2015 Risk All Star: Kris Finell

Doing What Needs to Be Done

When Kris Finell was appointed to a newly created risk management position at Rytec Corp., it was the first risk management position she held.

But Finell, with a background in finance, had worked for Rytec, an industrial door manufacturer, for 25 years. She knew the company.

Kris Finell, Chief Risk and Administrative Officer, Rytec Corp.

Kris Finell, Chief Risk and Administrative Officer, Rytec Corp.

Her supervisors had faith in her. So she just dove in and got to work.

One of the first things to go was the company’s incumbent insurance broker. The broker was a friend of her supervisor. There were complications. But Finell knew she needed a new broker.

“I will make anything work, and I did. But it wasn’t my relationship or what I needed,” she recalled.

Finell and her boss met with a number of brokerages. Finell took notes on them all, graded them and in the end chose HUB International. She had made her first new key relationship.

“I have a very strong relationship with HUB. It gives me confidence to move forward,” she said.

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Next, Finell went to work changing the company culture. As a maker of high-speed industrial doors, Rytec has its share of safety considerations, both from a product liability standpoint and from the perspective of worker safety.

In the category of risk, Finell got to work educating the sales force that when it comes to product safety, there are no compromises. Some of the sales force, justifiably eager to make sales, had gotten into the habit of removing certain safety features at the request of customers.

Finell put a stop to that. She taught her team that just because a customer signed a waiver to hold the manufacturer harmless in case of an accident, it didn’t mean that some third party might not file suit in the case of an incident.

Rytec no longer offers such waivers to customers.

Finell also tackled safety on the manufacturing floor. She re-energized the company’s safety committee so that communication around possible industrial safety issues became much more active.

The company’s workers now get emails every week on safety topics. Posters on the importance of safety can now be found all over the facility, and they’re not coming down any time soon.

She taught her team that just because a customer signed a waiver to hold the manufacturer harmless in case of an accident, it didn’t mean that some third party might not file suit in the case of an incident.

Finell is also conducting a job safety analysis for each position on the floor where there was none before.

The key point of that is this: Rytec is a fast-growing, entrepreneurial company. The changes Finell is making now will put it in a much better position to thrive going forward.

Business continuity? Finell is on it. She’s creating a business continuity plan where the company didn’t have one before. It’s not in place yet, but she’s working on it.

She also focused on a piece of machinery that touches 65 percent of the product that goes out the doors at Rytec.

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Finell convinced her superiors of the importance of buying a replacement head for the machine, to not only forestall losses related to equipment breakdown, but also to help the company boost productivity.

She engaged a number of her co-workers in devising a tarping system to keep this piece of equipment safe in the event one of the company’s sprinklers malfunctioned and the piece was sprayed with water.

Finell thinks that piece of vital equipment is not only safe and secure, but has the backup parts it needs.

“I think we’re solid there and I can sleep at night,” Finell said.

Because of Kris Finell, so can Rytec’s shareholders.

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R9-15-15p26_Intro_Allstar4-2.inddRisk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and/or passion.

See the complete list of 2015 Risk All Stars.

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