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  • Writer's pictureThe Resultants

Client Spotlight: An Interview with Nick Stoner of SOS Manufacturing

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

At The Resultants, we understand that being prepared for growth is just as if not more important as growth itself. Without the right structure and business operating system in place, growth actually has the potential to derail an organization.


Nick Stoner, Integrator at SOS Manufacturing, has seen firsthand how being well prepared for rapid growth post-Covid has set his company up for success. We recently sat down with Nick to discuss his company’s recent acquisition, leaving hallway meetings behind, and his experience working with our Senior Business Advisor, Steve Wilcox.


Tell us about SOS Manufacturing: What products do you provide and what are you most known for?

At SOS, we provide wire harness and cable assemblies – that’s where we started, anyway. We’ve since evolved into electromechanical builds which are more “box units” and bigger assemblies to provide to our customers. When working with a client, we often start with the wire cabling and prove ourselves with that, and then they’ll give us more of a finished product by the time our relationship has tenured.


We work with many companies from a lot of different industries. We’re really just a contract manufacturer helping out other manufacturers to get their product ready to go.


What is your current role at SOS? What does your day-to-day look like?

I started working at SOS right out of high school. My uncle was a co-owner, and he’s now retired, but he gave me a job when they started.


Now I’m taking the reins — my current title is “Integrator.” I work with our accounting, sales, and operations teams and make sure the train’s on track. I handle problem solving, I review our team and processes, make sure we’re executing our business plan… I also make sure it aligns with our vision, which is a big component that we were missing in the past.


And now that we’re owned by another private equity group that owns other manufacturers, we’re aligning to their vision as well. So now my role is kind of split between handling SOS as well as the broader scope.


What part of the job do you enjoy the most?

Seeing results out of our planning. I enjoy when there’s a process that we can improve, and then six to 12 months later seeing the results, seeing that it’s running smoother, seeing the numbers in the P&L — that’s always really exciting and fulfilling.


Prior to working with The Resultants, what were some of your main pain points?

We were always a small company with a small company-feel. Our pain points were our lack of business planning and difficulty with execution. We knew what we were good at and what we wanted to do, but we really had no idea what our five-year vision looked like or how we would get there.


We also struggled with communication. We hated meetings because we thought they were a waste of time, and we were just trying to get things done as fast as we could. So a lot of our communication happened via “hallway-meetings” or just brief 1:1 talks.


We just didn’t know what we didn’t know. We didn’t realize that not having great communication was a problem, nor did we understand that our lack of vision was a problem. Our team was very operational-focused, and had no problem fixing productivity or efficiency issues, but we weren’t very good at the business planning side of things. We didn’t know how to ask questions like “Where are we?” “Where do we want to go?” and “How do we get there?” That’s where The Resultants came in.


How did you hear about The Resultants?

I believe it was a referral through one of our accountants. Steve is well known in the area, and our area has a small town feel where everyone knows everyone.


We were a little hesitant going into it — we were just coming into Covid and we didn't know what that meant, so we felt pretty uncertain. But Steve came in and showed us what a business operating system (BOS) looked like and how it worked. From then on we were sold.


What strategies did The Resultants implement that helped improve your situation? Were there any that surprised you?

The biggest thing was the BOS and the tools that Steve used to implement it. As a small business, we were very fast-paced but unorganized, so the organizer tool that The Resultants use was very helpful. It helped us put our business plan on one piece of paper so it wasn’t this complicated book. It was really dialed-in.


So it was interesting to think about where we wanted to be in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, and what goals we had to achieve to get there. Breaking it down to quarterly goals and then discussing at weekly meetings how we were going to achieve those little goals to get to the big goals. Steve really taught us the importance of improving our communication.


The accountability chart was another interesting tool. It’s basically an organizational chart on steroids: every box has a name and a job description within it, as well as open positions, contract workers, outsourced resources, etc. It really gives visibility to the bigger picture of the organization.


How often did your leadership team meet with Steve?

Once we signed on, there was a lot of work on building that organizational structure so we could implement the new BOS. And it took a few months to get into a regular cadence of weekly meetings with our leadership team.


Initially, we met once a week. Those were intense meetings. They were 2-4 hours each because we were digging deep and building that vision.


Steve did a great job of drilling into those things and pulling the best work out of us. He helped us stay on track with the agenda until our team got the cadence of the meetings down and could do it on our own. Then there were quarterly meetings and annual reviews where we’d set our vision for the next year. After about 2 years, we were basically self-sufficient and could do it independently. But the first year was pretty intense.


How would you say things changed or improved after working with The Resultants?

It couldn’t have been better timing. Covid was around the same time that we changed our business model anyway, and we experienced rapid growth coming out of it, so it was good that we started working with The Resultants when we did. It set us up for that major growth — the following years, our company saw 40% growth or more.


So without the BOS and organization structure, we wouldn’t have been prepared for that growth. If we were still just having hallway-conversations, it would have been a nightmare to get through it, and we would have not been in a good position coming out of it. That new system came in at the right time, and that was a blessing.


How would you describe your experience with The Resultants overall?

Overall it was really a pleasure. We learned a lot from the experience of implementing the new BOS and also just from watching Steve. I think Steve has unique skill sets, and has the experience to facilitate meetings in a way that I’ve never seen before. He can get the best out of everybody, spotting issues and driving the conversation where it needs to go. He does a phenomenal job with that. We’ve had other people facilitate meetings without Steve and it just wasn’t the same.


What’s in the future for SOS Manufacturing? Any upcoming projects?

It’s an interesting time for us right now. We were acquired by a larger company, so we’re looking to build a national platform. Our hope is to become the best wire and cable harness provider in the United States, even internationally at some point. It’s really exciting… It’s something that the BOS has prepared us for, and I think it will keep driving us forward as well.


To learn more about Nick Stoner and SOS Manufacturing, please visit SOSmfg.com.


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At The Resultants, we pride ourselves in helping our clients take their businesses to the next level. Our team of experienced professionals brings a diverse range of skills and expertise to the table, allowing us to provide tailored solutions that address each client's unique situation. Interested in talking to a Business Advisor about how you can make your business go further, faster? Contact us today to find out how The Resultants can help you.


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