Reed Nunnally spent five years building his own highly successful construction and real estate business buying, renovating and flipping properties in Louisville, Kentucky's historic Highlands area. But after a couple of years nursing a bad back, he knew he needed to switch gears.
His father, David Nunnally—interested in finding an operations manager to help run the business—jumped at the chance to get his savvy son on board at his lab, Derby Dental Laboratory, also in Louisville. While Reed had never planned to join the family business, he saw an opportunity to use his marketing degree and business experience at the 62-person operation, so he took his father up on his offer.
"Before making any changes, I spent countless hours in each department, learning every aspect of the operation and getting an understanding of the technicians' mindset," says Reed. After gaining that insight and researching new technology, Reed knew the lab could benefit from increased automation and he wanted to be sure the staff was on board. "My main focus has been to use technology to make a stronger, more consistent restoration and I wanted to be sure we had people excited and positive about my plans for the future of the lab."
A few employees weren't interested in the new direction and left. In other cases, Reed made some adjustments, moving employees around to benefit production or to better focus their skills.
Another area he wanted to enhance was increasing sales by tracking the activity of the lab's sales team. "We had no accountability measures in place and our sales team needed structure and better tools to help them succeed," says Reed. Now, the reps have monthly, quarterly and annual sales goals and submit daily reports of their meetings with doctors. As a result of the new structure—as well as new marketing materials—their accounts are up. For instance, in one year, one rep now has 60 new accounts and his sales have increased by $100,000 a month.
"Reed operates with a structured business mindset and an understanding of the tools that help us succeed; I use a green ledger pad, he uses excel," says David, noting that in the last two years, sales have grown by over 50%. "Reed has taken our operation to the next level and the future has never been brighter."