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At the recent AME-BOSTON-2017 Conference, Ace Metal Crafts Company was invited to participate in an “Expert Speed Chat” panel discussion on the topic of PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT, more specifically, Increasing employees’ continuous improvement IQ equals gold.

As ACE’s representative, I joined senior leaders from FedEx Office, Lantech Corporation, Menlo Innovations, and the State of Washington to discuss how our firms motivate employees to take on the daily responsibility of improving their work while increasing the value each provides customers.

At ACE, we believe its more about Inspiration than Motivation.

As the Chief Relationship Officer [CRO] at Ace Metal Crafts Company I’m often asked, “what does a ‘relationship’ officer do, exactly?”.

The role of the Chief Relationship Officer spans two functions: from Sales to Human Resources. Both areas involve nurturing ACE's human element to strengthen and grow relationships. The most obvious relationship is with our customer, for without customers there is no ongoing business. At ACE, we believe the team member’s well-being and their relationship with their leader is what sets us apart and contributes to our success.

ROEI, or Return on Employee Investment, may seem like a hard-to-measure metric, but you just know its the right thing to do.

Dedicating our resources to the challenge of continuously developing team members starts at the top. Our CEO, Jean Pitzo, has made it her life’s purpose to deliver outstanding results for our customers, by focusing on the ‘people’ part of the equation. Bending and welding metal is how we make money, but we believe the business we’re really in is connecting with people, customers and team members alike, to unleash their potential.

Well-run companies have something in common; they recognize that a healthy culture is rooted in trust and can translate into a significant competitive advantage. Employee investment not only drives our company’s growth, doubling revenue in the last 10 years, but has lead to reduced turnover, increased productivity and customer retention.

“And it doesn’t stop there,” adds Jean Pitzo, “For ACE, this is just the start; we know that when people are happy and engaged, their trust and enthusiasm has a positive impact on their work – and their lives.”

We continuously provide PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT in areas including:

  • Kaizen
  • Problem Solving
  • Technical Manufacturing Skills
  • Financial Aptitude
  • Leadership Development
  • Emotional Intelligence

To BE something different, TRY something different...

One of the most rewarding steps we’ve taken is to create and encourage Book Clubs at ACE, on topics ranging from personal development and emotional intelligence to strategy and lean implementation, to name a few.

What was first viewed as ‘odd’ by our diverse team members, from the shop floor to engineering to the front office, has quickly become a fun and comfortable way to build teams and develop new skill sets.

There are many resources available online to help you implement a book club at work. One of these sites, thebalance.com, offers these insights:

  • When employees learn the same concepts, by reading the same book, they share the same language and have heard the same ideas. This makes the application and adoption of the ideas and concepts more easily and seamlessly into the workplace.
  • The book club gives employees the opportunity to step up and practice leadership roles such as leading a group discussion or presenting to provide an overview of a chapter.
  • You can help your organization become a learning organization in which people continuously grow and develop.

The best advice we can give, however, is to JUST START. Don’t wait for things to be perfect, they won’t ever be. Trust that you and your team will figure it out!

-Deb Benning
Chief Relationship Officer
Ace Metal Crafts Company