“By reaching for what is impossible, we often actually do the impossible; and even when we don’t quite make it, we inevitably wind up doing much better than we would have done.”Michael Hyatt
There is little that should be of shock if you plan; plan for the best and prepare for the worst. At Buechel Stone, we have been doing this for years. Some years things happen that we never saw coming (aka COVID) but great teams and strategic planning make the impossible, possible. We are extremely fortunate to have teams that understand this.
2022 was no exception. The year started differently than we were planning. Long lead times and scarce availability put us in a position where a lot of capitals had to be purchased much earlier in the year than planned, and at rates higher than normal. Anyone else in a capital-intense business probably noticed the same thing. So, you prepare for the worst—get what you need because you will need it, and if you cannot get it, then you are in real trouble.
There is so much that goes on in the background of a business, and so many nights spent thinking about the what-ifs and the unknowns. That’s what makes planning great. We track projects and progress across the entire business, and this past year was impressive. Our team of Rockstars completed 283 projects or goals—better known as our “rocks”.
Companywide, 160 of our 195 Rockstars took an anonymous survey through “Top Workplaces”, resulting in Buechel Stone ranking as the 53rd Top Workplace in 2022 in Southeastern Wisconsin. Our 82.1 percent response rate was significantly higher than the average response rate of 63 percent for other building product manufacturers. While we were certainly happy to achieve this ranking, our team evaluated the results and put together plans to improve them further. We’re looking forward to seeing how those plans and improvements impact our survey results in 2023.
This year also held many milestones for our Rockstars. We had fourteen people that hit the 5-year-increment work anniversaries ranging from 5 years to 45 years! We have now been in North Carolina long enough for Rockstars there to begin earning our REAP (Rockstar Extreme Anniversary Present). DeWalt tool packages, iPads, paid vacations, and cash were some of the many “thank you” gifts we handed out. They all earned it. Dedication and consistency to living our core values not only helps the company, it helps out everyone else here as well. When you know you can count on those around you, everything else falls into place.
Did I mention we started trucking up again? Yes, Buechel Trucking Inc is now officially on the road again as Rolling Rockstar Transit. It is ironic for me personally. In what seemed like a lifetime ago, I was heading up Buechel Trucking and decided it was time to put trucking on the shelf. At the time, we were working through a lot of different things and trucking was very much a distraction to the overall company goals. Now with the addition of the locations in North Carolina and Kansas, trucking makes more sense than ever. To consistently transfer stone between our locations, we need to be able to rely on the trucks to get between each location when we need them. The exciting thing is it will also lead into a big announcement for 2023 – you’ll just have to wait and see what that announcement is 😊.
One of the greatest things so far about Rolling Rockstar Transit is Lamont. Lamont is a Buechel Stone Rockstar that has been here for over 25 years, and when he found out we were starting a trucking division, he was all in. In his words, “I started at the bottom, I worked in the quarry as a packager, and worked my way up. I’ve been a splitter operator, a supervisor, a loader operator, and everything in-between. I am really excited to get to see the jobsites. Where is our stone all going. Who is using it. It’s like I’m able to go full circle and know that what I’ve done for the past 25 plus years is making a difference to the people we are supplying natural stone to.”
As I said earlier, we are fortunate to have teams that understand the value of planning, and good planning couldn’t be possible without effective communication. This past year included a focus on collaboration and communication not only across departments, but also between our management and leadership teams. We took opportunities throughout the year to have open and honest brainstorming sessions that really helped everyone gain visibility to other parts of the business. We took that momentum into our 2023 planning session, which started in early fall with an offsite leadership team meeting held at Lambeau field. What better way to keep that energy going than to plan in the house of champions? We came away from that with a bigger vision and a higher benchmark for what we want to achieve.
A few weeks ago, we rounded out the year with more collaboration by bringing all of our remote sales and design Rockstars into Chilton for more planning and discussion around how we will continue to raise the bar on what it means to provide the best experience in natural stone. And, of course, we capped that all off with a focus on FUN at our annual holiday parties. After all, half the fun in seeing a plan come together is celebrating.
Our team had plans and we executed them, and in the end, 2022 was a great year all around. In fact, it was the best since The Great Recession! We are thankful to everyone that helped make that happen, from our Rockstar employees, to our critical vendors we could rely on, and to our customers that trusted us to meet their natural stone needs.
So I am thankful and grateful for all the plans that came together in 2022. All I can say is watch out for 2023! Buechel Stone is doing great things. We’ve already planned for the best and prepared for the worst. Failure is never an option!