Workforce Development in Southwest Missouri | #417Biz

Our very own Scot Scobee, from our sister-company Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation, is featured in the below article from 417Biz.  This is a very interesting ready on workforce development. Enjoy!

While many local companies struggle to recruit workers, some organizations are facing the region’s workforce development challenges head-on. Learn about their creative solutions to attracting and retaining talented employees.

BY STEPHANIE TOWNE BENOIT

At the height of the Great Recession, the scheduling board in the office of Brookline Doorworks, a Springfield garage door installer and retailer owned by Mark Foley, was woefully empty. With demand drying up and builders hunkering down to weather the storm, contractors and suppliers of all stripes felt the pinch.

Reluctant to lay off staff, Foley cut workers’ hours and struggled to find odd jobs to fill their days at work. “We tried to keep everybody busy,” Foley says. “For a while, there were some people working maybe three days a week. There wasn’t enough work.”

Fast forward a few years. The economy recovered, putting more money in homeowners’ pockets and encouraging developers to bring new projects online, causing Foley’s business to surge. “When I look at our scheduling board, there’s a lot more new construction installs,” he says. “A few years ago we might have had four or five a week, or three a week—now, we have several per day.”

But as demand for new commercial and residential construction increased, another demand—the need for skilled workers—skyrocketed, too. “It’s always been more difficult to find someone with experience in this line of work,” Foley says. “Now, it’s harder than ever.”

That need for skilled labor, and the difficulty in finding it, translates across industries in the region. According to the Ozark Region Workforce Development Board and Missouri Job Center’s 2017 State of the Workforce Survey, 72 percent of its 576 respondents reported having difficulty filling positions during the past year, up from 59 percent in last year’s report.

The situation is likely to grow in severity due to a low 3.9 percent unemployment rate as of March, technology-driven shifts in industries and other market and demographic forces. But despite those obstacles, local companies are taking steps to find solutions for their immediate and long-term workforce needs by implementing robust strategies to attract talent, equipping current staff with resources to grow into hard-to-fill roles and reaching out to future generations in hopes of drawing workers into fields in need of skilled labor.

Ramping Up Recruitment

The manufacturing floor at Springfield ReManufacturing Corp.’s Heavy Duty facility hums with activity as dozens of associates take apart, clean, inspect, weld, assemble and test engine components. In the heart of that bustling space is a 2,000-square-foot area now filled by a new assembly line dedicated to diesel engines for a new client, an over-the-road trucking company.

Although that new business is a major coup, it also posed a colossal challenge for Scot Scobee, SRC’s human resource director, as the company prepared to send those orders to the production floor starting this May. “We are going to double our engine line capacity and add about 100,000 hours in our shop,” Scobee says. “The challenge is we are, in essence, hiring the same amount of people we did all last year in two months.”

To do just that, SRC held its first hiring fair in more than a decade this past March. About 200 job seekers took part in on-the-spot interviews and tours of the facility. Some of those applicants attended hanks to employee referrals, which SRC incentivized during a dedicated push in the weeks prior.

But Scobee and leaders from other SRC Holdings Corp. divisions are thinking beyond this single recruitment drive. “If we are going to grow from a half-a-billion- to a billion-dollar company in next three to five years, which is our plan, we’ve got to bring new people into the organization,” Scobee says.

Growth is also top of mind for Jim Jones, president of JRI Holdings, which designs and manufactures industrial cleaning systems under two brands, JRI Industries Inc. and Jensen Fabricating Engineers Inc. “Probably one of the single biggest hurdles is going to be finding new employees and people to allow us to grow and expand in Springfield as much as we want,” Jones says.

Jones says that challenge has existed for some time, which lead JRI to approach the Missouri Division of Workforce Development when the company needed help finding qualified candidates about eight years ago. During that process, JRI was asked whether it would consider applicants who had recently left prison. JRI agreed, thus expanding the company’s applicant pool and helping it attract great employees. “Obviously you’ve got to be somewhat interested in people’s background, but we always understand people have made mistakes,” Jones says. “If we can find somebody who wants to work and checks out, we are committed to them, kind of almost regardless of what they’ve done in the past.

It’s not just the manufacturing sector that’s redoubling recruitment efforts. For example, if there’s a career fair happening at a local college, seeing representatives from American National* in attendance is practically guaranteed. That’s because the company takes full advantage of its proximity to regional universities to maintain a talent pipeline for its Springfield corporate center, particularly for entry-level positions. “We just have better luck in this area with the entry-level market because it is so saturated with colleges,” says Megan Trower, who leads American National’s talent management department.

American National recruits much of that talent through a dynamic paid internship program with the goal of finding positions for interns within the company after they graduate. As career development trainees, participants gain valuable experience while contributing to the company alongside current staff in key capacities, such as assisting with underwriting or working in American National’s Client Service Center.

In addition to bringing students to American National’s corporate offices, the company builds bridges to college-aged prospects by engaging in classroom spaces. Human resources staff members regularly present in courses at Evangel University, several employees teach technical courses at Ozarks Technical Community College and a University of Arkansas graduate on staff returned to his alma mater to visit with actuarial students. Coupled with the internship program and dedicated career fair attendance, this classroom presence helps students gain a better understanding of the company and the opportunities available there. “Name recognition is huge,” Trower says.

Building name recognition has also been essential for Penmac Staffing Services Inc. In recent years, more companies have been seeking Penmac’s assistance in finding qualified candidates for jobs. “We have seen an increase in companies looking at using a [staffing] service that might never have used one before because they are struggling at getting enough people in their doors to fill out applications just on their own,” Penmac President Paula Adams says.

To meet that demand and drive more job seekers to openings, Penmac has increased its marketing budget, allowing the firm to intensify time-tested strategies like online and social media marketing, as well as to utilize new tools such as mass calling and texting services. The company has also increased its advertising budget and expanded to new platforms including TV. A mobile app is also in the works to help ease communication with Penmac’s current employees and applicants about job opportunities. “We use all of the media possibilities that we can to try to reach them,” Adams says.

On top of increased marketing efforts, incentives and perks for current employees are also part of Penmac’s strategy to attract applicants. For example, those who found their current position through Penmac become eligible for a bonus when they refer a friend to Penmac and after that new person works for a set period of time. Although this bonus incentive has been available for more than a decade, Penmac increases bonus pay rates or reduces eligibility requirements during certain recruitment promotions.

Penmac also makes every effort to remove factors impeding willing people from applying to open positions, such as offering a van service for a small fee to employees who lack reliable transportation, a perk available since 1988, when founder Patti Penny bought a van and personally drove employees to work. Penmac has maintained a fleet over the years and recently added an additional van and part-time driver due to increased demand.

