All-Star Case Studies

Learn from the "Best of the Best" - the Great Game All-Stars

Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinkler

Company Background

In 1978, Wayne H. Gey started Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers, a subcontractor in Florida’s construction market that designs and installs fire sprinklers. The business has six locations and also includes inspection, service, underground, site, and alarm divisions.

Rapid Financial Results - Lasting Cultural Change

As long as there have been buildings, there have been fires. But Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers (WAFS) has continued the tradition of making commercial and residential buildings safer with their automatic fire suppression systems.

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Fresno First Bank

Company Background

Fresno First Bank opened in December 2005 by a local group of successful business people, some of whom had experience with the successful Regency Bank, which sold at the end of 1999. In 2007, after the CEO’s position opened up, the bank brought in Rick Whitsell, an experienced banker, to fill the position. Two weeks later, the chief financial officer and chief credit officer resigned, which created an opportunity to Whitsell to bring in his own team. At the same time, the bank’s chairman, David Price, happened to be a fan of the Great Game of Business, so he suggested that the bank’s management team go to Springfield, MO, to see how the Great Game was played.

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Goodall Homes

Company Background

Goodall Homes, a residential home-building company based outside Nashville, Tennessee, wanted to run a leaner and more agile company. They also wanted to find a way to teach their team the discipline to look ahead and take advantage of downturns in the housing market.

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AEP SWEPCO Pirkey Power Plant

Company Background

The H.W. Pirkey Power Plant, located in Hallsville, Texas, has been providing low-cost, reliable power to its customers since 1985. The plant’s operators were looking for a way to reduce costs through employee engagement.

Great Game Solutions

Starting in 2013, Drew Seidel, the plant’s manager, began rolling out a system that incorporated open-book and lean concepts that employs daily, weekly, and monthly huddles, scoreboards and MiniGames to create transparency and engagement among the plant’s workers. The team also began the practice of forward forecasting as a way to be more productive rather than remain reactive to unexpected changes as it had in the past.

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O’Connells OBM

Company Background

O’Connells OBM is a progressive chartered accounting firm based in Brisbane, Australia, that specializes in providing its clients with proactive tax and business advisory services. The OBM in the firm’s name is short for open-book management, which the company first em-braced some 15 years ago.

Business Challenges

The O’Connells’ team has long been a fan of not just open-book management, but also the GGOB – all of which dates back to a trip by Jack Stack to Australia in 2001. Inspired by what they heard, they immediately implemented several components of the Game such as play-ing MiniGames and set about creating an ESOP plan which now owns 24% of the business. While the firm noticed immediate success in the following years, things began to turn sour in 2010 when it experienced a decline in revenue for the first time in a little over 30 years of doing business – and 2011 looked even more ominous. “All of a sudden things felt very much out of control,” says Adam Dierselhuis, O’Connells’ director.

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Argent Tape & Label

Company Background

Argent Tape & Label (ATL) is a manufacturer in Plymouth, Michigan, which produces pres-sure-sensitive labels used by industrial customers in the automotive, pharmaceutical and consumer industries.

Business Challenges

Lynn Perenic was a teacher, where she taught elementary education and then special ed-ucation at the high school level for a total of 20 years, before she ever contemplated be-coming an entrepreneur. But after her husband talked about closing ATL, which he had purchased back in 1995, because of its poor performance, Perenic stepped in to try and save the business. But with just three associates and virtually no customers, she had a difficult task ahead of her.

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Jenner Sales Corp.

Company Background

Jenner Sales Corp., now in its 53rd year of business, is the Case IH Agriculture Application Equipment Distributor for the states of Illinois and Indiana.

Business Challenges

Jenner Sales Corp. was a profitable company prior to its launch of the GGOB. However, the company’s profit sharing program had started to feel, to ownership, more like an employee expectation than an earned reward. It seemed employees really didn’t understand how the company arrived at the pool of money and what employees needed to contribute to earn their share of it. Therefore, ownership believed that if employees at the front line understood how the business made profits as well as the fact that more profit would be available for sharing if they helped grow the amount, they’d want to win together.

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Texas Air Composites

Company Background

Texas Air Composites, Inc. is an award-winning “overhaul” facility that repairs the sheet-metal, composite, and welded structures of airplanes for commercial and regional air carriers. Its clients include Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, Comair, SkyWest, Air Wisconsin, America West, Frontier Air, Cathay Pacific, Mesa Airlines, and WestJet. The five-year-old company has 72 employees (largely in sales, operations, engineering, purchasing, information technology, quality, and administration) and generates annual sales of $10 million.

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NewStream Enterprises

Company Background

NewStream Enterprises, an SRC company that has been playing the Game since its birth in 1990, provides customized product-flow management services to manufacturing companies large and small. Its 60 employee-owners label, pack, store, control, and ship customers’ products all over the world. Today, NewStream (Springfield, MO) generates annual revenue of $37 million.

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Clarke EyeCare Center

Company Background

Dr. Calvin Clarke opened Clarke EyeCare Center in Wichita Falls, Texas, back in 1973. His son, Danny, and his daughter-in-law, Elizabeth – who met each other at optometry school – then joined the practice in 1995. In 2010, the younger Clarke's bought the business - which provides optometry services, prescription glasses and contact lens - though the senior Dr. Clarke continues to see patients. The Clarke's began playing The Great Game of Business a few months after the change in ownership.

Business Challenges

While the business was doing well operationally, Clarke knew that his profits were some-what low relative to the industry and, more importantly, cash flow was not where it needed to be. “Bills would come in and checks would go out, but it was always borderline with how much money we had in the bank,” he says. Dr. Clarke also knew that his peers in the op-tometry field who were financially successful tended to be micro-managers when it came to the business side of the operation. He wasn’t interested. Rather, he hoped that playing the GGOB with his associates would bring about even better results than anything he could do on his own.

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