Small Independent, Family Owned SoCal Dairy

The Situation

The dairy was founded in 1946 where it continues to operate today.  The company remains one of the last of the family run creameries and continues to be managed by the founder’s heirs.  The founder’s son and nephew both grew up in the business and have lead the business for the past 20+ years.  The third generation has also grown up in the business when the nephew put his three sons to work there when they were kids and have stayed ever since.  Today, the cows are gone but the company remains a milk processor, manufacturing and distributing a full line of dairy and related products.  Their targeted markets include schools, hospitals, convalescent homes, independent markets, restaurants, bakeries, coffee houses, cafeterias, and even other creameries.

Over the years however, large conglomerates like Dean stepped in and began a roll up process of acquiring dairies left and right.  As a result, the independent found itself struggling to find its niche and fend off these larger players.  One of the considerations was to take an introspective look at itself and determine how they could improve their operation from a top down and bottoms up perspective. 

Understanding that they needed assistance, the founder’s son and nephew were introduced to Jim Altfeld and Altfeld, Inc. by a former client and a lifetime friend of the nephew’s.

Challenges

  • The dairy is a union operated company with five different unions represented
  • The company operates three shifts a day, seven days a week.
  • In addition to the founder’s son actually working in the company, he and his sister were the majority shareholders.
  • The nephew, although president, was a minority shareholder
  • No one in management had any formal management training and not much more than a high school education
  • The entire company was working under a silo mentality and communications between departments was nearly non-existent
  • With three shifts and multiple departments, communications between the shifts needed vast improvement
  • Information given during the prime day shift was not always conveyed correctly or at all to the other two shifts.
  • The entire company lacked focus and direction
  • The current sales manager had alienated most of the sales people and some of the key customers.
  • There was no market focus or direction
  • The weekly pricing given to the sales force was often inaccurate and late.
  • Sales people could not issue credits and everything had to be approved by the Sales Manager
  • Pricing was out of line with the competition
  • There were few if any goals or objectives and those that did exist were nebulous at best
  • Very little if any accountability on anyone’s part
  • There was a great deal of animosity and bickering between and among the departments.
  • Morale was low and many would not stay if the company were left to the heirs.
  • The company’s culture was predicated on fear and negativity put in place by the third generation.
  • The majority share holders wanted out of the company
  • The founder’s nephew and president was too tired to run it on his own and could not afford to buy out the founder’s son and his sister.
  • The president’s oldest son, in addition to being the Sales Manager, was running his own ice cream manufacturing company creating a major conflict of interest and placing the dairy in a financial hole.
  • There was little if any marketing effort in place
  • The customer service department had a reputation for not only alienating other departments within the dairy, but customers, as well.
  • The Plant Manager after 20+ years on the job was retiring and turning the reigns over to his much younger protégé at a time the plant was experiencing a great many changes and challenges.
  • Plant and maintenance had a very combatable and combustible relationship
  • Load out (logistical department) although the heart of the operation, had very little respect from anyone
  • Business was being lost to the larger conglomerates

The Critical Factor

A major lack of leadership resulting in a major lack of focus, direction, guidance, development and discipline throughout the company that started at the top.

Step One

Create a strategic plan to formulate and establish the dairy’s:

  • Values
  • Culture
  • Key Core Competencies
  • The Business it is in
  • Its Vision for the future
  • Its Mission to get it there
  • The Objectives, Strategies and Tactics to achieve that end

The Process

  • Remove the president’s son as Sales Manager.
  • Give him a temporary leave of absence to concentrate on his ice cream business and extending him no additional credit.
  • Retain him to handle the dairy’s labor negotiations
  • Work with the sales people and get the department back into shape
  • Spend days with the sales people calling on accounts
  • Complete a Sales Training Manual and use it to teach the two youngest and newest members of the sales team first
  • Turn the president’s youngest son into a professionally trained sales person and eventual Sales Manager.
  • Work with the sales people to gather and collect competitive pricing info
  • Work with comptroller to do the pricing based upon costs and the competitive info sales.
  • Get price sheets out to the sales people at least five working days prior to the end of the month.
  • Give Sales the authority to call a Strike Team Meeting to bring Sales, Finance, Production, Load Out and Engineering/Maintenance together with the owners whenever we have a $5k or $10k per week potential customer who wants us to meet their current prices.
  • Give sales the authority to give credits.
  • Keep sales far more informed
    • Improve communication between drivers and sales persons
    • Make them aware of possible product problems in the field
  • Work with Plant Operations to
    • Introduce the concept of Lean Manufacturing
    • Take an introspective look at themselves and find a better way of doing things
    • Find a way to improve production efficiencies, eliminate waste and add directly to our bottom line. 
  • Work with Maintenance to unite them with Plant Operations
  • Work with Load Out (Logistics) to unite them with Plant Operations, Maintenance, Transportation and Customer Service.
  • Turn Safety over to Operations & Maintenance where it belongs
    • If 95+% of the accidents and injuries take place in the plant, why is Safety in the Sales Trailer?
    • Put Safety and Workmen’s Comp in Plant and Operations instead of Sales.
  • Bring in a professional Human Resources person
  • Build a strong and unified second tier management team
  • Move forward with the Strategic Plan, driving it down and back up throughout the company.
  • Work one on one to grow and develop the third generation heirs.
  • Keep management’s educational program moving forward.
  • Get Operations, Customer Service and Sales all working under the identical Order Management Cycle and to understand how what one does directly impacts the other.
  • Get the entire company to understand the Order Management Cycle as it exists.
  • Complete the unification of the Sales Department and turn it around.
    • Bring sales into the information loop
      • Night Dock Foreman to provide list of problem products
      • Drivers to notify sales of any two-consecutive no orders
      • Drivers to do reconnaissance at non-ordering accounts and pick up empties
      • Drivers to clean eggs and sour cream before delivering
      • Customer service to notify sales of shorts
      • Customer service to provide daily driver acknowledgement sheets
    • Continue to hold Sales Meeting
      • Sales to identify, categorize and grade key AA and A accounts
      • Sales to complete customer profile on each key account
      • Sales to complete first monthly report for July, August and Sept.
      • Sales to complete first quarterly report for April, May, June
      • Sales to gather competitive pricing information
      • Sales to join and become members of key associations on a local chapter level
      • Sales to attend Restaurant Show and other trade related shows
      • Sales to subscribe to and read sales related publications
      • Sales to subscribe to and read targeted industry trade publications
    • Hold Sales more accountable
      • Do ride-a longs with each sales person
      • At the end of every six months each sales person will present to Executive Management Team
      • Review all monthly and quarterly reports and hold each person responsible for their numbers
      • Write sales plan based upon the information provided by sales people.
  • Complete the unification of Sales, Customer Service, Load Out and Production Departments.
  • Formulate a strategic plan for each of the above-mentioned departments.
  • Create an Executive Council consisting of key managers.
  • Bring the entire Operations Dept. together and have it become more customer focused.
  • Create a genuine, involved and action oriented board of directors to oversee and keep an eye on the president and the management team. 
  • Determine which of the sons is best suited for what position within the company based on experience, criteria and ability to actually do the job
    • Provide them with
      • The necessary tools
      • Management team
      • Board of directors 

