Sarah Montgomery, vice president of operations for Woodpro Cabinetry Inc., based in Cabool, Mo., writes a monthly newsletter called Profit Watch that goes out to the company's 100-plus employees. The one-page (front and back) sheet summarizes Woodpro's financials and other critical numbers, and tells everyone where they stand on their bonus. It also includes regular features headlined "Cost Alert" and "Cost Cutters."
The "Cost Alert" articles address expenses that are moving in the wrong direction, explains Montgomery. "I'll go to the people in charge of those numbers and find out why the cost is increasing and what's being done about it. We've found that this approach really gets people involved. I depend on them for answers."
The "Cost Cutters" section explains why certain costs are heading in the right direction. "It's usually because of some innovation. That's where we recognize the people who are responsible -- we congratulate them for theirgreat ideas, solutions to problems, and plain old hard work."
Sometimes, adds Montgomery, she'll do a training article -- "something explaining depreciation, say, or cost of goods sold." Since Woodpro entrusts its trainingto self-managing work teams, the newsletter helps ensure that everyone is speaking the same language.