Scott Mosby's company, Mosby Building Arts, St. Louis, generated $4 million in sales last year. This year, Mosby expects to do $5 million. That 20% jump raised questions about the future of the business, especially as it relates to production. The company has 26 field employees, including eight to 10 lead carpenters. "If the business is going to be $10 million," Mosby says, "the implied question is, What does your staff look like when it reaches that point?"
Mosby, busy with sales and marketing, didn't have time to create the systems that would ensure the company could handle that growth. So he hired locally based consultant Joe Zanola. The idea was Zanola would work with production manager Rich Layton to train production managers for the future.
"[Zanola] took Rich forward five years, and then they worked their way back," Mosby says. Among the questions they set out to answer were, how many lead carpenters would the company need, who would hire them, and how much work would, and could, be done by subs?
Currently, the Mosby Building Arts production model has the company's leads each working one large job, while preparing or closing out another. Leads report to the production manager. Mosby and Zanola decided to create a "flat hierarchy" where newly created "assistant managers" would supervise five to eight leads and report to Layton. The assistant managers would also run their own projects.
To find the assistant production managers, Zanola and Layton decided to "take a look at the current staff and determine who would be capable of taking on those responsibilities," Mosby says. The plan began with personality assessments and a rating of lead carpenters on job and communication skills to determine "who's good at what types of projects." Two assistant production managers were hired. A third will be added later, as volume climbs.
Mosby says he needed to find a way to grow without abandoning his production model of one lead/one job. "If we don't deliver the level of skill, service, and quality people bought, they won't be back," he says.