Lowering your tax bill for business webinar

Euclid Chamber of Commerce logo

 

Join the Euclid Chamber of Commerce online on Feb. 27 either at 11-11:30 a.m. EST or 4-4:30 p.m. EST as it hosts Bruce Jones, president of B.A. Jones Insurance Agency, and David Crowley, principal advisor at Financial Gravity, as they help businesses to lower their taxes by 10-30 percent and increase their bottom line.

There is no cost to attend.  Membership is not required.

Please register here for the 11 a.m. session and here for the 4 p.m. session.

Annual state of the city luncheon

City of Euclid

 

Join The Euclid Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 22 at noon at The Irish-American Club, 22770 Lakeshore Blvd., Euclid, Ohio, for lunch as Mayor Gail presents her annual State of the City Address.  Q&A session will follow the presentation.

Doors open at 11:30 a.m.  Lunch will be served at 12 p.m.

Tickets:

$25 members / $30 guests

Members may purchase a reserved table of 6 for $140

Sponsorship Package $300: Includes reserved table of 6 with premier seating, special mention during announcements, opportunity to hand out promotional materials, and logo on event signage.

Please register here.

Bitesize Business Workshop: Accessibility for Employers

Euclid Chamber of Commerce logo

 

Join the Euclid Chamber of Commerce at Services for Independent Living at 26250 Euclid Avenue, Suite 801, Euclid, Ohio on Feb. 21 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. for an educational discussion that will revolve around building a more diverse and inclusive work culture through the hiring of persons with disabilities. They will address myths regarding hiring people with disabilities as well as what is required in terms of the ADA, potential low cost/no cost accommodations and basic disability etiquette.  Time will be made to troubleshoot specific issues.  No cost to attend.  Membership not required.

Please register here.

What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with the Call Center

HGR's call center team

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Cynthia Vassaur, HGR’s call center manager)

What does your department do?

The HGR Call Center contacts manufacturing and distribution companies to determine if they are in possession of equipment available for sale. We leverage our client relationship management (CRM) software to access vendor contact information. Once a client has been contacted, CRM is updated with critical data stemming from the call. HGR’s Call Center averages 1,500 call actions per day that result in approximately 35 viable “buy leads” for the company.

The Call Center’s ability to meet its daily call volume and quality interaction goals is critical to HGR’s overall success. To do this, an extremely structured performance matrix has been designed, and agents must employ a disciplined approach to comply with minimum standards. Team-building exercises, morale-boosting contests, and departmental lunches are conducted on a regular basis to promote a positive work environment. However, at the end of the day, employees realize that team and individual success in the Call Center are driven by consistently completing a high volume of top quality client interactions. As a result, a typical “day in the life” of the HGR Call Center involves motivated and disciplined staff “doing their thing” over the phone in order to generate business.

How many people work in your department, and what are their roles?

The Call Center employs 13 full-time employees. Cynthia Vassaur, call center manager, oversees personnel and general operations functions. Dax Taruc is in charge of researching and responding to incoming calls from vendors interested in selling equipment and ensures the client database is regularly updated with the most current information. The department also contains Preferred Vendor Administrators Larry Edwards, Joe McAfee, Levit Hernandez and Kim Girnus tasked with reaching out to vendors from whom HGR has purchased, or attempted to purchase, equipment in the past. Their primary focus is maintaining and enhancing HGR’s relationship with this critical segment of clientele. Finally, there are seven marketing administrators — Cameron Luddington, Ludie Toles, Obed Montejano, Theresa Bailey, Jackie McDonald, Kaylie Foster and Quanton Williams – who are responsible for contacting potential vendors. In doing so, they attempt to market HGR, brand the HGR name, and promote HGR’s service.

What qualifications do you need to be successful in your department?

Each MA makes about 150 calls a day, never knowing the end result of each interaction. For an individual to meet the daily demands and goals inherent with the position, he or she must have excellent computer skills and be a self-starter who is capable of communicating with people of varying backgrounds.

What do you like most about your department?

We have a great team! The department is comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds, which results in an interesting array of perspectives, opinions, and solutions. At the same time, each member demonstrates a respectful and accepting attitude toward teammates. While there are numerous characteristics that I appreciate about the HGR Call Center work environment, the inviting and inclusive attitude of the staff stands out.

What challenges has your department faced and how have you overcome them?

