At the end of 2016, we outlined our most significant business accomplishments from the past year. Looking ahead to the next 12 months of 2017, we have a number of ambitious goals and initiatives on our agenda. Our teams are focused on delivering better quality products and services, with an increased speed to market. Let’s explore some of LaForce’s goals!
Our industry is changing at a rapid and exciting pace, especially when it comes to advancements in electrified, secure openings. Today, we have a well-trained group of security technicians, project managers, and installers who handle system consultations, product/service supply, and troubleshooting. But a changing landscape means we need to expand our capabilities to the entire LaForce team.
Therefore, to best serve our customers in light of the shifting industry landscape, we will undertake a massive internal training effort in 2017. We will educate all staff on security integration terminology, concepts, and applications. Together with our trusted partners, will conduct on-site training early in the year to kick-off this exciting initiative. This elevated knowledge level will allow us to better identify customer solutions and satisfy building security needs.
As discussed, we will finish the expansion of our Detroit facility in early 2017, resulting in much-needed additional space. This gives us the ability to better meet the needs of this exciting market. We will add local staff, expand our security integration capabilities, enhance our pre-installation service for contractors, and staff a walk-in retail counter for on-demand product fulfillment. This last addition will allow us to provide customers a “one-stop-shop” for various door opening products, accompanied by skilled and friendly staff.
Speaking of pre-installation, this efficient, convenient service will expand company-wide in the coming year. Customers across the country can have door hardware, as well as pre-tested security products, installed prior to shipping to their jobsites. We will have the shop space available to provide this service in every region.
Architects are taking advantage of aluminum frames in interior applications in more and more instances, so we are responding to this demand by establishing aluminum frame modification capabilities. This will help us better serve our customers and achieve a faster response time. In addition, architects in all markets will enjoy access to more AIA continuing education classes and an increase in personnel from our architectural services team.
In 2017, we will also undertake cosmetic improvements to our facilities. At our Green Bay headquarters, we need to accommodate our growing team by creating a beautiful, new conference room space. This area will be equipped with improved AV equipment, so we can host larger meetings and trainings year-round.
We will also update shop machinery to increase efficiency and production capacity. This is necessary to maintain our high standards in manufacturing customized frames and keep our components cost-effective for customers.
This past year, we established a team of three individuals to cultivate and implement continuous improvement initiatives around the company. In 2017, we will engage in a number of projects, large and small, that center around lean education and processes. Our focus will be on shortening lead times while providing the utmost in quality control.
LaForce has always had a continuous improvement mindset. A key hallmark of our founder’s personality was his philosophy: “It can always be better!” Joe LaForce encouraged people to challenge the status quo, and this value is baked into the culture of LaForce. We strive to be fast, efficient, and productive for our customers, and recognize that improving our processes is an ongoing journey. We also invest in people and promote from within, as evidenced with Lean Six Sigma Training and the internally chosen business analysts.
Just like we grew our team 8% in 2016, we plan to expand our staff in the coming year. We are proud to offer a dynamic working environment with friendly, success-oriented people. Employment opportunities in all 12 markets, particularly after the first of the year, will be listed on our careers website.