- Tech Insights
Robert Moeck, CEO and president, leads “Bay Cities Metal Product’s,” a B2B maker of metal roofing and other construction materials. They have been manufacturing in California since 1958 and source steel, copper, aluminum, and stainless steel from around the world, process it and distribute it to the end users. Currently have around 200 employees, all based in California and have demonstrated sustain growth for several years.
Robert started his management career in the US Navy, were he was an enlisted leader on a nuclear submarine, working on the nuclear propulsion system. In speaking to him, he attributes some of his management styles to the diversity he saw throughout his naval career and how working with teams from all over the country honed his management style. After leaving the navy and starting work in manufacturing, the different live experiences the team has makes the team stronger. He explained that a diverse group of individuals, from all walks of life, make a stronger team as they can pool experiences. They look at members with differences as assets and strive to find the best people for the jobs no matter the background.
We asked Robert to talk about the company values he strives to create. He speaks of empowering team members and always putting people first. One of the things that was different in speaking on this topic was the way the company allows employees to make mistakes. It is critical, according to Robert, that the team is allowed to make mistakes and to own them. He feels that the team will make mistakes (we are all human after all) and if culture allows for team members to identify them and help with correcting and preventing them, then the company as a whole gets healthier. “We strive to create a safe place where recognition of improvement through problem solving improves the customer experience” he said.
Robert explains how the company approaches problem solving. Problems and solutions should happen as close to the problem as possible. Senior management can always come up with solutions, but if the problem is solved farther down the org-chart, then there is more buy-in to the solution, and chances of repeat issues dimmish drastically. Once the error is found, we're better and can demonstrate to the customer our improvement. "Being wrong makes you right, for now," he says.
Since Bay Cities Metal Products sells mostly commodity products, the main differentiator is service. The customer experience. He explains that we can’t sell or deliver material how we want to, but how the customer wants to buy it and receive it. We attempt to make the customer a partner in what we do and focus on them. What value add can we create to make the transaction easier for both. We are not focused on the first sale, but the 100th. How do we get there? So on an un-branded product, you must brand your service. Everything you do must create an experience the customer live without. Robert says they measure KPI’s like On Time delivery, rejections and order accuracy to measure how well the company is performing.
So we asked Robert how do you create the experience for the customer. His response was around people. People do all the work and interact with the customer. Without quality people, nothing matters. Robert mentioned that the main issue facing this dynamic is human capital and how to ensure that the best and brightest can get back into manufacturing. Our work environment can be hot and noisy. The factory floor is not temperature controlled. So how do we attract and keep talent? The answer lies in culture. You must create a culture where there is more to the job then a paycheck. We try to create a team environment where we can see the induvial and the induvial can see where they belong on the team. Constant feedback, active listening by the management and the desire to help everyone is how they approach creating a team environment. “Our success speaks for how we treat our employees, and in turn, how the employees treat our customers” he said.
To ensure that culture at Bay Cities Metal Products maintains its high standards, Robert has a few ways to measure that. He tracks retention and re-applications. On the operations side of the business, he is proud that 82% of employees who leave for more money, re-apply for their old job back. He comments that most realize that a dollar or two more an hour may not really be more money in the paycheck. Benefits, work-life-balance and general appreciation of what is done is critical. We have created Safety Committees at each location made of senior management and employees from all areas: drivers, machine operators, loaders, etc. This is designed so that all employees in every department has a voice at the table for safety. When benefit packages are up for renewal, we will ask employees what is important to them. We perform exit interviews to find what the experience was for the employee who is leaving and what could we have done better. In the future we will be rolling out quarterly employee satisfaction surveys so that we can monitor the culture better.
“Brining workers and supervisors back to manufacturing is key for our success, and the overall success of the economy” Robert said. On-Shoring, or bringing manufacturing back to North America, has been in the news lately and Robert says it’s been here all along. Small family held business, like Bay Cities, have been doing this for years. Now that Bay Cities has tripled in size, we can start to look for formal employee development training, continued education for mid-level and senior management and really define what excellence is here at Bay Cities. Attracting talent and keeping talent is fundamental in the way we look at success here.
“For the future we are looking at incorporating more technology into what we do” Robert mused. Currently Bay Cities is looking at AI to help predict customers buying patterns to proactively increase or decrease production levels of finished goods. Using new technology to track shipments and allow customers to see in real time where their orders are. To create ways to quickly and accurately inventory customers locations of parts and determine re-ordering points. All of these and more are areas that Bay Cities is attempting to use new tech in an old industry to improve the customer experience.
When asked about what advice he has for others in similar roles, Robert advises aspiring entrepreneurs to hold a 20-mile march mentality, not to overextend themselves in good times and not to let bad times prevent them from accomplishing their goals. People, as well as some of the best ideas, brands, and businesses, emerge from crises. Employ top talent and treat them well. Be adaptable and understand that there’s no one way to execute a task, and most of all, have fun.
CEO & President
Bay Cities Metal Products
HERE AT BAY CITIES METAL PRODUCTS (BCMP), WE MANUFACTURE TOP QUALITY SHEET METAL PRODUCTS FOR WHOLESALE DISTRIBUTORS AND DO-IT-YOURSELF HOME CENTERS. AND IF WE DON’T HAVE IT, WE’LL MAKE IT. WITH OVER 100,000 SQ. FEET OF MANUFACTURING AND WAREHOUSE SPACE, BCMP IS READY TO SERVE AND FULFILL ANY REQUEST.