Podcast: executive sessions – on the shop floor – MiddleGround Capital
May 3, 2023

Podcast: executive sessions – on the shop floor

Podcast links:

Episode 2 of executive sessions: on the shop floor

In MiddleGround’s second episode of executive sessions, Clayton Gullett leads discussions with two guests in operations roles: a VP of Operations, Alicia Motomura, and a Senior Associate on the Invest Relations team, Jordan Gabbert. This episode covers:
1. Respecting and appreciating shop floor employees
2. Connection between adding value and employee retention/company stability
3. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of great

Respecting and appreciating shop floor employees
Many of our operators started out on the manufacturing floor and understand the value manufacturing employees can bring. These folks are the first line of defense when it comes to understanding the equipment, flaws in production, and other problems that impact profitability. Operators that listen to this group are privy to information that supervisors, or even plant managers, can be far removed from. When you build trust with the manufacturers, you’ll have their buy in when it comes time to change operations.

We also find that shop employees are most engaged when they understand what the end use is for their products. It’s more fulfilling to produce a part that’s essential in ensuring an automobile’s safety compared to a random part that provide no obvious value. Educating employees about their impact not only increases engagement, but also helps improve quality. In today’s market where labor is hard to gain or retain, it’s important to make employees feel heard and valued. You’ll reap the rewards in an engaged and loyal employee base.

Connection between increasing efficiency and stability
In our industry, our goal is to grow businesses in a cost-efficient way. A big part of that process is finding ways to add value. Value can come from multiple places, from reducing waste to negotiating down your cost of materials; but efficiencies gained in this process don’t just increase short-term profit margins, it ensures that your company can sustain growth.

Without a consistent, efficient, and predictable flow of operations, a Portfolio Company will not be prepared to handle new customers or product lines. It’s key to maximize your efficiency, develop a financial/production cushion, and plan thoroughly for growth or else you may risk crippling your business instead of growing it.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of great
The Pareto Principle guides our operations team and is the idea that 80% of the consequences are caused by 20% of the issues. It’s essential to focus on the data, identify the highest impact problems, and focusing on them instead of shooting for perfection across the entire portfolio.

Stay tuned for more of executive sessions, and don’t forget to follow us on YouTube and LinkedIn for more content like this!