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Leadership Coaching - Vision, Goals, KPIs


Artforms is a privately-owned screen-printing company founded in 1988 and located on Maine Street in Brunswick, Maine. The company was originally located in Westbrook and relocated when the owner, Kip Stone, purchased the 31,000 square foot old Grand City Building in 1999. Kip Stone is also co-owner of Cool-As-A-Moose, six retail stores which sell products made by Artforms. Artforms also sells and distributes products throughout the US and Caribbean. Artforms employs 28 people, including production, inventory, internal and external sales and design staff.

The Challenge

The majority of the products Artforms creates are sold in tourist shops and tourist areas, which means that the sales cycle is highly cyclical. Typically Artforms spends the winter and spring seasons producing product for the upcoming summer tourist season; the fall season sees a sharp decline in orders and production slows down significantly. This has caused an unhealthy annual cycle of hiring, training, long hours and overtime and then layoffs, which is both costly for the company and creates hardships for employees at all levels of the organization. Owner Kip Stone recognized that this inefficiency needed to be corrected. At the same time, he was also looking to step back from day-to-day operations and focus on the company vision and strategic direction.
Thank you very much for all the hard work insight and commitment that has gone into our organization. We would not be the company we are today without your help.
— Kip Stone, Owner/CEO

MEP's Role

Maine MEP Project Manager Wayne Messer, part of the MEP National Network™, is  a trusted advisor to Artforms and has worked with the company on standardized work documents, sales training, and HR referrals, among other projects. Recently, leadership asked Wayne to assist in finding solutions to the unhealthy production cycle and determine how to best allow Kip to step back from the day-to-day details of running the business. Wayne attended department meetings and observed each area of work to determine opportunities for improvement.

Over the past few years Kip has worked closely with the art department, and inside and external sales to establish processes that have created steady inventory planning while also working to make the accounting processes more visible and streamlined. Production, on the other hand, has struggled with scheduling and keeping up with projected inventory needs. The company uses an industry specific ERP software called Impress, which is not fully being utilized. Better use of the ERP software and stronger planning will improve production scheduling and smooth out the staffing needs. With Wayne’s encouragement, Artforms is focusing on improving production planning, staffing the production department for success, developing clear and actionable department goals, job roles and responsibilities and key performance indicators.

Created January 13, 2024