Making Sparks Fly! How One Midwest Company Shapes Its Future

Minneapolis business owners, you’re not the only ones in need of IT consulting.  In fact, one of Tech Guru’s biggest clients can be found in western Wisconsin, about halfway between Minneapolis and Eau Claire.  Northern Metal Fab, Inc., creator of light and heavy weldments and piece parts, is home to 130 employees, 80 of whom use a computer.  Embracing the company’s Bring Your Own Device policy, 45 users access the computer system via smartphone.  As it turns out, the manufacturing facility in the village of Baldwin can teach the big-city kids a thing or two about the latest in business leadership.

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 Sorry, folks.  Most of you will never do anything this cool.

Reshaping “Consulting”

Northern Metal Fab’s IT manager Jeff Jacobson speaks warmly of the company’s interaction with Tech Guru.  “Maybe we need to stop thinking about it as ‘IT consulting.’  You have to call Tech Guru a partner.  We’re going to engage each other – it’s more of a symbiotic relationship.”  Jeff relies on Tech Guru’s expertise with firewall and anti-virus software, as well as managed desktops.  “You’re buying the experience they’ve gained in working with a variety of systems,” he says.

Currently, one of Jeff’s goals is to increase employee productivity through better monitoring of internet and VOIP traffic.  “We’re not trying to be Big Brother,” Jeff says, “but we want to set limits on what people can do with sites like YouTube and Pandora.”  Though monitoring employees goes with the territory of a company of this size, Jeff insists results are still the primary way to measure an employee’s productivity.  “If you want to spend a month of Sundays catching up and doing your work, that’s up to you.”

As part of Northern Metal Fab’s “symbiotic relationship” with Tech Guru, Jeff seeks to push the envelope on what the Minneapolis IT support company can do.  “Managed desktops is a start,” he says of where they began together, “but we want Tech Guru to update the internet-facing programs that present our biggest threats.”  Jeff cites Adobe Flash, Java, and Quicktime as examples.

Say Yes to EOS

Jeff describes Tech Guru’s use of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) as “a real positive.”  Of the leading-edge comprehensive business system, which Northern Metal Fab has used for a little over a year, Jeff believes it helps both companies get better without having to engage in numerous resources.  Of achieving the company’s vision, “We have the same language,” explains Jeff.  There’s the Issues List, Action Items, the Level 10 Meeting.  “We address our problem, the actions we’ll take against it, or if it’s minor, kill it altogether.”

No Animals Were Hurt While Using Software

Jeff and his team can’t leave well enough alone when it comes to software.  “We have 250 to 300 software titles,” he says, “and if we can bed, fold, staple, or mutilate software in any form, we will.”  It’s only fitting that a company that creates original metalwork would demand flexibility with its software.

Recently, Jeff and his team experimented with an instant messaging system through Microsoft.  After realizing they could download the app on their phones, the group immediately commenced a series of very important video conferences.

While he describes Northern Metal Fab’s employees as having a wide range of technology abilities “from kindergarteners to PhDs,” Jeff loves to challenge his employees when they start working with a new piece of software.  “I say, ‘Come back in a couple of weeks and tell me what you did with it.'”

Beyond the Desktop

“In the past I’ve been very skeptical of companies that want to sell you managed desktop,” admits Jeff.  “They want to give you X, charge you per month, with very little return, without the engagement.  You’re not getting your money’s worth.”  Jeff looks forward to partnering with Tech Guru through every phase of Northern Metal Fab’s tech growth.  “Our strategy depends on our ability to be flexible, make changes, and go forward.”

Are you in need of a prototype or large order of piece parts?  Contact Northern Metal Fab to take your design to reality.

And if you’re ready to custom-design your company’s technology plan, contact Tech Guru today.

Dan Moshe helps business owners in the Minneapolis area with all things tech, and is the CEO of the Caring IT company Tech Guru.  He cares about your business as much as you do!