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Dale Salamacha

Media 1/Wrap This Looks Inward for Advice

Dale Salamacha offered rewards — including big-screen TVs! — for the best employee ideas on how to improve Media 1/Wrap This.




Breakfast-TV-Contest Media 1/Wrap This had an all-hands-on-deck breakfast meeting to review all the ideas submitted by employees to improve the company.

IF YOU OWN A sign company, you might be like me. I am hell-bent on constant improvement of our operation — every single aspect of it. I spend my time reading nothing but business self-improvement books. My wife, Christy, thinks I’m boring as $#%+!

But I have to credit our continuing success to an unquenchable desire to do things better, faster, more efficiently, and more, well… everything! In this industry, we learn new things on every project, implementing those lessons in the next similar project.

If you talk to my partner, Rick Ream, he’ll tell you I am notorious for accepting projects that we have never done before, and sometimes have no clue how to produce. Thankfully, we have an amazing crew who won’t stop until we figure it out. This forces us to brainstorm, flex our fabrication skills, add new equipment and conquer the challenge.

Making Ends Meet

And speaking of those guys…

We currently have 34 employees (including Rick and me), and a large clip has been with us for 10, 15, even 20 years! We joke that we’ve spent more time with each other than with our spouses!

Now, some of you may not agree with this concept, but Rick and I are very open with our crew. I mean, we don’t go into excessive financial details, but they all know that when the shop doors are open, it costs $775 an hour just for our payroll! That’s why we can’t have guys standing around, not getting work done; it puts a drain on everyone’s money. So, we hold monthly meetings with each division: wraps and signs (as they each have unique issues). We discuss the previous month — what went well, what didn’t, what we can improve. Then we talk about the upcoming month — exciting new projects coming, who’s gonna be doing what, etc. It keeps everyone on the same page. All of our guys know what our vision and goals are as a company, and they also know our problems. Nobody has their head in the sand, and we strive to always have input from all departments. Which brings me to what I wanted to discuss.


Grand Prizes for Grand Ideas

Last month, Rick and I purchased two 55-in. Samsung 4K UHD Smart TVs. We divided the guys into their divisions. Wrap guys, then sign guys, 16 employees on each side. We asked each group to come up with suggestions to make Media 1/Wrap This a better, faster, stronger company. We gave them two weeks, with submissions sent to Christina up front, to compile into two anonymous lists of ideas. After Rick and I studied each, we would choose the one best suggestion from each division, and that unidentified person would get a new badass TV.

How fun! And wow, we were blown away by the responses. Great ideas, several centered on the same 3-4 things we are not so great at. There were so many good ones, we added four runner-up $50 Amazon gift cards, and had a company-wide breakfast meeting to review all the ideas. Everyone had a good time and now we’re all heading in the same direction.

Did Rick and I spend a chunk of time and money on this exercise? We sure did. But we got massive “market research feedback” by our own people, and we will be implementing the winners’ ideas immediately!

At this size, Rick and I can’t run the whole joint by ourselves. What better way than to involve our in-the-trenches employees to make this company…

Better. Faster. Stronger.

Till next time, y’all!




Introducing the Sign Industry Podcast

The Sign Industry Podcast is a platform for every sign person out there — from the old-timers who bent neon and hand-lettered boats to those venturing into new technologies — we want to get their stories out for everyone to hear. Come join us and listen to stories, learn tricks or techniques, and get insights of what’s to come. We are the world’s second oldest profession. The folks who started the world’s oldest profession needed a sign.

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