Learn from the "Best of the Best" - the Great Game All-Stars
Stalcop is a manufacturer of cold-formed metal with a special expertise and focus in copper components. They were looking for a way to re-engage their employees by creating transparency, opening new lines of communication and repairing damaged customer relationships.
Stalcop was founded in 1981 to serve its customer by creating cold-formed and precision machined components and sub-assemblies for a variety of industries, including automotive, heavy duty truck, power transmission and distribution, specialty battery, ordinance and ammunition. Kerrigan worked for the company from 1994 until 2005, when he decided to leave the company because he was unhappy about the direction the management team at the time was taking it. But the ownership group asked him to come back as president in 2012, which gave him the opportunity to implement The Great Game.
When Tim Kerrigan rejoined Stalcop as president in 2012, the company had suffered through seven years of poor financial performance. Even worse, key customers were on the brink of leaving altogether. “I told everyone that we needed to do this together or we would fail,” he says.
Kerrigan had actually known about The Great Game since the 1990s when he originally started working for Stalcop. But it wasn’t until 2013 that he was able to begin implementing The Game’s components, like financial literacy classes, huddles, MiniGames and high-involvement planning.
Kerrigan says his company plays The Great Game slightly different than everyone else because of how deeply it uses MiniGames to drive results. Every employee is assigned to one of 10 teams, each is tasked with coming up with its own series of MiniGames involving either a cost savings, efficiency improvement, or waste elimination that somehow ties back to the company’s critical number. “Everything we do has a line of sight back to that number,” says Kerrigan.
Each team then fills out a monthly MiniGame report as a way to update the company on where they stand relative to their goals. The company has also continued to invest in building the lines of communication through weekly huddles and by streaming real-time results on TV monitors installed throughout its facility.
Rapid Financial Results & Lasting Cultural Change
One of the big challenges that Stalcop faced when Kerrigan returned were the customers who were frustrated by the delays and poor quality products the company had recently been turning out. As a way to help repair those relationships, Kerrigan began inviting key customers to visit the plant so they could see firsthand how the culture was different as a result of playing The Great Game and how engaged the workforce was as a result. They also wanted to ensure that their increased efficiency and cost savings would be passed along to them.
Case in point: one customer, who had been delaying renewing a large order, visited the plant and had the opportunity to listen to a presentation from front-line workers about how they were using The Great Game to correct the issues they were having in the past by playing a MiniGame they called the “Stal-Shank Redemption.” “Our customer was blown away,” says Kerrigan. “Before he left, he asked to sign the purchase order for the new parts and then followed up with the big order once he got back to his office the following week. It was a very powerful experience, and it’s why we now want to get all of our customers to visit us so they can also see what we’re doing.”
- The early returns at the end of 2013 were impressive: Stalcop was able to achieve $135,000 in various cost-saving measures.
- Results in 2014 were even more outstanding as the company realized cost savings of more than $740,000, which sent earnings soaring 200% from a loss of $1,250,382 in 2013 to a profit of $1,248,540 in 2014.
- At the same time, the company dramatically improved on its critical number by achieving a rate of 98% for on-time deliveries.