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The twenty-first century is one of many changes. It seems new technology is introduced every other day, and in an age where more and more things are becoming disposable, it is more important then ever to understand how the environment is affected by these daily changes. Currently, it would be hard to deny that breakthroughs have been made in consumer awareness regarding environmental and green business practices. Commercials, television shows, print ads, and recycling bins throughout streets and buildings are just a few of the indicators that times are changing. Further leaps and bounds need to be taken, however, to educate businesses and consumers of their relationship to the environment and how their daily actions can truly make a difference. Many larger companies may be financially ready to embrace this new way of business, but what happens when smaller businesses and entrepreneurs have the heart but not the funds?
Larger companies often have more accessibility to information, training, and financial assistance to make changes in their daily processes easier for all involved. Smaller businesses however, often have larger challenges and more to lose from drastic changes in their business structure. Much can go wrong in regards to implementation of new policies and procedures (e.g., money can be lost due to lack of training and lack of resources, etc.) Assessments need to be made in order to determine whether a change in procedures or polices is worth the time and effort of implementation. Assessments will include analyses of financial data, possible costs of implementation and training, as well as management and leadership ability to sustain these changes.
The CMM Group, LLC (here-in also known as CMM, CMM Group, or the Company) is a small business that prides itself on helping the environment through some of its services and products. Located in a suburb of Green Bay, Wisconsin, the privately held organization provides service to companies all over the United States, as well as a few current International clients in countries such as China and Turkey. CMM's main source of income comes from their Air Pollution Control Systems (APCS) product line, but the organization also provides services such as turnkey design, fabrication, installation, and project management services for custom designed Ovens and Dryers, Energy Recovery Systems, Production Machinery and Ancillary Systems and Components. The CMM Group's extensive process and equipment knowledge allows them to meet specific project needs for a wide range of industries from the smallest details to the largest projects. Like many technical industries, each client is vastly different then the next and engineers at CMM work closely with each of them in order to thoroughly understand their operation and provide their organization with the proper technology and necessary support services to satisfy both present and future requirements.
(Overview of Company)
- Is the business primarily local, national, international, or multinational
- Major product or service
- Annual Sales
- Target market or market segment served for the product or service
- Current customer base
- What is/are the current business model's
- How digital is the company or organization
- Which regulatory bodies if any have an impact
Although The CMM Group, LLC specializes in many different industries and products, Air Pollution Control Systems (APCS) has continued to be the Company's main source of profitability. Since the early 1970's, Clean-Air Regulations have required many companies worldwide to install equipment designed to destroy air pollutants emitted from their manufacturing facilities exhaust stacks, or be faced with the possibility of stiff non-compliance fines. To meet the regulations many companies installed, and have since operated, some type of thermal or catalytic oxidizer. While these units proved sufficient at the time, modern, highly efficient APCS are capable of operating with significantly reduced energy consumption, while also destroying higher levels of air pollutants. The CMM Group is dedicated to Global Clean-Air by designing Air Pollution Control Systems that enable industries to meet Clean-Air Regulations by destroying Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) and Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP's) generated by use of hydrocarbon based solvents or emitted through processing, drying, baking or curing.
As energy costs have risen and Clean-Air Regulations have become more stringent, much of The CMM Group's business has recently come from replacing older equipment in the industrial field with a modern technology (Catalytic Oxidizers, Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers, Rotary Concentrator Systems or Thermal Oxidizers). This has proven to be beneficial to any company's bottom line. The CMM Group also designs other products to help the industry with further energy savings. One such product is referred to as "secondary energy recovery systems", which are designed to capture energy that would normally be exhausted to the atmosphere and use it for supplemental process heat, preheated make-up air, building comfort heating, etc.
While general guidelines regarding the destruction of air pollutants are somewhat consistent within each industry, a company's individual requirements and desires can vary greatly. Developing an optimal design for each operation depends on many variables including the types and quantity of air pollutants present and the volume and temperature of the air being exhausted. Future manufacturing growth expectations and even the facilities geographical location should be considered. By understanding the modern efficient air pollution control systems now available and by taking into consideration the selection criteria, companies can select a custom designed APCS from The CMM Group that will provide many years of successful service.
(History and Background)
- Story of the beginning of the organization
The CMM Group, LLC has always been a small business.
- Who is the founder
The founder of The CMM Group, LLC is Charles M. Martinson, an entrepreneur who ultimately, like so many others, just wanted to make his own path and mark on the world using his lifetime of expertise in the field. The doors to The CMM Group, LLC opened in April of 2004.
- What was the original mission and purpose?
- Which ideas of the founders persist today, if any?
