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2019 Case Study - Peterson Trucks International

Peterson Logo 2019

Location: San Leandro, California

2018 Revenues: $116 million

Employees: 146

The Critical Number™: Market Share

Organization Background

Peterson Trucks International (PTI), which started in 2012, is now the Bay Area's official International Trucks Dealer. The business offers a full service lease and rental fleet, both new and used truck sales, highly trained technicians, an unmatched parts inventory, and state-of-the-art repair shops at multiple locations.


The business was struggling with both its profitability and customer satisfaction. As a result, employees weren’t engaged in their jobs.


Rally around transparency, communicate through dynamic huddles, and teach business and financial literacy as a way to get employees engaged in running their business.


The Great Game of Business® (GGOB) couldn’t have come at a better time for PTI back in 2014. The business went from losing millions of dollars to paying it all back and earning their very first dollar of profit in October of 2017. It’s the Critical Number the company had from the start of playing Great Game™.


“The continued growth and success of our company and our people are what keep us in The Game,” says Tom Bagwell, PTI’s Executive Vice President. “We are the phoenix who rose from the ashes in continuous pursuit of flourishing. The Great Game of Business is our mode of transportation and are certain that we wouldn’t be a business had we not implemented open-book management. Being able to speak to one another in a common language of business is what has changed our culture at PTI and turned us into a winning team.” Case in point: For the second year in a row, Peterson Trucks has won the Navistar Presidential Award for being one of the top 15 dealerships in the country.


“The truth is I never wanted to be part of operations—part of “the grind”—a person that scrambled at the end of each month to make numbers. But GGOB made me want to get my hands dirty and be one of the people who made a difference day in and day out. I get to be one of the people who makes a difference, and this gives me the meaning and purpose I’ve been searching for in my career.” ~ Alex Vazquez Truck Finance & Operations Accounting Manager


MiniGame™ Spotlight:

“MiniGames are the breeding ground for learning and engagement, especially for our front-line employees,” says Bagwell. The most successful games the team has played are not those that produce prizes, but the ones that have taught their employees about the business. The team struggled to get their technicians to understand Profit After Direct Expenses (PADE) and how long into the month it took before they began to actually turn a profit. “It’s the most successful MiniGame that we’ve played because we finally found a way to educate our employees in a way that made sense to them,” says Bagwell. “It got us to the point of being able to create and play financial games.”


The GGOB is, in my opinion, the best way to run a business. The organization is utilizing the collective intelligence of the many people in it. People want to be associated with a TEAM that wins. When the inputs of those individuals are recognized and implemented, successful improvement occurs. The overall group is willing to recognize areas of needed improvement, implement appropriate changes, and work to see the new procedures succeed. People will support changes they are involved in setting up.” ~ Curtis Staton, General Manager, Product Support


What’s Next?

PTI has done such a fantastic job turning around its business that it was given the opportunity to purchase another dealership in Oregon—which grew the company  from four stores to nine overnight, with 160 new employees. “This dealership could not pay its bills and these employees were about to have no job and no income to support their families,” says Bagwell. “One of our first objectives was to pick these people back up and let them know that that’s not the way Peterson does business. We take care of our employees and now we will take care of them. All managers received The Great Game of Business book before they even started their first day on the job.” Bagwell already has plans to launch the new team’s first MiniGame based on the same successful PADE model to help get the new team rolling with their own financial literacy training.


“The GGOB has helped the Sales Department by empowering us to understand how we win the game by which we are measured. We have learned that our attention to the financial details impacts the company. In addition, we regularly review the numbers and they are on display at all times. This has fostered a culture of trust within the department and the entire company. We know GGOB works because we see the results.” ~Russ Thielen, General Sales Manager


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