People didn’t know what they were supposed to be doing. We didn’t have chain of command. We didn’t have like routines and organized ways to pay people. Ed came in and he said, “No, we’re going to figure out different pay rates for different types of jobs, we’re going to figure out SOPs for different processes, we’re going to organize all these people.” Because it just mushroomed. I think it gave us a way to measure the capacity.
Where we really weren’t sure how much we could push and where we could get, we actually were able to make measurements and say, “Oh, we now understand what we can do. We see it. We can then use those measurements to decide where we want to put our energies and how we want to do things.” Instead of always this sort of backward trying to run and chase, we we’re making decisions rather than it running us. Also, a more controlled way of dealing with all the people was really helpful.
You can decide ahead of time how jobs are ranked, and who’s working for whom, and get it all organized in a way that the people feel relaxed, and can do their best, and they’re going to produce more, and that we as the owners are not constantly worrying about and chasing after people. I’ve been with people working for me for 15 years, they’re still here. That’s really great, actually. They really know what they’re doing, we’re all comfortable with each other, and they’re skilled people. It’s more relaxed. I feel more knowledgeable about business itself. I feel like I have more control over the environment that I’m in, and the environment that I’m providing for the other people.
I think those are really valuable things. We look at the process that we had going, and decided what the drumbeat of the business should be. Not what it is now, but what it should be. We decided that installation was our drumbeat, and then we fed the machine appropriately. That meant that we could reduce our lead time from about two weeks to six business for custom work. We’re still doing it all these years later, 10 years later. He’s very knowledgeable, he’s very kind, he’s a superb listener, extremely encouraging, super smart, had ideas way outside the box, that you didn’t expect.
I think you went in expecting you were going to have a business consultant who was going to help you, and we came out with a good friend. Be prepared for a really, really surprising outcome, really enjoyable outcome.