Working Wonders

Connecting locals with employers is all in a day’s work at the City of Springfield’s Department of Workforce Development, which is housed in and operates the Missouri Job Center-Ozark Region. Learn about some of the department’s initiatives that are helping address the region’s pressing workforce needs.


JET

The department launched its JET (Jobs, Education, and Training) program to provide funding to companies interested in specialized training for current staff. “This is one program where you can see some direct benefit and probably see it in a shorter period of time,” says Mary Ann Rojas, director of workforce development at the city. “If you are developing or manufacturing a product and you are having difficulty with your current workforce understanding how to build a product maybe due to new technologies, requirements or regulations, and then you are able to get that training, it’s just going to help you be more competitive.”


Ozarks Promise

The need for health care professionals is striking: In the 2017 State of the Workforce Survey, health care organizations reported having more difficulty finding qualified job applicants than any other sector. But a $3 million U.S. Department of Labor grant issued to the Department of Workforce Development in partnership with Ozarks Technical Community College will help make a dent in that deficit. Known as Ozarks Promise, the grant allows 372 individuals to receive tuition-free training and certifications in occupations such as behavioral support specialists, nursing assistants and registered nurses in hopes of drawing those graduates into local health care jobs in the years to come.


Connect

The Missouri Job Center plays a major role in getting people in the Missouri Work Assistance program, the statewide program offering employment and training assistance to people receiving aid through Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, workforce-ready. Based on individuals' employment plans and specific situations, participants receive training that helps them brush up on their soft skills—the lack of which is pinpointed as a hiring impediment for employers—before heading to local employers such as Mercy for several months of hands-on training. “If they see that they are a viable candidate for permanent placement, they hire them,” Rojas says. The program provides those individuals with steady jobs while helping local companies find new staff.


Financial Literacy

Inspired by Zone Blitz, launched last year to combine efforts of community partners to improve quality of life in northwest Springfield, Regions Bank approached the Department of Workforce Development to see how they could support the initiative. Realizing that employers often cited financial literacy as an impediment to workers’ productivity and job readiness, the Missouri Job Center began offering a financial basics workshop in its north Springfield location taught by Regions Bank associates. Since the workshop debuted in December 2016, dozens of participants have learned about credit scores, direct deposit, establishing checking accounts, budgeting and other topics leading to stronger financial health.

Hiring Help

In March, Springfield ReManufacturing Corp. held a hiring fair with interviews and tours to prepare for a new production line at one of its facilities. 

Left Photo: Maintenance Supervisor Darrell Miller, right, interviews Victor Bulik for one of the open positions. Right Photo: Austin Murray gets a tour of the facility from Michael Ward.

Left Photo: Maintenance Supervisor Darrell Miller, right, interviews Victor Bulik for one of the open positions. Right Photo: Austin Murray gets a tour of the facility from Michael Ward.

Navistar Defense Awarded $18.8 Million To Provide Medium Tactical Vehicles For Iraq

LISLE, Ill., June 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Army recently awarded Navistar Defense, LLC a foreign military sales contract valued at $18.8 million to provide 115 International® 7000-MV Medium Tactical Vehicles (MTV) to Iraq. 

Navistar Defense MTVs are based on the highly multipurpose International® WorkStar® severe-duty platform designed for both off and on-road operation, and is the backbone for the company's MaxxPro® Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. 

"Since 2004, Navistar Defense has delivered nearly 7,000 trucks and buses to Iraq through foreign military sales contracts," said Kevin Thomas, president of Navistar Defense. "As a proven partner, we're proud to supply the Iraq Army with a highly versatile and easy-to-maintain 7000-series tactical military support truck that offers greater efficiencies in support, spare parts, training, and operations."

The majority of the work will take place at the company's West Point, Mississippi assembly plant. Delivery is planned to be completed in January 2018.

This equipment is being used by Iraqi security forces in the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense.  Navistar Defense's dealer in Iraq, Hama, provides parts and service support to Navistar vehicles in Iraq and the region.

About Navistar | Navistar International Corporation (NYSE: NAV) is a holding company whose subsidiaries and affiliates produce International® brand commercial and military trucks, proprietary diesel engines, and IC Bus™ brand school and commercial buses. An affiliate also provides truck and diesel engine service parts. Another affiliate offers financing services. Additional information is available at www.Navistar.com.

Source:  Navistar News

The marks of Navistar and Navistar Defense are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

Cornhole Tourney for Wounded Warriors | #NSEgives

The NSE Safety Committee is hosting its annual Cornhole Tournament this week our Springfield, Missouri headquarters.  The tournament benefits the Wounded Warriors Project.  Good luck to all of the participants!

About the Wounded Warriors Project (WWP) | WWP offers 20 holistic programs to wounded service members and their caregivers completely free of charge and 100% of the funds raised through the this event go directly to Wounded Warrior Project to help fuel these programs.

Click the donation link below, then the DONATE button at the top of NSE's fundraising page to enter the amount you are able to give.

Donate to the Wounded Warriors Project  Thank you in advance for your support!

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About NewStream Enterprises (NSE) |  NSE, a subsidiary of SRC Holdings Corporation, was formed in 1990 to provide customized supply chain management, such as kitting, packaging, light assembly, warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment, to the world’s leading On and Off Highway original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It is an employee owned company which truly believes in the power of a workforce when each has a stake in outcome.  NSE can manage all or any segment of your supply chain process. Our services are customized to fit your requirements. From materials management, to direct order fulfillment, NSE becomes a seamless extension of your business.

ATA April Truck Tonnage Drops for Third Month [VIDEO]

SOURCE:  ATA

SOURCE:  ATA

The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire-Truck Tonnage Index slid 2.5% in April, marking the third straight month of declines.

The index for April equaled 134, down from 137.4 in March. Compared to last April, the index was down 1.8%, a change in trends from March, which showed a slight year-over-year increase. More telling was the not-seasonally adjusted index, which showed a drop of 7.8% from March.

“I have to admit that April’s contraction is a bit surprising, especially considering the anecdotal reports I’ve been hearing from fleets regarding freight levels,” said Bob Costello,  ATA chief economist. “It’s not necessarily that tonnage levels fell in April that is surprising, but the size of the decrease.”

Some economic indicators were pointing toward improved freight and ATA was expecting to see a corresponding boost in the index, however, a 2.6% drop in housing starts may have contributed to the decline, as residential construction generates heavier truck freight. The weight is important because the Truck Tonnage Index measures the weight of loads, not the amount.

