Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Waters Brings Prosperity to Nigeria

Daren Waters loved his recent trip to Nigeria, because he loves visiting the people, the country and the culture. He also enjoys helping entrepreneurs realize there is a profitable business to be made in bottled water.

Daren has been helping grow Nigeria’s economy for the last 20 years, spreading the word about Norland International’s expertise in the bottled water manufacturing industry.

“When I go to Nigeria, it’s so people recognize our presence in the country,” Daren said. “We have staff located in Lagos, whose sole job is to help our African customers maintain their Norland equipment. With Norland, you minimize your downtime and maximize your profitability.”

During his most recent trip in February, Daren toured all over the country, visiting cities such as: Lagos, Ikeja, Lekki, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kaduna, meeting with 20 potential new customers and visiting old friends.

“During the visit I had multiple site visits with new factories, worked with contractors, electricians, members of the NAFDAC and even local banks to smooth out future business relationships between Nigerian entrepreneurs and Norland,” Daren said. “There is an increasing population in Nigeria and now is the time to invest in a growing market in the bottled/canned water business.”

One of the many new market opportunities Daren promoted was Norland’s new LinCan water canning system. Designed by American engineers at Norland headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska, the LinCan line can fill up to 60 cans per minute with distilled, flavored or carbonated water, juices or sodas. Norland also offers all of the distillation and purification equipment necessary for any business to put the best tasting product in the can.

“There’s still a huge market opportunity,” Daren said, “as Nigeria imports more bottled water than it can currently produce.”

If you would like to arrange to meet Daren during his next visit to Nigeria, currently scheduled in November, or if you have any questions about purchasing Norland equipment, please email him at: dw@norlandusa.com.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dehydration linked to strokes

Dehydration linked to stroke damage

More than 795,000 Americans have a stroke every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People who aren't well-hydrated when they have a stroke are about four times more likely to have a worse outcome than people who've had more fluids, a new study suggests. 
Researchers found that stroke effects worsened or stayed the same in 42 percent of dehydrated patients after hospitalization for their stroke, compared to 17 percent of hydrated patients.
Stroke outcomes may be worse among dehydrated patients because their blood may be thicker than patients with adequate body fluid levels, according to study author Dr. Mona Bahouth, a cerebrovascular fellow in the department of neurology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
"I think we had a hunch ... that hydration would be a key feature for stroke patients," Bahouth said. "So it's not too surprising, but it's just the beginning. Now we need to figure out what to do with the [findings]."
The research is scheduled to be presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Stroke Association in Nashville. Studies presented at scientific conferences typically have not been peer-reviewed or published and results are considered preliminary.
More than 795,000 Americans have a stroke every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vast majority of strokes occur when a clot blocks blood flow to a portion of the brain. Strokes kill nearly 130,000 annually in the United States, according to the CDC.
Bahouth and her team collected data from nearly 170 people who had clot-related (known as ischemic) strokes at Johns Hopkins Hospital during a nine-month span. About 44 percent of patients were found to be dehydrated, based on results of two tests of hydration levels, according to the study.
The researchers used MRI scans to monitor brain damage from the stroke. They also tried to factor out possible effects from age and other variables. Even after adjusting the data, the investigators found that dehydration was still more likely to lead to worse outcomes.
Bahouth said that prior research found that about 60 percent of people are dehydrated when they have a stroke, but it's not clear why. While seniors tend to be more dehydrated than younger adults for a variety of reasons -- including a diminished sense of thirst -- patients in Bahouth's study averaged in their 60s, which is "still fairly young," she said.
Dr. Paul Bendheim, a clinical professor of neurology from the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, said there are no hard-and-fast rules for staying well-hydrated, despite recommendations to drink eight glasses of water each day or similar advice.
"The critical thing is that people maintain frequent volumes of urinary output during the day, that they don't feel thirsty and they regularly consume sufficient liquids," added Bendheim, who wasn't involved in the new research. "We're all different in that regard."
Future research should examine how to best rehydrate patients after a stroke occurs and if doing so could improve longer-term outcomes, Bahouth said. Current practice advises caution in giving stroke patients fluids because some people may also have heart problems too, and if that's the case, then extra fluid could cause problems.
Bahouth cautioned that anyone who thinks they might be having a stroke shouldn't try to drink anything since brain damage might make it difficult for them to swallow correctly. That could cause them to inhale fluid into the lungs.
"A decision about fluids should be given at the hospital," she said. "The first thing to do is call 911 and come to the hospital."

