Honeyville has been in business since 1951, when founder Lowell Sherratt Sr. opened a grain processing plant in Honeyville, Utah. Now, 71 years later, the business has expanded to include four facilities in Utah, Arizona, and Southern California where they continue to mill grain and process commodities like corn, flour, and oil. They also co-manufacture branded and private label products like pancake, cake, baking mixes, and hot and cold drink mixes.
After the founder’s son, Lowell Sherratt Jr., passed away in 2018 at the age of 88, the company hired the first non-family CEO, Tom Dastrup, who began working with Honeyville’s COO, Nathan Hyde, on ideas for how the company could continue to thrive far into the future—especially through the economic shockwaves caused by the pandemic. “It was clear we needed to adjust the method of managing the business if we were to stay viable for another 70 years,” says Hyde.
Hyde had learned about The Great Game of Business® (GGOB) back in 2014, but the company was hesitant to the idea of opening the books to all levels of the organization. When Dastrup came aboard, Hyde brought up the idea of GGOB again—and this time found a sympathetic ear. “I had been looking for this my entire career,” says Dastrup, who’s experience had been with companies such as Pepperidge Farms, Campbell’s Soup, and Ken’s Foods prior to joining Honeyville. “GGOB was a way we could finally use the collective brainpower of the entire organization.” The team then hired a coach, John Williams, and formed a 15-person Design Team made up of members from each of their four locations to help launch The Game inside their business.
While Honeyville is just a year and a half into their GGOB journey, they have unified around specific goals, game plans, and a common strategy. Now front-line employees often ask the sales team for data and suggestions on how they can improve to become more competitive in the market; supply chain groups are consistently looking for ways to lower their costs; and scheduling teams now understand the criticality of delivering a schedule that operations can be more effective in running.“Every conversation is more driven to bottom line results than at any other time in the history of the company,” says Hyde. “Everyone is pulling the right levers to move us into profitability.”
“The biggest before and after impact GGOB has had is on the level of transparency and trust inside the company. I see team members engaging and collaborating with each other in ways they never could before. Every person now understands what makes us successful as a group.GGOB gives you the feeling that you’re driving the business instead of the business driving you.”
~ Tony Garcia, Account Development Manager
Pain Points and Opportunities
Inflation has had both positive and negative impacts on Honeyville’s business over the past year. One example is the price of oats has soared from 25 cents a pound to more than 95 cents a pound. That’s forced the company to issue frequent and significant price hikes on most all the products they make. Meanwhile imports, especially grain and oil, have also become a significant challenge to manage. In one case, supply shortfalls forced Honeyville to buy corn from a competitor—something that is now evolving into a long-term relationship. “We pride ourselves on the relationships and rapport we have built with our customers and suppliers,” says Dastrup. “It’s all about communication.”
“GGOB empowers employees by engaging them and giving them a voice. It helps create clarity and trust. Everyone now understands our Critical Number and what we can each do to impact it. It’s amazing how synchronized we are across our multiple locations. With forecasting, we have learned we can change future results. We have 380 people running the company instead of a handful of people making all the decisions.”
~ Byron Arias, Plant Manager
The Honeyville team has had some early success attacking problems and creating new behaviors with the help of playing MiniGames. In one case, their warehouse team in Ogden, Utah, played a game to address their inventory accuracy percentage—which had fallen below 80%. In the creation of the MiniGame the cross functional team was responsible to set their goals for the game—rather than the targets coming top-down from leadership. “People support what they help create,” says Hyde. “When they realized that this was going to be their game and not mine, they had fun with it.” The result was a Monopoly-themed MiniGame that helped push inventory accuracy up to 97% after 90 days—and the inventory control and warehouse teams continue to strive to increase that percentage ever since.
The Honeyville team recognizes they have many areas to improve upon when it comes toGGOB, such as rolling out more MiniGames, but they’re also ready to celebrate the significant progress they’ve already made toward reaching their goals of $500 million in revenue and becoming debt free by the end of 2025. “When we decided to play GGOB we were making a bet on our culture and our people,” says Hyde. “Our mission is to positively affect the lives of our employees, customers, and shareholders. We truly have seen an amazing turnaround. We are a different company today than we were at the beginning of our GGOB journey.”
“GGOB is based on the philosophy that knowledge is power. It’s about empowering employees and giving them a stake in the success of the company. People now look in their waste cans to see if they can salvage something because now they know it’s their bonus that’s in those cans.”
For nearly 40 years, The Great Game of Business™ has helped organizations reach their highest potential and value.
Tapping into the universal human need to win, GGOB educates your people in the rules of business, rallies them around a common goal, empowers them to see and improve the score, and engages them by giving them a stake in the outcome.