“Despite the fact that tonnage is down a total of 3.6% over the last three months, I still expect moderate growth going forward as key sectors of the economy continue to improve slowly,” said Costello.

Additional data from industry intelligence firm FTR adds a little more perspective. "Our loadings data shows a 1% increase from March to April, after a 1.3% drop the prior month," said Jonathan Starks, chief operating officer for FTR. "Our tonnage data shows a 0.7% increase in April following a 2% decline in March. Short-haul, heavy freight (i.e. stone, asphalt, etc.) had a big surge in February and has come back down to earth the last two months." Compared to the previous year, FTR's numbers show loadings up 4.4% in April and tonnage up 3.7%.

Updated 5:10 p.m. EDT 5/23 to add FTR data

Springfield is Great For Business, According to Forbes

7 Cities You Didn't Expect To Be Great For Business

New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Boston and Los Angeles are just some of the obvious cities that come instantly to mind when you think leading business cities in the U.S.

However, freelancers, startup founders, and small business owners have some great locations that you may not have realized were great for business and now the secret is out on eight of them:

1. Springfield, Missouri: With low labor costs and tax basis, Springfield is a great place to start a new business as well as expand an existing one. The city and state provide many programs to help stimulate local business, startups, and well-known companies like Bass Pro Shops, which is headquartered in the area.

Missouri Partnership identifies key industries in the Springfield region as distribution and logistics, advanced manufacturing, call centers and back office, technology and innovation, corporate office, and data centers. Missouri Partnership’s CEO, Steve Johnson notes that "the Springfield region includes Missouri’s third largest city and metro area and is highly rated for its tax climate, livability factors, and growth in jobs and population."

springfieldmo.org

springfieldmo.org

2. Austin, Texas: More than just a great place to enjoy music, this small business-friendly city is also becoming known as a southwest hub for startups. Large tech and retail companies have also opened up offices here, creating a new opportunity for local talent to tap into greater job opportunities.

The 2016 Kauffman Growth Entrepreneurship Index had Austin as the second fastest city to grow its entrepreneurial base after Washington, D.C., with its start-up community growing by 81.2%.

3.  Provo, Utah: The city has all the ingredients for creating a great place for business, including a university setting that is doing more for entrepreneurs, a strong and giving investment community, and civic support. For example, there are co-working spaces like Startup Building and programs like the Startup Connectory that are directed at helping businesses launch and succeed.

4. Des Moines, Iowa: America’s heartland is becoming a burgeoning area for startups and entrepreneurship thanks to organizations like Greater Des Moines (DSM), which is working to help entrepreneurs and inspire angel investors to come to the city.

Initiatives include Square One DSM to connect startups and investors as well as help founders develop their business models. Mentoring and networking are also available along with other resources, tax breaks, and affordable space for setting up shop.

5. Colorado Springs, Colorado: There are multiple organizations, tax incentives, and resources that have encouraged dozens and dozens of entrepreneurs to start their businesses here and now they are thriving and helping others do the same.

Not just for cannabis, Colorado Springs and other cities throughout Colorado are launching tech, environmental, and socially driven companies thanks to groups like Peak Startup, Built In Colorado and Startup Savant.

6. Las Vegas, Nevada: After the economic crisis of 2008 and in light of the ongoing focus on gambling and resorts, Las Vegas has come a long way in a short time to reinvent itself to become a mecca for businesses of all types. With businesses fleeing California in droves due to the oppressive taxation there, Las Vegas opened many with open arms and attractive tax relief.

With Zappos and Tony Hsieh leading the way, the city now hosts some of the largest industry trade shows for tech, fintech, and other industries as well as offers Startup Row with accelerators, incubators, and investors that have co-working spaces, funding and mentoring programs, and more to stimulate a business environment that has transcended gambling, tourism and real estate.

7. Seattle, Washington: While you might think it’s an obvious city given that it’s home to Microsoft, Starbucks, and other well-known countries, it’s only been recently that it’s become a haven for startups, entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Besides great opportunities for freelancers and outsource workers to partner with these big brands, the area has added accelerator and incubator programs, new venture capital firms, university entrepreneurship programs and economic development ventures to incentivize the development of small businesses and startup tech companies.

Moving to one of these quieter cities can provide you with an advantage over staying in a bigger city where there may be too much competition already. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy a lower cost of living, beautiful scenery, and a different pace of life designed to put more quality and creativity back into your routine.

Source: Forbes

Distler Promoted to Accounting Manager

NewStream is excited to announce the promotion of Whitney Distler to Accounting Manager from Senior Staff Accountant. Whitney replaces Jo MacDonnell, who moved to a new position at SRC Holdings.

Whitney graduated with her MBA, with a concentration in accounting, from Missouri State University in 2009.  Since that time, she has furthered her experience and career in the field of accounting through a variety of SRC subsidiaries.

Whitney is an integral part of not only the accounting team, but also the NSE and SRC corporations as a whole.  We are proud to have Whitney as an employee-owner.

Please help us congratulate Whitney!

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About NewStream Enterprises (NSE) |  NSE, a subsidiary of SRC Holdings Corporation, was formed in 1990 to provide customized supply chain management, such as kitting, packaging, light assembly, warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment, to the world’s leading On and Off Highway original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It is an employee owned company which truly believes in the power of a workforce when each has a stake in outcome.  NSE can manage all or any segment of your supply chain process. Our services are customized to fit your requirements. From materials management, to direct order fulfillment, NSE becomes a seamless extension of your business.

 

Help NSE Help Wounded Warriors | #NSEgives #SRCgives

NSE is proud to host this fundraiser for the Wounded Warriors Project (WWP), a charity hand-picked by our employee-owners, from May 1 through June 23 as part of the SRC Wealth and Wellness event, slated for June 24, 2017.

As a corporation, we are passionate about giving back to our nation’s service members – the few who fight to protect the freedom of this great country. Often times many of these inspiring individuals come home with wounds you can and can’t see, like a missing limb, combat stress, or depression. Because they’ve risked everything for us, I’m committed to raising awareness and funds for these wounded service members and their caregivers.

WWP offers 20 holistic programs to wounded service members and their caregivers completely free of charge and 100% of the funds raised through the this event go directly to Wounded Warrior Project to help fuel these programs.

Click the donation link below, then the DONATE button at the top of NSE's fundraising page to enter the amount you are able to give.

Donate to the Wounded Warriors Project

Thank you in advance for your support!