Friday, January 30, 2015

Hold your water to a higher standard

The best drinking water doesn't come straight from the ground.

There are seven identified sources of water pollution, all of which make it necessary to treat life’s most precious commodity before we consume it.

In developing countries, up to 70% of industrial wastes are dumped straight into the waterways people use to cook, drink and bathe. Additionally, 99 million pounds of fertilizer and chemicals are used on farms around the world, and many of those chemicals make their way into the groundwater people use to drink.

Industrialized countries like America aren’t free of groundwater contaminants. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that up to 40% of our surveyed rivers, lakes and estuaries are not clean enough to meet basic uses such as fishing or swimming.

And even though many communities are required to provide clean drinking water to their residents, water treatment plants don’t remove everything. A joint research project between the United States Geological Survey and Virginia Tech discovered that petroleum spills cause drastically elevated levels of arsenic in groundwater.

Safety is at hand
Despite all the dangers that can be lurking in your glass, obtaining safe-clean drinking water can be easy.

Bottled water companies that utilize water treatment equipment like Norland’s Reverse Osmosis, distillation, vaporization and Ozone machines remove 99.9% of harmful contaminants.

RO, or Reverse Osmosis, systems are designed to produce low dissolved solids water from tap or well water. These systems use highly efficient RO Membranes and the resulting product is so clean it is used in everything from food processing to hospitals.

Vapor compression, water is heated the resulting steam is separated. The end result is high-quality, distilled water (less than 1 ppm TDS) at the lowest possible cost. Spectrum Vapor Compression Systems from Norland can produce up to 3,000 gallons a day and have 98% less waste water than other models.

For an easy read explaining the difference between vapor compression and multiple effect distiller, click here.

Last but not least, Ozone machines shoot a stream of ozone through water as it runs through a pipe, killing almost all biological organisms in the water.

Ozone is an unstable, colorless gas, a powerful oxidizer and a potent germicide. It has a much higher disinfection potential than other disinfectants such as chlorine.

Ozone consists of three parts of oxygen. Once ozone is generated, it takes a short time for it to break apart and return to its natural form of oxygen. As this phenomenon occurs, the free atom of oxygen will seek out any foreign particles in the water and be attracted to them. This action creates an environment where bacteria or organic matter virtually disintegrate when they come in contact with this free oxygen molecule. This in turn protects water from waterborne, bacterial contamination. Ozone is used in the bottled water industry because it controls the growth of bacteria in water. It is desirable because it can do this without leaving a residual taste, such as you would find with chlorine.

When you reach for a bottle of water that’s been purified by Norland’s equipment, you and your customers can rest easy knowing you are drinking the cleanest water possible.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

20 years of customer service & company growth

Richard (Dick) Schuessler is in a unique position to comment on Norland’s growth and development as a company. Hired in December 1994, Dick was the company’s second employee, brought on board by president Mike McFarland.

“I had been working as a salesman for another company, and found myself on the road more than I was at home,” Richard said. “So when Mike started the company and was looking to fill the position of Manager of Customer Service, I eagerly agreed to come on board a new and exciting venture.”

Over the next 20 years, Richard helped the company grow from its humble beginnings focusing on a core product to a world-class manufacturing powerhouse with three divisions and 65 (and growing!) employees.

Although Richard semi-retired earlier this month, he will still be around on a part-time basis to continue helping Norland succeed.

A proven record of customer service
Richard brought years of diversified experience with him when he joined the Norland family. He had an established background in sales and customer service, and electrical and industrial engineering in both the private sector and the military.

He has patents in the design of oscilloscopes, using ultrasound to detect cracks in human teeth, and at Norland helped design evaluations and testing of single effect, and high efficiency multiple-effect and vapor-compression water distillation systems.

“Distillation equipment was the initial machinery Norland produced and had great success in manufacturing and selling,” Richard said.

Initially, Richard’s main role at Norland was Managing Customer Service, the coordination and scheduling of customer start-up services and in-plant technical support services for Norland technicians who traveled around the world to help customers. He also provided after-the-purchase customer support for the full range of Norland equipment. Richard even traveled a time or two himself, recalling fondly his first international trip for Norland.

“I had the opportunity to help a customer in the setup, operation and training of equipment purchased from Norland.” Richard said. “Since that first trip, I have made many friends around the world by putting myself in the customer’s shoes and trying to help them find the solutions to their problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Richard’s background
Richard was born and raised in Grand Island, Nebraska. He attended the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (UNL) and graduated with a degree in electrical engineering. He went on to graduate school at UNL and obtained a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. He also met his wife, Phyllis, while attending graduate school.

