2013 is coming to a close and it has been a year full of government uncertainty with the President’s War on Coal, the EPA becoming heavy handed and pushing the envelope on contentious jurisdiction, Congress not agreeing on anything and forcing a temporary Federal Government shut down and the final finale the costly and inefficient roll out of the Affordable Health Care Act. Never in my years of business have I ever given too much consideration to Government uncertainty as I have in the last few years. If there is a bit of a silver lining, it is that our economy is strong enough to rebound regardless of the drag Washington DC has encumbered it with and Congress seems to have come up with a compromise budget bill instead of drawing lines in the sand that neither party will reach. Not too sure if all the compromise is good, but it at least gives us two years of some sort of certainty. May everyone have a Merry Christmas and a more certain New Year!
The news is full of stories of American individuals losing health insurance coverage due to their current carrier canceling their coverage. How many of you have heard of companies losing coverage for their employees? Stellar Industries, Inc. is self-insured for our health benefit plan. A critical component of any corporate self-insured plan is to work with a dependable TPA, or Third-Party Administrator, to manage claims processing, provider networks, utilization review, and membership functions. We were informed in early August that our TPA of several years was ceasing operations at the end of the 2013 calendar year. The reason given to us was that the increased reporting and paperwork requirements under the upcoming Affordable Care Act would not allow them operate in the black. Stellar Industries has since secured the services of a different, larger TPA that will begin working with us next month. Thankfully our employees that have health insurance coverage through Stellar Industries will see no gap in coverage.
While our politicians in Washington DC like to talk about all the work they do in the name of creating jobs, do we really know how many jobs they are destroying in the process?
A few months ago we implemented a no-talk session for Thursday afternoons in the marketing department. We heard Jason Fried of 37 Signals talk about the importance of not being distracted and disconnecting to get your best work accomplished, so we figured we’d give it a shot. We did this for a couple of reasons; 1.) to increase productivity and 2.) to disconnect. In the marketing department we find that there are many times that we start working on a project and then get distracted by the little things, that eventually throw us off on a pattern or a certain mindset, dependent of the project we’re currently working on.
Increase productivity and disconnecting – We found that when working on a project, especially a creative project that requires design, we needed to be 100% focused and not be distracted by a phone call, IM message or text message, we would need to absolutely disconnect. Once we’re disconnected, we found that good quality work was able to get done, efficiently too.
Our People. Our Products. These are two powerful defining statements that encompass Stellar Industries and the culture within our company. Being an employee owned company certainly helps promote an ownership attitude among the Stellar team, but it is more than that. Stellar also treats all of us as employee owners; involving us, respecting us and expecting us to take the lead in our daily activities to drive value to customers, and thus Stellar. While continual mistakes are not tolerated, we all realize that mistakes do happen and when they do, everyone involved in the resolution needs to pitch in put that mistake behind us. The “Blame Game” is not important to Stellar, what is important is fix the mistake appropriately and recognize how to mitigate it from happening again.
As I travel through airports, in evidently, conversations can be over heard on just how frustrated a traveler is with their job and or company and how “management” just does not listen, or this department or that department is worthless or similar complaints that makes it obvious just how unhappy that traveler is in their job. And when I hear that, I pause and take note of the blessing I have to be working for Stellar Industries; as one colleague puts it, “I have bad moments, but not bad days.” Any of us that have worked for companies other than Stellar may be able to better appreciate just how our culture is conducive to facilitating a job well done. Most of us work because we need a pay check, that being said, as long as that is true, I sure am glad it is Stellar Industries, Inc. that is cutting me a weekly check!
We are dedicated to be the preferred supplier of quality hydraulic truck equipment and related accessories and we are committed to meeting our customer’s needs in a positive work environment. Not just words, but a reality.