Championship Culture at Wisconsin Oven Part IV: A Look Through the Eyes of Our CEO

Posted: May 16, 2016 | Categories: Careers, Composite Manufacturing, Engineering, Industrial Ovens, Manufacturing, Secrets of Success

In wrapping up our fourth post on Wisconsin Oven’s Championship Culture series, we thought it would be interesting to hear from our President and CEO himself. Throughout the years CEO, Dave Strand, has worn many hats at Wisconsin Oven and now he not only wears the hat of President and CEO of Wisconsin Oven but also Thermal Product Solutions, LLC (TPS). For those of you who are late to the series, Wisconsin Oven was acquired by Thermal Product Solutions, LLC (TPS) in March of 2015. TPS is a leading American manufacturer of thermal processing products and test solutions with brands including Baker Furnace, Blue M, Gruenberg, Lindberg/MPH, Lunaire, MPH, Tenney, and Wisconsin Oven.

Since taking over the position of President and CEO at TPS, Strand has been working on instituting a culture shift throughout the organization. There have been many leadership styles in the past but they were not consistent. “Now, our focus is on culture. TPS is a successful brand for the same reasons as WOC. Both companies maintain great qualities and long-term employees.” David continued that they have a production team full of 20+ years of experience. “We’re using the focus on culture as a way of continued improvement. Our aim is to merge WOC and TPS into one team.” The best way to do this? With that good old Wisconsin Oven Championship Culture, we’ve been so avidly speaking about.

For Wisconsin Oven, everything started with continuity… continuity of embracing the “WOW” (Wisconsin Oven Way) factor. As a direct result of this system, employees embrace and see the reward of repeat customers, and how this repetition turns around to invest in employees. Dave explains, “We celebrate our victories, and this continues to feed into our culture of focusing on customer satisfaction. Bottom line, you get what you give in.” In the end the result is a dedicated team of employees standing by your side.

Strand stressed the importance of the customers visually seeing the championship culture. “If we can get a customer into the facility, then there is a significant chance of closing the deal before their departure. The offices and manufacturing facilities are a true testament to the culture and quality that we stand for. And it’s not just the products; it’s the people we hire and work with that are kind and treat our customers with respect throughout their entire experience with us.” Customers come to rely on good service and quality and when they see the dedicated employees and quality of the equipment at Wisconsin Oven it leads to long term relationships. “Our customers can see how much we care. We push for ongoing commitment to customer satisfaction.”

When asked about the meat of the company, the employees, Strand spoke highly of his backing team, “I’ve learned over the years that you can’t invest enough in your employees. You can market, you can research, you can view sites and make investments. Ultimately, it is the employee retention that means the most. We use goals and incentives and celebrate our victories, so everyone knows what a great job they are doing. It keeps the team motivated. We’ve found that score based systems work best. We see individuals stepping up time and time again for the customer, in an effort to improve the entire team’s performance. Seeing the growth is gratifying.”

And the small turnover rate? “It’s the culture. You walk in and see a family rather than a place to make a living and punch the clock.” There are opportunities to move up in the company, training resources at your fingertips, and at times, even a paid for education. The standing policy at WOC states that if anyone in the company would like to advance in their department, for example, Engineering or Financing, they can transfer, get the degree, and be reimbursed. Employees can be reimbursed for technical night classes,seminars, any form of continuing education that they will be able to filter back into the company.

Well, there you have it. A story of Championship Culture from a customer, employees, and the CEO himself. It seems like the culture must be doing something right because of the success WOC has had. You can read more about creating a Championship Culture work environment from David Strand’s book, “Building A Championship Culture”! A big thank you to all of the contributors to the Championship Culture series.

For further questions on company culture or WOC products, click here. Keep an eye out for our next blog where we will be discussing our efforts for National Safety Month!

Tags: championship culture , customer satisfaction , customer service , employee retention , leading American manufacturer of thermal processing products and test solutions , management employee relationship , small turnover rates , Thermal Product Solutions