SCHAUMBURG, Ill.—PTG Silicones is preparing for another year of growth by making sure the right people are in the right roles.
The fluid control and sealing technology company moved four people into new leadership positions during restructuring in the last year to allow employees the space to work to their strengths, President Brendan Cahill said at the Healthcare Elastomer Conference in Schaumburg,.
"That's been a huge benefit to us, and really to our customers," Cahill said. "That's the thing I've noticed most from my perspective, going out and focusing on what I do best, and then allowing other people to focus on their gifts and what they do best."
Among those in new positions are: Operations Manager Mario Matakovic, Engineering Manager Alexander Haas, Quality Manager Harry Hughes and Chief Operating Officer Jon Marshall.
Cahill was inspired by "Traction," a book by Gino Wickman, which promotes a business process called the Entrepreneur Operating System, he said. The system focuses on particular roles within in a company, and what type of person makes the best fit for each position.
"Based on my history, I'm truly an entrepreneur at heart. That's what I do," Cahill said. "When you look at what entrepreneurs are good at and what they aren't good at, it became very clear to me that I was like a visionary, I needed to stay in that space and find other people who could do those other jobs. It's finding people where that's where their gifts are."
Identifying new hires
PTG, which has 14 employees, uses personality testing and assessments to choose the right person for the job, said Cahill.
"A lot of the times, we just look for people who have good values and fundamentals and that natural tendency to want to do certain things," he said.
For example, if the firm is looking for an employee in a quality or regulatory role, Cahill would want somebody who enjoys math, statistics and process, he said.
"I don't need somebody who really likes to be out and social," he said. "That would be great for me because I'd have a lot of people I like to hang around with, but we'd have a lot of Brendan Cahills working there, and that's not necessarily the equation for success. So we recognize what skill sets we need for certain jobs, and then we go and work to find those people."
Making those changes is part of the growth of the business as well, as Cahill gives the team the opportunity to achieve while taking on the type of work the employees find fulfilling, he said.
"As we've continued to grow as a company and evolve, I've come to realize that I need to focus on those gifts that I have and make sure we have the right people in other areas," he said. "As a result, we were up 19 percent last year. We killed it."
The company will continue to hire as needed as it grows, though Cahill did not disclose any immediate plans. New employees will be necessary for additional programs, but current employees already have projects and targets assigned.
"We are incredibly lean and mean, and that is our mindset," Cahill said. "We see our employees like assets. ... When we bring somebody in, we want to make sure they're an active contributor."
PTG has seen continued growth across markets, with the most notable development coming in the packaging and medical markets, he said. Packaging is prominent by the percent of volume of overall sales, with the company producing about 50 million to 75 million valves for the packaging space.
Food packaging at quantities that large especially ties in well with what PTG is doing with automation, which it incorporates into as many jobs as possible, Cahill said.
"We work it into everything we do. Now, when we look at programs, our expectation is to automate," Cahill said. "I'm also a realist. There are just some programs or strategic customers where that just is not viable, and we balance that. But one of the unique things about us is our ability and capability to automate."
But for projects like food packaging valves, cycle times using automation vary by hundredths of a second, creating a reliable product, Cahill said.
"When you're varying by just a small amount every time, you get an incredibly consistent product, because everything is seeing the same history go through it: the same temperatures, the same pressures," he said. "That's where the robots and automation strategy is perfect. No matter how much you paid somebody, they could never run those cells like that."
Utilizing automation also allows Cahill to put his employees toward higher capacities rather than opening a gate, he said.
For PTG, the medical market expanded in terms of customers in the last year, Cahill said. As more have come on board, the company has seen an increased need for more capabilities.
"The needs of medical are different than some of our other customers, so what we're looking to do, is we will put in a separate business unit that will focus on just that," Cahill said. "The more we can have people dedicated and focused on an area, the more successful we're going to be."
The medical business unit will exist under the PTG umbrella, Cahill said. He did not share other details. PTG's facility has a clean room and is ISO 13485 certified.
That future expansion and other growing business means that PTG is very tight on capacity in its current facility, which runs about 5,500 square feet. Cahill said he's planning an addition to the location of about 8,000-10,000 square feet, about double its current size. The expansion is designed, but is still in process, and should be under way within the next year.
"That's something for us to look ahead on for future growth and being able to support those customers and programs," he said.