Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Drilling for Business Strategy

In our December 2011 Executive Insights video, we interview Ed Breiner of Schramm, Inc. While the name might not be familiar to everyone, Schramm was very involved in the Chilean mine rescue back in October of 2010.

Breiner provides interesting details on their involvement, along with their client GeoTech. Through extensive consultation with the Chilean government, they devised the best route for bringing up the miners, including the use of sophisticated equipment which Schramm manufactured.

Along with this interesting story, Breiner also offers insights into how his company has survived and thrived in the midst of the recent economic downturn, to emerge prepared to take advantage of the recent surge in demand for commodities.

Among the strategies Schramm has implemented:

  1. They provide a strong global warranty on their equipment, ready to send their technicians anywhere in the world. Breiner tells new hires that with Schramm they can see the world without getting shot at.
  2. The company philosophy starts with making a profit. Breiner states that they don’t focus on profits but they need to be profitable to survive. After that, it’s about providing customers with something they can use. With the commodities boom this includes drilling and extraction equipment for oil and gas, geothermal, water and exploration.
  3. Transparency is integral to management’s approach with their employees. Breiner says they’re all adults and so they speak straight with their staff. When the economy began to weaken, he told employees to put away their credit cards. They did have to eventually lay off some people, but they held off from November until January for the sake of their employees. They also worked with Pennsylvania’s unemployment department to take advantage of their furlough program.
  4. Breiner likes Jim Collins’ strategy of “discovering what you’re good at and doing more of it.” They focus on their strengths as a company and shore up their weaknesses. Their quarterly strategy meetings include people from outside top management to get a broader view.

If you would like to see this interview or read our corresponding Executive Edge report How to Steer Through a Crisis, subscribe to our Premium Edition of Soundview Executive Book Summaries, which include access to all videos and reports in one self-contained Online Library, along with book summaries, author interviews and past author webinars.


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