Friday, March 20, 2009

Class Presentations - Open Book Management

Today we presented final projects for the MgmtAcct course, which were focus on Open Book Management. The project was to look at where it made sense at the targeted companies, and how the implementation plan may work. Below are the highlights from the presentations.

VisionPoint Systems (Virginia): Privately held company (<20>How to begin implementing financial visibility into a company that is less formal in how financial and management information is shared today?
  • How to implement new techniques while the company is rapidly growing, in a way that doesn't effect productivity or the existing culture?
  • With many engineers in the company, how will they embrace the need to learn business-centric information and skills?
  • In a competitive market for talent, some concern about sharing financial information if conditions change (ie. visibility may scare people into leaving).

  • Timco Aviation (Greensboro, NC): (~200 employees) provides aviation services and interior components. In the highly competitive aviation industry, how do they try and drive greater innovation from all levels of the company? The focus of this presentation was the engineering division and ways they would become more innovative. They laid out how they created "critical numbers" for each group (hrs/job, productivity systems), and their plan for education and creating the rewards system. Interesting take on how they planned to leverage existing "competition" between sub-groups within engineering, especially how it would buffer the plans before direct bonus-sharing increases could be implemented.

    Que Pasa Media Network: (Winston-Salem, NC - 100 employees)
    Family owned media company focused on Hispanic communities in North Carolina. They are looking to increase overall company value; create less employee turnover (currently not an issue); create greater efficiencies of resources (people, assets, cashflow). The presentation focused on the roll-out plan and education of the various groups that would be involved, and the associated critical number. They face the challenges of a limited budget for education, limited management data (beyond upper-mgmt), and a leadership model that has been driven by the CEO for the lifetime of the company.

    Mills Manufacturing (Asheville, NC; 100 employees) - Family owned manufacturer of military parachutes. The presentation focused on similar goals and concerns as Que Pasa. They face the challenges of information leaks (ie. union leaders), high turnover rates, multiple languages spoken in the plant, and many workers with no high-school education. The team laid a plan to identify "public" numbers for the workforce vs. "private" numbers for the management team. Interesting discussion about the challenges of communicating in a simple and visual manner to the various languages and education levels. With high turnover rates and absenteeism, it will be interesting to understand the education challenges they will face, as education will need to be more frequent.

    General Parts International (GPI) - The largest privately owned company in North Carolina, they provide auto parts distribution to retail stores and service shops. GPI has two business units, WORLDPAC and Carquest. WORLDPAC had implemented a open-book management style in 1995 and grew the company until it was acquired by GPI. The presentation discussed a plan to take the OBM success at WORLDPAC and look at a plan to implement it in portion of Carquest and GPI. Monthly operating results are shared monthly with Directors and above. Month-end and Daily sales data is shared with all managers. "Critical Areas" were identified across all upper-management.

    Overall this was a good mix of small and large companies, public and private. While not all of these plans may get put into place, it forced each of the teams to think about how they could focus each department of a company on their primary ability to effect the bottom-line and the health of the business.