The Value of Stepping Back

For this shop, a dramatic improvement in quote-capture rate was just one benefit of forcing focus on the big picture instead of just the day-to-day.


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Co-owners Justin McPhee (left) and Tim Bartz say getting off the shop floor and working on the company’s overall vision is critical to ensuring a sustainable future.

“We were spending too much time working in the business and not on the business.”

That’s how Justin McPhee, co-owner of Minneapolis-area injection mold manufacturer Mold Craft, described a problem that seems all too common, both in our own industry and beyond. That is, the tyranny of the urgent—the tendency to become so consumed by immediate needs that the big picture gets neglected.

Suffice to say that forcing a step back circa 2010 wasn’t easy for Mold Craft, given the shop’s situation at the time. Nonetheless, McPhee and fellow co-owner Tim Bartz say the result was more than worth it. With help from an outside consultant, leadership took a hard look at just what sort of company Mold Craft was, where it wanted to be in the future, and how it might get there. This resulted in the development of a clear, understandable plan for everyone in the organization that helped boost the company’s average on-time delivery rate by nearly 20 percent and more than double its quote-capture rate. Today, leadership and shopfloor employees alike no longer have to worry about putting in a great deal of effort for only marginal gain. Read this article to learn more.