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Survival of the smartest Featured

1:09pm EDT June 22, 2004
Since Anand Julka launched Smart Solutions in 1983, he has reinvented his business several times, staying afloat through the difficult dot-com era while watching other computer companies go under.

The original focus of Smart Solutions was consumers. The focus then morphed to businesses, and today, the company has reinvented itself doing systems integration for governments and schools.

Smart Solutions' current focus is on three areas: document management; state and local governments as they work to catch up in the area of technology; and public education, where change is happening so quickly that weaker schools districts are in danger of not providing the education needed in the new economy.

Julka says his company survived the fledgling years because all employees handled multiple tasks, which improved productivity.

"No organization can succeed with one person's effort, but it's a collective effort that we all need every single day. ... Being the president, I can't do everything," Julka says. " ... Large companies have a lot of redundancy in the system, but with a small company, you can't afford to fritter away your capital because your resources are limited.

"So it's very important that every single individual feels like they are part of the team."

Smart Solutions pays its salespeople commissions based on profits; pays management based on bottom line profitability, which involved complete disclosure on financials to the entire management team; and gives unsung hero awards and monetary rewards to employees whose efforts are important but not recognized in most organizations.

The company was revolutionary in its field by providing dental coverage, a pension plan and year-end bonuses to all employees based on company profitability. In turn, Smart Solutions has been rewarded by low staff turnover in an industry marked by rapid turnover.

To stay on top of the knowledge business, Julka and his employees attend seminars and trade shows.

"We have an explosion of information," he says. " ... We don't have all the answers ... so there's a lot spent on training, on updating the skills of our people." How to reach: Smart Solutions, (330) 494-1243 or smartsolutionsonline.com