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Culture you can feel

Running a little late, we walked into our 2:00 appointment with a manufacturer with several hundred employees. We were greeted by a receptionist, who welcomed us with a smile.

"Have you been here before," she asked. When we told here that we had not, her smile got even bigger. "Oh, you're in for a treat." That is culture we felt from the moment walked through the doors. It wasn't a fancy lobby area, or necessarily unique. It was the environment.

We were welcomed by the president of the company and sat down to learn about the company, the philosophy, their mission. We discussed how they handled the pandemic with a large workforce and a very creative solution they incorporated to keep the lines operating at a time when there was a lot of incentives to stay home.

Not a member of the Missouri Association of Manufacturers, he asked about the organization and the benefits we offer. We share information about our health insurance program, our events and activities, and our renewed focus to being value to the Manufacturers of Missouri - that's why we were on the road. Why we were sitting there with him.

As we were heading to the shop, we passed the breakroom. Off to one end were a hundred or so backpacks full of school supplies. It was early August with first day of school right around the corner. "Those are for our employees to take home to make sure their kids are ready for the first day of class," he shared. "Just something we do to support the Team here."

The shop was huge, bright and clean with a subtle hum of productive energy. Our host pointed out the balcony/patio setting above the breakroom. "We wanted to create a fun space for folks to eat lunch, sort of a picnic area," he shared. It was complete with lawn chairs tables and umbrellas.

Something we have noticed in our various tours is that unique machine - the one we haven't seen in other facilities. This place had just one of those machines. "I needed the ability to sort all of these parts" that all look about the same but were slightly different sizes.

It scanned each parts and then a robotic arm grabbed it and sorted them into one of around 200 bins - all in the matter of seconds. "I couldn't find a machine on the market, so I just sat down, drew it out and my guys built it," he said with subtle pride in his smile. Celebrating their 65 years in business, he seemed to know everyone's name and how long they had worked their. It was family.

The strong values, pride and passion are consistent, authentic values that we see, feel and experience with all of our tours. Truly incredible.

With our tours and visits, our one objective is to connect. It is not to push membership. We try and stay focused on the relationship. That said, I have to note, this tour resulted in the quickest new member that we have experienced, with them joining the Association before we made it back to our car, (we get a system-generated message with every new member).

Stealing the final line of every Hills Street Blues episode from Sgt. Esterhaus, our host left us with those parting words, "Let's be careful out there."


- Manufacturers don't admire a problem. They sit down, sketch out a solution and build it.

- Pride and passion are a consistent

- Know your people

- Creative problem-solving

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