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About NewStream Enterprises (NSE) |  NSE, a subsidiary of SRC Holdings Corporation, was formed in 1990 to provide customized supply chain management, such as kitting, packaging, light assembly, warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment, to the world’s leading On and Off Highway original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It is an employee owned company which truly believes in the power of a workforce when each has a stake in outcome.  NSE can manage all or any segment of your supply chain process. Our services are customized to fit your requirements. From materials management, to direct order fulfillment, NSE becomes a seamless extension of your business.

Navistar’s Sass Surveys the Road Ahead for HDTX Attendees

Jeff Sass addressing attendees of first HDTX fleet networking conference.

Jeff Sass addressing attendees of first HDTX fleet networking conference.

As Navistar works to move past the mistakes of the past and looks ahead to the future, International Trucks’ Jeff Sass opened HDT’s inaugural Heavy Duty Trucking eXchange fleet networking conference in Phoenix this week with a peek at the future, from electric trucks to autonomous vehicles. HDTX is a new invitation-only event for select truck fleet executives co-hosted by an array of suppliers. 

Sass, senior vice president, North America Truck Sales and Marketing, was up front about how the company’s failed emissions compliance strategy is still affecting customers plagued with reliability issues, but forthrightly dealt with customer questions and complaints. And he pointed out that Navistar has an all-new engine, the A26, introduced at the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council meeting earlier this year. 

“All the people involved in the MaxxForce program are gone,” he said. The 12.4-liter A26 is the first product of Navistar’s Project Alpha and was designed with drivers and uptime in mind, he said. 

“But connected trucks is really where the industry is headed,” Sass said. Trucks will talk to each other, to the infrastructure around them, and to their owners. Reprogramming trucks remotely and being able to do advanced prognosis on trucks, he said, are “another aspect of making it easier to drive the trucks. Because we have a significant driver shortage. 

“We as an industry have adopted advances in automated connected vehicle technology,” he continued, noting that advanced driver assistance systems, such as lane departure warning, collision mitigation and cameras, are making truck driving easier and safer — and, he said, “will lead at some point to autonomous, driverless trucks. 

“Now, do I believe that on I-10 out here at 3 o’clock in the afternoon as my wife is driving my two daughters to soccer practice that there will be a truck with no driver in it? No. But there are short-term applications where driverless will make sense.” 

He then offered a couple of examples:

Congested intermodal ports. At the Port of Long Beach, there’s a 4-mile-long line as drivers wait to pick up containers. “Every minute that driver is in that truck goes against their hours of service,” he said. “Why can’t that line be completely autonomous, driverless, inching forward minute by minute, and as it gets to be fourth in line the driver gets an alert, hops in the truck, and saves all that time and productivity?

In fleet yards. While visiting a fleet recently, he observed a driver checking in at the guard shack, then going to the fueling bay, to the wash bay, parking the trailer, then parking the truck, a process that took some 17 minutes. “Why couldn’t that driver get out at the guard desk and go to the locker room and then autonomously have that truck go to the fuel bay, go to the wash bay, park the trailer, park the truck?” Sass suggested. “No one is going to have a problem with a truck on private property operating by itself.”

He said another technology on the way is electric trucks. The cost of battery storage is rapidly diminishing, he said, and right now it’s about $185 per kilowatt hour. “If we can get it down to about $100 per kilowatt hour, you will find the inflection point where electric and diesel cross. So, at 100ish dollars per kilowatt hour that’s where it will make economic sense. Elon Musk [of Tesla] says it’s going to be in three years. Most people are saying around 2025.” 

Platooning is a reality as far as technology goes, Sass said, but he’s not sure the commercial model is there yet. “I’ve seen it happen at our test track in New Carlisle, Indiana. Two trucks 30 feet apart from each other going at 60 mph. Doesn’t sound like that big of a deal until you’re in that trail truck. It’s really close. Really close. If it brakes or has to veer, they talk to each other, the trucks know, and it’s been very safe for us.” 

However, he said, “can you imagine two fleets that are competitors with one another, both on I-10 right here in Phoenix at 2 in the morning, debating who goes in front? Because the trail truck is the one that gets 90% of the benefit. So, until there’s some sort of legislation, or tax credit, or something that provides a commercial aspect to it,” that’s unlikely to happen, he contended. 

Looking further down the road, he said that maybe there will be cabless autonomous electric vehicles — “kind of just a battery on wheels that pulls a trailer.” Perhaps there will be remote dispatching, where autonomous trucks that go from hub to hub and autodock at hubs will be controlled by someone pushing buttons on a screen — or a hologram. 

But in the nearer future, he said, there’s still a role for drivers, a very important one. 

“With all the increases of electronics on the truck … the role of a driver is becoming more like a pilot,” he said — the pilot handles takeoff and landing, with autopilot used in between, with pilots still right there in case there’s a problem. “I was on my 47th American Airlines flight this year this morning, and I’ll tell you, I feel very comfortable walking in and seeing that there’s pilots sitting in the cockpit. I don't know that I would actually get on a plane without a pilot. There will be drivers in our trucks for a long period of time.”

Source: TruckingInfo

 

SRC named to Forbes 25 Small Giants list | #theSRCstory

Forbes announced its Small Giants 2017 - America's Best Small Companies this week and our SRC employee-owners were listed as a Top 25 company.  Congratulations to our SRC family on this amazing accomplishment!

Forbes Small Giants 2017: America's Best Small Companies

This is our second annual list of Small Giants, 25 companies that value greatness over growth. They aren’t opposed to growth—just to growth at all costs. We picked 25 businesses that have sound models, strong balance sheets and steady profits—all privately owned and closely held. They contribute to their communities. They have been acknowledged as outstanding by others in their field. And they do things any business can learn from. Here is this year's unranked list, all hailing from a wide range of industries, including American manufacturing.

View Complete List

Source: Forbes

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About SRC Holdings Corporation | SRC Holdings Corp. is the oldest employee-owned remanufacturer to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in North America. Its associates have been leaders in core logistics, disassembly, cleaning, machining, assembly and testing everything from fuel injectors to large off-highway transmissions. The company is known worldwide for its open-book culture which espouses transparency, integrity, and economic literacy.

About NewStream Enterprises (NSE) |  NSE, a subsidiary of SRC Holdings Corporation, was formed in 1990 to provide customized supply chain management, such as kitting, packaging, light assembly, warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment, to the world’s leading On and Off Highway original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It is an employee owned company which truly believes in the power of a workforce when each has a stake in outcome.  NSE can manage all or any segment of your supply chain process. Our services are customized to fit your requirements. From materials management, to direct order fulfillment, NSE becomes a seamless extension of your business.

