Optimax Systems, Inc., a privately held prototype optics manufacturer, has a team-based culture that is reinforced by two key management practices established more than two decades ago: a reward-oriented bonus structure and a comprehensive performance review system. According to Optimax CEO Rick Plympton, the company’s mission is to enable both customer success and employee prosperity. As part of that mission, Plympton explains, the company invests in technology, invests in its employees, and ensures that employees share in the company’s profits.
The Zingerman’s collection of food businesses in Ann Arbor, MI, is known for its customer service. That “Zingerman’s experience” derives from an extensive framework that includes intensively training new recruits and then empowering them to exercise individual decision-making to “go the extra mile” for a customer. The company has also employed an open-book management approach to give every employee, including hourly staff, the tools and education they need to “think and act like owners.”
GRS&S, a Grand Rapids, MI, producer of assemblies for the automotive market, boasts a number of "best in class" designations from its industry association: for setup time, machine utilization, sales per employee, and employee retention. A good deal of the company's success in driving efficiency has been due to an intensive 40 hours of internal training for all new recruits, which has helped to significantly reduce the amount of unplanned maintenance in the plant, decrease the number of injuries, improve quality, and lower costs.