By the mid-2000s, Kyle Wiebe, Owner of Maverick Industries, found himself in an enviable position. Under his leadership, the company had built a strong reputation in the construction market through respect for clients, suppliers and employees. Coupled with project management, high-quality work and a dedication to service and quality above all else, the young company was growing quickly as new opportunities sprang up in unexpected places.
It was during this period of rapid growth that an opportunity of a lifetime arose – to buy the well-known Intersteel brand, makers of industrial steel containers. With an established and diversified client base, this next step in Maverick’s journey promised to add stability and load balancing to the operation. But as Kyle soon found out, even the best laid business plans often present challenges that are impossible to see coming. Six months into the acquisition, Kyle was wearing the usual small business hats, plus a dozen more. Despite trades expertise, an excellent operational education from the shop floor up, and a passion for customer service, Kyle had no formal background in business. He soon found himself needing an executive MBA on the fly, while on the shop floor. Opportunities for learning were there – every week it felt like a new and critical business decision would present itself – but like most owners, the daunting task of stepping away from the the day-to-day to work on the business instead of in the business never felt feasible. When growing a business, it’s impossible to know what you don’t know.
Ironically, it’s at this time when an advisory board of directors with expertise would be so beneficial, which is often out of reach for growing organizations. It’s because of this that owners like Kyle will readily admit that it’s lonely at the top. Enter Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), an association by manufacturers, for manufacturers. CME experts have held senior positions in manufacturing or related industries and provide services and supports designed for the realities of today’s manufacturing environment. These include CME’s one-onone executive advisory supports and Manufacturers’ Executive Councils (MECs),peer groups of like-minded, non competing business owners who share valuable lessons and best practices. These supports go beyond one-size fits all textbook solutions. Experts are often the gateway to a powerful network that can help business owners leverage learnings and make connections. Kyle accessed a strategic sounding board that provided him with insights needed to navigate his evolving role as the head of the company to translate strategy into accountable action plans.Tough questions and fresh perspectives were discussed. Over a few short months, this ongoing coaching upped Kyle’s game and ability to see the bigger, broader picture while meeting the demands of the operation. He has hired the right team, improved sales and marketing decisions, and driven smarter choices on what to tackle today and
what to put off for the mid-term. Today, the family business is booming with multiple divisions specializing in multiple sectors and products that add diversity and stability needed to fuel continued growth.
A manufacturing ‘MBA’ is well within reach, but it takes some courage to step forward and invite outside eyes in. Connect with the team at CME today for your own one-on-one advisory session and to learn more about these and other services.
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Kyle Wiebe, Owner of Maverick Industries