The HGR Call Center’s greatest challenge has been attracting and retaining quality employees. Because Austin is such a wonderful place to live, many corporations have flocked to the area during the last couple of decades to set up shop. The resulting competition for pay, benefits, and perks has presented an obstacle to our hiring objectives. To combat that challenge, the department has worked closely with HGR’s Human Resources Department to create an employee profile aimed at attracting the right people for the position. This job profile refinement produced instantaneous results, with the department landing Cameron Luddington, Kim Girnus and several others shortly after its inception, and we are confident the department will continue reaping the benefits of those efforts.

What changes in the way your department does business have occurred in the past few years?

By far, the most impactful change during the last few years in the way the Call Center does business has been the agent pay structure modifications. In short, Call Center agents’ compensation is merit-based — hinging on call volume and a multitude of quality control call grading elements. The overall Call Center performance has dramatically improved as a result of this restructured approach to agent compensation. The harder an agent works, and the more attention to detail that agent exhibits, the more money that agent makes. Motivated agents eager to earn more money today than they did yesterday thrive in this environment.

What continuous improvement processes do you hope to implement in the future?

The major process improvement initiative we hope to initiate in the near future involves streamlining the process for adding new vendors to CRM. There are some strategies set for implementation that we hope will result in a higher number of vendors being routinely added to the database at a much higher rate than current levels.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

HGR is “THE PLACE” to work! The grassroots culture of the business is positive and infectious; it spreads like wildfire to the new hires. HGR’s environment suits those with a strong work ethic, a desire to achieve team and individual goals, and who are genuinely vested in the HGR mission.

What is your perspective on manufacturing, surplus, investment recovery/product life cycle/equipment recycling?

Before I started working at HGR, I hadn’t really worked in or around the manufacturing industry. But in the last few years, I’ve come to recognize the value of HGR’s services and the affect it has on small and large businesses alike.

Lowering your tax bill for business webinar

Euclid Chamber of Commerce logo

 

Join the Euclid Chamber of Commerce online on Feb. 15 either at 11-11:30 a.m. EST or 4-4:30 p.m. EST as it hosts Bruce Jones, president of B.A. Jones Insurance Agency, and David Crowley, principal advisor at Financial Gravity, as they help businesses to lower their taxes by 10-30 percent and increase their bottom line.

There is no cost to attend.  Membership is not required.

Please register here for the 11 a.m. session and here for the 4 p.m. session.

Euclid Chamber of Commerce Coffee Connections: Services for Independent Living

coffee at Six Shooter Cafe

Join the Euclid Chamber of Commerce for coffee, pastry, networking and a tour of this local agency charged with helping and empowering individuals with disabilities to lead healthy, productive lives.

The event is free of charge and takes place on Feb. 13 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at 26250 Euclid Ave., Suite 801.

Act and audit

watercolor painting of still life

George Taninecz MPI Group(Courtesy of Guest Blogger George Taninecz, VP of research, The MPI Group)

Did you make any plans for change in 2018?

Even this early in the year , many such goals and resolutions have already been abandoned. Or, at least, they’re at severe risk of being discarded. These failures are often not due to lack of desire. Most people who make resolutions do so earnestly, trying in some way to improve their lives, careers, personalities, or communities.

And yet why is it so tough to stick with our resolutions?

One reason is that we often embark on unguided resolutions. We lack the mechanisms to measure and monitor our progress toward our end goal. We strive for a marathon without running a mile. Even  the most ambitious resolution has a fighting chance if accompanied by a system to break it down into incremental actions and outcomes.

To achieve a year-end result (usually some form of a lag measure tallied at the close of the year), we need intermediary metronomes to keep us pacing toward the sought-after ending (lead measures). If we’re looking to lose weight, our weekly frequency of exercise and daily intake of calories will likely predict the 12-month outcome long before the new year rolls around.

For example, I’ve dabbled in watercolors for decades and have a drawer of unfinished (and unappealing) paintings to prove it. When I told my friend Jack, a distinguished painter, about my inability to finish a work, he matter-of-factly said that I need to practice finishing. So, with a resolution to improve as a watercolorist, my plan is to finish a painting twice a month. With each finished painting, I should move closer to reaching my resolution.

Some improvements and some resolutions may only require a “just do it” approach — you don’t need a future-state map to put out a fire — but most require time and long-term effort. Here, we can take a cue from lean practitioners.

