How the Novus Management System Helps Me Be a Better Manager

Summary
- Rick Kasmerick is a manager of customer service at Novus International. His role is to manage order fulfillment for customers in North America that purchase Novus products. His first exposure to novice management system was a key accountability document. The level to him is an indication of the length of projects he or his subordinates are working on.

Speaker A My name is Rick Kasmerick. I started at Novus International a little over two years ago. I came from the automotive industry. After about 20 years, Novus hired me as a manager of customer se..

Speaker A My name is Rick Kasmerick. I started at Novus International a little over two years ago. I came from the automotive industry. After about 20 years, Novus hired me as a manager of customer service. Sir, my role is to manage order fulfillment for customers in North America that purchase Novus products. My first exposure to novice management system when I first was hired. Right at that time they were just completing the key accountability documents, which to me was the type of performance review my tasks that I was going to be expected to complete and the kind of time I had to do them and the resources I had to help me accomplish that. I have six people in the customer service department in novice. That gives me the opportunity to practice a lot of the novice management techniques. I think my first exposure to them, the thing that kind of gave me my first opinion of how things were structured here was the key accountability document that kind of tied into Novus has critical success factors. Those are kind of in my opinion, they're the long term objectives thought up many levels above my position, but they're broken down into smaller objectives. And that was the part I liked. It was understandable of what going forward the next few years, what was going to be expected of my position, the kind of time frame I had to complete these tasks. And it probably even helps as a manager for me to be able to. What I liked about it was I could look at those objectives and relate them down a layer to my own employees. So it's pretty easy to get a sense of what I'm accomplishing and what that's building towards. When I think of levels in terms of how it really impacts me is the level to me is an indication of the length of projects I or my subordinates are typically going to be working on. When the level twos that report to me are working on tasks that typically require tracking or monitoring of contracts or rebates items that typically we will complete in say, a three to one year time frame. I work on some projects as a level three that kind of go a bit further than that. I can still do things that maybe are started and accomplished one to three months, but I'm also working on projects that have a little bit of a longer term outlook on them. One to two, possibly a three year project. As a level three. My supervisor is a level four. He's now more involved in projects. When I get involved with something that he's working on that does take on typically a longer outlook when he starts to propose something, I tend to know that it's going to take us not a short period of time, but a long range outlook might involve two or three key objectives versus this one simple task. And we've done things that literally deal with some of our shipping logistics pricing that have spanned well over a year and aren't resolved or haven't come to a solution or completion of the task yet in that time frame. So that's what I tend to do more when I'm dealing with a level four than if I'm dealing with a level two. I started in the spring of the year, and Novus has a fiscal year that runs starting at April 1. So that was the first change that I encountered when I got here. I didn't replace an employee. My position was the first time they had taken customer service and moved it from the manufacturing and logistics order fulfillment area under and they moved it to North America sales so that there was in actuality a kind of a bridge or a link between operations and manufacturing and the actual sales happening in the field. The minute I got here at Novus, the key accountability document was given to me and it was actually what they used and gave me when I went through the interview process. So I had a pretty good scope of what I was getting into and what the position was. The first two to three months at Novus, there wasn't a lot of emphasis on novice management system. I would tend to say that I was learning, creating my position, and for all practical purposes had the authority or the ability to do that. Not much was dictated to me. I used a key accountability document to really kind of guide me. I did mentor under the person that interviewed me, Kevin Maori, who's in charge of a great deal of both the manufacturing and the logistics, our products warehousing and the distribution of those at about two months was the first time we had a novice management class, novus Management NMS class is what it's referred to at Novus. And at that point, employees that had been hired in the last few months to, I think up to probably six months had a three day seminar, at which point, different employees from different levels of the company, from thad simons to Sabrina Hamilton, geo down to product managers, people in logistics and distribution, along with a good explanation of our products, what they do, what species they're applied for and really how we operate as a company from Human. Resources to the administration, literally, to the at the time, we were starting on a new facility, the one we're in right now, and they pretty much shared everything about the company. And coming from the automotive industry and a traded, stock traded company, I knew bits and pieces of the finances of the company. Probably one of the most eye opening differences between my past employment and working at Novus was Thad Simons gets in front of the group and describes everything that's happening in the company. I would tend to say information that is deemed confidential in other companies is readily shared with the employees. We know what we're doing. We know why we're doing it. We know what the mission and values are. And the information that I would tend to say backs up if we're accomplishing that task is readily shared with every employee. When we hold our quarterly communications meetings, the quarterly communication meetings, to me, is the best way to reinforce what the company's purpose and mission is and how it's being accomplished. And at those communication meetings from Thad Geo, Sabrina, John Wade, the CFO, the managers of both the lab and research get in front of the employees that are in St. Louis and describe what they're doing, what's happening, where we're going, and how successful we are. So those things, to me are some of the key differences between what I've learned in the past 20 to 30 years and what I've been learning at Novas. I worked for over 21 years for one of the Big Three automotive company out of Detroit that was one of the largest companies in the world, one of the oldest companies in the world. When I was interviewing Pernovus as a potential employer, what did appeal to me was the fact that in the interview process, I was interviewed by executive vice presidents, people that are levels four and five. So I understood that I was going to be working in a much different structure than I had the previous 20 some years. That appealed to me. And the way Nova's management system turned out to be is just that I have much more information on what the company is doing, what our performance is doing, and literally, I'm hearing it from the CEO. If we're accomplishing our goals or if we need to pick up in a particular area, that, to me, is a big plus. At Novus, I'm very comfortable if I see that there's an issue in my area, specifically order fulfillment, and whether it's something specifically on my K or D or not, I know that I can question. I can just literally walk to the individual that may be responsible for the area that I think we could do something different, better, just change it to improve customer satisfaction. And there's no hesitancy. There's no walls, there's no structure that I must first see this person before I can talk to this person that has allowed us to be what I call very nimble, very flexible. When we see something that could be improved, we can quickly gather together the key decision makers and propose something. There's not a lot of structure, very little hierarchy. There's just enough procedures in place in this management system to let us make quick reactionary changes and see immediate results. In my particular position as the manager of customer service, if I know there's a product out there that a customer is using but has issues and concerns with, and they're not the kind that stop them from using it, but it's one of those things. The product is coming out. If it would flow this way, or if it wouldn't do this, I would probably utilize more. I can go in this company to the individual that's actually in charge of that product or manufacturing the product and have a discussion just immediately and potentially start in place a process to make changes or improvements to our product. In the automotive industry, in the company I worked for, that would have been something at my level that wouldn't have been an opportunity. You would have tended to write a memo, hope someone above you felt that as strongly as you may have about it and done something with it. At Novus, there's never a question in my mind that if I've got an idea on a way to do something better for the company or the customer, that the structure is flat and nimble and can be very quick to react to any suggestion or concern. I am a big proponent of Novus's use of the Kad, the key accountability document, which twice a year has a portion of it that's called a personal evaluation appraisal. The Pea, a lot of companies, you get handed a list of objectives or tasks you have to accomplish. The way we're set up here, the Key Accountability Document really lays out for my employees four to six key goals that we're going to be working together with or separately in what is called FY ten fiscal year 2010. That, to me, really is a roadmap of what we want to accomplish above and beyond the daily tasks that you do to complete your job. We come in, we're very good at fulfilling the customer's orders, but the fact is, working on different things or systems that can help us get better year in, year out is what that key accountability document is. To me, that's the key to actually helping me be a better manager and be more specific with employees in terms of what is expected of them and what tools are available to help them accomplish those goals.

Country
USA
Date
2009
Duration
13:34
Language
English
Format
Interview
Organization
Novus International

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