Size Doesn’t Matter…

By Ken Garner
In April 30, 2015

Let me clarify…when it comes to business size is not always as important as you would think. Some principles of business success are equally important regardless of size. And, they apply regardless of location, ethnicity, native culture, or political persuasion.

As part of a peer group consisting of some of the largest mailing specialists in our association, I recently visited the mailing operation of one of the group members who operate a facility in Juarez, Mexico. The facility consists of two adjacent buildings that in total represent over 400,000 square feet and employ between 700 -800 workers. While the company has a long history in the industry with a legacy plant in Pennsylvania, this family run business built their Mexican operation from the ground up during the last decade.

I readily admit that my preconceived notions of what the plant would look like were not positive, and there was some trepidation about traveling to Juarez. However, what I found was a modern, efficient plant employing well engineered and maintained equipment in a spotless manufacturing environment. Workers were well trained, well organized and totally focused on their respective responsibilities. They were highly engaged and very motivated. In short, this plant easily qualifies as a model facility in any well-developed country and shines in the still developing manufacturing center in Juarez.

As you would expect, senior management is justifiably very proud. They are happy to share their extraordinary story and I was grateful to have the opportunity to listen. The interesting thing to me is that some of what makes this company successful applies to any company regardless of size or location. The management of this company has gone to great lengths to create a partnership with their workforce that is based on trust, mutual respect, training, support, and the opportunity to be appropriately rewarded for reaching goals and objectives. The positive culture in this plant is obvious during the tour. It’s spotless, work stations are well-organized, equipment is clean and well-maintained. Monitors are placed throughout the facility displaying real-time productivity measures for each piece of equipment and for every operator. Employees are organized into teams that work together and support one another. Workers are clean, neat and appear to wear their company uniforms with pride. As I said, all of this is based on a commitment by management to create a spirit of partnership between all of the stakeholders in this company.

While this company is large by our industry’s standards it is not unique. Regardless of size, all successful companies depend on a positive working culture. Creating open lines open lines of communication doesn’t require expensive resources. Creating relationships based on trust isn’t a privilege reserved for large companies. It doesn’t cost more to care. And, as this company demonstrated the commitment works regardless of location or native culture. It’s universal!

By the way, you might be interested to know what keeps these large peer group members up at night. Some of the meeting agenda items included discussion related to –

  • Confusion and skepticism regarding some of the new technologies.
  • Concern related to the ability to find competent, committed labor.
  • Margin pressure.
  • USPS behavior.
  • Uncertain economic conditions.

Sound familiar? Again, there is more commonality among our member segments than you might think. Finding solutions to these challenges requires us to work together. In many cases collaboration trumps competition. This is why Epicomm exists.

Ken Garner

President & CEO Ken Garner joined Epicomm – then the Association of Marketing Service Providers – in November 2008 as its President and CEO after a 33 year career in the printing industry – all with the same company. He joined United Litho, a heatset web magazine printing company, after receiving his undergraduate degree. Working his way up the corporate ladder from janitor/delivery driver he held a variety of jobs including V.P of Operations and V.P. of Sales and Marketing. He spent the last 12 years of his printing career as United Litho’s president. In 1994, he engineered the sale of the company to the Sheridan Group and became a member of its Leadership Team.

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