Today, the couple have been married for 37 years and have two children, Erin and Jess, and one grandchild, Zion. Before joining Norland, Richard taught classes in Industrial Engineering at UNL. He also spent three years in the Army during the Vietnam era, where he was the project manager for the first use of fiber optics in communications.

During his semi-retirement, Richard plans on watching his grandson’s sporting events, listening to SW radio and playing fantasy sports with his son.

At Norland, Richard will still help out with customer service and scheduling customer start-up services.

“The environment here at Norland is very rewarding so I don’t plan to fully retire anytime in the near future, if health permits,” Richard said.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Siemers are doing business "The Right Water" way

 Lorne and Joan Siemers, along with their four kids, Emma, Grace, Owen and Liam, live in St. Paul, Alberta, Canada, the heart of oil country, with a strong agricultural base.  We are all born, raised, and live in the communities we now serve.

1)Why did you decide to get into the bottled-water business?

We had a desire to diversify.  When the opportunity to purchase an established water bottling and delivery business presented itself, we saw it as an exciting new proposition for our family to invest in, with growth potential.  On July 4, 2011, we became the new owners of that business.
We further expanded the business in May 2012 with the purchase of our closest competitor and merged the two companies together under the new name, “The Right Water Bottling Company.”
2)How did you find Norland and why did you decide to purchase from us?

When we got into the water business, the bottling process was still very hands on.  We felt there had to be a better way to bottle water that was more effective and efficient, while reducing the possibility of contamination.  So we started researching on-line and found Norland.  After contacting Chris McCormack and visiting the facilities at Norland, we knew that Norland was the best choice for us.  Norland designs, builds and tests all of its equipment on site.  There is a qualified person behind every step of the process, available to answer any questions or concerns, including technical support.  And even though Norland is over 1,400 miles away from us, we consider them a “local” company that we can easily deal with.

3)You mainly use the Triton 160. How is the machine working for you? How many bottles a year do you produce? How has Norland’s customer service helped you over the years?

We started using the Triton 160 in March 2012, and it has been a fantastic machine for us.  It has been a real work horse, simplistic in its use and maintenance.  It has increased our productivity, and alleviated our concerns regarding possible contamination issues, and has even received high praise from our health inspector. Norland stands behind its equipment, and staff are always available to answer any service questions or concerns we've had, including shipping out parts to us in a timely manner to keep us up and running with minimal down time, which is extremely important to us. 
In the 2 ½ + years since we've been using the Triton 160, we've bottled over 430,000  3 and 5 gallon water bottles.

4)How do you use your equipment? (What size bottles do you produce? Do you add flavors or minerals to your water?)

We are involved mainly with the production and delivery of the 5 and 3 gallon water bottles.  We use the process of reverse osmosis with ozone to produce the purest drinking water.  As of this time, we do not add any flavors or minerals to our water, however, with the set up of our new facility, we’ve allowed for the future expansion into this area.

5)Tell us about your business. How many employees do you have? How big of a territory do you cover? How has your business grown since you’ve started? Any plans for future growth?  

We currently service a large area, delivering water bottles within a 125 mile radius to convenience stores, oilfield sites, schools, businesses and private residences, both rural and urban.  We started with one business, one truck, then bought out a competitor, added 4 more trucks, 2 smaller in town delivery vehicles and more employees. We have 3 employees and ourselves, and deliver approximately 3,000 – 3,500 bottles a week.  We are very hands-on owners, involved in the daily production, delivery runs and office administration. Our four kids, ages 12 to 8, put their time in too on a daily basis, making this a family oriented business.

Further expansion is underway with the renovation of a larger facility to accommodate our growing business.  This will include upgrading the Triton 160 to the Triton 450, which will enable us to keep up with the demand.  This will also reduce the need to hire more employees, as Alberta is currently experiencing a labour shortage.

In addition to the production of the 5 and 3 gallon water bottles, we are gearing up to produce 500 mL custom labeled water bottles.  Our goal is to market this product to businesses, organizations, schools and community groups.  Norland, of course, has supplied us with a complete SpectraPak 3000 bottling line.  This includes the blow molder, unscrambler, case pack and shrink wrap systems, and we are very excited to start producing our own small water bottles.

