A Record Year in Shipshewana

I was in Shipshewana at our mill yesterday. They had a celebration about their fantastic year.

The team in Shipshewana set records in timber and logs purchased, the amount of timber logged by our crews, and the amount of lumber cut, assembled into pallets and shipped. They also put two-thirds of their pallets through a dryer. The drivers covered over a million miles recovering logs and shipping pallets.

As you might have expected, all these records have resulted in record bottom line results.

I have several observations:

Among our operations, they are among the best at making measurement matter. They make an effort at measuring everything and drilling down on the results. They use measurement to trigger lean efforts. The efforts result in regular small improvements that mount up. It is a virtuous cycle which eventually yields records.

It took extraordinary teamwork to build on this. Our manufacturing ability pushed our procurement team which stretched our sales team. Having an achievement mentality drove every piece of our operation to greater heights.

It takes extraordinary leadership to accomplish such results. Our plant manager Dorothy Hostetler and her team have worked to inspire and drive the progress. What I observed in Shipshewana was a great team working together to accomplish great results.

One of the greatest challenges we face in business is to put another great year up after achieving one. Our team in Shipshewana has strung a few together.

The challenge is to maintain the lean edge. To pay attention to the numbers. To be diligent in the process of asking how we can improve. To be disciplined in trying new things to make more improvements.

My congratulations go out to the Shipshewana team. It was a privilege to be among them as they celebrated their progress.



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Posted in: Financial Performance, Improvement, Leadership, Lean, Production, Teamwork

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