The Lawton Standard Co. held its annual Leadership Summit on October 12-13 in Green Bay, WI. This event provided an opportunity to unite leaders of all foundry sites and functional support areas. The working session was time for managers who typically work “in the business” to direct efforts to work “on the business.”
Top management from Lawton was joined by site leaders representing all production locations, including Temperform, LLC (Novi, MI), The C.A. Lawton Co. (De Pere, WI and Minster, OH), Penn-Mar Castings, LLC (Hanover, PA), QESC, LLC (Houston, TX) and Northern Iron & Machine (St. Paul, MN). In addition, support managers from accounting, engineering, finance, IT, maintenance, sales, and service were present.
Before the Summit
Preparation for the summit included a SWOT analysis by the management team. This analysis provided a list of items the team viewed as important topics for this discussion. A review of this analysis by the C-Suite executives was vital in preparing the direction and focus for the meeting.
The Focus of the Summit
The event’s focus was not merely an update on the state of the business. That information was reviewed to set the stage for the actual work. A history of the progression of the organization since inception was followed by a brief introduction of each attendee. It was the first time many of these people had met face to face and, in the case of representatives from newer sites, the first time they had even spoken with others throughout the company. Understanding who is doing what and where would be sufficient for many organizations to bring a team together. However, the Lawton team did not stop there.
The state of the industry and our current position in it was another critical input to set the stage for the work to be completed. Recognition of labor challenges, material costs and availability, capital investment, and customer need satisfaction were all discussed. The team worked on the understanding that to improve, you needed to know where you were and the challenges you were facing.
Teamwork and Big Goals
The group was then broken up into three teams. Each team was assigned a specific topic derived from the SWOT analysis. The needs chosen were identified as critical goals, and the teams were tasked with designing a strategy for addressing that need. The needs identified were as follows:
Every company has a culture. What do we want ours to be, and how do we move the needle to accomplish that goal?
What specific internal opportunities should the organization pursue, and what resources will be required to attain those goals? This team’s focus on operations, engineering, and the process will transform how we work to satisfy the needs of our customers.
Mergers, Acquisitions, and Investments
What do we need to develop externally to fulfill and support the company’s advancement? What is required to satisfy the customer more fully from a value-added perspective while enhancing the organization’s value?
We will not reveal the specifics of these directives or how we plan to attain them. However, further definition and implementation of these strategies will guide this organization to achieve the overarching goal envisioned by the leadership team. That goal? To be a company customers want to buy from, people want to work for, and suppliers want to sell to. Continuing to set a new standard in the casting industry. The Lawton Standard.
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