When the news is anything but good, it's nice now and then to see a story with a positive bent.
Such is the feature in this issue about ProMed Molded Products Inc., a silicone rubber molder where things are done right, employees and customers are happy, sales are soaring.
Really, really different from what's going on in many other areas of the rubber industry, particularly the tire sector.
Today Bridgestone/Firestone and Continental are closing plants in the U.S., Michelin is shutting down one in Canada, and Michelin and Goodyear are slicing the production ticket at other facilities. The unifying factors in these cutbacks are they all are at union-organized factories that don't make high-margin tires.
While this is occurring, tire shipments are slumping and difficult contract negotiations are going on between the Steelworkers and tire makers. Meanwhile, there's been a spate of plant and company closings by smaller non-tire rubber product manufacturers, and some major firms, primarily automotive component makers, are reeling.
Hard times. Yet it makes ProMed's success, and method for achieving it, all that more interesting.
ProMed has been showing annual sales growth of 25-35 percent, has and will continue to expand its operations and has more than doubled its staff size since late 2004. The firm still serves the demanding medical field, but has grown beyond traditional rubber molding with assembly, bonding, insert molding, material selection and engineering design assistance.
The philosophy at ProMed is simple enough-take care of your customers and your employees and your business will take care of itself.
The firm listens to its customers and makes changes because of that. And it rewards its employees with good wages and profit-sharing checks, part of President Wayne Kelly's emphasis on positive motivation.
If only that approach was followed, or succeeded when it was employed, elsewhere in the rubber industry.