By: Fara Foster, Director of Communications & Community Engagement
If Continuous Improvement is one of the principles guiding your culture, you should expect change will be involved. After all, how can things improve by doing them the same way?
We closed 2019 with news of strategic changes coming for this year. To the outside world, business would be conducted just as it had before. Internally, however, plans were revealed to realign leadership and streamline functions. According to Pat Nelson, we would continue to service our customers as two unique companies, but employees of our two companies would function as ONE Team.
One of the first departments to roll out changes is Quality Control (QC). Since Lehman-Roberts and Memphis Stone & Gravel were first affiliated by common ownership in 1972, each company has maintained individual quality control teams. Those two teams will now work collectively under the departmental leadership of Don Fletcher.
Quality control was not where Don expected to find himself. A year ago, he was transitioning from paving operations to project management when he was asked by Pat Nelson to temporarily fill the role of QC Manager for our northern operations. “Don was tasked with stepping in as we were ramping up for one of our busiest years,” said Pat. “However, Don’s knowledge and leadership experience combined with his dedication to quality and compassion for his team turned a daunting challenge into a victory. As the year went on, it became more apparent Don was who we needed to lead this charge.”
According to Don, the timing of this strategic change was good. Since QC was already in transition, it just made good sense to take it even further. “Collectively, we are much smarter than when our two QC departments functioned independently,” Don said. “Our communication has improved and so has our problem-solving abilities.”
While job duties have not changed, training has. All personnel are undergoing cross-training so team members can work in both Mississippi and Tennessee. Further testing done on the aggregates side of our business resolves potential problems before it gets to the asphalt side. Don says catching issues earlier gives us more time to make adjustments and deliver the quality of asphalt we want.
Additional changes will include two quality control managers overseeing distinct functions. Cory Collins will oversee the quality of materials as they leave our asphalt plants. Pitt Kimbrough will be responsible for the quality of materials entering our asphalt plants, including liquid AC and other materials in addition to aggregates. Pitt’s role will be an added bonus for other aggregates customers, such as concrete vendors and landscapers, as well.
“We have a great team with no weak links,” Don added. “Everyone is strong; an entire team of experienced people, all working together and pulling in the same direction.”