Results

Over the course of two years, the dairy had changed much of it’s culture to something more open and communicative.  Teamwork, accountability, continuous improvement, a focus on the customer and empowering yourself to get the job done replaced what was there before.  The company was far more streamlined in its operations and had achieved, for the most part, horizontal integration and a spirit of cooperation between and among the departments.  Each department and every employee within each department had a far better understanding of what was expected of them, how they impacted all other areas of the company, their contribution to the company and their roles and responsibilities.  The infrastructure was sound, the profitability of the company improved significantly, as had morale, and the sales force was now truly selling. 

The Final Conclusion

There was now a vastly improved business to sell.  The two majority shareholders succeeded in exiting from the dairy and sold the company to a private equity firm.  The president and his three sons continue to work there.

Santa Anita Park

The Situation

Santa Anita Racetrack is located on approximately 312 acres, 14 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, adjacent to major transportation routes. LATC conducts one of the largest thoroughbred horse racing meets in the United States in terms of both average daily attendance and average daily pari-mutuel wagering.

The Santa Anita Racetrack was opened for thoroughbred horse racing in 1934 by a group of investors led by Dr. Charles H. Strub. The Santa Anita Meet has been held at Santa Anita Racetrack each year since its founding except for three years during World War II. Over the years, the racetrack facilities have been expanded. At present, the physical plant consists of a large grandstand structure, stalls for approximately 2,000 horses, and a parking area covering approximately 128 acres which can accommodate approximately 20,000 automobiles. The grandstand facilities include clubhouse and Turf Club accommodations, a general admission area, and food and beverage facilities, which range from fast food stands to restaurants, both at outdoor terrace tables and indoor dining areas. The grandstand has seating capacity for 25,000 as well as standing room for additional patrons. All told, there is about one million square feet involved and some twenty six bathrooms to maintain at all times. The structure also contains Operating Company's executive and administrative offices. The grounds surrounding the grandstand are extensively landscaped and contain a European-style paddock and infield accommodations, including picnic facilities for special groups and the general public.

Historically, Santa Anita has been through major cultural changes for more than a decade.  It has gone from racing to entertainment, to racing and back to entertainment.  It has gone from stringent financial responsibilities and cut backs to spending and promotion and back to cut backs.  It has also gone from a loose as a goose, anything goes organization to a company run by authoritarians and everything in between.  Upon my arrival in 2004, I found it a company with uncertain, undefined values and a company without a defined culture.  It was uncertain of what it was and who it was. 

Historically, generations of families worked within Santa Anita.  People cared and stayed for years.  There was a sense of pride working for Santa Anita and a sense of loyalty.  Today, there no longer appears to be that wide-spread, great sense of pride.  Many of the veteran employees still have it, but to the younger ones, it is merely a job and a place to work.  Today, too, we have a turnstile operation with people coming and going throughout the enterprise, many of whom are and were in key positions.  There appears to be a genuine lack of trust and uncertainty in the air.  As a result, employees have left and found employment with better pay for less stress and responsibility.  For the most part, there is a sense that the employees are uncertain of their future at Santa Anita and are on a constant vigil to see what else is out there.  The old days of Santa Anita being a home or safe harbor for life are over.  Which, in itself is not a bad thing.  After all, a company’s job is not to provide lifetime employment and safe refuge.  A company’s job is to ensure that its employees remain employable and at the top of their game.

For many reasons, too many to mention here, the horse racing industry is in a state of decline.  Track attendance and per capita spending is far below "the good old" days of racing.  Competition is fierce with so many other things to do in Southern California.  Plus, when you add SoCal’s notorious gridlock to the equation, you can only hope to reach people within a 15 mile radius of the track.  As a result, the enterprise, Santa Anita, under the leadership of yet another new president, began moving beyond racing to generate revenue.  The overall plan appeared to be to use horse racing as the core hub and build everything else to generate fans and revenue around that.

Complex Overview

Racetracks operate in five environments:

  • Internal
    1. The groups or offices that have primary responsibility for programs and operations and for carrying out the track’s goals and strategy
  • Market
    1. A racetrack must deal with a number of external publics
      1. Community Residents in close proximity to the racetrack
      2. Stakeholders and Activists such as owners, trainers, judges, stewards and those who make their living directly or indirectly via the racetrack
      3. Media
  • Regulatory
    1. Regulatory organizations such as federal, state and local government agencies, professional associations, the TOC, etc.
  • Competitive
    1. This includes couch-potato viewing of television, videos, electronic games, or active involvement with computers and cyberspace.
    2. It also includes theme parks, theatres, sports arenas, and restaurants; taking a drive in the countryside or a hike; doing exercise or gardening.
    3. In short, the competitive situation must be viewed broadly, continuously and strategically.
  • Macro-environment
    1. This environment consists of forces and conditions that shape opportunities and pose threats to an organization.
      1. Examples include demographic shifts, economic and business cycles, cultural value and attitude shifts, political realignments and government and regulatory program and policy changes. 
    2. Threat Analysis
      1. An environmental threat is a challenge posed by an unfavorable trend, factor or condition that can lead, in the absence of deliberate managerial and marketing action, to the stagnation, decline or demise of an organization or its products and services. 
    3. Opportunity Analysis
      1. A marketing opportunity is an attractive arena of appropriate marketing action in which an organization is likely to enjoy superior competitive advantages. 
        1. Potential Attractiveness
        2. Success Probability
The Challenge 

Generate more on track fans.

The Key Critical Factor Preventing this from Happening

The infrastructure was not in place to support the external efforts.

The existing organization must have the structure, the people and the operating norms and procedures, and the organizational culture that enable successful strategy implementation. Like a hotel or resort, it is the frontline employees who have the greatest impact on the type of experience the guest is going to have.  Whether the employees don’t care, or they lack focus and direction, the outcome is the same.  Visitors are not being “wowed” and they are not coming to the park. 

Solution 

Turn Santa Anita into an extraordinary company:

What is an Extraordinary Company?