Drones in Truck Fleets: Beyond Package Delivery

Once approved by the FAA, Workhorse will release a version of the E-GEN hybrid-electric truck that has been specifically designed to incorporate HorseFly. (PHOTO: WORKHORSE)

Once approved by the FAA, Workhorse will release a version of the E-GEN hybrid-electric truck that has been specifically designed to incorporate HorseFly. (PHOTO: WORKHORSE)

In today’s digital age, technology is developing at a break-neck pace and fleet management is often the recipient and early adopter of many of the new options available.

One of the more newsworthy pieces of modern technology has been the “drone.” A drone is defined by Webster’s as an unmanned aircraft or ship that can navigate autonomously, without human control or beyond the line of the operator's sight.

Package delivery fleets are finding ways to utilize drones for delivering lightweight packages short distances from moving vehicles. But, beyond delivery fleets, I got to thinking about a few other ways truck fleet managers may find some benefits from having a drone in their vehicle fleet.

A utility fleet in Kansas has recently replaced the use of some bucket trucks with drones to “improve the way it conducts inspections.” Other fleets may be able to utilize drones for inspections, such as gas and oil fleets that operate in more remote areas.

One possible use for a drone in fleet management would be for quick site flyovers, versus the need to walk or drive around a facility. Want to check in on your maintenance facility? Check over your facility grounds for any maintenance or clean up needs? Just about anything that can be accomplished by a quick walk around can be handled by drones. They can also be used for security purposes allowing security personnel to cover more ground. 

Another possible use would be photography and videography. Need to get a photo of your fleet vehicles or facility? Want to make a promo video for your fleet? (Check out what Stertil-Koni Lifts recently did with a drone at a fleet facility in Long Beach, Calif., here).

Furthermore, light package delivery isn’t off the table for fleets – perhaps delivering interoffice mail, light parts to a maintenance bay, or other small items.

The possibilities are endless. What are some ways your fleet is currently using drone technology? Or if you aren’t currently using it, what other ways do you see it being a possible benefit for fleets? Or, do you see them as a distraction and unneeded in fleet?

May 5, 2017 | by Lauren Fletcher

Source: Work Truck

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About NewStream Enterprises (NSE) |  NSE, a subsidiary of SRC Holdings Corporation, was formed in 1990 to provide customized supply chain management, such as kitting, packaging, light assembly, warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment, to the world’s leading On and Off Highway original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It is an employee owned company which truly believes in the power of a workforce when each has a stake in outcome.  NSE can manage all or any segment of your supply chain process. Our services are customized to fit your requirements. From materials management, to direct order fulfillment, NSE becomes a seamless extension of your business.

 

Conversations with Jack | Study why others fail | #SBJlive

What does Jack Stack think business students need to learn? He says innovation and creativity are learned by dealing with budget shortfalls. Jack believes the way to win in The Great Game of Business is by studying the reason others failed.

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About NewStream Enterprises (NSE) |  NSE, a subsidiary of SRC Holdings Corporation, was formed in 1990 to provide customized supply chain management, such as kitting, packaging, light assembly, warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment, to the world’s leading On and Off Highway original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It is an employee owned company which truly believes in the power of a workforce when each has a stake in outcome.  NSE can manage all or any segment of your supply chain process. Our services are customized to fit your requirements. From materials management, to direct order fulfillment, NSE becomes a seamless extension of your business.

Cummins Westport Introduces 2018 Natural Gas Engines

Cummins Westport announced its model year 2018 lineup of renamed natural gas engines for regional haul, vocational, transit, bus, and refuse applications.

The new lineup comes with a name change. Following Cummins' tradition of using B, L, and X series letters followed by the engine displacement, the new natural gas engines willadd an “N” designation.

The new B6.7N, L9N, and ISX12N engines are EPA and California Air Resources Board Low NOx certified and feature onboard diagnostics, closed crankcase ventilation systems, and performance and reliability improvements, says the company. The new ISX12N also features a redesigned fuel system with fewer parts and improved performance.

Cummins Westport 6.7- to 12-liter engines are designed for truck and bus applications up to 80,000 pounds. Vehicles can be tailored to perform to meet customer requirements with enough range to offer route flexibility without in-route refueling. For example, on-highway natural gas trucks can have over 700-mile range capability, says the company.

All CWI engines offer customers the choice of using compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, or renewable natural gas as a fuel. Using a low carbon intensity RNG fuel provides better GHG reductions and is part of the company’s zero emissions strategy.

Cummins Westport engines use proprietary spark-ignited, stoichiometric combustion with cooled exhaust gas recirculation technology, and three-way catalyst aftertreatment, which is packaged as a muffler and does not require scheduled maintenance. No diesel particulate filter or selective catalytic reduction aftertreatment is required. 

“Our 2018 product line demonstrates an important milestone in product development for Cummins Westport, creating a move to zero emissions strategy for our customers and industry," said Rob Neitzke, president of Cummins Westport. "We are particularly pleased that the ISX12N will join the L9N in offering our on-highway customers the benefits of performance and reliability at an ultra-low emissions level described by California's South Coast Air Quality Management District as equivalent to an electric vehicle. This move to zero emissions strategy means our customers can choose the most affordable path to zero-equivalent emissions with no commercial constraints on supply or technology readiness."

Source: TruckingInfo.com

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About NewStream Enterprises (NSE) |  NSE, a subsidiary of SRC Holdings Corporation, was formed in 1990 to provide customized supply chain management, such as kitting, packaging, light assembly, warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment, to the world’s leading On and Off Highway original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It is an employee owned company which truly believes in the power of a workforce when each has a stake in outcome.  NSE can manage all or any segment of your supply chain process. Our services are customized to fit your requirements. From materials management, to direct order fulfillment, NSE becomes a seamless extension of your business.

CONVERSATIONS WITH JACK | ANGLING FOR RELIEF

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Tell Jack Stack to get a hobby and he'll get hooked on competitive fishing.

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About NewStream Enterprises (NSE) |  NSE, a subsidiary of SRC Holdings Corporation, was formed in 1990 to provide customized supply chain management, such as kitting, packaging, light assembly, warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment, to the world’s leading On and Off Highway original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It is an employee owned company which truly believes in the power of a workforce when each has a stake in outcome.  NSE can manage all or any segment of your supply chain process. Our services are customized to fit your requirements. From materials management, to direct order fulfillment, NSE becomes a seamless extension of your business.

 

Earnings Watch | Daimler, Volvo, Paccar Profits All Move Higher

Earnings for truck makers moved higher in the first quarter of the year, with three on Tuesday showing big improvements from the same time in 2016.

