YEAR IN REVIEW: Where M4 has been + where we're headed

As I reflect on 2018, it’s incredible to see what the M4 team accomplished in the year. We’ve learned a lot and we are excited to use those learnings to evolve, improve operations, and focus on the areas of our business we are most passionate about.

Here is a look at what we’ve been up to and where we are headed in the new year.

2018: GROW BOLDLY

We kicked off the year with an “abundant future” candle burning bright. We knew a big year was ahead.

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As predicted, 2018 was an abundant and transformative year for M4.

Early in the year were breaking down silos, literally, as we continued to transform our old outdated space into a modern open-concept office with white walls, artistic elements, and common areas for teammates to connect.

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The transformation of our physical space helped us live more authentically, aligning with our culture of creativity, transparency, and accountability. Today, we remain a work in progress and hope to always be improving, evolving and staying true to who we are as we strive to make a manufacturing house with heart.

Almost five years ago, when I purchased M4, I had a vision of what I wanted it to become and finally, the pieces were all fitting into place.

TEAM HIGHLIGHTS

As a people first company, I am most proud of the team we have built. The M4 team has come together in a way that is driving the business forward—a solid group who has expanded and strengthened our internal competencies to more align with our current strategy and direction.

Our L10 leadership team is now complete with the 2018 hires of Sujit Sheth, COO + Integrator, Rick Seaberg, Engineering + Tooling Director, Jeré Wittig, Quality + Continuous Improvement Manager, Kyle Swen, CDO, and Kristen Davis, Human Resources Lead. We also transitioned Holly Miller back to Operations where she loves to be at the beginning of 2018. Dawn Kent was also brought on as Engineering Assistant.

I am so proud to be surrounded by teammates who have the skills and passion to take M4 to the next level. If you haven’t already, you need to read their bios, they are all rockstars.

Our incredible team is also responsible for voting M4 a Northwest Herald McHenry County 2018 Top Workplace in two categories—Best Industrial / Warehouse and Best Small Employer (under 100 employees).

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Culture is at the core of M4 and we are so grateful to have teammates who embrace our core values and come to work each day with creativity, purpose, and heart.

A personal achievement for me was being named to the 2018 Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 list. A humbling experience to be on a list with so many incredible forward-thinking and innovative minds in business, a list that expands beyond 2018 to all the trailblazers who have come before since this list started in 1989.

40 under 40

BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS

Next up: We added to M4’s factory and operating systems.

Strategic capital expenditures provided the opportunity for us to perfect our process and improve the quality of our output. On the factory floor, we increased automation by investing in equipment and cloud-based software systems.

M4 purchased two new injection molding machines from Absolute Haitian, expanding our capacity from 750 tons to 850 tons and allowing us to provide additional solutions to our consumer goods customers.

We launched and have been working hard to fully integrate IQMS Manufacturing ERP software into our operations. Our teammates have hustled beyond belief to tackle a new data-driven and fully transparent system and use it use to improve efficiencies on the floor. I am so proud of the strides the team has made since launching the software last August.

In November 2018, we also launched a new website, bringing light, femininity, and design to manufacturing.

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We implemented HubSpot to more efficiently manage new business prospects and stay engaged with existing business relationships. We continue to utilize slack to keep lines of communication across teams and shifts.

Last, but definitely not least, this was the second year in a row M4 was named to the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies. We moved up the list by over 3,000 spots landing at #1056 in 2018.

An impressive feat not because we saw a dramatic boost over the course of one year but because we were able to achieve sustained growth over the last three years, hitting a three-year growth rate of 466 percent.

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2018 was also about understanding where we need to do better.

Our team took a hard look at things that weren’t working, areas we wanted to improve, and places we wanted to explore further. With 100% transparency and accountability based on EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System), our leadership team was able to establish a clear picture of what we want to accomplish in 2019.

2019: DELIVER MORE

Deliver more on the operations side with a complete rollout of the IQMS software, capacity planning, customer engagement, and factory layout improvements.

Deliver more on the engineering side with RFQ new product process improvements, program management + execution home runs, and improved on-boarding and workflow processes.

Deliver more quality with competent teammates, inspection equipment in place, and IQMS document control implementation.

Deliver more on the design side with beta testing, re-establishing the design process by knowing what good looks like, and designing content to meet our capabilities and marketing needs.

Deliver more for our teammates with training programs, culture + fun, and finding and retaining the best talent in the industry.

Now it’s time to get back to work!

What priorities and goals do you have on tap for 2019? Drop me a line. I’m always interested in hearing how others are driving change at their organization.