Steve Cremer, the CEO of Harmony Enterprises, Inc. was recently a Panelist for this year’s State of Manufacturing Event, which is Enterprise Minnesota’s annual survey of Minnesota’s manufacturing executives. The results of the survey were presented at the May 3rd event at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Over four hundred people attended, including US Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congressman Tom Emmer. The results of the Minnesota Manufacturing survey were presented along with a panel discussion between CEOs from various Minnesota manufacturers. Here are some excerpts from Cremer’s manufacturing and business insight at the Enterprise Minnesota panel discussion.
Cremer Discusses Employee Training, Retention, and ISO
Training Young Employees out of High School
Harmony Enterprises sees young people right out of high school with no formal training as the potentially fantastic employees that they can become in the future. Steve Cremer shared the story about one of their long-time employees, “Our Chief Engineer started working for us in 1975 as a janitor right out of our local high school. Over the years, he got into welding, and we looked at him and thought ‘you have engineering inside of you and with a little help and a little training, we can make you an engineer.’ Today he is running our engineering department, he does 3D autocad drawings, we have stress analysis programs…” Harmony Enterprises brings in partners to help train their young employees to do amazing things. Cremer continues, “We have been able to grow many of our internal young people over the years to be great employees for us. Knowing we’re able to provide good opportunities and making a career for these kids, without leaving their home communities has been very successful for us.”
Offering Benefits that Employees Ask for – Like Daycare
Harmony Enterprises, Inc. recently had the Grand Opening for the new Harmony Kids Learning Center, that was developed to fill a need for it’s younger employees and their families to increase employee retention. Cremer pointed out, “Our employees are so happy to know that they do not have to drive 20 miles to drop off their child at daycare. Now they can bring them to work with them, walk across the parking lot, and have lunch with their little children. We will take infants to after-school kids up to 12 years old, with room for up to 100 kids.”
Benefits of Being ISO Certified
Unlike many other manufacturers, becoming ISO Certified was not forced on Harmony Enterprises Inc. Cremer explains why Harmony took the big leap of achieving ISO Certification, “We went through strategic planning about three years ago involving most of our employees throughout the organization. One thing we determined is that we had very good quality products… but we had terrible procedures. We thought ISO was a way to look at our processes and improve them… A way to allow our employees to not feel intimidated to make a change or point out mistakes on a print.” ISO Certification has proven itself to be a huge asset to the company, Cremer admitted, “The whole process was a huge learning event for all of us… we have found it to be an added benefit because a lot of our national accounts ask us, ‘Are you ISO Certified?’ and when they do vendor evaluations, they ask a lot LESS questions when you are ISO certified… Our sales team and purchasing people are very happy about that too.” Harmony Enterprises Inc. will be re-certified the end of this year in both 2008 and the new 2015 certification.