Volvo AB's first quarter profit increased 25% from a year earlier, totaling 4.73 billion Swedish kronor, or $533.7 million, according to MarketWatch, beating analysts' expectations of 3.56 billion kronor.

Sales during the period rose 8% to 77.37 billion kronor, compared with 71.71 kronor billion a year earlier The better numbers were driven by increased orders of both trucks and construction equipment.

“After the downwards correction in the long haulage segment in 2016, the North American [truck] market seems to be bottoming out. We see positive signs of increased order activity,” said Martin Lundstedt, president and CEO.

He noted that the truck market in Europe remained strong in the first quarter of the year and demand there for heavy duty trucks is expected to be about the same as it was in 2016.

In North America, Lundstedt said dealer inventories of new trucks are at healthy levels, however inventories for used long-haul trucks remain elevated.

“This continues to dampen demand for new trucks in this segment despite indications of an improving freight environment. Demand in the refuse and construction segments remains good. Retail sales for the industry are forecasted to be lower 2017 compared to 2016,” he said.

North American truck deliveries were down 34% compared to a strong first quarter 2016. Both Volvo Trucks and Mack gained market shares, with Volvo Trucks reaching 9.4% and Mack hitting 8.9%. The order intake increase of 27% was driven by both Volvo Trucks and Mack reflecting higher activity within the construction segment and a somewhat improved freight environment combined with low dealer inventories, according to Volvo

Paccar Earnings Rebound

Back in the U.S., the parent to Peterbilt and Kenworth reported a big turnaround. Paccar Inc. had net income of $310.3 million compared to a net loss of $594.6 million a year earlier. The performance a year earlier was due to more than $900 million the company had to pay over claims of price fixing in Europe that involved it and other truck manufacturers.

Earnings per share in the first quarter of 2017 were 88 cents, 1 cent better than Wall Street expectations. Despite this turnaround, revenue declined 1.7% to $3.94 billion.

“Paccar benefited from increasing truck production in North America and Europe, as well as record quarterly Paccar Parts pretax profits,” said Ron Armstrong, CEO.

U.S. and Canada Class 8 truck industry orders were 40% higher in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year, according to Darrin Siver, Paccar senior vice president, who said this reflects a good economy and steady freight demand. 

“Peterbilt and Kenworth achieved 32% share of U.S. and Canada Class 8 truck industry orders in the first quarter this year,” he said. “Class 8 truck industry retail sales for the U.S. and Canada in 2017 are expected to be in a range of 190,000 to 220,000 vehicles.”

Paccar Parts achieved record quarterly pretax income of $151.7 million in the first quarter of 2017, which was 13% higher than the $134.6 million earned in the same period last year. It generated revenues of $786.7 million in the first quarter of 2017, 9% higher than the $719.5 million reported in the same period last year. 

Daimler Pre-Tax Profit Nearly Doubles

Not to be outdone, the parent company to the Freightliner, Western Star and Mercedes-Benz brands reported preliminary numbers Tuesday, a day before it publishes full first quarter numbers.

Daimler AG earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) jumped 87.1% in the first quarter from a year earlier, totaling $4.01 billion euros, or $4.25 billion, according to Reuters, due to better car sales and one-time gains.

The German company said that EBIT for Mercedes-Benz cars totaled 2.234 billion euros, up from 1.395 billion a year earlier. Daimler Truck EBIT was 668 million euros compared to 516 million euros in the first quarter of 2016.

According to the Financial Times, Daimler was forced to publish strong first-quarter results two weeks early because they were “significantly above market expectations."

Source:  Trucking Info

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About NewStream Enterprises (NSE) |  NSE, a subsidiary of SRC Holdings Corporation, was formed in 1990 to provide customized supply chain management, such as kitting, packaging, light assembly, warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment, to the world’s leading On and Off Highway original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It is an employee owned company which truly believes in the power of a workforce when each has a stake in outcome.  NSE can manage all or any segment of your supply chain process. Our services are customized to fit your requirements. From materials management, to direct order fulfillment, NSE becomes a seamless extension of your business.

#theSRCstory in Forbes Magazine | #GGOB

We are excited to announce that #theSRCstory made its way to the pages Forbes magazine!  See below for the article.

Gaming the System: How One Manufacturing Company Saved Itself With Radical Transparency And Created A Slew Of Blue-Collar Millionaires

Jack Stack (fourth from left) and some of his team at SRC Corp. in Springfield, Missouri.

Jack Stack (fourth from left) and some of his team at SRC Corp. in Springfield, Missouri.

There are three basic conditions if you want to work for Jack Stack, and they go for everybody from senior executives down to the people who clean his company's bathrooms. The first is you have to learn how to read and understand the company's financials, the second is you really have to believe there is no "I" in "team," and the third is you have to get into the habit of asking, "What could go wrong, and what are we going to do when it does?"

Stack, 68, is the CEO and cofounder of SRC Holdings, a Springfield, Missouri, company owned entirely by its 1,600 employees. Since its launch in 1983, SRC's main business has been remanufacturing engines and other components for trucks, tractors and other heavy equipment, which means taking worn gear and returning it to like-new condition. It's a tough, highly cyclical business. "If GDP is less than 2%, we're flat," Stack says. "If it's above that, we're on fire." Last year, SRC booked $16 million in profits on $532 million in sales to customers like General Motors, John Deere and Navistar.

Over the years, SRC has evolved into a highly entrepreneurial miniconglomerate that has launched more than 60 companies in industries ranging from banking to medical devices to furniture. It has also developed an unusual culture--a humane, Midwestern blend of quantitative management, radical transparency and practical paranoia--that has made it the flagship of what's known as the open-book-management movement.

SRC, a place where sports metaphors rule, calls its distinctive brand of open book "the Great Game of Business." A small but passionate cult of business owners has grown up around two big ideas, which Stack has promoted in two books, The Great Game of Business and A Stake in the Outcome: One idea is that you can boost performance by making a game of tracking and improving key metrics. The other is that if you want employees to care about their jobs as if they were owners, you should make them owners.

There are many reasons SRC has become a model for other businesses--not least of which is that the Great Game promises to bridge a lot of the distrust between management and labor--but the real proof of the idea is that it works financially. In 1983, SRC's survival was a day-to-day question; a share of the company's stock was worth ten cents. Today, its shares, which have split six times over the years, are worth $70.30 each. If you'd been able to invest $1,000 in SRC in 1983, you'd have about $4 million today.

Since its launch 34 years ago--while much of our national discourse has been about who is to blame for the collapse of American manufacturing--SRC has paid $100 million to workers who have cashed out their ownership shares. Dozens have gone on to start their own businesses. Stack says about 30 of those workers, many of whom spent their careers on an assembly line, became millionaires when they quit or retired. "A guy who started here in 1983 making $7.50 an hour," he says, "has now got $1.2 million."

