The Dimensional Group Finds a New Approach

By the time CIRAS walked through his door, Adam Gold was ready to listen.

It was 2014, and it was clear that The Dimensional Group was a company with problems. The Mason City custom packaging and commercial printing firm had stretched beyond its capabilities.

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A Dimensional Group employee operates a screen press.

The shop floor was chaos, where work languished uncompleted and a backlog continued to grow.

“Our business had grown very, very rapidly, and that growth absorbed a significant amount of our cash,”  said Gold, president of The Dimensional Group. “We had mounting late orders, and our plant couldn’t move fast enough to support the new revenue growth. Then we had a significant issue hiring new people.”

“By 2014, I wasn’t sure we were a viable entity,” Gold said. “I just had very little faith that this was what I was going to be doing in the future.”

Gold decided he needed a new approach. Then, as if on cue, CIRAS account manager Derek Thompson stopped by one day and asked if Gold needed any help.

What followed was three years of projects that have made a nearly $1.8 million improvement to The Dimensional Group’s bottom line. CIRAS helped the company reevaluate its growth plans, revamp the way it handled inventory, reorder the way business was conducted on the shop floor, and refocus the way management decisions were made.

Once the entire production process began to run more effectively, CIRAS strategy expert Joy Donald stepped in to lead a strategic planning effort with Gold and the rest of The Dimensional Group’s management staff. Company leaders talked through the issues, devised a strategy, and agreed on how to make it happen. “Then the team basically felt like they created the plan and they had been empowered to go out and solve the problems,” Donald said.

Since the change, The Dimensional Group managers are playing a greater role in day-to-day decision making.

“I think the short version is we had to set some people in the organization on a path where they felt comfortable doing things themselves,” Gold said. “We had to reduce my level of involvement to let them learn to grow.”

Adam Gold

Both Donald and Gold say a key change at The Dimensional Group has involved shifting the company’s thinking about what it is and what it needs to be. Gold believes the company was trying to grow too rapidly for a smalltown Iowa business and now has found the proper pace.

“What he really wanted was to have a successful company, but he didn’t need it to grow exponentially,” Donald said.

“He’s very happy now, because with the new management structure his life isn’t so chaotic,” she said. “He’s not having to delve so deeply into everything in the company. He’s able to do what a president is supposed to do.”

And it seems to be working.

“I think today we’re very sound financially,” Gold said. “We can grow at the rate I want us to grow at. And my employees are able to do and manage and make decisions to the point where I can go and do other things, as well.”

Workers control the printing press through an electronic interface.

Since the end of 2017,Gold has used some of his new-found time to give back, serving as a part-time  CIRAS resource to help small companies with specific problems. He hopes to provide the same kind of fresh outside view that he received when he needed it.

“It was one of those things where I needed some new thinking to figure out how I needed to do it next,” Gold said.

“That’s the great part about CIRAS. You have a group of professionals that are experts in what they do, and you have access to them.

“Whatever we want help with today,tomorrow, or the next day, it’s there.”

> For more information, contact Joy Donald at jdonald@iastate.edu or 319-359-0206.

 

A version of this article was published in the Spring 2018 edition of CIRAS News. To read more of that edition or others, please explore elsewhere on our website.