Learn from the "Best of the Best" - the Great Game All-Stars
Induction Heat Treating Corp. hardens steel products through the induction heating process for customers in the automotive, construction, agricultural, and military sectors. The company was searching for a solution to help improve profits. Dave Haimbaugh’s father started the business back in 1946. Three of his other sons and Dave, who is now 60, have played a role in its operations ever since. Dave Haimbaugh now owns the company outright after his brothers, both older, retired about a decade ago. The family legacy promises to continue as Haimbaugh says he has two of his nephews now working in the business.
When one of his employees returned from a conference inspired by what she had heard about The Great Game from the folks at Tasty Catering, owner Dave Haimbaugh decided to travel down to Chicago and see what the fuss was all about. He, too, was impressed. After also making a trip to the Gathering of Games, Haimbaugh was ready to commit. Soon thereafter, with the help of coach Kevin Walter, the company began a financial literacy program incombination with huddles, MiniGames and the implementation of a bonus program.
When the company began playing The Great Game, Haimbaugh admits that it did create some friction among some of his existing employees, several of whom soon left the company. “Some of them felt that the transparency we were providing was actually misinformation,” says Haimbaugh. “While others didn’t like the sharing of responsibility.”
But the people who stayed quickly embraced the principles of open-book management – especially when it came to helping control labor costs, which was the biggest hit to the company’s bottom line. Each department was then given responsibility for its own planning function. By doing that, labor costs were cut a full 5% in just the first few months alone. “The proper scheduling of work is critical for us to maximize our efficiency,” says Haimbaugh. “That got better and fast.”
Employees are also asked to take responsibility for line items on the income statement and to help drive revenue by landing new orders or to reduce expenses and improve efficiency as a way to drive up the bottom line results, which everyone shares in through the company’s bonus program.
That’s led to breakthrough ideas like the maintenance department tackling the issue of water consumption, which the business relies heavily on. But by installing a water softener, they were able to cut the water bill literally in half.
On a similar note, the accounting department launched a MiniGame called “Where’s the Money?” as a way to track down customers who were tardy on paying their bills. One result of that is that there are no accounts with a payment due over 90 days for the first time in the company’s history. Up next: getting that figure under 60 days due. “That alone is going to yield dividends for us that I would never thought I’d see,” says Haimbaugh.
Thanks to the transparency involved in playing the Great Game, employees in the business now see the relationship between top-line revenue and the costs involved that determine bottom line profit or loss, says Haimbaugh, and they are more willing to take on the pressure to improve productivity.
“Our people now see that we’re not carrying a wheelbarrow full of money to the bank every week, which goes a long way to show that we are all in this together,” says Haimbaugh.
- After it’s first year practicing The Great Game, net profits were up an impressive 9%.
- Second year results also look promising and are expected to roll in with another 6% increase in net profits.
- “We had some poor months at the end of 2013 and the start of 2014,” says Haimbaugh. “But that turned around quickly.”