ABOUT US: OUR HISTORY
Jim Ledbetter was no stranger to mainframe and mini-computers. He worked in IT throughout the 80’s and always felt there should be more emphasis placed on customer service and support. Eventually he let his entrepreneurial spirit take over, and he began working out of his basement in 1991 selling all kinds of computer peripherals such as scanners and printers.
The business took form and demand kicked in, with a number of his established customers looking for bar code terminals and eventually software. In 1991, Jim decided to team up with a colleague who he had worked with on several successful projects, John Rewcastle. John was a skilled programmer and owner of Rewcastle Computer Systems. Coming together as a team enabled them to offer more value to their customers and round out their business offerings. “We were like peanut butter and chocolate,” said Ledbetter. “We just worked real well together,” he added.
The 90’s afforded Barcom continued growth, with a growing customer base and growing internal team. They moved to a larger facility in 1993 and kept on expanding “We moved so many walls in that building we took over four offices,” said Ledbetter. “We eventually joked that each employee had their own bathroom,” he added. In 2000 they bought their own building, and performed a full renovation.
Like any new company, everyone has their place – with many hats in hand. In terms of natural fit, Jim focused on the sales side, and John focused on the technical side. They operated with a team of 6 people and although they worked hard, they also played hard. Getting together after business hours was something that came naturally to the Barcom team. They enjoy sport, dance, travel and good, old-fashioned fun; which Jim and John encouraged. They always felt that working together as a team included time to relax and enjoy life.
As they continued to grow, they began working the tradeshow circuit, building their brand and creating new relationships while strengthening existing ones. As time went on, they increased their headcount and expanded their expertise. Market requirements were changing rapidly, with bar coding gaining popularity and the increased capabilities of computer technology. These advances pushed their customers to become more competitive; which, in turn, gave Barcom the opportunity to leverage their talent in total solution offerings. This meant bringing operational improvements to customers through the combination of real-time software solutions and the replacement of paper-based processes with the integration of bar code automation.
Barcom has seen a lot of change in the industry, with many of their manufacturing partners growing bigger and stronger through mergers and acquisitions. Some, such as Microscan, a partner of Barcom’s for the last 24 years, have managed to stand strong on their own.
The Customer Comes First
Customer service has always been a key part of Barcom’s success. In fact, they still work with 4 out of their first 5 customers (the 5th one moved their operations to Brazil), with one of their first customers being Chattem Inc. a Sanofi company with over a century of experience in the pharmaceutical industry.
Barcom goes beyond meeting the requirements of the customer. They take on the responsibility of really understanding their customers’ business, and couple it with industry knowledge to maximize the value of the services and solutions they provide. “It’s a pleasure working with Barcom. Their service is impeccable, and their team always understands our needs,” said Archana Chaudhary of Jaipur. “They have saved me lots of time and money, and I appreciate it very much,” she added.
25 years in business is an impressive position to be in, especially in the data collection industry. With computer technology changing almost daily, the ups and downs of the economy, and the ever-increasing demands of the consumer, staying on top of their game is nothing short of a challenge. “When you get to be in the business as long as we have, you quickly start to see what works and what doesn’t,” said Rewcastle. “Our customers are amazed when they begin realizing a major cost savings or an increase in worker productivity simply based on some suggestions we made,” he added. Jim and John are proud of their accomplishments over the last 25 years, and are always working to make sure their whole team knows they are key contributors to their success. Employee turnover at Barcom has always been low, with the average length of employ being 10-12 years. What’s their secret? “Consistency,” says Ledbetter. “Our customers, in particular, appreciate the loyalty on both sides of the business.”