Scott Mauldin runs his business like he drives his car.
The president of Genesis Electronics Manufacturing Inc. occasionally glances in the rearview mirror, but he also looks out over the hood to see what lies ahead.
“If you spend too much time being introspective, the world’s going to pass you by,” he says. “Or if you’re too visionary, you don’t look down to fix the things you need to fix.”
Mauldin combines both those views to lead his $17 million electronics manufacturing service provider and its 100 employees.
Smart Business spoke with Mauldin about how to steer your company in the right direction.
Q. What are your keys to growing a successful company?
There are three key elements that are the 1-2-3s of our daily business, and they’re fairly universal: Hire good people, develop and practice a breakthrough thinking mentality across your organization and have crisp action. Then rinse and repeat.
Q. How do you keep good people at your company?
It sounds a little cliche, but there’s no doubt good people are your most important assets. A company can invest all sorts of money in the most advanced equipment and the best systems, but inevitably, those tools are only as productive as the people that interact with them. Mediocre people given great tools will still, at best, only create mediocre results. But great people with simple tools will create great results.
Once you hire them, you have to retain them so you have to spend time creating a culture and putting things in place that make people want to stay. We have a four-day workweek, Monday through Thursday. We started it over a summer, when our energy costs are highest, and saw an improvement in our energy bills. It helps people save on gas because they don’t have to drive to work on that day. And, if they do have to work overtime on a Friday, they still have a Saturday and Sunday. It’s a very people-friendly perk.
Q. How does that benefit your company?
We have a turnover rate of less than 2 percent and a great deal of employee loyalty. We’ve got people who know the processes and that also helps in our responsiveness; we’re not trying to retrain people all the time. A strong core of long-term employees provides an advantage to your customer.
Q. How do you foster breakthrough thinking among your employees?
We encourage them to look at things that are not value-added. Nobody can improve our processes more than the people who touch them every day. They’ll say, ‘Why am I doing this? Can it be done faster? Can it be done cheaper, or do we really need to do it at all?’
Breakthrough thinking really helps you remove the old euphemisms like, ‘Bigger is better.’ In reality, better is better, no matter what size it is. Good people are always energized by that process. When they’re able to get involved, the ownership that they have increases to a level that is very exciting and satisfying. Once you get that momentum going, it’s exciting.
The process becomes so much more simplified when you start with good people because they love breakthrough thinking. They love to take crisp action. They love to see results, and they’re not afraid to say, ‘That’s ugly. Let’s fix it.’
We think about it this way: If you see something right, you should celebrate it; if you see something wrong, you need to fix it, and in our internal processes, if something is indifferent and not making an impact, then we need to question why we do that at all. If it doesn’t add value, we need to remove it from the process.
There’s a term paralysis by analysis where you spend a lot of time grinding over whether you should do something or not. Our thought process is, ‘Let’s just do it, then quickly measure the results.’ If it works, great, we’ve done a good thing, and if it doesn’t, fix it.
If you’re going to have an impact and service a customer base, you have to be responsive. If customers call us, they’re looking for a call back in a very short period of time. If they e-mail us, they’re looking for an answer as quickly as we can get it to them.
Our mission statement is, ‘Consider it done.’ It’s fairly simple, but that’s how we treat each other, internally and externally. Nobody wants to hear, ‘I’ll get back to you in a week.’ That’s just not the way to garner customer loyalty and customer longevity in our business. The way you do that is by being responsive.
HOW TO REACH: Genesis Electronics Manufacturing Inc., (813) 854-1661 or www.genesismfg.com