The Best Companies Get This Right First

If your business lacks a solid foundation, even things like smart employees and great ideas can’t save you from trouble down the road.

One out of every two Inc. 5000 CEOs surveyed has the qualities of a “Creative Builder CEO” (see Inc.’s 2012 CEO survey). If you match those characteristics, you are similar to iconic leaders like Steve Jobs, not the worst company to keep for sure. However, in my experience there are some unintended consequences of this leadership approach.

See if any of these statements resonate with you:

  1. “I feel like we often get the hard things right and the easy things wrong in the areas of consistency, service, quality, or marketing.”
  2. “Sometimes it feels like the cobbler’s kids around here. We seem to get lots of things right for our customers but make mistakes in those exact same areas in our own company.”
  3. “I am just concerned that we can’t grow if we keep making fundamental mistakes.”

Sound familiar? If so, you’re probably familiar with the urge to get “back to the basics,” too. I have heard this phrase in all of its formats countless times from the mouths of CEOs who see the remarkable potential of their companies thwarted by seemingly small hurdles. Declaring that you need to get back to basics may be a well-intentioned first step, but it’s not actionable or sustainable in the long run.

So before you take that leap into the re-systemization of tasks and punch listing of performance (both of which have real benefits), I encourage you first to make certain that the underlying “basics” of your business are in place. The basics must capture the essence of excellence that drives all other behaviors.

Examples:

“Act as if your loved one is on the (operating) table.”–IMS, Integrated Medical Systems (surgical and laparoscopic device repair, efficiency of operating room instrumentation, sterile processing management and consulting)

“Great food. Clean place. Friendly service.”–The Garden Café in Omaha

“Any size, any shape, any time, any place, always right, every day.”–Langham Logistics (3PL and 4PL freight logistics and transportation)

These simple examples of guiding precepts give a clear standard against which all decisions, procedures, and policies inside of those companies can be tested. Here are three tips to develop your own:

  1. Develop a simple message.Mine is, “We help companies double the speed that they double their company by landing transformational sales.” What is the underlying value that you are promising to your customers? Can you say it in a sentence that is about them in the language they understand?
  2. Say it everywhere, live it everywhere. I can ask any one of the employees in the companies that I have cited, and they can deliver their company’s basic line. Cool–memorization is a good first step. The real proof is in asking that employee the second question, “How do you make that happen for our clients in your job every day?” If they can answer that in one to two sentences, you have integrity in your claim, alignment in your team, and a really good chance that the basics truly mean something.
  3. Trust and verify.Final step: Measure how well the company is living up to this message. What are the metrics that will verify you’ve met those basic promises? The dashboard of performance metrics that rolls up for your operational performance should link clearly and causally to your basic promise.

More dashboards, punch lists, and training are not enough to overcome shortfalls in your organization’s performance of the basics. You need the driving essence to be defined, understood, and measured.


Langham Logistics adds Director of Intermodal and Brokerage

LANGHAM LOOKS TO THE FUTURE WITH NEW FOCUS ON GROWING LOGISTICS MARKETS

INDIANAPOLIS, March 20, 2012 – Langham Logistics continues to expand their supply chain services by adding a new and highly experienced logistics professional to their leadership team.  Jeff Routt brings 17 years of operational, entrepreneurial and business development experience in the intermodal, brokerage and supply chain arena.  As Director of Intermodal and Brokerage, Jeff is tasked with developing and enhancing Langham’s already strong supply chain value proposition.

“We are proud of what we’ve been able to offer our clients over the last 24 years and very much appreciate the relationships that have been developed” said Cathy Langham, CEO/Co-Owner of Langham Logistics.  “At the same time, we must continue to proactively add value for our customers.  As the logistics marketplace continues to gain new providers, companies like Langham that are established and are proven to be quality partners continue to stay ahead of the game”.

Langham has made the commitment and investments to put resources in place that will focus on the emerging challenges of the industry.  By leveraging their current infrastructure, people, and facilities, as well as executing on a strategy led by Mr. Routt  that benefits its existing and potential client base, Langham believes  that value, both monetarily and in enhanced service to their customers,  will be achieved for the long term.