Extraordinary companies are neither overly-protective nor unsupportive of its employees.  They provide focus and direction for their people.  They provide a balance of information, tools and a framework for success while allowing individuals to control their own destiny.  Extraordinary companies have a “talent and excellence mind-set” that formulates and implements specific strategies to create the best systems, processes, practices and procedures on a continuous basis; and attract, develop and retain the most talented people they can.  The extraordinary company is not just a collection of successful individuals, systems and processes but, a creator of them. 

Altfeld’s Primary Task

Make Santa Anita a horizontally integrated, interdependent, customer focused, strategically aligned, growth oriented company.  

Altfeld’s #1 Challenge 

Change the Current Culture of Santa Anita.

  • Make continuous improvement and finding a better way an essential part of its culture
  • Fill its ranks with the very best people
  • Provide the necessary tools for its people to be successful
  • Enable its people to take control over their own destinies
  • Re-think the way it:          
    • Attracts people
    • Selects the people it hires
    • Develops its people
    • Assesses its people
    • Rewards its people

Create a company whereby:

  1. Every full time employee, manager, and supervisor knows and understands what is expected of him or her on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.  That includes knowing where they are headed within the company and how what they do each day is contributing to moving the company forward.
  2. Every department knows and understands what it is expected to contribute every week, month, quarter and year.  Every Business Unit knows and understands what is expected of it every month, quarter and year.
  3. The company as a whole knows what it can expect to achieve every month, quarter and year because it knows what it needs to accomplish in order to reach its vision and mission.
  4. Everyone throughout the company, from the top down and to the bottom up is completely aligned with one another and everyone is working toward and contributing to the very same ultimate goal.  The company is not white water river-rafting and allowing the business gods to determine its fate.  The company is seizing control of its own destiny by setting standards, goals, targets, milestones and due dates.  The company is determining its future by establishing performance standards and implementing measurements.
  5. Its culture promotes and fosters continuous improvement and the on-going search for finding a better way of doing things.
  6. The management team or executive council leads it to the next level and beyond while providing the overall focus and direction for Santa Anita.

Like a hotel or resort, it is the frontline employees who have the greatest impact on the type of experience the guest is going to have.  Get them pulling on the same rope in the same direction and you can accomplish the ultimate goal. 

Strategy 

Get everyone throughout the company to:

I.  Understand the business in its entirety
  1. Create organizational clarity
    1. Define who is responsible for what
    2. Implement and utilize the organizational chart throughout company
    3. Generate job descriptions and functions company-wide
    4. Understand what exactly each person is contributing to the company.
    5. Establish roles, goals, responsibilities, assign targets, set milestones and due dates
  2. Reinforce horizontal integratio
  3. Provide room for growt
  4. Put measurements in place
    1. Quality
    2. Timeliness
    3. Customer complaints
    4. Customer Satisfaction
    5. Churning
    6. Employee Satisfaction
    7. Turnover
    8. etc.
  5. Promote and foster teamwork
  6. Build and maintain a cohesive leadership team to set and establish
    1. Policies
    2. Standards
    3. Target
    4. Systems and processes to meet/exceed expectations
  7. Hold members accountable to one another, the company and our customers
  8. Instill a sense of urgency throughout the company
  9. Develop accurate and timely reporting systems
II. Augment communications throughout the company
  1. Implement systems and processes to accelerate the accumulation of knowledge
  2. Improve the dissemination of knowledge throughout the company
  3. Turn knowledge into tools and information for our people
  4. Ensure all inter-departmental communication links are wide open
III.  Lead the Change Initiative
  1. Ensure that current, future and new employees comprehend our core values, culture, vision and mission
  2. Get Everyone Involved and their Minds in the Game
  3. Get everyone to think for themselves
  4. Get every employee to take responsibility for their own jobs
  5. Get everyone to understand how what they do affects someone or some other operation within the company and most certainly the customer.  That none of us work within a vacuum.
  6. Get everyone to thoroughly understand their job and what is expected of them
  7. Get everyone to understand everyone else’s job well enough for each employee to understand how their job relates to everyone else’s and vice versa – and how everyone’s job directly or indirectly impacts the customer.
  8. Get everyone to understand the systems and processes in place as they exist and determine what needs to change.
  9. Get everyone Searching for a Better Way
  10. Get everyone open to new ideas regardless of their source
IV.  Reinforce the change initiative
  1. Establish
    1. standardized hiring profiles
    2. rewards and recognition programs
    3. penalty programs
  2. Measure performance
    1. What are they responsible for accomplishing each quarter
    2. Did they meet their established targets and responsibilities
  3. What activities do they have planned or completed to improve themselves and their performance
  4. Determine the strengths and weaknesses of each employee and play to their strengths
  5. What do they need to do to further develop themselves
  6. Where does management see them going within Santa Anita
  7. Where do they see themselves going within Santa Anita
V. Grow Our People
  1. Develop management and leadership potential
  2. Provide room for personal and professional growth
  3. Implement Mentoring Programs
  4. Teach, train and educate every employee to run the department in which they work from logistics through motivation.
  5. Share more and more information with our people
  6. Management to take on a “servant” mentality to help your people develop their potential to the fullest.

The Challenge

The size, magnitude and complexity of Santa Anita were enormous.  It was far too large an elephant to tackle it in its entirety.  Furthermore, the track was experiencing a new austerity program by MEC.  This meant, for example, that the building attendant head count went from 108 to 72, but the number of bathrooms, box seats, square feet, etc. never changed. 

The Process

  1. Break Santa Anita down by department. 
  2. Identify all the links (departments) in the chain that directly impact the customer
        a. Administration
        b. Front office
        c. Parking Lot Attendants
        d. Courtesy Drivers
        e. Admission and Seating
        f. Concession stands
        g. News stands
        h. Restaurants
        i. Betting Window
        j. Ushers
        k. Security
        l. Patron Services
        m. Trumpet Player
        n. Tour Guides
        o. Handicapping Lessons
        p. Gift Shop
        q. Lost & Found
        r. Shoe Shine
        s. Medical Aid
        t. Janitorial    
  3. Identify the value stream within Santa Anita. 
  4. Identify the weakest and strongest links (departments) in the chain having the greatest impact on the customer
    a. Start the strategic planning process with these two departments
    b. Identify the current systems and processes in place within each of these links (department)
    c. Improve efficiency and effectiveness of current processes
    d. Help create a vision, mission and purpose for each department based upon the overall objectives of Santa Anita
    e. Establish primary department objectives, job descriptions for each employee, measurements for each process, measurements for each employee, qualitative and quantitative objectives for each employee, one department at a time, focusing on the strongest and the weakest first.
    f. Hold processes and people responsible and accountable.
    g. Get the right people in the right jobs
  5. Drive the process down to the remaining departments
  6. Discern Santa Anita’s realities
    a. Identify its values
    b. Identify its true culture
  7. Get everyone pulling on the same rope in the same direction
  8. Implement a continuous improvement program
  9. Reward people for mentoring and learning
  10. Teach management, leadership and business to department members one department at a time
  11. Create a culture of communication, cooperation and collaboration.
  12. Create a culture that fosters and promotes horizontal integration, strategic alignment and customer focus.  
  13. Make Santa Anita a horizontally integrated, interdependent, customer focused, inter-related, strategically aligned, growth oriented company resulting in every visitor, (winning or losing), having such an enjoyable, exciting and memorable experience each and every time s/he comes to the park that they not only come back, but they tell their friends about it.