In addition to the production and delivery of water, we also produce party ice, which we supply to liquor stores, convenience stores, and lake resorts, with peak ice season from May to September.  This part of our business has also seen increased growth this past year, and we are currently looking to upgrade this process for next year to accommodate the growing demand.
We also have two self serve water dispensers for customers to use.

6)Any other thoughts you wish to share about your business, the importance of bottled water, or how Norland has worked with you to make your business a success?  

Norland has been absolutely fantastic to deal with.  Their staff is knowledgable, professional and a pleasure to deal with.  We’ve been to the Norland facility three times in the past three years, and each time they have been very welcoming, like old friends.  We are able to put a face to every name.  They also understand our desire to grow our business, and offer valuable advice to help us do just that.
Norland’s technicians also attend on site initially to properly set up the equipment and ensure it’s running to specifications, and provide training on all of the equipment.  We look forward to seeing the Norland team at our new facility to get us up and running.

Patrick McFarland at Norland has also provided us with oxo-biodegradable caps, which has allowed both us and our customers the ability to minimize our impact on the environment, while still maintaining a competitive edge. This is especially beneficial to our customers in the oilfield industry, who have received a bad reputation with their “dirty oil.”

They’ve also given us contacts to suppliers for preforms, shrink wrap, and cardboard trays, which has been invaluable to us, especially since we are just starting out with the small bottling line.
We would highly recommend Norland International to anyone in the water bottling business, and will continue to do business with them in the years to come.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Todd Liberty - The man with the plan

Todd Liberty, the man with the plan

Todd Liberty is an American native, but in the fall of 2013, he was given an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“Mr. Gomes Bonda is a business man in Luanda, Angola, and always wanted to start a business near his home town of Negage,” Liberty said. “In 2011, he purchased some land near Negage that included a fresh water spring and founded the Cesse Spring Water Company. After a few years of planning, construction, licensing and hiring, the plant was ready for full installation in 2013 and I was hired as plant manager in 2013.”

From the start, Liberty said Cesse Spring Water has used equipment purchased from Norland International for several reasons.

“Norland has one of the best reputations in the bottled-water industry,” Liberty said. “The company wanted equipment that was user friendly, could withstand the Angolan heat and would be reliable for many years to come. After researching several companies, Mr. Bonda decided to purchase from Norland.”

Reputation is one thing, but seeing is believing and a trip by Bonda to Norland’s Lincoln, Nebraska, facility in 2012 sealed the deal.

“He saw firsthand the professionalism of the entire staff and the ownership,” Liberty said. “He was able to see equipment operate and sit down face to face with personnel who explained to him in detail about the bottling process. Another key factor for Mr. Bonda, was every piece of equipment for the bottled-water line was made by Norland International.”

Cesse Spring Water currently offers three sizes of bottles, 330ml, 500ml and 1.5L, but plans to expand in the near future.

“We have recently purchased two additional bottling lines, blow molders and 5-gallon equipment from Norland International that we expect to receive in January 2015,” Liberty said. “With the new equipment, we will be adding 5-gallon bottles, 3L bottles and 330ml vitamin water to our product line.”

A great business requires a smart leader like Mr. Bonda, and an efficient plant manager like Liberty, but it also takes reliable, dependable equipment that can handle a heavy workload with minimum down time. Liberty said his company is putting Norland’s equipment to the test.

“Cesse Spring Water just started selling water in February 2014, and as of October 10, 2014, we have produced 2.5 million bottles,” Liberty said. “Norland’s equipment is very durable and reliable. Our downtime and loss of production are very small margins, even when you factor in the heat of Northern Angola. We have only had to contact Norland two or three times since we started producing, which speaks volumes about the reliability of the equipment.”

Since Liberty is an American, one would expect some difficulties in acclimating to a different culture in a different country, but he said language has been the only issue.

“I am always trying to pick up and learn Portuguese and the workers try to teach me,” Liberty said. “I am lucky to have two employees at the plant who know English, which has been a huge asset for me. The Angolan people are great people who take pride in the work they do, the cultures may be different, but our common goals in life are the same.”

Cesse Spring Water has 25 employees and operates from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. six days a week. They currently sell water up to six hours away from the factory, with the goal of servicing all of Angola in the near future.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A million bottles of water on the wall...

Craig and Pam Bartschi moved from a small town in eastern Idaho to Boise in 1998 to start a bottled water business. Sixteen years and more than 1,000,000 bottles of water later, Idaho Springs Water has been extremely pleased with their relationship with Norland International.

Norland: Tell us about your business.

