Flex Metrics by SoftSolutions is led by Jay Foster. The company has been providing real-time production visibility technology for print, packaging, and manufacturing industries for almost 20 years.
What are you working on now/next?
Jay Foster: We are focused upon multi-site, enterprise reporting. This is one of the first significant benefits of the RAMP program in terms of prioritizing our product roadmap. We have realized that our most significant value is provided to large manufacturing firms, many of which have multiple sites. We are now pursuing a Cloud-based Enterprise reporting module to provide real-time visibility across different plant locations.
What is the biggest challenge your company has had to face so far? How did you overcome it?
Jay Foster: Always the biggest challenge is related to people. Having the right people at the right time is always and obstacle. One way to overcome that is by networking, and knowing people in the community has been a huge help as well. The Roanoke community’s ability to find good people has been foundational.
What does success look like to you?
Jay Foster: That’s a good question. Happy customers are by far the number one measure of success for the company. If our customers are happy then I am happy. Number two is win-win relationships. This happens when our customers are gaining more financially from working with us and it is profitable for us to work with our customers as well.
What advice would you give to those interested in starting a business?
Jay Foster: Be careful and proceed with caution. Make sure to understand what your customers need and make sure they are willing and able to pay for it.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about applying to RAMP?
Jay Foster: I think it is a great idea. If you are really ready to grow your business then it will make a big difference. It is important that business owners understand that it is not an incubator, but rather an accelerator.
So you’re working with a mentor, tell me about that experience.
Jay Foster: It has been very good. It is always beneficial to get advice from someone who has been there. We have a very good mentor that gives excellent insights. He sees things we do not see because we are too close to it.
What feedback do you have about the classes RAMP offers?
Jay Foster: I think it provides a good common framework to communicate these core concepts of a business model and formula for scaling up.
Do you have any additional thoughts that you would like to share?
Jay Foster: I am glad that Roanoke is doing this and I am really glad that Virginia Western stepped up to make it happen, specifically Dr. Sandel.