When Dick Blaudow decided to leave his job at Caterpillar in 1985 because of an uncertain future, he left with an idea to provide IT and infrastructure support for factories.
His idea and leadership were so compelling, 35 others from Caterpillar left to join him at his venture, Advanced Technology Services.
Blaudow says three key strategies have led to the growth of the company.
* Outsourced factory maintenance. From inception, he focused the company's strategy on providing IT and infrastructure support for his customers' factories. The company has grown substantially and has the potential for significant future growth by selling outsourced factory maintenance services.
* Service quality initiative. During 2003, the company invested in a service quality initiative that aligned the company's employees with the strategic goals of the business. A continuous improvement mindset was implemented in all the company's activities.
This has proven successful because the company brings on a significant number of employees when an outsourcing project begins. These new employees are trained in methods that Blaudow has practiced since the company's inception.
* Reinforcing the company's mission. Every new employee attends a detailed, two-day orientation that focuses on the company's history and future. Blaudow attends each orientation meeting and speaks to the new employees.
Employees are also encouraged to participate in charitable organizations. The continuous improvement initiatives are ongoing to ensure employees not only improve relative to job performance but also in regard to life-balance considerations.