Results

After nearly three years of working with each individual frontline department, plus the management of Santa Anita, I can safely say that Santa Anita is now a far better place than I had found it.  I taught, I educated, and people grew as a result of my efforts.  I became the trusted liaison between the little people of Santa Anita and upper management.  My presence provided a sounding board.  I became the “go to guy”.  From the jockey’s room, to the Turf Club; from janitors to the concession stand personnel; and from parking, admissions and ushers to the parimutuel tellers, whenever a problem arose or something needed to be fixed or resolved, they came to me first.  As a result of my efforts, communication, cooperation and collaboration between and among departments were vastly improved.  Systems were streamlined, morale was up and there was a good feeling of pride and accomplishment among most of the employees.  Much credit goes to the current president and chairman of Santa Anita, Ron Charles for his trust, faith and support of my efforts.  Without Ron’s leadership in place, my task would have been impossible.  

In addition to what is mentioned above, I also:

  • Created a monthly employee focused newsletter full of photos called The Inside Track. 
  • Helped restore and promote the Turf Club
  • Created an outreach program aimed at the Asian Community

The Final Conclusion

Santa Anita remains one of the greatest thoroughbred race tracks in the world, the premiere race track west of the Mississippi and the flagship of Magna Entertainment Corporation.  It was an honor and a privilege to have been able to work with all the stakeholders of Santa Anita, that includes legendary jockeys, owners, trainers and horses.  Thanks greatly to Ron Charles and his leadership, focus and direction, Santa Anita will continue to grow and prosper.  In spite of the many things I accomplished at Santa Anita, as much as I tried and as hard as I pushed for it, I was never replaced.  As a result, the conduit between upper management and middle management and the little people who really get the job done and do the work, disappeared the moment I walked off the track.  Today, some of the interdependence and horizontal integration is unraveling.  But, for the most part, much of what I accomplished is still in place, again thanks to Ron Charles.

Paxton Products Corp.

The Situation

Paxton Products, a premier manufacturer of automotive Super Chargers and industrial single-stage, high speed centrifugal blowers, was owned and operated by Indy racing’s legendary Granatelli brothers.  The company, in existence since 1957, sold off its automotive Super Charger business in 1999.

Throughout the history of the company, the industrial blower business was always a distant second to the Super Charger business when it came to the allocation of resources, because the automotive aspect contained glitz, glamour and sex appeal.  Plus, it carried with it one of automotive racing industry’s most famous names - the Granatellis. The industrial side required a completely different mentality and a totally unique way of doing business.    

As the Granatellis grew closer to retirement, their interest in the business began to wane, as did their energy level.  A decision was made to sell the Super Charger business in 1999.

The Granatelli’s focus was now solely on the Paxton blower business.  Historically, Paxton pioneered the high speed, single-stage centrifugal blower.  Only now the markets and the industry itself had greatly changed.  One, the Montreal Protocol of 1988 called for the elimination solvents.  Two, Paxton was no longer the only player in the business.  In 1993, two of Paxton’s employees left the company to establish a leading competitor.  

The Montreal Protocol revolutionized parts cleaning and introduced aqueous solutions to the cleaning process.  The aqueous cleaning solutions had to be removed from the parts and the removal system of choice was air knife drying. Seizing upon this opportunity were OEM cleaning systems manufacturers who looked to the only player in the industry with a compact, high pressure, high velocity air knife drying system -- Paxton.

While focusing its efforts on the Super Charger business, Paxton paid no heed to the newly formed upstart competitor.  It also appeared that it did not pay enough attention to its own blowers.  In 1993, just as the cleaning industry was feeling the first major impact of the 1988 Montreal Protocol, Paxton began experiencing major premature blower failures.  By 1994, Paxton had lost most, if not all of its OEM cleaning business and its distributor sales channels.  Both its customers and sales channels had switched over to Sonic.  By 1995, Paxton fixed the blower problem, but never seemed to take any aggressive action toward Sonic or toward recapturing its lost business.

The competitor, on the other hand, never looked back.  The company aggressively attacked key markets one at a time and promoted itself as “the” drying experts, all the while wondering where Paxton was and why it had not taken a stronger stance. 

By 1997, it no longer mattered.  The competitor had clearly established itself as the leader in drying systems and it would take Paxton a tremendous amount of money and effort to overtake the competition.  

In 1999, after selling the Super Charger business, the Granatellis and Paxton found themselves in unfamiliar waters.  To salvage the situation, they relied on a new management team that not only proved ineffective in its strategies, but also made more decisions for the benefit of itself than for the benefit of the company.  However, there was a very bright, clear-headed and realistic Paxton employee named Duane Breazell who had been with the Granatellis for more than 20 years.  Duane worked his way up from mechanic to operations manager over the course of his years at Paxton.  In early 2001, after the management team had been released, Duane was promoted to General Manager.  What he inherited was a dysfunctional sales and marketing department who also had tremendous resentment towards him. 

Understanding that they needed assistance, the Granatellis called on the same consultant that the lading competitor had used to build its business.  Fortunately for the Granatellis and Paxton, the competitor had been experiencing major cultural changes, causing several key people to leave, including their consultant Jim Altfeld of Altfeld, Inc.  Altfeld, Inc. was hired by the Granatelli’s in May of 2001. 

