SEKO happy with new equity model
It's been more than two months since SEKO Worldwide, a Chicago-based supply-chain solutions provider, decided to make employees part owners of the firm. This new equity model means that the company's strategic partners are now able to drive decisions at the top levels of the company.
"It changes the whole culture and the whole thought process," Bill Wascher, SEKO's president and CEO, said during a break at the AirCargo 2011 conference in San Diego. He said this new way of doing business is going extremely well.
The concept is simple at its heart: Breaking up the company into smaller pieces, and letting employees own those pieces, will drive value and make the company more successful. Employees are personally responsible for how the company fares; Seko is not an organization full of employees, but one full of owners.
This way of doing business is commonly seen in the retail sector — one of the biggest examples is the Publix supermarket chain — but it hasn't really caught hold outside of smaller companies and especially not in the air cargo industry.
Competitiors see employee-ownership as a liability instead of an asset, Wascher said. He explained that the reasons company heads don't want to give up parts of their empire range from greed to a need for power. Some people simply don't want to have to answer to anybody. For those simple reasons, he doesn't see the equity model being echoed throughout the industry.
"It's a concept that many people aren't willing to embrace," he said. "We have more accountability."
The company's forward-thinking management style is echoed in other parts of the firm. Wascher told Air Cargo World that SEKO wants to be on the "cutting edge of technology," a feat he thinks they have achieved.
"We want to be the trendsetters in the industry," he said. "We want to be ahead of the curve."