Becoming a Global Brand
The following quotes are snippets from The TechEd podcast episode titled “Lean, Leadership and Learning: How a Small Town Manufacturer Became a Global Brand.”
- There is a statue that’s outside our front entrance. I call it “Generations.” In that statue is Henry [Ariens], my grandfather … And a little boy with his hands perched up on the table and his nose just above it to see what's going on. That little boy is my father, Michael.
- The three generations that built this company put us in a position to be able to have a strong business in a small community. We're proud of our history and the legacy of each of the AriensCo founders.
- It was my father who turned AriensCo into one of the early adopters of Lean technology. For me, Lean technology is manufacturing engineering 101.
- China was waking up and becoming a manufacturing powerhouse. We could see that they were going to undercut all of our costs because they had such a labor advantage … So for us, we had to get a whole lot smarter.
- We are not going to control the Chinese economy, so we must make sure that we take care of our world as best as we can and be the best-in-class that we can be as a company.
- For me, Lean manufacturing is about engaging the workforce and continuously improving the way that they work.
- I’ve always felt like if our workers truly believe in the company, they will help the company grow. It’s going to make everyone successful because we will not be undercut.
- Our next step is real data-driven manufacturing … We have several opportunities around machine intelligence, labor intelligence, parts and the quality of those parts. There's a whole lot of data behind that.
- When I attend meetings with other CEOs to discuss challenges in the industry, I get cross with them if the conversation turns to complaints and say: “What are you doing? You’re supposed to lead instead of complaining about your problems ... go do something!”
- We're going to have to be quicker on our feet in terms of inventing and investing in automation. The digital world is going to give us real opportunities. At the same time, we need to do that in a responsible way.
- If we are going too fast, we could leave a lot of people behind. It comes back to training and education.
- Maybe as much as we're teaching English and spelling, we should incorporate STEM education by teaching young kids how to code and how to write computer language.
- We want young people to join AriensCo and say, “What you did is really great, but hey, I have a different idea.” I think if we can bring young, fresh minds into the business every day with that attitude, we'll continue to improve.
- I made it a mandate for each department to hire a high school or college intern every semester. Even if we were to have a difficult year financially, I don’t want the apprentice program to stop.
- We started the Natural Preservation program to honor my father. We're not going to build another plant on those 200 acres … We’re going to do everything necessary to protect that land and its ecosystem.
To listen to the entire episode, visit: https://techedpodcast.com/lean-leadership-and-learning/with the Great Lakes and Alpine models.