Craig: “I am originally from a small town in eastern Idaho.  We moved to Boise in 1998 to start our business. We are very much a family business with all of our children growing up in the business and taking their turn in working at various jobs in the company. My wife Pam is the office manager who took that position after our daughter Dana graduated from college and moved on with her career as a nurse several years ago and after all the kids were in school. Sons, Jason route manager, Jared route driver, Brandon route driver and Cameron as the warehouse manager/bottler who does all the bottling with the help of a friend. We have one other Driver Ben who came to work for us as a friend of one of our boys. We also have one son Jordan who is currently serving a religious mission in Mexico who also worked in the business before he left. Our daughters in law Christina, Tianna, and Megan have also filled in when needed. I come from a retail background (20 years previous experience) and worked for a fortune 500 company in the grocery business in several management positions. In 1998 I was 38 and looking for an opportunity to get into a business of my own. I wasn’t specifically looking to get into the water business at the time but this was the opportunity that presented itself. We started to pursue it and it all fell into place so to speak.”

Norland: How did you choose Norland in the beginning?

Craig: “Norland International was recommended to me as a source for turn-key start up equipment to begin our bottling operation. The decision was pretty simple based on the budget we had and the proposal made by Daren Waters at Norland which provided us with everything we needed to get started.”

Norland: How has the water business changed since 1998?

Craig: “I think it was pretty simple in the beginning. The biggest change has been in product diversification. You used to be competitive with just delivering water and now in my market you can’t be. We added break room coffee service several years ago and a variety of water products, i.e. spring water, purified drinking water, and more recently an alkalized anti-oxidant water product all in an effort to appeal to a broader customer base. We also branched out into POU water treatment and condition systems. This provides us with the opportunity to cross merchandise our products to more customers.”

Norland: How have we helped you keep up with those changes?

Craig: “Norland has been on the leading edge of product development in the equipment line they offer. As we now look at updating our bottling plant, it seems Norland has the next step in our progression covered. They have designed their systems to meet and/or exceed the new regulations our industry must conform too as well as meeting the needs of our growing company.”

Norland: We pride ourselves on after-the-sale customer service. How has the Norland staff helped you over the years?

Craig: “Daren has been very helpful. He was the first one I met from Norland and he has become a good friend over the years. I can say all the employees I have dealt with at Norland have always treated me well. I feel that I have been treated fairly and promptly with any issue that we have had. And I must say there haven’t been many. The equipment we started with we still use daily and have had very few problems. We have bottled well over 1 million 3 and 5 gallon bottles in the last 16 years without any significant downtime in our bottling plant due to mechanical failure. When we have had a problem the parts and technical support team at Norland have always responded promptly to our needs to get us up and going. When you’re a small business you can’t afford downtime!”

Norland: What are the secrets to longevity in the bottled water business?

Craig: “Our company started with an outsourced bottler and was warehoused in a garage. We now operate out of a 10,000 square foot building we own with three full time route delivery trucks, a route sales manager and a service technician. We have six fulltime employees and four part-time employees. We have grown our business from a few hundred bottles per month to several thousand and is now one of the largest independent home and office water distributors in Idaho. I attribute our success to hard work, a focused customer service ethic, a quality product, and timely reliable service. We aren’t the biggest ‘yet’ but we are the best at what we do! Secrets to success in the bottled water business? I would have to say it takes determination, a never ending focus on controlling costs and maximizing route efficiency. Don’t be afraid to change things up. Doing things the same way just because, ‘that’s the way you have always done it,’ doesn’t always work. I think being flexible and making adjustments to your business are a constant in the bottled water business.”

Norland: What are some important lessons you’ve learned over the years?

Craig: “There are many things I have learned along the way. I had a good background in retail but no experience in the bottled water industry so I started this venture cold turkey so to speak. In the beginning, I gleaned as much information as I could from trade journals and talking to others in the industry, including Norland. They are a good resource and have a global perspective with a pretty good handle on the bottled water industry. We were fortunate to make the decision to aggressively go after the business in our market in the beginning which allowed us to get ahead of our competitors and make a name for ourselves. We have endured a tough economy but I now see signs we are moving forward accomplishing significant growth in our company once again.”

Norland: Any final thoughts?

Craig: “The bottled water business has been good to our family. The experience has been a very positive one for us. It has given us the opportunity to teach our children the value of hard work, accountability, and to be responsible. They have had the opportunity to see some of the rewards that come to those who value these attributes.”