Jenner Ag, the Case IH Agriculture Application Equipment Distributor for the states of Illinois and Indiana—a consolidation of four different companies—has been serving its customers for 59 years and counting.
While the business, which operates out of three locations, has been successful over the long haul, it was looking for a system that would get everyone inside the company rowing in the same direction—during good times, and bad ones as with the continued downturn in the agriculture economy.
Embrace the various practices that make up The Great Game of Business® (GGOB)—financial literacy training, huddles, MiniGames™, scoreboards, forecasting, and more—with the help of their coach, Jack O’Riley, and embed them in organization’s DNA and culture.
Jenner Ag started playing Great Game™ 10 years ago with two managers putting up transparencies on a screen in a cramped meeting room. It was, at best, confusing for other employees to have financials thrown at them with no explanation. But, with the help of their coach, they took their Game to the next level by helping the team to understand the stories behind the numbers. And, by creating what the company calls “Player Stats,” which are individual employee goals tied to the Critical Number, they engaged their frontline in driving the success of the company. “We saw an almost immediate morale change and culture boost,” says Steve Jones, Jenner Ag’s CEO. “The Game has helped develop our teams into cohesive units moving toward common goals. It has educated all of us in the language and world of business and owner decision-making.”
“The Great Game of Business has provided me with a second education. I have and continue to learn and thrive professionally and personally because of the implementation of The Great Game of Business.”
~ Kimberly Mason, Office/Inventory Manager
Spotlight on the Pandemic
When the pandemic hit in March, Jenner Ag, like many companies, was forced to send people home to work virtually. The good news is that the foundation of transparency and constant communication the team had built up helped them make a smooth transition to working remotely. “The Game is about financials but also communication,” says Autumn Pitman, an executive assistant. “We have spent years laying the groundwork for honest and effective conversations, and that’s something that has really helped us get through this process even when we couldn’t all get together. There was already a huge amount of trust built up among the associates that we were making good decisions through the Covid-19 crisis.”
“Make every dollar and every minute count, and always use the customer's perspective to analyze your actions! I am more of a mentor to my employees, it is my responsibility to teach them good life habits and skills needed in our industry today.”
~ Tim Conaway, Plant Foreman
A successful game inside Jenner Ag’s Parts department was played around the theme of “Duck Hunt.” The department created targets of dead or obsolete inventory, turned them into ducks, and then went hunting—with every obsolete part sold, each sales associate would “shoot” down a target. In less than 60 days, the department reduced parts inventory for a total of $425,383, winning the game and Duck Hunt T-shirts.
After playing Great Game for a decade, it’s become part of the cultural core at Jenner Ag. “We have forgotten what it’s like not to play,” says Clint Hohenstein, Jenner Ag’s CFO. But, as they have brought on new people, they recognize they have an opportunity to go back and teach refresher courses on topics like ratios and working capital to strengthen the team’s overall financial and business literacy. One of the changes for 2020 is the creation of a new team—The Design Team—whose mission is to help promote GGOB internally through educational opportunities, mentoring, coaching, and general encouragement and enthusiasm for all the associates. The Jenner Ag team has also adjusted and streamlined some of their huddle processes to encourage more discussion of the numbers, especially on the frontline of the business. “Our associates want to know what is going on with the company at all times,” says Jones. “They want to be educated on how they can have a direct impact on the issues and or successes we’re currently experiencing. We know The Game works, so we are constantly motivated to come up with new and innovative ways to change things up and make The Game fresh for our business.”
“GGOB has made normal everyday operation and duties fun and rewarding.”
~ Melissa Williams, Parts Specialist