November 07 Businessexcellence 125 services. The company’s newest product is its Beach Prisms shoreline erosion control system, four-feet-high and 10-feet long triangular-shaped barriers designed to be lined up along shorelines. The devices have openings that allow water to pass through but absorb wave energy, protecting the shoreline, and Smith-Midland recently moved to begin aggressively marketing the product in the US and to license it overseas. It has also applied for a patent for a part of the precast wall fabrication process it calls H2Out, the fi rst “in-the-joint” secondary drainage system which helps wick moisture away from concrete-clad buildings. Noting that Jack Welch used services to dramatically boost earnings at General Electric, Smith is seeking ways to do the same with the precast business. For instance, rather than just building and selling portable J-J Hooks highway safety barriers one time, Smith-Midland now offers barrier rentals through its Concrete Safety Systems (CSS) division. “It’s like selling the product 10 or 15 times. With one phone call, a highway contractor can say he needs 10,000 feet of barrier for a highway widening project and that work is going to start next Monday. Friday night after rush-hour, we can go in and set the barriers up and when our customer’s project is completed, we take the barrier away. Our customers do not have to buy them, they don’t have to store them and they don’t have to have any specialized equipment to install them,” says Smith. One of Smith’s specialties is forming a small team to turn ideas into products and other innovations that keep the company growing in a way that will enable its culture to thrive. “I used to think we were in the precast concrete business, but we are actually in the people business and just happen to make a concrete product,” he says. “Nothing can happen without good people.” Smith-MidlandCorp.
126 Businessexcellence November 07 Uniweld Products, Inc. has risen from the ashes of a devastating fire. David S Pearl II told Ruari McCallion about the desire and determination behind the headlines Firedup