MetalForming Provides Your Business EdgeApril 26, 2021
Exactly one year ago, I kicked off our April 2020 issue with an editorial titled, "Leadership, Particularly in Times of Crisis.” As the COVID-19 pandemic had begun to take hold, metal forming executives were forced to prove their leadership mettle. During the last several months I’ve had the honor of interviewing several such leaders who not only found a way to survive the crisis, but also have positioned their companies to flourish.
In January of this year MetalForming launched a monthly enewsletter called MetalForming Business Edge, with fresh content targeted specifically to company executives. Every issue includes commentary from automotive-industry analyst Laurie Harbour, and links to current articles and blog posts on an array of business-management topics. Also featured: my Q&A sessions with company owners and presidents, who share their “secrets to success.” These business leaders—each and every one with the endurance, strength of character, and other skills and abilities needed to succeed—share with me their biggest challenges and their strategies for dealing with them, along with areas in which they believe their companies are doing well, and those in which they would like to improve. I’m continually impressed with their decisiveness, boldness and their ability to engage and motivate their management teams. I’ve unearthed several nuggets of management gold during these interviews. For example:
- Jeff Aznavorian, president of metal former Clips & Clamps Industries, shared that he expects his company to “take more calculated risks. There is a lot of innovative progress in the metal forming community and we need to maintain our place at the cutting edge of this innovation.”
- Doug Johnson, owner and president of Marion Manufacturing, shared that the single biggest decision he made at the beginning of the pandemic was “to bring in a several-month supply of raw materials—stainless steel and beryllium copper—for our medical and critical infrastructure customers,” Johnson said. “As lead times and deliveries started to stretch, we’ve been able to stay ahead of the curve and to run at full speed.”
- Colin Cosgrove, president of metal fabricator Laystrom Manufacturing, shared his appreciation for a book titled, “Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0,” from which he learned this fundamental truth: “If you have more than three priorities, it’s an admission that you don’t have any priorities. I even gave this book to all of my managers for Christmas,” Cosgrove said, “and we have referred to it in efforts to stay focused on just a handful of factors.”
- Mike Kemper, president and CEO of Lake Air Products, a vertically integrated stamping and fabrication company focused on quick-turnaround work, explained how he and his management team coped with the lack of reliable forecasting, the changing economy, lack of available talent and managing through large business fluctuations. “Excluding the pandemic, the more common challenges we’re facing,” Kemper said, “relate to finding balance between three principles:
- Business mission: Defining our customer and market focus.
- Business identity: Establishing our organization’s culture and ensuring that employees remain aligned to the company’s strategies.
- Business stewardship: Maintaining a prosperous position for stability and growth.”
Read back issues of MetalForming Business Edge and subscribe to receive it monthly by visiting www.metalformingmagazine.com/newsletter/?/business-edge.
See also: Clips & Clamps Industries