Photo Above: Julieta Langarica.
Julieta Langarica is a student at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She is working towards her MBA. One of her recent “homework assignments” was to interview the President of a company (specifically – myself, Donald Dobert) regarding “Strategic Business Plans & Their Effective Implementation”. Julieta has worked at ATL for the past four years as a Quality Engineer and as an internal auditor for pharmaceutical/ medical device FDA cGMP compliance to 21 CFR 210, 211, and 820.
The following is part one of this interview.
Julieta Langarica (J.L.). What is your mission, your vision, and your strategy for the company and the direction it should be headed? What are your main goals?
Donald Dobert (D2). Our vision, more than anything else, is to provide something that the market place needs. For the company this would mean a value added niche market. If we do this, then we would accomplish our second goal, keeping our “family of employees” provided with jobs and job stability. The vision (or first goal, if done correctly), will take care of the second goal of continuous employment for our employees.
J.L. There are many different ways to implement a Generic Strategy. What would you consider as the best fit for ATL?
D2. ATL’s generic strategy is differentiation. We try to develop products and processes that no other company can match. We achieve this by investing in sophisticated machinery and by employing the best and most knowledgeable engineers and operators.
J.L. You stated that your strategy implementation keyed on the structure of the organization. What do you mean by this?
D2. The structure of the company is decentralized. At ATL, everyone is very independent and able to make their own decisions. All of our operators have taken command of their jobs. All of our operators own their jobs and want their product to be the best that can be. Our project engineers are able to use their own knowledge and creativity to come up with new products or processes. As part of the structure, ATL also uses a structure call WAMIMS (Walk a mile in my shoes). The employees at ATL are trained in many different functions to help guarantee continuous employment and variety in the employees work life.
J.L. Commentary: The President of the ATL actually worked for three years in the shop. It helped him understand the process of the product. By offering the program WAMIMS the employees can have a better understanding of the product and provide better quality to the customer. WAMIMS also provides people with different job opportunities during seasonal work.
J.L. How do you reward your employees?
D2. We like to think that we have become the employer of choice. ATL is one of the top paying employers in the six Southeastern Wisconsin counties. The management team truly cares about the employee’s goals and aspirations and their abilities to excel at their jobs.
J.L. Commentary: ATL tries to provide employees with an outstanding working environment and great benefits. Their employees are paying about 6% less for their health coverage than they were paying 6 years ago. When I asked “what does ATL do to maintain employee morale”, Donald Dobert said “Share with them continuous benefits.”
J.L. Commentary: Everyone at ATL is considered at the same level. There is not much hierarchy in the corporate structure. Everyone has the freedom to make their own choices about their job and set their goals. At the end of the day the job must be completed but how it’s completed is up to the press operator. Everyone is trained to do more than one function. It helps to keep the jobs running smoothly in case of high demand or down times. People can do different functions and that makes them more valuable for the company. The policies at ATL are very informal. People in the office usually dress “business casual” with the option to wear jeans if they spend some time in the shop.