Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Iowa Association of Business and Industry Legislative Briefing and Reception. After a quick overview of the upcoming Iowa legislative session, I had the opportunity to speak with some top leaders in the state about what we can expect in 2017.

The trajectory of the country changed on November 8th. The tone and topics in the news have been very different since the general election. This is because President-elect Trump has been very active since his election, and we are already starting to see a picture of what his economic policies will look like after he takes office January 20th. Manufacturing has been a constant in the national news since the Presidential election. Vehicle manufacturers have been split between plans to send jobs to Mexico and China or re-shore them to the United States. Mr. Trump has been willing to call out companies like Ford and GM when they announce plans to move jobs. Mr. Trump appears dead set on increasing the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector during his upcoming tenure.

The question becomes “what is it that manufacturers can do in response?”

The truth is, until policy is enacted, there is no requirement to implement any change. Conversely though, it may be time to start putting together plans for American-based manufacturing. We see more now in this technology-driven world that the team that can execute wins. The only way that your team can do this is by putting together a plan that you can execute off of.

What is right for each company is going to vary based upon the profile of your company. The question that should be asked is “why did we outsource in the first place?” Was it to stay lean? Or was it simply a financial decision to take advantage of the low cost labor of work overseas? The answers to those questions should help guide the company on its path to determining the best actions moving forward with reshoring work.

stay lean and focus on your company’s core competencies

If you are still wanting to stay lean and focus on your company’s core competencies, then using a manufacturing services contractor could be within your company’s best interest. These partners will take care of everything for your reshoring initiative from sourcing the components, to assembly, packaging, warehousing and fulfillment. This can allow your business to continue to focus on the sales and marketing efforts that have lead you to the success it has achieved already.

Manufacturing has been the subject of regular water cooler meetings since election night, and will continue to be top of mind for many of us in the months to come. Sources at last night’s event have confirmed that the conversations are happening, and we need to be prepared for changes in our trade policies. As President-Elect Trump heads into his first 100 days, we should all be keeping a close eye on the policies and regulation changes that might be coming, and be prepared to act when necessary.

If your organization is looking to put together a reshoring plan, give us a call and mention our blog post for a free consultation. Contact Schafer Solutions

What is Your Re-shoring Strategy?


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It’s time to get up. The alarm sounds and 5:10 every day, if it doesn’t there’s not time to get ready for the day ahead. By the time the shower is done, the breakfast is eaten, and the teeth are brushed, it’s time to say good-bye. The wife is still in bed, but with the commute, if you’re not on the road shortly after 6:00 am, you won’t be to the office by 7:00. That’s the routine, that’s how it has to work, that’s the only option. But, why?

In case you missed my last blog, I love what I do. I have had the privilege of working from a great company in Southwest Iowa for over 5 years. Even after my wife and I moved to Des Moines two years ago and my commute more than doubled, I wouldn’t have dreamed of leaving the company I work for. I am fortunate to have found a place where I am comfortable, where I can grow, and where I feel at home.

My company Schafer Solutions Inc. is the youngest subsidiary of Owner Revolution Inc. Within our company we refer to ourselves as ORI. See, while I’m the only employee that works solely for Schafer Solutions, I actually have over 350 coworkers spread across our four other companies. At ORI we are proud to be a 100% employee owned ESOP.

So what is an ESOP exactly? I’m glad you asked.

ESOP stands for Employee Stock Ownership Plan. How the plan works is that every year, qualified employees receive stock in the company. All because they work for the company. The company has an annual audit to determine the value of the company, and we annually find out the value of the shares that are entitled to us. It could go up, it could go down, just like in the stock market.

While you may have never heard of an ESOP before, they’re actually more common than you may think. According to the National Center for Employee Ownership , as of 2015 there were roughly 7,000 ESOPs covering about 13.5 million employees. In Iowa, we actually have the highest rate of ESOPs in the country with 4.07 ESOPs for every 1,000 firms, according to the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

ESOPs have a track record of performing better than their non-ESOP competitors. This is often times due to the unique culture found in employee-owned companies. See, workers in ESOP companies have the unique ability to have a direct impact on their future through company performance. This impact causes employees to take a more vested interest in their day-to-day projects.

Think of it this way. We work with a lot of startup companies in the Des Moines area. Successful startups are great at solving problems and creating a need. At our company, when we start working with that company with a great mission, we ultimately take on that mission with them. We know that ultimately we have to have a great partnership, and the best foundation for that partnership is to be willing to stand with them in their mission. We market that mission internally to our production employees by explaining that when they build a product for a Schafer Solutions customer, they are ultimately helping change the world through the same mission as the customer. This can have a huge impact on employee morale, and ultimately the quality of the work done by those different departments.


