Thoughtful Management Yields Results

Irrigation & Green Industry, May 2016

When Blake Crawford, CEO and owner of Crawford Landscaping Group, founded his company in 2004, his goal was to reach $10 million in revenue annually by 2014. Well, two years ago the Naples, Florida company passed its goal with flying colors, in spite of the housing collapse… and they’re still expanding.

Crawford credits some of his success to management techniques he encountered when working in the auto industry. The company documents every administrative process in laborious detail; for instance, keeping 130 files on everything from work orders to inventory management constantly updated. This helps them better measure, and thus manage, their technique.

Of course, a landscape company can’t keep to the clockwork schedule of an auto plant, and Crawford is quick to point out that some systems, like ISO certification, are too rigid to use. “They take that ISO discipline almost too far,” he said. “They become enslaved to the process.”

Lean-manufacturing techniques can’t easily apply either, because the employee in the field has such a wide latitude in getting the job done. “How do you take discretion out of the landscape process? It’s very difficult,” Crawford said.

Some management techniques are universal, like rewarding key employees with shares of company stock. “It’s a way to retain people, and also involve them in the day-to-day decisions,” he said. Crawford must be doing something right, as he says his company is still expanding, “We see opportunities all over the East Coast and through Central Florida.”