Gene Cattie Enterprises
This case concerns Gene Cattie Enterprises (GCE), a manufacturer of a variety of fabricated metal house accessories, including mailboxes and window boxes. Founded in 2001 by Gene Cattie, a former HR professional for a large diversified financial-services company, GCE manufactures window boxes in five basic colors in a small plant in central Virginia. Historically, GCE has competed by providing a low-cost, high-quality product, sold mostly to specialty stores and catalog retailers. Competitive pressures have recently made delivery lead time an issue. Cattie believes that if he can significantly reduce the manufacturing lead time, he will be able to respond to market fluctuations as well as provide a line of custom-made window boxes. He wonders whether he can improve the effectiveness of his window-box production operation. As a former HR professional, he is unsure what his choices are. He is even unsure of the measures he should use to evaluate his decisions. He is, however, sure of one thing: his goal is to make money. His gut tells him that he is not making as much as he could.