To the Chinese, 2010 was the Golden Tiger Year. It is a sign of courage. This fearless and fiery fighter is revered by the ancient Chinese as the sign that wards off the three main disasters of a household: fire, thieves and ghosts.
For my company, 2010 warded off the disaster of 2009. We started off strong and only improved with five record setting months of sales revenue. It has been a drastic change of realities - going from the silence of 2009 (a manufacturing floor that is silent is not a natural state) to the bustle and production of opportunities we saw coming through our plant in 2010.
I look back at this year and I am thankful for so much. Here are my top ten highlights:
1. I am so thankful for the team of people we have at BWC. Last year we all came together to ride out the storm while this year, though not all smooth sailing, was a year of amazing achievements. When you are a family company, years like 2009 are very personal. We all come together and share the pain. But the positive swing we felt in 2010 allowed us to share in all the gains from our growth.
2. Our growth this year allowed us to bring back an employee from layoff and do several internal promotions. I love being able to promote from within the company and provide employees opportunities for growth and the acquisition of new skill sets. The new employees that we have added to our team have been fabulous additions, bringing new ideas and skill sets.
3. Drinking the LEAN and Continuous Improvement cool aid. Yes it is like a religion, and used correctly it can guide you to amazing results. While we are still at the start of our journey, the benefits we reaped this year by having these processes and procedures in place was critical to our success.
4. The growing comfort with making mistakes. I see my team more willing to take chances with less fear of failure as we come to understand that with failure comes new knowledge and possibly new opportunities.
5. Bishop-Wisecarver became a Bay Area Certified Green business, making our customer’s and community aware that we care about our environment. We will continue to revise and create work practices that support this initiative.
6. Adoption of social media. Our focused efforts on social media have created measurable results. Our presence on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogger, Vimeo etc. has generated increased exposure, driven traffic to our website and created leads for our company. It’s an exciting new frontier for marketing and well suited to the culture of a family business.
7. The deepening of relationships with our customers. The last several years have helped us learn how to become a better partner for our customers. We revel when we are able to deliver a solution no one else can create. It is really exciting to help companies design solutions that give them superior performance and product differentiation.
8. The creation of innovative, turnkey solutions to be launched in 2011.
9. Bishop-Wisecarver became woman-owned. I am really proud to be a manufacturer. I am extremely passionate about manufacturing and the role it plays in the American economy. My efforts with the California Manufacturers and Technology Association (www.cmta.net) as well as the National Association of Manufacturers (www.nam.org) are my small contribution to try and keep manufacturing alive and relevant in our country and state. We must engage our kids (boys AND girls) in school. We need to give them opportunities to experience STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) with hands on experiences. Our support for FIRST will be increasing in 2011. (www.usfirst.org)
10. Bishop-Wisecarver celebrated its 60th Anniversary. I am very proud to be building upon the legacy started by my father.
We now look toward 2011 and the year of the rabbit. According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves. It is a time for negotiation. Don't try to force issues, because if you do you will ultimately fail. To gain the greatest benefits from a rabbit year, focus on home, family, security, diplomacy, and your relationships with women and children. Make it a goal to create a safe, peaceful lifestyle, so you will be able to calmly deal with any problem that may arise.
May you all enjoy a wonderful holiday season with your friends and family. My wish for the world is that 2011 is a year of security and diplomacy and that we can all enjoy prosperous and peaceful lifestyles.