“As the driver shortage continues, and transportation demands continues to increase, Langham Logistics is now positioned to fill a much needed void for their clients and those looking for a quality partner to help with their shipping needs” said Langham’s newest addition, Jeff Routt.  “As market turmoil continues in the transportation industry, the economic recovery ebbs and flows, and the industry and environmental fundamentals continue to evolve, Langham, once again, stays ahead of the curve”.

Stay up to date with all the news from Langham Logistics and its customers with the Langham Logistics website (www.elangham.com) and on Twitter – @LanghamLogistics.

About Langham Logistics:  Langham Logistics, Inc. is a 23-year-old global freight management organization specializing in supply chain optimization and consulting services, domestic and international transportation, fulfillment, warehousing and distribution operations.  Langham operates from a global logistics center in Indianapolis, IN and maintains strong partner relationships across the globe to assist with tactical operations for its customers.


TOYOTA CHOOSES LOCAL LOGISTICS COMPANY FOR MULTI-YEAR LOGISTICS CONTRACT

Langham Logistics lands deal to manage the marketing distribution for Toyota Motor Sales, Inc.

INDIANAPOLIS, January 16, 2012 – Langham Logistics has agreed on a 3 year contract with Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. to manage a logistics operation in Los Angeles, CA. This operation handles the fulfillment and distribution of Toyota’s marketing materials, its trade show events, and also the distribution of merchandise to dealerships throughout North America.   Langham has added 50 employees to its staff in California, and will operate a 90,000 square foot warehouse in Compton.

In addition to managing the fulfillment group, Langham will manage administration, graphics and print purchasing as well as a small personal transport service at Toyota Motor Sales headquarters in Torrance, CA.  The Toyota ”South Campus” where the transport service operates is a 40 acre office park with over 625,000 square feet of office space.  All of the vehicles are run on electric power and have zero emissions, meeting the green standards set by Toyota Motor Sales, Inc.

Stay up to date with all the news from Langham Logistics and its customers with the Langham Logistics blog (www.elangham.com) and on Twitter – @LanghamLogistics.

About Langham Logistics:  Langham Logistics, Inc. is a 23-year-old global freight management organization specializing in supply chain optimization and consulting services, domestic and international transportation, fulfillment, warehousing and distribution operations.  Langham operates from a global logistics center in Indianapolis, IN and maintains strong partner relationships across the globe to assist with tactical operations for its customers.


Indianapolis Airport Authority awards a multi-year contract to Langham Airport Logistics

Langham Airport Logistics has been awarded an exclusive contract to provide logistics support services for the Indianapolis international airport.

INDIANAPOLIS, January 9, 2012 – Langham Airport Logistics LLC (LAL), a subsidiary of Langham Logistics, was recently awarded an exclusive multi-year contract to provide logistics support services for the Indianapolis International Airport,  including all concessionaires, the IAA, the TSA, the airlines, rental car agencies, and all other tenants of the airport terminal.  Under this contract, LAL will manage the airport’s Central Receiving Dock with responsibility for shipment scheduling, product receiving and distribution, and overall Dock Master duties.

Langham was awarded this contract initially in November of 2008, and the company is delighted to have been chosen to continue its service to IND.  “The airport is a great asset for central Indiana, and we are very proud to continue to be part of its success” said Cathy Langham, CEO/Co-owner of LAL’s parent company, Langham Logistics.  “We welcome the opportunity to take on projects that continue to highlight our supply chain and freight management growth strategy.”

LAL will continue to be located on-site at the airport and operate to manage products coming into the airport terminal.  Russ Duvall will continue to lead the LAL team.  “We are pleased to award this contract to Langham Airport Logistics, and appreciate the level of technology, customer service and creativity they have dedicated to IND” comments Jeremiah Wise, Director of Retail for IND. “We are excited about continuing to grow Indiana companies.”

Stay up to date with all the news from Langham Logistics and its customers with the Langham Logistics website (www.elangham.com) and on Twitter – @LanghamLogistics.

About Langham Airport Logistics:  Langham Airport Logistics, LLC, is a 3-year-old subsidiary of Langham Logistics, a global freight management organization specializing in supply chain optimization and consulting services, domestic and international transportation, fulfillment, warehousing and distribution operations.  LAL provides logistical support to airport concessions facilities.

 CONTACT: Holly Reynolds, (317) 471-5145, hollyreynolds@elangham.com