Set a Strong Cultural Foundation
When hundreds of printers come together in the same room, it’s just about inevitable that the conversation is going to center around printing. But while the Flexographic Technical Association’s annual Forum provided attendees with four days of in-depth flexo discussions, it was the session that strayed away from printing that has stuck with me since leaving the event in Indianapolis.
The same thing happened last year, when on the way home from Phoenix, all I could think about was the Forum session on workforce development, and how the industry needs to do a better job at enticing young people to work in the print industry. This year, it was the session on the importance of corporate culture, and how it’s the true foundation of a company’s success. In fact, I was so impressed with this session, that I asked two of its presenters, Phil Ryan and Rachel Acevedo of Flexo Concepts, to share a condensed version of their presentation in this magazine.
The session began with a presentation from Dr. Cynthia Sims, an assistant professor for the master’s program in human resource development at Clemson University. Though Dr. Sims came to the event from outside the printing industry, her message was valuable to all printers in attendance. Sims explained that, while it’s important for businesses to maintain a well-thought-out strategy, if the company does not have a strong culture, strategy will often go by the wayside.
“If you have a strategy that’s insulated from what’s happening on the front lines, you’re not going to get the results you want,” she said.
These cultural concepts Sims presented were then tied into the label printing industry through an inspirational presentation from Tara Halpin, president of Newport, Ky.-based label printer Steinhauser. Halpin explained that Steinhauser began as a commercial printer, with her father at the helm for many years. However, as the company developed a strategy to transition into label printing, its culture began to deteriorate after Halpin’s father passed away and her brother left the company to embark on his path toward recovery from addiction.
Seeing the immediate need to right the ship, Halpin placed a major emphasis on culture, implementing a series of improvements and initiatives deemed “The Steinhauser Way.” Soon enough, she said the company started to grow in the label market and continues to thrive with its strong culture as a backbone.
There’s no denying the importance of the technical side of the industry. Every day, printers and converters work with amazing equipment that shapes the way consumers all over the world interact with brands and their products. But sometimes, it’s important to take a step back for a reminder that human resources are a company’s most valuable resources and are the building blocks for its success.