When pursuing strategic goals, lean organizations establish routine monitoring throughout their operations to understand lead performances on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. With a regularly scheduled cascade of meetings up and down  the organization, teams share and review this information, take corrective actions if necessary, and escalate problems beyond their control up to the next tier of meetings. It is an endless whirl of many connected PDCA cycles (plan/do/check/adjust) that keep all aligned on the end goals. These companies may not always achieve their yearly targets, but they’re rarely surprised when they don’t. We, too, can regularly review progress, as well as engage others in helping us to achieve our goals.

We also can’t underestimate the need to actually do something: merely tracking our path toward progress won’t cut it. In order to accomplish a goal or in some way change our behaviors, we also have to act. This necessary cycle of actions, audits, and outcomes reminded me of a homily I heard decades ago: A parishioner prays weekly to God to win the lottery. After years of disappointment and winless, he lashes out and asks why God would refuse him. The voice comes: “You need to buy a lottery ticket.”

If we regularly buy a ticket — i.e., do the work to change — and have the means to periodically check the results, we at least have a chance to win with our resolutions.

Amazon brings 1,000 jobs to Northeast Ohio

Euclid Chamber of Commerce Amazon luncheon

Euclid Chamber of Commerce Amazon luncheon

On Jan. 31, a full house was gathered at Tizzano’s Party Center to hear the Euclid Chamber of Commerce’s presentation of “The Amazon Story” that included Amazon’s plan to tear down the former Euclid Square Mall and build a 655,000-square-foot, $175-million fulfillment center, which will add 1,000 new jobs to the region.

Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail at Euclid Chamber of Commerce Amazon luncheonEuclid Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail mentioned that the initial meeting in March 2017 at Cuyahoga Community College to discuss the project was the most memorable day during her time as mayor. After that initial meeting, there were ongoing efforts to rezone the property and to secure $1.2 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation toward roadway improvements.

The next speaker, Matt Deptola of JobsOhio, a nonprofit corporation that promotes job creation and economic development for Ohio, shared his organization’s enthusiasm about Deptola of JobsOhio at Euclid Chamber of Commerce Amazon luncheonthe reputation of Ohio as a great place to live, according to Forbes and other magazines. He also shared some interesting statistics about Amazon. It currently transfers items from its regional fulfillment centers to a nearby sortation facility to a shipping facility within seven hours. Currently, Amazon has a sortation facility in Twinsburg and a shipping facility in Euclid; so, the fulfillment center in Euclid makes perfect sense. Amazon currently employs 6,000 people in Ohio. Additionally, Amazon offers $12,000 of tuition reimbursement for training in high-demand fields after one year of employment, benefits on Day 1, and an average hourly rate of $13.

DiSalvo Euclid Chamber of Commerce Amazon luncheonPete DiSalvo with DiSalvo Development Advisors was the final speaker before the mayor returned to the mic to share that Amazon already has made a commitment to the community by giving $10,000 to the HELP Foundation, a Euclid business that empowers individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through residential, day support, vocational, and summer education programs.

Be there to hear the 2018 NEO Manufacturing Survey results

MAGNET logo

Join other manufacturers on Feb. 14, 2018, from 8-9:30 a.m. at Crown Plaza Cleveland South – Independence when MAGNET: Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network unveils its 2018 Northeast Ohio Manufacturing Survey Results.

More than 400 manufacturing companies submitted more than 450 responses, and the results are in. MAGNET and its partners – Bank of America, Skoda Minotti, WIRE-Net and Oswald Companies – will break down the results of the survey over breakfast.

We’ll be there! Will you? Register here.

 

A lot can change in 10 years

changing technology and how we do business

 

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Alec Pendleton, Big Ideas for Small Companies, powered by The MPI Group)

The iPhone was introduced 10 years ago, in 2007—or MMVII, as the Romans would have said. In celebration of that anniversary, Apple has just introduced its latest model, the X—or 10, as we would write it. While pondering this milestone, I realized that 10 years ago, I had no clue that the iPhone was coming, and once it did, I didn’t even begin to understand its implications. And not just the iPhone — but the hundreds of other changes that have transformed both the way we operate our businesses and how we live.