SRC DOESN'T JUST make its financials available to employees--it also puts the numbers quite literally in their faces. The walls of the company's factories and offices are covered with signs, whiteboards and computer screens highlighting standard workplace stuff like "days without an accident" and also metrics tracking every aspect of SRC's financial health (only individual salaries are not disclosed). Opening the books to employees, however, is only the beginning and probably the easiest part of the Great Game. The real work is teaching employees what all those numbers mean--and how they can be moved.

One morning toward the end of 2016, about 250 employees--men and women wearing jeans, work boots, safety glasses and more than a few trucker caps--sat around tables in a windowless lunchroom in a Springfield factory SRC runs in a joint venture with the giant London-based multinational heavy-equipment maker CNH Industrial. The joint venture was launched in 2009 and is owned 50-50 by its partners. "We remanufacture engines, transmissions, electrical systems, water pumps, axles--anything you can imagine on a farm tractor or an industrial tractor," Stack says.

The morning event was a monthly, all-hands meeting known as "big staff," at which department managers--sales, purchasing, supply chain, operations and so on--review the joint venture's financial health for the month just passed and lay out targets for the month ahead. Spreadsheets with all of the relevant numbers were projected on two large screens. Managers--the guys wearing Dockers and shirts with collars--did most of the talking, but the numbers underlying the targets had all been generated in tandem with the workers in the room. Individual departments and workers get into the nitty-gritty of setting and hitting targets at weekly meetings called "small staff." Setting standards and making forecasts are obsessions here, and all of the numbers start with line employees. As Stack often says, "Nobody knows the job better than the guy who is doing it."

At the lunchroom big staff, finance was spoken casually and fluently--cost of goods sold, profit before taxes, inventory levels, insurance costs and the like. Most of the people in the room were not SRC shareholders--they were employees of the joint venture, not SRC directly--but part of every employee's compensation comes in the form of bonuses tied to profitability. Operations director Steve Choate, who has been with SRC since the beginning, told the group that profitability for November looked good. "We're on track for bonus," he said to a round of applause. (Ultimately, they came up short.)

Mounted on the wall at the front of the room were five full-size traffic lights, just like you'd see above an intersection, indicating the joint venture's current health in five broad areas: People, Safety, and Cost were green but Quality and Delivery were red. Choate would explain later that Quality had been subpar because of flaws in a particular engine that required fixing under the joint venture's customer warranty. Delivery, meanwhile, had been off because the venture had been having trouble keeping its most popular products in stock.

During the proceedings, which lasted about 45 minutes, Stack, the only SRC guy in the room wearing a sport coat, stood at a wall with a group of managers trying to be inconspicuous. When he had entered, he'd been recognized instantly--as he is everywhere at SRC--with a chorus of "Hey, Jack!" and then surrounded by a small crowd of people wanting to shake his hand. He's SRC's resident father figure or maybe its favorite uncle. He pays attention to everyone he meets, laughs easily and often, remembers names and asks about kids and sick relatives.

Although Stack voted for Trump, hates government regulation and says his all-time favorite business book is Atlas Shrugged , Ayn Rand's Objectivist doorstop, his brand of capitalism is not of the bare-knuckle variety. To him the most important aspect of how his company operates is that workers and management take shared responsibility and rewards for everything, including profits. Rand surely would have considered that hopelessly softheaded, but it has helped create an unusual degree of trust between managers and workers. When times are good or when they are lean, as they have been for the last few years, everyone at SRC knows why. Donna Harlow, 54, a warehouse worker who has been with SRC since 2010, says, "Its kind of nice knowing where you're at." Samantha Roderick, 26, a customer-demand analyst, says, "I don't worry that anybody's lying to me."

JACK STACK MIGHT have made a good parish priest if he hadn't been kicked out of the seminary. He grew up in a big, blue-collar family in Elmhurst, Illinois, was educated in Catholic schools and briefly studied for the priesthood. Following that and a stint in college, he got a job sorting auto parts in a GM factory and then got fired for playing poker during his abundant downtime. Finally, his dad got him a mailroom job with his own employer, International Harvester, the equipment manufacturer later bought by Navistar.

And it was here that Stack, a young man on the verge of permanent-screwup-hood, learned how to use his gifts. He was smart, outgoing, funny and imaginative, a regular guy who drank and swore and smoked. (Not just cigarettes. It was the '70s.) But he was also disarmingly honest and compassionate. All of that combined to give him a whiff of what you might call priestly authority. He was the kind of guy people wanted to please.

International Harvester eventually saw those qualities and began giving him management jobs. Stack says his initial reaction to trying to manage cynical, unionized autoworkers was to freak out. Eventually, though, he learned he could motivate workers by, first, simply sharing everything he knew (including financial and productivity data) and, second, appealing to their competitive and entrepreneurial impulses. Working for Stack became a series of little contests (or "mini-games," as they would become known at SRC). Beating a target for reducing re-work, for instance, meant a pizza-and-beer party paid for with the money that was saved. Hitting a new production quota meant winning a cash bet with another department about who could do it first. "What's wrong with having fun?" he asks.

In 1979, International Harvester sent him to take charge of a failing 200-employee nonunion remanufacturing factory in Springfield. "Anytime there was a pile of crap, they threw me into it," Stack once told an interviewer. "This was a big pile of crap." Soon the company announced plans to shutter the plant if it couldn't find a buyer. Stack and a group of managers decided to get their employees together, buy the plant and run it as a worker-owned operation. Stack hadn't glimpsed some secret fortune in the plant that had escaped International Harvester. Mainly, he says, he just dreaded having to fire a lot of people and go home a loser.

In the process of buying the plant and trying to get it back on its feet, Stack and his team realized they knew scarcely more about business, particularly finance, than the blue-collar men and women they claimed to be leading. From the beginning, Stack and his team made a point of including workers in their attempts to educate themselves. With the company just barely putting one foot in front of the other through the deep recession of the early 1980s, the possibility of layoffs or bankruptcy was always real. If he had to fire people, he told himself, it would be a little easier on them (not to mention him) if they understood the economics. He was also smart enough to sense that the best answers to a lot of the company's daily challenges--e.g., how to reduce waste and downtime, how to keep inventories low--weren't going to come from management.