Challenges

  • Paxton’s reputation was in blowers, not drying systems.
  • Paxton, in spite of its longevity, was virtually unknown in several key markets by both end-users and OEMs alike.
  • The new general manager had no sales or marketing experience.
  • The new general manager had never been out to visit with customers other than to fix or repair a blower or system.
  • The sales department was operating under a “silo mentality” and felt separate from the rest of the business.
  • Sales were either coming from the OEM blower business or customized systems; there were no standardized systems.
  • There was genuine animosity between sales, the general manager and operations.  Sales refused to work with the new general manager and preferred being autonomous from operations.
  • There was little to no communication and cooperation throughout the company.  Each department worked independently of the other with little regard for the effect it would have upon the customer. 
  • There was no customer retention program in place. The company’s attitude toward the customer was that if you called it for a blower, it would sell you one.  If the customer ever needed another one, just call the company.
  • Each sales person felt that s/he personally owned the customer and that the customer should deal only with the respective sales person and not the company.
  • Paxton had few sales channels in place and those it did have were either inept or ineffective.
  • There was little or no marketing effort and what there was, was ineffective.
  • The business lacked overall direction and focus.
  • The engineering department was completely negative and lacked vision and creativity.  It delighted in telling you why something would not work, but would never provide a genuine solution.
  • The R&D department was nonexistent.
  • New products had not been introduced in years.
  • Introduction of a new product was next to impossible because of a “tar pit” mentality existing in engineering, causing every new project to be bogged down.
  • The Granatellis were concerned, but had no real experience in this side of the business.  Their expertise was in automotive.
  • There was a downturn in the economy and sales were well off projections.  September 11th was yet to come.
  • In spite of manufacturing a superior product, the company had limited knowledge of how to market itself and its products or of how to operate efficiently, effectively and cohesively in this arena.

The Critical Factor

A lack of vision, direction and focus.

Step One

Create a strategic plan to formulate and establish the Paxton's:

    • Values
    • Culture
    • Core competencies
    • The business it is in
    • Its vision for the future
    • Its mission to get it there
    • The objectives, strategies and tactics to achieve that end

The Process

Altfeld, Inc. held an initial 3-day strategic planning session with Paxton management and employees from all departments to determine a course of action.  Then, Altfeld, Inc. consulted with departments in individual strategic planning sessions to horizontally integrate the company and create a cohesive business plan.  Specific highlights include:

    • Redesigned the sales force by recruiting independent sales reps who understood the blower and air handling business.
    • Implemented comprehensive product and sales training.
    • Formulated a targeted marketing program analyzing industries, competitors and new opportunities.
    • Coached and mentored the General Manager of Paxton with leadership training and customer outreach for eventual succession to head management.
    • Recommended new applications and helped implement design of air systems and blowers.
    • Redeveloped job descriptions for each employee that detailed both function and contribution to Paxton’s business goals.
    • Encouraged penetration into international markets through market research and long term strategic planning.
    • Spearheaded Paxton’s shift from commodity manufacturing to systems design and engineering.
    • Educated company employees on application engineering to improve product design.
    • Restructured the order management cycle through strategically aligned operations.

Results

Paxton Products became the “oldest, newest” company in the industrial blower market.  Although it was founded in 1957, lack of promotion, customer retention and market growth prevented the company from becoming a dominant player in the industry.  The strategic planning formulated and implemented by Paxton and Altfeld, Inc. had changed the company’s status and opened up significant opportunities for the future.  The company culture has dramatically changed from one of conflict and internal strife to one of professionalism and collaboration.  Employees became motivated as a result of having a clear direction and being aware of the contributions they were making to the company.  Also as a direct result of Altfeld’s efforts, Paxton had aligned itself with dynamic sales channels that positively impacted Paxton’s annual sales by as much as 50% above their previous year sales.  Targeted marketing outreach had produced expansion into new markets, dominance of previous ones and international growth.  An improved order management cycle allowed Paxton to eliminate distributors and streamline its operations.  Overall, strategic planning with Altfeld, Inc. transformed Paxton Products into a synergistic, horizontally integrated, customer focused, strategically aligned business.

The Final Conclusion

In 1999, Illinois Tool Works, a multi-billion dollar company known for buying up smaller companies, had looked into purchasing Paxton Products.  At that time, the Granatelli’s were not anxious to sell and according to ITW, there was actually little to buy. 

As fate may have it, by the fall of 2003, Joe Granatelli, the oldest brother, was stricken with cancer.  By pure happenstance, and nearly four years later, ITW called upon Paxton once again – only to find a completely different company and two very motivated sellers.  

The entire deal was signed, sealed and delivered in less than two months and the rest is history.  According to all parties involved, had the re-engineering of Paxton Products not happened, chances are that ITW would either not have made the purchase, or they would have paid far less for it.  According to Mr. Gary Swink, President of ITW Control & Air Products, ITW is pleased with its purchase and finds Paxton a rather unique acquisition – its sales are on a steady incline, they have product recognition, an excellent rep organization, and a pretty good team. 

Joe Granatelli passed away in April of 2004.

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A Non-Metallic Machine Shop

The Situation

A non-metallic machine shop which specializes in machining and fabricating plastic and non-metallic parts and components, was founded by the owner in 1969. Shortly thereafter, the owner added two key employees with whom he had worked at his previous employment.  Their plan, from the very beginning, was to build a company based upon slow, but steady growth.  By 1973, the company had achieved great financial success, and for the owner, success bred complacency and boredom.  It caused him to disengage and lose interest in his own company.  As a result, the company began to decline and his partners left him.  Rather than depressing him, the combination of a declining business and the absence of his partners seemed to reenergize him.  He jumped back in with both feet and took on a protégé in the process. 

By 1992, both the young protégé and the company had grown. The owner announced his retirement and handed over the reigns of the company to his newly appointed president and vice president, the latter of whom was the owner’s son-in-law.  The owner would remain CEO of the business, but would no longer be involved on a daily basis. 

As the business continued to grow and prosper, the owner remained distant from the business.  The president, on the other hand, became more controlling and more autocratic in his management style.  He had created a culture of fear among the employees and allowed them to make few, if any, decisions without his involvement.  It all appeared to be going well until the “recession” of 2001 and the attack of September 11th.  Business fell off some 40% and problems that once appeared minor were growing in size. 

Concerned, the owner once again became involved.  He pressed his president and vice president for answers and began to look for outside assistance.  Shortly thereafter, he took it upon himself to hire Altfeld, Inc. to create a marketing and sales plan for his company. 

As Altfeld immersed himself deeper into the business and acquired greater exposure to the internal systems and processes that comprised the business, it became evident that the business was deficient in focus and direction.  What was needed was strategic planning, reorganization and leadership.

The Primary Challenge

The owner was intent on retiring without selling the business.  He wished to keep the business in the family’s ownership, allowing it to be passed down to future generations.  To accomplish that, his business would have to be self-sufficient and maintained in optimal condition without him.

The Critical Factor

The most significant problem facing the company was a lack of effective leadership.  In spite of having managed the business for the past ten years, it became clear that the president was president in title only.  He was not only incapable of leading the business through difficult times, he was also incapable of providing the focus and direction required to take it to another level.  The company was stagnant, if not declining.  All key decisions rested with the president and he had created a culture that would not tolerate change, joint decision-making or new ideas.   He had 25 years of experience, all of which was with the same company.  He neither sought outside guidance nor participated in classes or seminars to further enhance his personal and professional growth and education.  He had subordinates but no followers.

