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COVER

RON BACHMEIER’S GREAT EXPECTATIONS

the highest level executive that everybody, just by doing something, can save a dollar a day.” And then he takes it to the next level. “I say let’s multiply that by saving me a dollar an hour. So you take $250,000 times eight hours then you’ve got $2 million of profitability that should be achievable just by people working a little bit faster, a little less waste, whatever you want to call it.” As an example, Bachmeier suggests thinking of ZCL’s basic materials of construction, resin and glass. “Resin is a dollar a pound, nine pounds per gallon. And a gallon isn’t very much. It’s gold, liquid gold. So by using material more wisely at the individual worker level and cutting out a gallon of spillage a day, you’ve saved me nine dollars. There’s your dollar an hour.” A dollar a day, a dollar an hour is something that Bachmeier brought forward as a way to simplify a common goal. “If we just talk about increasing profitability, nobody thinks, ‘ that’s about me’. But it’s about every single employee.” Bachmeier wants to be clear that this is not an accounting driven issue. “It’s not about squeezing pennies,” he says. “It’s not about restriction, it’s about efficiency. You’re a product driven company, you need to sell. That’s number one and number two. And then you’ve got to figure out how to do it profitably. They’re not mutually exclusive.” So how does Bachmeier see the future unfolding for ZCL? “Ven Cote had a grand vision to build a $1 billion company,” he says, “My dreams are to be the most profitable $250 million company and I can clearly see us reaching that goal within three to five years just through organic growth, based on existing products.” But don’t make the mistake of thinking that the quarter million dollar figure is some kind of an established ceiling. Bachmeier certainly doesn’t. “There are acquisition opportunities, and that’s the only way you get to a billion. You need to buy something that gets you exponential growth.” That goes for almost any type of industry, he says, but points out that for an industrial products company to go from $170 million to a billion without acquisitions would be next to impossible. “So we look at all those opportunities, whether inside or outside of Canada, and then take a look at what the next phase should be.” With one hand steady on the tiller of profitability and the

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August 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine | www.businessinedmonton.com

As I said, Ron Bachmeier is one part no-nonsense, two parts let’s do this and about 10 parts how can we do it better. But there’s another portion of the mixture of the man which I failed to mention. He’s also at least a few parts humility.

other coaxing greater and greater speed from the thrumming engines of growth below, Bachmeier is scanning the seas constantly, alert to changes in the wind, but also on the lookout for bountiful new lands calling out for cultivation. “It’s important to know what the next big thing is, and you don’t want to wait until it hits you in the face. There are game changers, a number of evolutions inside of energy that are absolutely going to take place. One of the most important things we can do as a company is look at where we fit into those.” As I said, Ron Bachmeier is one part no-nonsense, two parts let’s do this and about 10 parts how can we do it better. But there’s another portion of the mixture of the man which I failed to mention. He’s also at least a few parts humility. “If Ven Cote, the founder of this company, was still in this seat you’d have a totally different story to write about. He was one of this province’s great entrepreneurs,” he says. “So the history of having strong leadership in ZCL is part of why we’re here. I’m just the guy doing my part now.” Perhaps. But it’s a part Bachmeier seems born to play. BIE

August 2013 - Business in Edmonton  
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