- Has the historical development of the company been one of rapid, slow, or stable growth, or has it been cyclical?
- Describe any other aspects that contribute to the context and background of the company or organization.
- Describe the current position of the company and its leaders within the industry or marketplace.
- What are the current missions, values, and visions
- Describe the industry and its classifications (SIC Code)
- Additional Classifications can be based on other sources (fortune, business week,
- Dunn and Bradstreet)
- Have any stakeholders influenced the design or current organizational structure (employees, customers, suppliers, etc)
- Which external regulatory bodies (if any) have had an impact on the company or organization (i.e. OSHA, EPA, DO, IRS, DOL, etc)
- What stage of the life cycle characterizes the current organization?
- Which strategic, long-term business results are organizational leaders accountable (market share, ROI, dividends to stakeholders, growth, etc.)
- Is there an organizational chart that presents an overview of the various leadership roles?
- What metrics are used to evaluate the performance of leaders?
- What metrics are used to determine overall organizational effectiveness? (specialized technology (information and equipment) output goals, systems resources, including human resources, internal processes, and customer satisfaction)
- Describe additional aspects of current situation that provide challenges or opportunities (ISO 9000, Malcolm baldridge, or standars used to determine performance excellance)
Marketing these products has proven to be a very difficult task for The CMM Group. The production machinery, industrial equipment, and Air Pollution Control Systems sold by the company are entirely custom designed for each specific industry and/or client, so there is no sufficient way to mass produce or market their product line. CMM has however been able to successfully market the knowledge, compliance, and experience to its consumers which in turn provides them with the sales they need to continue. Similar to many companies is this flailing economy, The CMM Group, LLC is struggling to find the business it needs to stay profitable in the upcoming years. Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updates regulations and standards for Air Pollution Control consistently, which in turn requires companies to purchase more current equipment or incur regular maintenance on their existing systems, giving companies like CMM an upper hand for success in this type of economy.
(Scope and Limitations of the Analyses)
- Describe in general terms what is to be included in the rest of the report.
(Overview of organizational leadership)
- Write a paragraph containing several sentences that describe the importance of studying the management and leadership literature for relevant ideas, theiories, and best practices.
- The purpose of the literature review is to create a scholarly evaluation of what is already known about organizational leadership.
(Specific Studies) factual info from other books and journals
At the end of 2008, one of the largest architectural firms in the world, Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, P.C. (HOK) performed a study on sustainability. HOK discovered the following during their research:
- 853 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited professionals
- 216 LEED registered projects
- 36 LEED certified projects
- 6 Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessments Method (BREEAM) - certified projects
LEED and BREEAM, were designed to act as third party rating systems that essentially define "green buildings" by a common standard of measurement. An ample variety of environmental considerations go into these measures including: use of land, local effects on ecology, the well-being and health of the buildings occupants, emissions, policies, materials, and types of energy (Stringer, L).
Consumers face environmental challenges nearly every day, sometimes without even realizing it. The dependence on non-renewable energy, the toxic emissions created that affect the air, the diminishing supply of potable water, the increasing amount of waste created, just to name of few - are some of the most complex and important problems of the twenty-first century, but they wont be solved with love and kindness. Strategies defined as "sustainable" solutions, are those that help to save money, or make the lives of consumers easier in some way. During time of economic down-turn it makes sense to continue to be environmentally friendly; to be frugal and preserve the limited resources left on this planet.
In order to meet these new daily challenges, steps need to be taken above and beyond replacing light bulbs or driving hybrid vehicles. Companies and employers need to drastically lighten their expectations regarding how work should happen in the first place, and employees should drastically rethink how they live and work. Slowing the pace of building construction, re-imagining the current use of space, use of trains, buses, bikes, and carpools during transportation, or even establishing a home office in order to eliminate emissions from transportation could all contribute to solving the energy crisis.
To meet these formidable challenges, employers and employees must do more the drive hybrids and replace light bulbs. Employers will need to loosen up their expectations about how work happens, and employees will need to radically rethink how they work and live. This means fo example, slowing the pace of building construction and figuring out how to re-imagine use of current space rather than chronically replace it. It also means traveling more by train, bus, bike, or carpool - or simply traveling a few steps to ones home office. It also means finding more efficient ways to create energy and transport goods and people to and through our cities. But mostly employers and employees will have to rethink business as usual. Green buildings cam only partially solve today's environmental problems. Companies must change not only the buildings where the work takes place but also the rules related to how people use buildings and what "workplace" even means in an increasingly "virtual-enabled" world. The fact that todays knowledge workers are primes and ready to adopt new models for work makes these changes easier. Many employees already are working during off-hours and in multiple environments, whether its at home or in a café, car, airplane or satellite office. Roughly 30 million Americans (1/5 of the nations workforce) spend significant hours each month working outside the traditional office.
