Make Strong plans

Succession planning is a tough process. But for a dealership, or an owner, who’d like to see the company continue on after he departs, it’s crucial.

Strong’s Marine (Ranked 20 in 2006) understands this and has not only concluded that the company needs a succession plan but has gone so far as to outline its plan in multiple ways: location, inter-location, management and ownership.

Within each location, employees diligently cross-train each other. President Jeffery Strong has put the training in place to ensure that if any given employee is out sick or on vacation, there is an organized flow of those who have been trained to do that person’s job, and there is clear communication processes set up before and after the days off to keep work flowing smoothly. This also protects the company if an employee were to leave.

Another benefit of this cross training is that it has allowed employees to see, first-hand, the complexities of their co-workers’ job responsibilities, which aids in the understanding and respect of the other person’s efforts.

“They may have thought the other person’s job to be simple and easy,” Strong explains, “but quickly learn that all jobs have many levels of detail to be performed to ensure perfection.”

This year, Strong began actively shifting personnel to cross train at different locations — as opposed to solely at their own location — to protect all interests of the four-store dealer.

On the management side of the business, the company has recently begun to actively train its managers to assume more of the day-to-day responsibilities to allow and encourage Strong to spend more time planning and strategizing for the company. And as you can imagine with planning like this, Strong’s also has legal documents and trusts established that clearly spell out how ownership, in addition to the management, would be transferred in the event of a death.

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