Robert Hayter knows the business of landscape services. Those who know him say Hayter has been directly involved in the green industry for thirty-seven years. “Involved” meaning owning and operating landscape service companies; advising industry-leading companies on a variety of business and management approaches; and teaching in the classroom and at professional conferences. Now, as the creator of Optimum Provision ManagementSM (OPMSM), he is intent on the daunting mission of reinventing the way landscape service companies do business. Despite his confidence that OPMSM will be good for all landscape companies, he admits that it is a very new way of thinking. Hayter (pronounced Hy-ter) sounds a lot like a philosopher when he talks about his new management system. “It’s a sustainable strategy”.
Sustainable. “That’s my real concern,” says Hayter. Many of the landscape industry’s successful companies are working harder for less profit. Many use variations of similar operating systems, which are not nimble enough to withstand increasingly competitive markets. Industry efforts to help companies operate more effectively are sound techniques, but they are not holistic. “A single brick no matter how solid does not a wall make” explains Hayter as he comments on his concern for today’s operating and management systems for landscape service companies.
Throw in other factors like weak market demand and increased operating costs OPMSM takes on added validity. “OPM forces you to step back and rethink some important stuff” says Michael Currin, owner of Greenscapes, Inc. in Holly Springs, North Carolina. “I think Hayter is on to something very important that most of our industry cannot see. We all develop a set of blinders when you are so caught up in running your business. OPM helped us take the blinders off” Currin says.
Completely systemic, OPMSM affects every person, position and operating principle in a landscape company. The entire process of reinventing the way things are done is at the core of OPMSM. Equally important is why things are done. Other management schemes are often helpful in improving sales, processes, finance, etc. but they are only good at the tactical level. “This industry needs strategic applications”, says Hayter.
The pressing question: Can Hayter’s system, which has only been tested in two companies improve hundreds of landscape companies, and for that matter, the green industry? Hayter confidently smiles and replies, “I am a landscape guy”. The early results look good. Greenscape, Inc. and New Garden Landscaping and Nursery, both industry leading firms, have chosen OPMsm as their management system.
OPMsm hybridizes the best of contemporary business management principles and his knowledge of the landscape industry into a completely new system. A few landscape company owners familiar with this new management framework say that on the surface Hayter’s ideas really make sense. OPMSM supports the benefits of lean principles and process improvement.
OPMSM ups the ante – “Its time to use systematic diagnosis. Fixing the wrong symptom even with the right tool is dysfunctional. “New fuel injectors or a new carburetor will not improve an engine’s use of oil.” Hayter explains. He talks about company organization, strategy and processes as if they are dependent parts of a living cell. It is all about interoperability; a company functioning like a college basketball team, not like a golf team. Every player has a well understood position but during the game, each can handle the ball in a variety of situations.
Hayter’s comfort with all levels and positions in a landscape company adds to the interest shown by his clients, but many say his expectations are too high. He recognizes changing the way things are done at any company is difficult and takes time. Hayter says he works behind the scenes to help handle that situation. “I don’t want to be the player. Each company needs to carry out its own OPMsm plan,” says Hayter.
Hayter will go the extra mile to spread the awareness and benefits of the system. One of the next steps to broaden its exposure and gain valued critique is presenting at the 2009 PLANET Green Industry Conference.