Worse yet, the president was responsible for the distribution of the company’s profits, the majority of which went directly to him.  Taking clear advantage of the owner, the president time and again knowingly sacrificed the good of the company for his own personal gains.  These included decisions to not purchase necessary capital equipment and not hire top-notch personnel in order to add to his personal bottom-line. 

The Objective

Altfeld Inc.’s primary objective was to formulate and implement a plan that would result in a self-sufficient company capable of surviving without the owner. Achieving this would require a great deal of restructuring, the eradication of the negative leadership, strategic planning, teamwork, a tremendous change initiative and a change in culture.  During this reorganization, the challenge was to keep the president of the company at bay and prevent him from tearing down anything new that was introduced, formulated and implemented. 

Obstacles

    • All decision-making power and authority rested with the president.
    • The president had complete control of the distribution of profits.
    • The president was self-serving and too often made decisions based upon what was good for him rather than what was good for the company.
    • The president was a left-brain, analytical thinker with almost zero ability to think creatively or innovatively.
    • There were few, if any, written policies and procedures in place.
    • There was no agreement on the systems and processes in place used to process and fulfill an order.
    • There was little or no thought given to making the company more efficient or effective.
    • There was no continuous improvement plan in place for the personal or professional growth of the employees.
    • A tremendous lack of unity, cohesiveness, teamwork and collaboration permeated the business.
    • Operations was structured to ensure divisiveness between the conventional and CNC operators.
    • Any semblance of an organizational chart was ignored.  All roads lead directly to the president.
    • Sales was focusing its energies on only one market.
    • There were no sales, marketing or business plans.
    • There was no focus, direction or leadership being provided.
    • There was no plan in place to ensure growth or longevity or to deal with the vicissitudes of business.
    • The president had 25 years with the company, all the power and the complete trust, confidence and loyalty of the owner.
    • The company was neither seeking out nor attracting “A” players

Actions Required to Remove the Obstacles:

One:

Formulate a strategic plan to establish the company's:

    • values
    • culture
    • core competencies
    • purpose
    • business it is truly in
    • vision
    • mission
    • objectives
    • sub-objectives
    • strategies
    • tactics

Two:

Align the entire company with the strategic plan and create a horizontally integrated, synergistic, customer focused organization that promoted the personal and professional growth of its employees: Get everyone pulling on the same rope in the same direction.

Three:

Extract the power and control from the president through the introduction and implementation of Napoleon Hill's "Master Mind Concept". Formulate teams of solution providers beginning at the top and working down to the shop floor.

Four:

Inform, involve and inspire the people to do more.

Five:

Get the owner involved and back into the business to lead the change initiative.

Six:

Expose the president for what he is while trying to salvage him through personal growth and development.

Seven:

Coach, develop and enable the vice president and son-in-law of the owner to take over leadership of the business.

Eight:

Create a culture that would attract and keep “A” players.

The Process

Over the course of the first eight weeks, Altfeld, Inc held an initial 3-day strategic planning session, with the newly formed Management Team, followed by an additional five days of meetings.  To align the entire company with the overall corporate plan created by this group, Altfeld, Inc. worked with each individual department.  Each department was responsible for creating its own plan in support of the company’s plan.  In addition, a monthly managers’ meeting was formulated and implemented, the purpose of which was to promote communication and cooperation among departments.

Simultaneously, Altfeld, Inc. was coaching both the president and vice president.  The president was sent to the Center for Creative Leadership’s “Leadership Through the Looking Glass” course, with both the president and vice president scheduled to attend the AMA’s “President’s Leadership Course.”  To distance the owner from his president and employee of 25 years, the decision was made to make the Board of Directors more meaningful and involved.  The president could no longer go directly to the owner to get whatever he needed or wanted.  With the board in place, the formulation of any ad hoc, backroom committee meetings between the owner and the president was eliminated.  To add power and strength to the coaching effort, Jim Altfeld was made a Board member.

Meanwhile, the trust and confidence between the owner and Altfeld grew steadily as the owner became more aware of the progress Altfeld was making and how much had gone awry since his ten year departure from the business. 

The Results - Two Years Later:

    • A ten-person Leadership Council now makes the majority of the primary decisions for the company.  Much like an in-house board, this group is represented by a manager from every department and plays an integral role in providing guidance and direction for the business.  Its true purpose is to make the right decisions for the company and to determine the right things to do. 
    • The Order Management Cycles of the business are being streamlined to become more effective and efficient in getting accurate parts and components to the customer on time.
    • The Operations Department has been united under one manager.  As a result, there is an on-going cross training program with machinists learning both conventional and CNC.  The machinists are working together and educating one another.  Scheduling is now more accurate than ever with late jobs at an all time low. 
    • The concept of Lean Manufacturing has been effectively introduced and implemented throughout the company.  Set up breakdowns are few and far between.  Efficiency and productivity is at an all time high.
    • Each department now understands its contribution to the overall success of the company and has assigned tasks, duties, goals and objectives it needs to accomplish.
    • Measurements have been formulated and implemented throughout every department.
    • There is a genuine esprit de corps that permeates the company.  As a result, the company has achieved alignment, horizontal integration, customer focus and is working on its synergy.
    • The company has attracted, hired and held a number of “A” players in operations, sales and accounting who have each raised the bar and continue to set new standards for the company.
    • The company has formulated and implemented continuous growth and educational programs for its employees that both encourages and rewards them for making themselves more valuable to the business.
    • The company’s Board of Directors is a hands-on, active board that provides guidance and direction.  It is no longer a “rubber stamp” passive group.
    • Job descriptions that define job functions, contributions and responsibilities have been written, complete with salary ranges, goals and objectives and continue to be updated.
    • The company is currently identifying, targeting and penetrating new and diverse markets.
    • The vice president has grown tremendously and has successfully stepped up as the leader of the company.
    • The owner has taken back his own business and reinstated his original culture of teamwork, mentoring, growth and development.
    • The president, plant manager and several other non-conforming employees have been weeded out and replaced with “A” and “B” players who are genuinely contributing to the company’s overall growth, development and success. 
    • The company has been recently awarded preferred supplier certification by both Boeing and Northrup.

An Overview:

For 25 years, the owner felt he had been grooming the right successor to lead his company into the future. What he came to find, however, is that he made a tremendous mistake in his choice. He was angry with both his president and himself.

Throughout the course of events and all the changes that were to occur to his company over the 24 months and beyond, the owner was faced with a choice.  Either come out of retirement and lead his company, or watch it meet its eventual demise.  Obviously, he chose to lead the change initiative himself, as his “successor” either sat passively on the sidelines, or actively tried to derail most of what was happening.  As a direct result of his efforts and his faith and trust in Altfeld, Inc., he now has a company that is no longer dependent upon him or any one individual for the company’s success and well being.  The company is truly positioned to carry on well into the 21st Century.