In 2007, Amazon was mostly in the book business and had just introduced the Kindle. Twitter was in its infancy. Airbnb didn’t exist. Tesla made a quirky little sports car. Facebook had about 100,000 business pages. Newspapers were profitable (well, sort of). I had a camera! If I wanted to deposit a check, I had to take or mail it to the bank; to pay a bill, I had to write a check. Buying a used car was a risky business.

Ten years later: Recent purchases from Amazon by my family include dental floss, office supplies, textbooks, a security system, and a hammock. We have a president who got where he is by tweeting. Millions of people pay to sleep in strangers’ guest rooms every night. Tesla can’t build its fancy electric sedans fast enough. Facebook now has more than 65 million business pages, and Internet advertising has taken (almost) all the profit out of the newspaper business. My camera is now in my phone, and I can deposit a check by taking a picture of it; I haven’t written a paper check in months. Even at the outdoor farmers’ market in our neighborhood, I can buy groceries with a credit card, which the Amish farmer scans with a tiny device on his phone. And a few months ago, I almost bought a used car until my daughter discovered – on her phone – that it had been in an accident a couple of years prior.

This is all amazing stuff. It and much more have made us happier and more productive, by allowing us to escape a lot of drudgery. It’s wonderful! But if you’re a retailer, or in the newspaper business, or in countless other fields impacted by these technologies, there’s also been a significant downside. Massive change means massive disruption, made all the worse because it was unforeseen by most of those who were damaged by it. Retailers and newspapers, for example, were caught unawares, and thousands of jobs were lost. It seems unlikely that former journalists and store managers are making ends meet by renting out their guest rooms.

So we must ask, what about the NEXT 10 years? What crazy, unimaginable new technologies will disrupt your business or your life? More importantly, what can you do about it?

I have a manufacturing company. If 10 years from now everyone has a 3-D printer, can I just transmit an e-file to my customer, allowing him to print my product for himself?

The possibilities are endless.

So how do we prepare? I’m not convinced that becoming an early adopter is the answer. All of these amazing success stories rest atop a much greater number of failures. Instead, I think the better course will be to focus on fully leveraging new technologies after they’re reasonably well established. The opportunities from last decade’s progress are still far from fully exploited; for example, there are many ways to deploy Apple or Amazon or Google technologies — or even our phones — to improve our businesses and lives that most of us still don’t use.

I also don’t think that guessing what comes next is a good strategy, because it encourages trying to time your investments — and few of us are smart or lucky enough to get it right. Get in too early and you’re often distracted, discouraged, or just plain wrong. Get in too late and you’ve missed the chance to seize opportunities or avoid threats. Perhaps the best approach is watchful waiting, with test investments of time and cash to embrace new technologies without being smothered by them.

That’s my plan for amazing change, anyway. What’s yours?

Alec Pendleton took control of a small, struggling family business in Akron, Ohio, at an early age. Upon taking the helm, he sold off the unprofitable divisions and rebuilt the factory, which helped to quadruple sales of the remaining division within seven years. These decisions — and the thousands of others he made over his time as president and CEO — ensured that his small manufacturing business thrived and stayed profitable for the generation to come. The culmination of a lifetime of experience, accumulated wisdom, and a no-nonsense approach to looking at the books allows him to provide a unique perspective on Big Ideas for Small Companies.

She became the face of a movement

Rosie the Riveter

Anyone who works in manufacturing and those who haven’t are familiar with Rosie the Riveter, but how many know what she stands for or that the original “Rosie” just passed away?

During World War II she was the symbol of the women who worked in factories to take the place of men who had gone to serve. Often, these women were the ones manufacturing war supplies and munitions. She became the face of the women’s movement and feminism in The United States.

At age 96, Naomi Parker Fraley, a California waitress and the likely inspiration for the Rosie the Riveter poster, passed away on Jan. 20, 2018.

Naomi Parker Fraley
Then
Naomi Parker Fraley
In 2016, on the right with her sister on the left.

Grammar tips: To sale defiantly, how to avoid using the wrong word

definitely versus defiantly meme

What? Huh? Are you scratching your head? That’s what people do if you use the wrong word or phrase that doesn’t say what you intended to say.

Sometimes, in notes in Salesforce or in an email at work, you might see someone who says, “He wants to sale his surplus this summer and would like a call back in June.” Or, you might see someone noting that a customer “defiantly wants to sell a few machines this summer when they upgrade their line.”

