All-Star Case Studies

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

2020 Case Study - 417 Magazine

417 magazine

Organization Background

Founded in 1998, 417 Magazine is a second-generation, family-owned regional magazine that focuses on telling its 325,362 monthly audience members the stories they need to know from all around southwest Missouri. The company has also evolved to produce custom publications for corporations, communities, and charities.

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Willoway Nurseries Case Study

Company Background

Willoway Nurseries is a wholesale grower of trees, shrubs, perennials and seasonal color crops that ships to retailers and contractors in 26 states. The company was searching for a way to operate leaner and to get its workforce, employees in the field and in the back-office, on the same page.

Founded by Les and Marilyn Demaline in 1954, the second generation oversees current operations. The third generation has also taken an interest in the business - granddaughter, Emily Showalter, oversees the HR department and grandson, Eric Demaline, is a foreman in operations. During the past 61 years, the company has transitioned from landscaping to a wholesale nursery, growing more than 2,000 varieties of plant material on 1,000 acres. Willoway is currently the largest wholesale grower of nursery products in Ohio, with a customer base of more than 1,200 independent garden centers and landscape contractors in the Midwest and East Coast.

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Mid America Metals Case Study

Company Background

Mid America Metals got its start when Donat, who had earned his chops in business working at a large auto dealership in Chicago, teamed up with his two brothers, who were both metal refinishers, to start their own business. “We started out of the back seat of our car,” says Donat, about his business which performs services like removing a scratch from an elevator
door, honing and polishing a lobby floor, or restoring a building’s wooden accents. When Donat bought out his family members five years ago, he wanted to build a common core or culture for the company despite the geographic differences that separated his associates. He turned to the GGOB for help and 2014 was the first year where the entire company was engaged in financial literacy training, huddling, and forecasting.

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SRC Electrical

Company Background

SRC Electrical, which re-manufactures starters, alternators, and generators for the agricultural and construction industries, has been playing the GGOB since its start as a joint venture with Case New Holland back in 1991. Over time, and especially after the company became entirely owned by SRC in 2009, SRC Electrical has become one of open-book management’s most prominent evangelists. Today, it serves as a showcase for visitors interested in learning how to play the GGOB from the best of the very best.

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Stellar Call Centre Solutions

Company Background

Stellar Asia Pacific and its global network of affiliates deliver contact-management and business-process solutions to some of the world’s most-admired companies. With more than 6,000 employees in 19 offices, Stellar handles 300+ million contacts and 100 million transactions every year. Its services include sales generation, customer care, tech support, surveying and the processing of payables, receivables and applications. Based in Australia, the company was founded on open-book principles in 1998.

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Woodward Printing Services

Company Background

Woodward Printing Services (WPS) – a division of Woodward Communications – is a full-service, progressive printing company that specializes in high-quality web and sheet-fed printing, mailing and delivery. To date, WPS is the only one of Woodward’s six divisions to have opened their books, but their early success has sparked Tom Woodward, great-grandson of the company’s founder and current president and CEO, to think about expanding it throughout the company. “From my seat, the Great Game of Business fits nicely into our participative culture and family atmosphere, which dates back 100 years,” says Woodward.

Business Challenges

Commercial printing is an extremely competitive business with razor-thin margins, which means any job has the potential to turn into a loss if any mistakes are made. And, despite being a 60% employee-owned company, they needed to get more efficient. Case in point: while WPS generated about 12% of Woodward’s revenues, it represented less than 4.5% of its profits. “It was somewhat embarrassing that we didn’t have a good handle on profita-bility,” says Marty Ploessl, WPS’ operations manager. “We needed to find a way to help employees understand more clearly how what they do impacts the bottom line.”

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