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Specialty Fabrics Review interviews Kathy Schaefer, COO of Glawe Awnings and Tents

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What are your strategies for encouraging employees to help control operating costs?

I’m pretty transparent with them as far as what kinds of costs the business has. I tell them the costs of labor, gas, heat, and materials so they’re all informed. Once we had an employee who filed a false Worker’s Comp claim, and although some of the employees knew, they didn’t say anything. They didn’t understand that those kinds of costs affect all of us.

What is one piece of technology you would like to add to your business to increase efficiency?

I’ve been considering adding GPS to the trucks to help with job costing, and to track trucks so we’d know where they all are in the event of a storm or other emergency. However, I’ve heard from other tent and awning companies that have GPS that employees are not always supportive of it because they feel like you’re checking up on them.

Sigrid Tornquist is a freelance author and editor based in St. Paul, Minn. She is also the associate editor of InTents magazine, a publication of the Industrial Fabrics Association International.

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