He began Rogue as an e-commerce site selling other companies products and transitioned into making his own. At GM, he made parts for transmissions and learned a great deal about metalraw material, machining, heat treating, and more. When you are building a transmission, you are doing pretty much anything you can possibly do to a piece of steel. Lots of things we do with barbells are similar. With Rogue, Henniger is focusing on his twin missions of creating products that are durable and making them in America.
The company now employs 600 people in a 600,000-square-foot HQ and buys its steel from American sources. In part, Henniger has set it up that way out of a sense of patriotic duty. Having these jobs here, versus outsourcing, creates a ripple effect on the economy, he says.
And thanks to local manufacturing, his company can also be nimbler. Rogue can test and launch a productlike a new stainless-steel barbellin a matter of days. Some companies build things to be just good enough, but we try to go well beyond that, he says. He offers the example of a power rack, which typically would be held together with half-inch bolts. Well use a one-inch bolt, which can hold something like 60,000 pounds. Its never going to see that amount of stress, but it means its going to last forever.
One of Hennigers principles is high speed, low drag. Its a military phrase that means doing things as efficiently as possible and applies to everything from product design to manufacturing processes to his workouts. CrossFit is all about functional movements at high intensityeverything has some correlation to real life.
To make sure his employees reap the same benefits, Henniger had two gyms built into the new headquarters and gives employees incentives to get active. People get caught up in the business of life, and they forget how good it makes them feel to be strong. We see a lot of people, once they start a program, become not only happier but more productive at work. Were trying to build a culture around it.