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Chief Operating Officers look inside the company to refine operations and prepare for the future. If the company is a steam engine the CEO is mapping the course and the COO is the mechanic that keeps the train running. When a company faces rapid growth, it’s the COO who manages the growing pains.
John McAlonan, Falcon Structures’ President and COO, understands that his job requires him to “know something about everything.” He looks to improve the efficiency and scalability of processes ranging from procurement to human resources.
In this blog, John shares three ways containers can solve common problems he and other COOs face as their companies enter periods of rapid growth.
One of my many functions involves managing inventory. I’m always asking: How much material do we want to have on stock and how much money does that tie up? We could buy a large quantity to create a reserve, or we could choose only to buy the right materials when we get a job. One option might result in excess materials used less often and the other might result in longer lead times. Like many COOs, my job is to find a balance between tying up cash in inventory and managing those lead times.
Tied in with this balance is finding the capacity to safely store materials the business does choose to buy in advance. As a company quickly expands, the need for storage space may outgrow the size of the original facility. If you can’t physically expand the facility, you may be able to buy modified shipping containers to utilize excess space in a parking lot or warehouse. It’s really a great solution for scaling quickly and cost-effectively.
As COO, you must consider how you will keep high-value company assets like data secure. Even though a lot of information is being moved into the cloud, there are many reasons to keep servers on-site. Unfortunately, server rooms are difficult to expand because they have stringent cooling requirements and normal air conditioning can’t handle the heat load of servers.
Containers are one of the most secure storage solutions—even as server rooms. You can put your servers in a specially modified shipping container near your existing server room to expand your capacity. All the cooling is built into the shipping container. Even in industries like onsite construction, where theft and vandalism are serious concerns, it makes sense to use the security of steel containers.
Prior to hiring an HR manager, like many COOs, I held human resource responsibilities. I focused on creating an environment where people would come to work motivated every day and enjoy being part of our organization. I believe good COOs ask: “How should we develop our people? How should we train our people? How do we create a motivated team who can scale our business? Where are they going to work?”
If you’re hiring to keep up with the rapid growth of your business (as is necessary) you’re likely walking into cramped offices. Instead of doubling people up per office, utilize a few ground-level container offices for a fast way to give new hires comfortable office space to perform their best.
When people ask me what keeps me up at night as a COO, I say, “everything. Except I don’t have a problem falling asleep at night, I just wake up early.” Utilizing modified shipping containers is a simple yet powerful solution. I wish you and your team luck as you grow and scale to meet demand.
Want to read more from John? Check out his other blogs here. Want to read more from Falcon? Subscribe to our blog and get insights directly in your inbox.
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