Phil Potvin of Western Concrete Products in Cadillac, Mich., has saved thousands of dollars by encouraging employee ideas with a $2 cash reward. This idea, among others, came to Potvin after a dismal year that saw Western $200,000 in the red. Potvin employed consultant Barry Schimel to help enhance profits. The next year, Western's profit was $300,000.
Schimel shared 100 strategies to improve profits with Western's management team, which then picked 27 items to tackle. They first worked on the tactics that would improve the bottom line most rapidly. The first items that the undertook were hiring a purchase agent, straightening out trouble with the company's landlord in Traverse City, and asking employees for ideas.
Other steps in the profit enhancement process included: changing vacation policies to be more equitable, customizing union contracts, starting a program to facilitate more efficient customer service, and added a prompt-payment discount for customers.