Don’t laugh, I have seen it and so have others because someone suggested this blog topic to me! Go ahead, Google it — “to sale instead of sell” and “defiantly instead of definitely.” There are forums and blogs out there discussing these specific errors.

“Sale” is a noun, not an action word. “Sell” is a verb that shows action.

“Defiantly” and “definitely” both are adverbs but “defiantly” means “challenging,” whereas “definitely” means “for sure or without a doubt.”

So, how do you avoid using the wrong word?

  1. Use grammar and spell check.
  2. Use a dictionary.
  3. Proofread.
  4. Do an online grammar refresher.
  5. Read a lot because reading literature helps to build your vocabulary.

And with that, you DEFINITELY will be able TO SELL your ideas to your reader in the way that you intended for them to be understood.

Local paint and coatings manufacturer is “the official paint” of the NHL

National Hockey League Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Jim Priddy, PPG plant manager, Euclid, Ohio)

When was the company or division founded, by whom and why?

PPG was founded in 1883 by Capt. John B. Ford and John Pitcairn in Creighton, Pa. Since then, we have maintained our commitment to innovation and quality products and have shifted our portfolio to focus on paint, coatings and specialty products. PPG coats the planes you fly in, the cars you drive, the mobile devices you use and the walls of your home.

Why did you locate in Euclid, Ohio?

PPG purchased the former Man-Gill Chemical Company facility in Euclid in 1997 as a way to enhance our resources and technology to better serve the automotive, industrial and packaging coatings markets. The Euclid facility complements our strong network of other PPG facilities in the Northeast Ohio region to provide a broad range of products to our customers.

What do you make here?

PPG’s Euclid, Ohio, industrial coatings plant produces pre-treatment and specialty products, including alkaline and acid cleaners and zinc phosphates.

What types of customers buy your products or for what industries?

PPG’s industrial coatings products serve customers in the automotive, transportation, appliance, coil, extrusion, and other markets.

In what ways are your products used?

The products produced in the PPG Euclid facility are utilized primarily in metal processing applications to clean, coat, and provide corrosion resistance, as well as in preparing the metal surface for priming and painting. Our products are used on metal automotive parts, such as body panels, underbody components and fasteners, as well as metal appliance frames and heavy-duty equipment parts.

How many employees and in what types of roles? What types of skilled labor do you hire?

Globally, PPG has approximately 47,000 employees. We employ approximately 90 people at our Euclid facility in a variety of manufacturing, technical, sales and data management roles.

What is your role at the company, and what do you enjoy most about what you do?

I am the plant manager for PPG’s Euclid manufacturing plant. For me, it’s all about our people. We have a great, engaged workforce, and I really enjoy working as a team with our employees to continuously improve our operation to be successful in today’s competitive business environment.

What role does the company play in the manufacturing industry locally? Do you use local suppliers or have local customers?

PPG has a strong presence in Northern Ohio with our Euclid, Strongsville, Cleveland, Huron and Barberton facilities. We utilize many local suppliers, and while many of our customers are in the Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania regional area, we serve additional customers nationally and across the globe. In addition, we donated a combined $130,000 in PPG Foundation grants in 2017 to local organizations in the Cleveland area, which supported STEM educational and community sustainability programs.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge that manufacturing currently faces?

The manufacturing sector as a whole currently faces challenges around hiring skilled labor and addressing the educational gap. For current students and recent graduates, there is often a misconception that manufacturing only involves physical labor in a plant. However, PPG is working to educate the next generation of manufacturers to understand that the industry is highly technical and offers a variety of strong opportunities tied to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

What is the state of manufacturing in Ohio or the area?

Manufacturing is an important business sector in Ohio and has been on a growth trend since 2009. Ohio is one of the top 10 states in the nation for both percentage of employees in manufacturing and manufacturing as a percentage of gross state product.

What does the future of manufacturing look like?

Manufacturing is a promising industry and will continue to evolve based on industry needs. Manufacturers like PPG are continually working to provide opportunities and educate the next generation of manufacturers about the various skilled opportunities within the industry. Careers in STEM fields will continue to be essential for the growth and prosperity of manufacturing.

Anything else that we missed but you would like to include? Some interesting fact that readers would be interested in?

PPG has an exclusive paint partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL), which makes PPG paint brands “the Official Paint of the NHL in the U.S. and Canada. You can learn more here.

PPG color draw down

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