Beginning my adventure- Schafer Solutions

I’m beginning my adventure in blogging nine months into stepping into the world of intrapreneurship. For those that feel like that’s a funny word, believe me you aren’t alone. If you type the word intrapreneur in Microsoft Word, you will get the little red line telling you that you misspelled entrepreneur. In my LinkedIn summary I used that word, and my own mother called me thinking I made a mistake that made me look terrible to potential clients.  Just like entrepreneurship is beginning to take off in America, so too is the idea of intrapreneurship. So what exactly is an intrapreneur?

Long story short, I work for a company of approximately 350. We’re a 100% employee owned ESOP located in Southwest Iowa. Last November I moved into a new position where I was tasked with taking our newest company into the future. Within a few certain parameters, I was given free license to build something from basically nothing. I’m starting a business, but with the stability of working for an established company. That’s an intrapreneur, in a nutshell!

I have had the unique opportunity to work my way up in our company. I started working for Owner Revolution Inc. out on the production floor in our rotational molding division. Then I transitioned into our accounting department as an accounting clerk. While in that position, I spent some time working with the sales staff of our lottery company. Finally, last fall, I was given the opportunity to head up our youngest company. I accepted that position a few months shy of my 5th anniversary with the company.

It is my belief that there is only one way to make that kind of progress. You have to have a willingness to step up. It doesn’t matter what level of a company you are in. For me it was coming to the realization that I wanted something more for myself. I didn’t want to spend my afternoons working in a factory that would reach temperatures of 130 in the summers. I love the company that I work for, but at that time I knew I wanted something more.

I started to absorb as much knowledge as I could. Asking questions, keeping my eyes open, and trying to build a network that could help me along the way. I joined our employee ownership committee and began networking with people outside the company. These were all opportunities to step up and show the potential that I had.

When you step up, people notice. Some people tend to notice negatively. That reaction is most generally from jealousy or fear. The people who matter, though, they notice differently. They will challenge you to be better, and give you the opportunities you desire. This requires that you do the most important thing you can do if you want to step up: follow through.

Reed Gibson

Sales Account Manager

  • Schafer Solutions Inc.
  • 1000 Flag Road
  • Adair, IA 50002

Reed Gibson


Winners Announced for 2016 Iowa Job Honor Awards

Initiative aims to employ disadvantaged jobseekers by celebrating “A New Kind of Hero” 

DES MOINES, IA — The Iowa Job Honor Awards, an initiative aimed at recognizing Iowans who have overcome barriers to employment, has announced its top honorees for 2016.

Nominations were submitted via the organization’s website and judged by a statewide panel. The awards were presented on June 14 in Sioux City, on the first day of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry’s annual Taking Care of Business Conference. Several hundred Iowa business leaders assembled to witness the ceremony, in which biographical videos recounted honoree efforts to win life-changing jobs.

“Iowa employers are seeking creative solutions to our labor shortage and ABI is proud to sponsor the Iowa Job Honor Awards,” ABI President Mike Ralston said. “By shining a spotlight on success stories, the awards will help us engage our state’s untapped workforce.”

One of this year’s success stories is Jeremiah Machuca of Clinton. Raised in what he describes as an abusive home, Machuca’s early life was filled with drug abuse, criminal activity and imprisonment. “I quit caring about myself,” Machuca recalls, “and found comfort and relief in drug use.” Following his release from federal prison he sought shelter at The Victory Center in Clinton. Almost immediately he searched for employment: “After years of not having a job history, I had to prove myself by my conduct and my behavior at a workplace.” Machuca was quickly hired by Jacobs Field Services in Clinton, where managers describe him as an outstanding employee. “To be honest with you I wish I had twenty more of these guys,” notes site manager David Windover. Continue reading

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Kayt Gabrielson
Telephone 641-742-5140 (June 15, 2016)
Email Kayt.Gabrielson@ownrev.com
Website www.schafersystemsinc.com

SCHAFER SYSTEMS INC. WINS NOVA AWARD

ADAIR, Iowa – June 15, 2016 – The Iowa Chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) recently recognized some of Iowa’s best marketers at Spectrum: the 2016 NOVA Awards. Schafer Systems Inc. was awarded with a first place finish in the category of Market Research; which was a joint effort research project between On Point Strategies out of Des Moines, Iowa and Schafer Systems Inc. The study covered brand development and product innovation which resulted in further insight and decisions for impactful campaigns. Continue reading