

By Finance New Mexico

The folks at WESST never stop thinking of new ways to help small businesses succeed and thus strengthen New Mexico’s economy.

The 27-year-old nonprofit’s newest partnership is with New Mexico Angels — a 501(c)6 organization that, besides its educational and promotional mission, acts as an intermediary between its members and early stage businesses that present promising investment opportunities.

NMA ( has been around since 1999. Just this year the organization began hosting office hours from 3 to 5 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at the WESST Enterprise Center in Albuquerque so entrepreneurs can seek information and advice about financing and angel investing. Continue reading

Local Manufacturers Empowered by Visual-Workplace Training

Visual Workshop Participant Discussion_First Choice

Left to right: Armando Soto (in Orange sweatshirt) of Relios, Phillip Vanderwall of MARPAC, Kent Dahlinger of Relios and Christina McGrady of La Puerta Originals; photo courtesy Visual Lean Institute

By Finance New Mexico

Armando Soto is a convert to the visual-workplace concept. The director of operational excellence at Albuquerque jewelry-maker Relios Inc. attended a two-day workshop this spring that was sponsored by the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership. He came away with the tools he needed to put Relios on the path to being a fully functional visual workplace.

The point of visual-workplace training, according to guest speaker Gwendolyn Galsworth, Ph.D., founder of the Visual-Lean Institute, is to “convert the physical (work) environment into a visual one” and “to share vital information about the task at hand at a glance, without speaking a word — in short, to let the workplace speak.” Continue reading

Nonlinear Model Helps Businesses Prep for Rapid Growth

Business growth

By Finance New Mexico

New Mexico entrepreneurs who want to start a business or take an existing venture to the next level need a model that allows the business to “scale up” — to improve profitability as demand increases for its product or service.

A scalable model attracts more investors because it equips the business to adapt to a larger market without significantly increasing its costs. And that has a positive impact on economic development in New Mexico, where a home-grown business that’s prepared for exponential growth brings more out-of-state money home. Continue reading

Written Terms: The First Step Toward Avoiding Disputes

Signing a contract

By Finance New Mexico

A legal contract that spells out the responsibilities and relationships of partners in a business venture protects the interests of all parties involved, and it can guard against the messy disputes that can potentially sever friendships and family ties when an entrepreneur relies on friends and relatives to be his initial investors or workers and things don’t turn out as expected.

A term sheet can serve as a template and preliminary document for such a contract. Commonly used by professional investors when negotiating their involvement in a business venture, a term sheet can also be used by small-business owners to start discussions of investment and responsibility terms with family members. Continue reading

Court Ruling Shows Covenants Will Be Interpreted Narrowly

John Campbell

John Campbell

By Lawrence M. Wells and John S. Campbell, attorneys at Montgomery & Andrews, P.A.

A ruling by the New Mexico Court of Appeals this spring over homeowners’ rights to keep chickens as pets, despite a community covenant restriction against keeping poultry, has ramifications for property owners, including those in business condominium associations and other business developments.

The appellate court in March reversed a 2014 trial court decision that Eldorado residents who kept chickens as pets in their backyards violated the community’s covenants against raising poultry. It did so on the grounds that the covenant language was ambiguous enough to be interpreted in more than one way, and should be interpreted expansively. Continue reading