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A Fiber Glass Company

The Situation

The company manufactures fiberglass parts and composites. After purchasing the business in 1994, the owner was determined to turn the business around and make it profitable.  To accomplish that, he realized he had to transform the company into a thriving, spirited, employee involved and empowered business.  The owner, an engineer with an ME from UC Irvine, an MA in ME from UCLA and an MBA from UCLA, was still open and honest enough with himself to realize there was a lot about business he had yet to learn.  He joined YEO, read business books and magazines, attended classes and seminars and became a learning sponge. 

As a result of his insights, he hired Altfeld Inc. for strategic planning, sales and marketing help.  Upon further investigation, it became apparent that his business, like many businesses, needed focus and direction.

The Primary Challenge

The owner was intent on having empowered employees running his business and desired to have a top down bottom up involved and informed business.  To accomplish that, the business would have to get employee buy-in throughout the company.  Unfortunately, the business was a ‘people’ company and not a systems and processes company.  It had a vertical, silo, departmentalized mentality resulting in a great deal of finger pointing.  There was little accountability and few if any measurements in place.  Few if any of the workers understood how they affected one another much less how they impacted the customer.  There was neither focus nor direction.  Furthermore, there was no clear understanding of what was expected of the employees other than to produce parts on time. The company relied heavily upon tribal knowledge. Many of the systems, processes, policies and procedures were not identified, much less documented and could change daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually or even hourly.   A secondary challenge was that roughly 90% of the employees did not speak English.

The Critical Factor

The greatest obstacles standing in the way of achieving a company full of empowered employees were a lack of internal communication, collaboration, teamwork, focus, direction and understanding of what was expected of them.  In a nutshell, there was no plan.

The Objective

Overall, the objective was to create a horizontally integrated, strategically aligned, customer focused business consisting of extraordinary systems and processes operated by informed, involved and inspired employees producing extraordinary results. Altfeld’s first objective was to help formulate and implement an overall strategic plan created by the company’s management team that could be driven down and back up.  The next objective was to get employee buy-in.

Obstacles

There were few, if any, written policies and procedures in place

There was no agreement on the systems and processes in place used to process and fulfill an order.

There was no time set aside for making the company more efficient or effective

There was no continuous improvement plan in place for the personal or professional growth of the employees

A tremendous lack of unity, cohesiveness, teamwork and collaboration permeated the business

Operations was structured to ensure a divisiveness between the lamination and finishing departments.

There was no understanding of how each employ had a direct effect on the customer and the company’s bottom-line.

Any semblance of an organizational chart was ignored.  All roads lead directly to the president

There was no sales, marketing or business plan

There was no focus, direction or genuine leadership being provided

There was no plan in place to ensure growth or longevity.

There was no plan in place to deal with the vicissitudes of business

Actions Required to Remove the Obstacles:

One.

Formulate a strategic plan to establish the company’s:

values

culture

core competencies

purpose

business it is truly in

vision

mission

objectives

sub-objectives

strategies

tactics

Two.

Align the entire company with the strategic plan and create a horizontally integrated, synergistic, customer focused organization that promoted the personal and professional growth of its employees.  Get everyone pulling on the same rope in the same direction.

Three.

Introduce and implement Napoleon Hill’s “Mastermind Concept”.  Formulate teams of solution providers beginning at the top and working our way down to the shop floor.

Four.

Inform, involve and inspire the people to do more.  Make them aware of how, what they do, directly impacts fellow employees, other departments, the customer and the company’s bottom-line.

Five.

Get the leadership of the company to understand that leading the change initiative was an on-going, never ending task.  Get the leadership to formulate and implement measurements, rewards, targets, milestones, goals and objectives based upon what it is they want to the employees to achieve.

The Process

Altfeld Inc held an initial 3-day strategic planning session, with the company’s management team, followed by an additional series of meetings to confirm that what was created was still true.  To align the entire company with the overall corporate plan created by this group, Altfeld Inc. worked with both the lamination and finishing departments, individually.  Each department was responsible for creating their own plan in support of the company’s plan.

The Results – 7 Months Later:

  • The employees have a genuine understanding of how what they do affects everyone else within the company and especially the customer.
  • The employees have been validated.  They truly believe that they have the power to make a change.  They have the power to discuss a problem with an employee from another department.
  • They feel the company has allowed them to be highly involved in what goes on within the company.  As a result, they believe they are now contributing to something greater than themselves and that they really do make a difference.  
  • The business is more of a systems and process company than a people company. When problems occur or bottlenecks flare up, they look more to the system or process in place than to a person.
  • There is an ongoing cross training program with employees within a department working together and educating one another. 
  • Each department now understands it contribution to the overall success of Performance Composites and has assigned tasks and duties it needs to accomplish.
  • There is a genuine esprit décor that permeates the company.  As a result, the operations department as a whole has achieved alignment, horizontal integration, and customer focus.
  • Communication, cooperation and collaboration have been instituted between finishing and lamination.  They have even appointed three “enforcers”.  One to promote dialogue between workers and departments.  One to encourage individual learning and growth.  And one to teach how to teach. 
  • The company has formulated and implemented a continuous growth and educational programs for its employees that both encourages and rewards them for making themselves more valuable to the business.  This includes the creation of an in-house library created by the employees and operated by the employees.
  • The company is currently identifying, targeting and penetrating new and diverse markets.

A New Critical Factor:

Management needs to step up to the plate and rise above the day to day tasks and duties of getting work out the door.  They need to realize that without their leadership and direction, the change initiative will not survive. 

To help accomplish that, everyone, from the president on down, requires a job description, quantitative and qualitative goals and objectives, an understanding of his or her role and the contribution that is expected of them. 

In addition, management needs to be educated in the art of management and what leadership is all about.  They need to understand how leadership and management often cross over and why it is important to be aware and knowledgeable in both areas. 

The onus has been on the bottom wrung of the ladder to deliver when in fact the management of the company has yet to seize control and take command. The employees have gone about as far they can alone and the ball now rests in management’s court.

The purpose, vision and mission statements have been created and key objectives for both the company and the departments have been formulated, but there is little accountability coming from the top to push it.  Measurements, focus and direction come from the top, not from the bottom.  The executive leadership must lead the company.  Management manages systems and processes.  Those systems and processes are measured on their contribution to the company.  The employees within those systems and processes are to be measured on how well they operate within the systems and processes and how they contribute to them.  If there is a problem with quality or inefficiencies, there is a problem with the systems or processes that produced them. Management is responsible for the creation, maintenance and improvement of those systems and processes – not the employees.  The employees can suggest and point out ways of doing things better, but the responsibility lies with management.

