Article by Wall-tech via Marketwired News Releases
September 25, 2015
Encouraging Entrepreneurial Spirit Helped Launch New Division, Grow Revenues
MADISON, WI When Wall-tech decided to significantly scale back operations in 2013, minority partner Pete Braun saw an opportunity to keep the firm, and the jobs it provides, going full-tilt. He also saw an opening to transform the 30 year-old business into the construction company of the future. After obtaining financing and buying his partners out, his first moves were to rewrite the business plan, focus the service offering, and begin to foster a more open and accountable work environment. For the latter, he sought help from the open book management experts at The Great Game of Business™ (GGOB). Less than two years later, front line workers are participating in an innovative employee ownership program, a company-wide bonus pool has been implemented, and Wall-tech's revenues are climbing steadily.
Of the thousands of companies in the U.S. using GGOB, Wall-tech is just one of a handful in the tradition-bound construction industry. "It's an honor to be recognized with the Rookie of the Year award for our employees' commitment and innovation, especially in an industry that's struggling right now to source enough skilled workers," said Braun, now Wall-tech's president. He accepted the award along with several team members at GGOB's 23rd Annual Gathering of Games conference in St. Louis on September 10. "Bottom line, our ownership and mentorship models are transforming our workforce into one that's more proactive and engaged. We've always demanded the highest level of workmanship from our guys. But now that they understand how productivity and quality impact the financial aspects of a project, they're demanding it from each other, too."
Braun credits much of the evolution Wall-tech has undergone to the techniques and tips his leadership team has learned from GGOB. Mini-games, daily pre-start huddles and scoreboards all help to keep projects on time and under budget. And while the engagement hurdle has been challenging to overcome, the creation of a professional development program and a stock ownership plan weighted more toward field operations than office staff helped prove to workers that Wall-tech is committed to the team concept. Grapevine buzz about working at Wall-tech has led to more job applications from qualified tradespeople, a huge benefit given the significant skills gap currently confronting the industry. "When we launched this, we didn't realize it would end up allowing us to pick from the best of the best when putting together crews. It's been a real lucky-strike bonus," said Braun.
With more employees thinking like entrepreneurs, a spin-off company called Wall-panel was launched in early 2015 to focus on building prefabricated interior and exterior panelized walls. It too will operate according to principles laid out in GGOB, and is poised to take advantage of the shift away from traditional construction models to a new Lean and Integrated approach. "It’s a separate company, but a lot of us will spend time doing work for both," said Braun. "That's part of the beauty of GGOB. It really creates a team atmosphere, where everyone is working together for the benefit of themselves, the company and the customer."
Wall-tech is still a rookie in The Great Game of Business. But if they keep having seasons as successful as the last two, look for them to be a long-term impact player in the construction industry.