We live in a competitive world. Examples of this are all around us, especially for those of us that follow sports. It doesn’t matter if we are Hawkeye or Cyclone fans, Twins or Cub fans; we all want our team to be the best. For our favorite sport teams to be successful, they need to have an advantage over their rivals. These advantages could be attributed to a number of things, but it usually comes down to people.
The business world is a competitive world as well and Stellar Industries competes with many other companies both domestically and internationally. I had the opportunity to see a number of our competitors’ products this past week as I attended the Waste Expo trade show in Las Vegas. On exhibit in our booth were a Stellar® Shuttle hooklift on a Ford F750, a Stellar® Container Handler mounted on a Ford F750 for Republic Waste, and a Stellar® cable hoist and automatic tarping system mounted on a Kenworth for Sprint Waste of Houston, TX. While the products in our display looked great, so did similar products in other booths across the show floor. Besides the Stellar Shuttle hooklift in our booth, there were another 8 competitive units on display. The same could be said of the cable hoist and of the automatic tarping system, plenty of other producers to choose from.
So, with so many products to choose from, what sets our products apart from our competitors’ products? I can proudly say that our designs are top notch. However, our competitors make similar claims about their own products. The fit and finish of our display units were great. But the rest of the trucks on display were “show” quality as well. While the obvious differentiator amongst competitive makes and models are the physical characteristics of the products, it is the team behind these products that make the real difference at the end of the day. I’m proud to say that we have a team that none of our competitors can match.
Teamwork is critical in all facets of producing our products. And it is not just the working together that defines a strong team. A truly great team will excel in communication between team members. For us to be a successful team here at Stellar, communication amongst ourselves is critical to our success. I’m not referring to idle chat but words of assistance to our fellow employee. How to lay down a better weld, secure a better routing for wiring on a chassis, or get better results on a complicated paint job are examples of the type of conversations that need to occur in a successful team environment. Even more important is to make sure information gets passed on to fellow team members involved in other aspects of the organization that need to hear input from other players on our team. It is important for our engineering staff to listen and respond to input from our sales staff regarding customer needs and how they use our product so we can improve product design to better suit the users’ needs. It is important for sales and engineering to listen to our fabricators and installers to make sure that what is on the sales order is a product that can actually be built. It is important for ALL of us to communicate with our co-workers if we ever see a potential quality issue with any product. It is important that communication move freely up and down our organization so that we can provide our customers the best products possible that will in turn provide them years of trouble-free service.
What sets a successful team apart from a mediocre team, is the people. We have a successful team here at Stellar, but to stay ahead of our competition we need to continually strive to improve and build upon those strengths that have made us a successful company. Open and constructive communication is a known quality of successful teams. The best way to improve as a team is to improve our communications. To stay ahead of our competition, we need to continue to hone our skills as a team.
-David Zrostlik, President