(Structured Interview of a Recognized Leader)
Q: What kind of challenges did you face in starting your own small business?
(Regarding hiring employees, retaining employees, finding customers, competition, etc)
ANSWER: The single biggest challenge has been trying to grow this business with limited capital resources. When I initially wrote a business plan and raised capital to start this business I thought success would come much quicker and the excess capital raised would be used for worldwide growth. The company started in April of 2001 and could not anticipate the effect that the events of 9/11/01 would have on global business. As of 9/11 sales revenue for capital projects was nearly non-existent for nearly 18 months which forced the company to use its capital for survival; not for growth as was to be anticipated. The company has survived, but we have been working with limited capital ever since. Growth and/or expansion without sufficient capital is very slow and fluctuates with the economy.
Q: Stress is no doubt a large factor in running a business. What kind of stresses do you face (positive or negative) and how do you handle that stress? Do you find that anything positive comesfrom that stress?
ANSWER: In the current global economy negative stress is very prevalent. This stress is directly related to financial issues mostly related to trying to control/minimize expenses while maximizing profit margins on any and all jobs that can be found (all while trying to make payroll, retain employees, pay the bills and develop new business opportunities). Adjustments that have been made for survivals sake will definitely help the company in the future, so yes some positive things can come from dealing with this stressful situation.
Q: What kind of advice would you give to a new manager starting in this economy?
ANSWER: Do not underestimate your capital requirements. Raise more capital than you truly feel is actually necessary for you to sustain through a start-up period as regardless of how well you've planned you cannot anticipate what will make the economy grow or depress tomorrow.
Q: If there was something you could change about your management style or how you handle being a leadership figure, what would it be?
ANSWER: As the President of a small company I must wear many hats; often on a daily basis; i.e., Salesman, Technical Advisor, Administrator, Manager, Chairman of the Board, etc. During my career I have always been somewhat successful while working in "self-managed" positions so I've expected others to function in somewhat the same way in their positions; I find that in reality this is not often the case. I've never been nor have I ever had a desire to be a "sales manager" yet I am expected to function in that role on a daily basis. I think our company's sales staff could be much more successful if I was a stronger sales leader or sales manager. We're a bit stuck in this case as I am aware of the (my) limitations but do not have the financial resources to make any changes.
Q: Do you face extra challenges being a small business; does it offer any kind of advantages?
ANSWER: Most of our Global competition comes from mid to large size businesses which have been well established for many years. As a small business we offer the customer many advantages (i.e., attention to detail, more responsive, lower prices, etc.), but getting a customer to understand these advantages over the well established competitors name recognition is usually a real challenge. To our employees, being a small company has some advantages as we tend to avoid office politics and red tape associated with daily functions. As an owner, to me the freedom of operating a small business usually outweighs the stress that comes along with ownership.
Q: What kind of rewards or benefitsdo you see frombeing a leader/manager?
ANSWER: As a leader/manager helping others to achieve their personal goals and to grow within their careers has always very rewarding to me.
Q: Is there anything I haven't asked you that might be helpful to me in regards to my capstone paper?
ANSWER: Plan & research. Before attempting to write a business plan one should not underestimate how much effort can be spent talking to as many business owners as possible. All research developed prior to starting a business can only help in the long run. Many businesses have failed because of poor market research, poor location and/or under capitalization. Advance planning and research can help to eliminate failure.
The Green Workplace: Sustainable Strategies that Benefit Employees, The Environment, and the Bottom Line. Leigh Stringer. Palgrave Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 2009
Greening Your Business: The Hands-on guide to creating a successful and sustainable business. Dan Sitarz. Earthpress, Carbondale, IL. 2008.
Managing in a Time of Great Change. Peter F. Drucker. Truman Talley Books/Dutton New York. 1995.
"A theory of the business always becomes obsolete when an organization attains its original objectives. Attaining ones objectives, them is not cause for celebration; it is cause for new thinking".
Planning for Uncertainty: "Business people need to ask: What do these accomplished facts mean for our business? What opportunities do they create? What threats? What changes do they demand - in the way the business is organized and run, in our goals, in our products, in our services, in our policies? And what changes do the make possible and likely advantageous?
The next question is: what changes in industry and market structure, in basic values (e.g. the emphasis on the environment), and in science and technology have already occurred but have yet to have full impact?"
The Dance of Change: The Challenges to Sustaining Momentum in Learning Organizations. Peter Senge. Random House, Inc. 1999.
"The future has a way of arriving unannounced" ~ George Will, conservative American newspaper columnist and author.