Warren Burros, 76, an SRC warehouse working supervisor who retired in 2006, says it took a while for Stack's ethos of openness and shared responsibility to take root. Some people, he remembers, used to speculate that all this "open-book jazz" was really just another swindle by the guys in suits, that there were really two sets of books: a bogus set for the workers and a real one for management. It took years of growing profits and employee-stock-ownership accounts--and no layoffs--for that skepticism to fade. Now a credit counselor with a Springfield mortgage company, Burros says it was a different feeling than he had ever had at work. "You were walking in sync with your boss," he says, "but you still knew he was the boss."

The goodwill came to count for a lot, especially in tough times. Late in 2008, for instance, SRC's automotive unit, which was remanufacturing car engines for General Motors and boat engines for Mercury Marine, was caught in the economic downdrafts of the financial crisis. But when orders from the two main customers dried up, the unit was able to shift resources into new efforts that had already been pitched by workers, including making natural gas pumping units and remanufacturing engines for the U.S. Postal Service. Because they knew and trusted the numbers, the workers didn't have to be convinced that something had to change; they volunteered to go to a four-day workweek so that no one would lose a job.

BY THE MID-'80S, journalists, academics and business owners began making the trip to Joann's Expressway Lounge, a now long-gone Springfield dive, where SRC folks congregated to drink and play pool and where Stack, a Miller Lite in his hand and a cigarette in his mouth (he's since quit smoking but not beer), held regular office hours. SRC eventually launched a small consulting unit to teach the Great Game method for a fee. Every year, hundreds of devotees and new converts come from around the country--and even the world--to meet under SRC's auspices to share experiences and renew the faith.

All of which suggests an obvious question: If the Great Game is such a good idea, why isn't everybody playing it? Rich Armstrong, president of SRC's Great Game consulting unit, counters that a lot of companies have adopted the Great Game or some aspects of it, including Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines and American Electric Power. Still, despite the passion of its fans, the idea has never really caught on with a wider audience.

For one thing, open book flies in the face of the traditional command-and-control culture that has dominated American industry, leaving most business leaders reluctant to try it unless they are desperate. For another, implementing open book is hard. "I think what it really boils down to is how willing are you to be completely vulnerable to your employees about much money you are making or, in our company's case, losing," says Michael Kiolbassa, 54, president of Kiolbassa Provisions, a San Antonio maker of sausage and other specialty meats. Kiolbassa is a satisfied customer of SRC's Great Game consulting unit, but he adds, "A lot of people say it's like dropping your pants."

Tellingly, Stack has even had trouble selling the concept to his own family. When his daughter, Meghan Chambers, launched a women's clothing store in Springfield in 2004, she refused to open her books, despite her father's pleas. Only when she ran into cash-flow problems a few years later and needed financial help from her father to survive did she agree to give it a shot. "I was carrying a lot of stress," she says. "I had weight loss and wasn't sleeping, and my dad finally looked at me and said, 'Why are you doing it all? Why are you taking it all home and not sharing it with everybody? You know they have ideas. You know they'll help you through this.' "

As soon as she started reviewing her books line by line with her employees, Chambers says, they started contributing money-saving ideas, and the business started to turn around: "The amount of stress that released from my shoulders and my body was pretty incredible once the clouds parted and everybody was on board."

Stack likes to tell a story of a friend in the fireworks business who visited his supplier in China. He asked to see the factory and was shown a group of huts spaced widely apart so that a fire in any one of them wouldn't cause the whole thing to blow up. The moral Stack drew from the story was to be constantly encouraging his people to build new huts. "We do start businesses all the time," he says. "When you teach people the financials, they get a pretty good idea of how to run a company." The strategy not only reduces risk but also keeps operating units small, making them more amenable to the Great Game approach and also making them easier to sell if SRC wants to raise cash.

Sometimes, SRC contains its risk while starting businesses by creating joint ventures, like the one with CNH. That deal generates $4.2 million a year for SRC. But the contract gives CNH an annual option to buy out SRC, and Stack believes that sooner or later CNH will use it.

Last year, six young SRC executives volunteered to take on the job of figuring out a way to replace the joint-venture revenue when it goes away--part of an ongoing strategic-planning effort to get the company's up-and-coming leaders working on SRC's big challenges. Another group of workers, for instance, looked at the self-insured company's rising health care costs. Their recommendation? "They told us to raise our premiums and reduce our deductible," Stack says.

The day after Election Day, over sandwiches and sodas from the local Schlotzsky's, the joint-venture group was looking to talk about a possible new line of business: rebuilding and reselling a vehicle often seen on work sites. A unit of SRC currently remanufactures engines and other components for the vehicle, which SRC isn't ready to disclose, for two corporate customers.

The possibility that got the SRC employees stoked is this: If we can make money remanufacturing components, couldn't we make even more money rebuilding the entire vehicle? There are currently more than a million of the vehicles at work in America. More to the point, Environmental Protection Association emission standards have jacked up the costs of new units. While a new one goes for more than $60,000, SRC might be able to sell a remanufactured one that would not have to comply with the latest emission regulations for $48,000. "We think it could be a $20 million business in a few years," says Ken Cook, a member of the project group and director of operations with SRC's Great Game.

First they've got to prove they can do the remanufacturing, which means budgeting enough money to buy some old vehicles to experiment on. They figure they'll need at least ten, plus money to hire a "wrench turner" to take them apart and to pay for the time of the engineers who will figure out which parts can be saved and which will need to be tossed. The group decided to ask for $200,000.

While the young men spoke, Stack ate his sandwich and listened, occasionally asking a question or tossing out a playful insult. He seemed to be making an effort not to dominate the meeting, but it was no use. The young guys kept asking, "What do you think, Jack?"

As it turned out, he loved the idea. Asked after the meeting what downsides he saw, he shook his head dismissively: "None."

The financial bar is relatively low for new businesses at SRC; they don't need to look like world-beaters as long as their fundamentals are solid. "In order for us to invest in a business," Stack says, "they have to be able to absorb their overhead and have cash flow, not necessarily make money. After they get up and running on their one product, they're asked to diversify."

The company has launched numerous businesses that have failed, but Stack has learned to take that in stride. The success of any one business is less important than the process of constantly looking for new opportunities.

"We start new businesses every year," he says. "This is fun."

Source:  Forbes

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About NewStream Enterprises (NSE) |  NSE, a subsidiary of SRC Holdings Corporation, was formed in 1990 to provide customized supply chain management, such as kitting, packaging, light assembly, warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment, to the world’s leading On and Off Highway original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It is an employee owned company which truly believes in the power of a workforce when each has a stake in outcome.  NSE can manage all or any segment of your supply chain process. Our services are customized to fit your requirements. From materials management, to direct order fulfillment, NSE becomes a seamless extension of your business.

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