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23. Think And Act Like An Owner. | John’s Message

John’s Message:

I can think of no better way to make work more meaningful and rewarding than to encourage all associates to “Think and Act Like an Owner”. How great of a company could we become if all associates would ask themselves “What would I do if it were my company? Or “What would I do if it were my money on the line?” before a decision was made? The great thing about this is that we are encouraged and empowered to do so! When associates are empowered to “Think and Act Like an Owner”, they become more engaged and productive. When these two things come together, enthusiasm thrives and business flourishes. After all, it is much more enjoyable to come to work knowing that you are empowered to make decisions as an owner would. This gives us a greater opportunity to create a memorable customer experience.

I started working at Famous almost 7 years ago. During my first week we had a situation with a new, relatively smaller customer that had purchased a hot water tank at the branch. Shortly after picking it up, he called from the jobsite saying he ordered the wrong one. This customer now wanted us to bring him the replacement and return the other one. I told him there would be a delivery charge of $35 for this since it was under our threshold of $350.00 for free delivery. During the conversation, I was fighting my instinct to deliver without the fee, but I wasn’t sure if it would be ok to go against the “policy” since I was new on the job. The customer got very angry and hung up on me. Tim Sloan happened to be in my branch that day and I told him what happened. Tim looked at me and said, “Now what do you think Marc Blaushild would do?” That was exactly the answer I was looking for. We immediately contacted the customer, then promptly delivered the tank to help the customer with his situation. The customer was very happy that day and has been loyal to Famous ever since. Tim’s answer that day, showed me this was exactly the company I was looking for. I was encouraged and empowered to “Think and Act Like an Owner”!


John Brock

Customer Service Manager / Famous Ashtabula

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23. Think And Act Like An Owner. | Ed’s Message

Ed’s Message:

When the fundamentals were rolled out, I went through all of them and thought about which ones I did well at, and then which ones I needed to improve upon. At first glance I really thought I did this one well.

“This is my company and my own money”. When I think about it this way, I am very protective of Famous Supply and our assets.

But one of the other groups thought about it differently and changed my perspective on this Fundamental. I have a tendency to think of it in terms of dollars and cents, not in terms of behaviors. They thought of it in terms of actions, and what it means to truly behave like an owner. When I reconsidered it in this manner, I actually changed my opinion. I was thinking and acting like an accountant (not that there is anything wrong with that) and perhaps not thinking and acting as an owner.

If this company was “(Your Name) Supply”, would you behave differently? I have to confess that I probably would. So why?

Reflecting on this makes me realize that I probably should behave better, more like an owner, than just an associate.

That leads to the question of how should we behave? Fortunately, our ownership has given us 40 Fundamentals of how they would like us to.

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23. Think And Act Like An Owner. | Dave’s message

Dave’s message:

As I thought about the phrase “Think and Act like an owner”, I recalled some experiences from my career in the Plumbing and HVAC Distribution industry.

One instance comes to mind, when several associates were unloading trucks/containers.  Three of the associates were unloading a container of toilets (900 pieces) that were floor loaded and required a lot of work with a two wheeled cart. While the other two associates were unloading a truckload of coiled pipe (24 pallets) with a fork lift, which was a much easier task.  The truck of coils was unloaded in one (1) hour and those associates went on a cigarette break.  As the other three workers were continuing to unload the toilets which would eventually take almost six (6) hours to unload.  As I was witnessing this occurrence, I walked over to the two associates on the cigarette break and asked if they could assist those three working on the unloading of the toilets.  I explained to them that our company would be charged an hourly fee for a delayed return of the container if it was not unloaded in less than 6 hours.  Both of them responded, “They had completed their task and why did they have to help the others”.  Before I asked them to “Think and Act like an owner”, I conveyed a brief story to them, saying that our company was like a big boat and that all of our associates are passengers in the boat.  I then asked, “What if there was a hole in the boat?  What would you do?”  They both chuckled and responded with “we would plug the hole and keep the boat from sinking”.  I then exclaimed, “Exactly, if there is a hole in the boat (company) and it is taking on water and sinking (help needed elsewhere), the boat will sink no matter where you are located in the boat!   They both agreed and understood the comparison.  They then proceeded to help the other associates to unload the container so that the company did not incur any additional expense.

Moral of the story is……. to always do what is in the best interest of the company…….. and “Think and Act like an owner”!

Thank you for reading this…

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23. Think And Act Like An Owner. | Marc’s message

Marc’s message:

The first sentence (“We share in our success.”) in this fundamental is an important one.   I say that because it seems most companies don’t always share in their success.  Conversely, they often strip away profits from their organization.  As you know, at Famous, our objective is to reinvest back into the company in many different ways to ensure long term success.  Whether it’s new facilities, implementing new technology, reinventing our counter and express will call operations, adding more breadth and depth of inventory at our branches and RDC’s, buying more trucks, improving our kitchen and bath showrooms, and most importantly retaining and hiring additional talent, it’s all about investing to strengthen our company.

However, as you know, in order to reinvest in Famous and all of you, including team bonus opportunities, we need to be profitable.  Since the housing and financial crisis seven years ago, we have steadily built our profitability.  In fact, the graph in this fundamental looks like our sales and profit growth from 2010 to 2016.  I am extremely proud of the fact that we have been able to invest in all the areas listed above plus many, many more, and of course, all of you, as training is also an important investment.  Training and development allows you the opportunity to learn more and apply the new knowledge that not only you acquire, but that is required by our customers to satisfy their needs.

Please remember that profit is not a dirty word.  Best in class companies within their respective industries are all extremely profitable, and their suppliers and customers wouldn’t want it any other way.  In fact, their customers want to do business with the winners that are providing the value and service that they require, so they can in turn do the same for their customers as well.  So how do we become more profitable?  That’s the magic question that needs to be answered.  However, I can only provide a few general comments, due to limited time and space in this message, which is, “think and act like an owner”.  It’s so important for you and your peers to make decisions like you own the company.  As we do that more and more each and every day and with every decision we make, we will continue to grow our profits and consequently share even more of our success.  In this message, it’s not practical to specifically address all the different ways that we can be more profitable, because there are literally hundreds, if not thousands.  However I am extremely confident that with your individual and especially collective capabilities to collaborate, teach and learn from one another, you will make wise decisions that are in the best interest of Famous.  And even when we stumble, let’s look at it as a learnable moment, which is an opportunity to enhance our ability to be even more profitable in the future.  Either way it’s a win-win, to become stronger and help move our company forward.

So many people at Famous have a great understanding of the importance of improving profitability, and the first way they do that is by thinking about the overall company, not themselves, their functional area, their branch, or their district.  They think about Famous Enterprises first, and how their actions and decisions will help our organization.  Some individuals that come to mind are Denny Reinbolt, Bruce Ondusko, Bruce Neubauer, Dawn Stonestreet, Kris Newton, Bill Shultz, , Dianna Dalton, Katie Sharrock, and Alan Turk.  Interestingly, some common traits among this group is that they have a lot of experience in multiple roles in the company, and therefore, understand the big picture of our business, and how profit is produced.  I’m proud of them for not only the work they do each day to help Famous, but their loyalty to the company and all of you as well.

In conclusion, I am so confident that we will make even greater strides in the future because when we will all think like owners, and make decisions that are in the best interest of Famous, everything will fall into its proper place.

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