Flexibility is key in the acquisition game.
From the way employees are dressed to the manner in which shrubs are trimmed and installation services are delivered, best practices are the stitching that keeps together a business based on consolidating individual firms.
And the benefit of acquiring businesses is the ability to assimilate the “best” best practices into the company’s protocol. The Yard Group leverages its brands by swapping specialists (stone masons, for example) and adopting systems (like routing) from each company to form a single, cohesive blueprint for success.
For example, when The Yard Group acquired B&B Landscaping & Design of Glastonbury, Conn., the company got a team of three stone mason craftsmen. “They were known in our community to be as good as it gets,” said Michael Ferris, a founder of The Yard Group, based in Rocky Hill, Conn.
But The Yard Group’s operation in Farmington, Burhoe Landscaping and Lawn Service, didn’t have any stone experts on staff. So, The Yard Group shifted one of those specialists from B&B to Burhoe, giving him a promotion and the opportunity to be the masonry lead. “Now, he is running a natural stone team in Farmington and we are confident that we have a qualified stone team in Farmington,” Ferris said.
Another example: Readco Landscaping in central and southeastern Connecticut excelled at fleet management. “They did a better job than we were in Glastonbury,” Ferris admits. So now that Readco is part of The Yard Group, all of its brands benefit from a more disciplined approach to routing and scheduling. “We are really looking at each individual job and trying to implement best practices with estimating and putting the right individuals on the job,” Ferris relates.
Best practices are shared among The Yard Group locations by managers who bring their ideas to the table for implementation. “We look at our four different companies in terms of what works better at one or another, and we evolve those best practices so we implement a standard approach to the way we do things,” sums up David Pyne, CEO of The Yard Group.
This means training the leadership team is critical so knowledge can trickle down the ranks. With four different brands under the parent company, Pyne said the result is a “pretty impactful and impressive” team.