First and foremost the company needs job descriptions, goals and objectives for every member of the management team, including the president.  Determine on what each person gets measured and rewarded and drive it downward. Give the management team quarterly qualitative and quantitative goals to reach.  Who is responsible for achieving that 25% growth goal?  Who is responsible for going out and getting new customers or more business from existing customers, or bringing back lost customers?  Who is responsible for preventing erosion?  Who is responsible for making a first time customer a repeat customer?  Who is responsible for identifying, targeting and closing prospective customers?  On the production side, the question needs to be asked, who is responsible for process improvements and maintaining that 115% productivity rating?  Who is ultimately responsible for late jobs, non-profitable jobs, returns and rejects? Who is responsible for dealing with and holding rising labor, energy, health, insurance and overhead costs in check?   The answer is the management team, not the workers.

Everyone is working together and the culture resulting from it is commendable and quite impressive. The time has come for management to put measurement systems in place to collect the necessary data to help make better business decisions and improve in specific areas.  It is time for the management team to:

Set policies

Set standards

Establish targets

Put measurements in place

Create and implement systems and processes to ensure that the business meets/exceeds expectations

Hold the systems and processes accountable

Hold the people managing the systems and processes accountable

Hold the people running the systems and processes accountable

Involve, inform and inspire the citizens of the business

The time has come to hold management, including the president, responsible and accountable for what it is that management should be doing.

The employees cannot set policies, create and implement programs, establish procedures and standards, create alliances, form partnerships, see to it that the company remains profitable and increase sales 25% -- those are all functions of management.

Recommended Roles and Responsibilities:

Like an upside pyramid, goals are to be driven downward.  Several members of the management team need to be responsible for the same goals to ensure they get achieved and not overlooked. The management team must be in this together.  They get rewarded together and they hang together.  When trying to be a systems-and-process company it is imperative that the systems and processes in place are identified and documented.  The business cannot return to being a people company that points fingers and blames one another and still succeed.

The management of the company must provide focus and direction for their departments and the people within the departments. What is needed is institutional thinking not authoritarian.  Management needs to see itself as a servant of the people, not a ruler.  Management’s job is to improve the systems and processes while growing and developing its people. Which means it also needs to provide leadership from the top and the middle. 

What is needed in prioritized order is organizational clarity, agreement on the roles, responsibilities and contribution by each person on the management team and to what each person will be held accountable and measured. 

Management personnel need to fulfill their portion of the plans and implement well defined goals, objectives and measurements for the departments, the systems and processes within the departments and the people who operate those systems and processes.

An Overview:

The owner, in spite of having an MBA is truly a technician who had an entrepreneurial seizure – which is so true of many small business owners.  To his credit, the owner knew and understood what he did not know and went out seeking answers.  One thing he knew going in, was that he wanted his people involved in his company.  He wanted an open book company with his people informed, involved and inspired.  He wanted their input, their ideas, and their direct participation.  He was simply unclear on how to get there.  Today, the business appears headed in the right direction.  The only area of concern is management’s ability to understand its role as leaders and managers.  The management of the company must step up and take command of the company.  Too much has been left to the employees who have truly gone about as far as they can without further assistance from management.

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CCI Controls, Southgate, California

CCI Controls designs and manufactures a line of propane, natural and carbon monoxide gas detection/alarm units for residential, recreational vehicle and mobile home use. Altfeld, Inc. was brought in to assist the owner/president of the company to:

  • develop an overall strategic plan to prepare the company for future growth and direction
  • work with each department to create a strategic alignment of corporate objectives
  • create a horizontally integrated, customer focused, interdependent infrastructure
  • create an executive management team
  • establish objectives, strategies and tactics
  • help assign tasks, duties, milestones and deadlines
  • help write job descriptions, sop's, policies and procedures
  • help identify and improve systems and processes in place
  • work with each department to improve efficiency and effectiveness
  • work with each department to improve value and benefits to customer
  • provide effective, professional guidance, make recommendations and impart expertise wherever and whenever applicable and appropriate

Altfeld, Inc. has successfully:

  • determined the company's core skills and competencies
  • identified what business CCI is really in
  • determined the company's purpose
  • determined the company's values and culture
  • created a corporate vision and mission statements
  • established corporate objectives, strategies and tactics
  • opened up the company's internal communications
  • eliminated the need for "secrets" and the company's overly active grapevine
  • helped eliminate many of the company's existing negative values
  • established an executive management team and monthly management meetings
  • instilled customer focused thinking throughout the company
  • established and implemented the concept of a "strike team"
  • helped eliminate non-contributing and detrimental employees
  • helped retain and promote several good contributors
  • helped make improvements in existing systems and processes
  • coached the president and the management team to help them get to the next plateau
  • strategically aligned manufacturing/operations with the company's corporate objectives
  • helped implement cross-training and cross functionality
  • improved morale
  • made a difference

Shin-Etsu Silicones of America, Inc. , Akron, Ohio (1989 - Present)

A manufacturer of one and two component RTV silicones, fluids, gels, and greases, Shin-Etsu is the third largest supplier of silicones in the United States and the fifth largest chemical company in the world. SES relies on Altfeld, Inc. for its marketing and strategic planning expertise to assist with Shin-Etsu Silicones' North American marketing and sales plans and activities. Altfeld, Inc. has been and continues to be involved in contributing to SES's distribution program as well. Altfeld, Inc. provides all of the public relations work and much of the creative services for Shin-Etsu Silicones of America. Most recently, Altfeld, Inc. was hired on a project basis to facilitate a strategic planning session for the sales and marketing departments.

Burnham Benefits Insurance Services, Irvine, California (Project)

Burnham Benefits is a local provider of benefit services focusing on mid-size businesses within Orange County, California. Altfeld, Inc. provided Burnham with strategic planning and marketing direction. Altfeld, Inc. next worked with the benefits staff to create a purpose, vision, and mission statement, followed by objectives, strategies, and tactics for the Irvine facility group. To align their efforts with the overall goals of the group, each department created departmental purposes, visions, and mission statements, complete with objectives, strategies, and tactics--all of which are in line with and in support of the Irvine facility group.

ZySys, Inc., Torrance, California (Project)

ZySys, Inc. is an OEM and materials supplier for the rapid prototype industry that offers a new and unique UV curing system. Altfeld, Inc. worked with the president of ZySys to determine market potential and customer needs, establish distribution channels, determine pricing, and plan for the future direction of the company. Altfeld, Inc. handled all the public relations and some of the creative services for ZySys.