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RESPECTED, VALUED AND AN ELITE REPUTATION

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Vigon International in Smithfield Township, where each new employee is assigned a mentor.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Vigon International in Smithfield Township, where each new employee is assigned a mentor.

Success measured in goals met and an impeccable reputation for achieving results and meeting promises are among the benchmarks of a successful voyage, according to Vigon International Inc. and Precision Medical Inc., among the Greater Lehigh Valley’s Top 100 private manufacturing companies.

“A successful voyage is becoming a highly respected and valued company in our industry with a reputation that is second to none,” said Steve Somers, owner and president of Vigon International in Smithfield Township, which makes ingredients for flavors, fragrances and cosmetics.

And while increasing revenues may signal success in a tangible way, the importance of meeting obligations, setting and achieving goals and using reflection as a sextant during and at the end of the voyage are important measures, too.

Michael Krupa, CEO of Precision Medical in Northampton, said “success can’t always be measured in dollars and cents. Sometimes you need to take a step back and ask yourself, ‘As captain of this ship, did I accomplish what I set out to do for my company and my crew?’ ”

 

VIGON INTERNATIONAL INC.

Steve Somers, Owner and President

Smithfield Township

< What are the keys to being a great captain?

(1) Treat people the way you would want to be treated.

(2) Don’t ever ask somebody to do something you would not be willing to do yourself.

(3) Be transparent with the development of new policies and issues that may arise so there is a deeper understanding as [to] why, and allow for feedback. No secrets.

(4) Be unselfish with no ego. [It’s] not about you, but the company.

(5) Give credit when things go right and take the blame when they do not.

(6) Let the team know the score and when we win, celebrate, and when we lose, no blame. Just gather the team, figure out where we went wrong and go back at it with everything we have.

(7) Coach up, not down. Stress the positives of the team’s performance and not negatives. There are always areas we can all improve, starting with me as the captain. Nobody is perfect.

< Besides you, what else steers the ship for your company?

I am the leader of an outstanding team with a team-oriented culture in which together “we steer the ship.” It is the uniqueness of our culture and ultimately the productivity of our team that differentiate us and the value that we bring to our customers.

Competition comes down to our team versus our competitors’ team, and due to the team-oriented culture that steers our ship, great people we recruit, a positive management style of coaching people, we are able to exceed the capabilities of our competitors, whether it be in developing new and more effective products, servicing and supporting their requirements, offering sales support and service beyond our competitors and ultimately the ease of doing business with.

This is all in line with our tag line that states “Passion for Simplicity.” All resulting in increased market opportunities, a top of mind awareness from our customers, increased market share yielding ultimately positive financial returns.

< What’s the most important part of onboarding a new member of your crew?

Welcoming them in such a way that makes them feel special — we send a gift basket to their home the weekend prior to their start date, and, on their first day, they go home with various pieces of apparel, jackets, umbrellas, etc. that are all personalized with the company logo — starting with me as the leader and throughout the organization.

Each new team member is assigned a mentor who is a seasoned veteran of the company. During the first week, the mentor takes the team member to lunch and discusses the culture, expectations and support that is available at the company and thereafter periodically checks in to make sure all is developing in a positive fashion.

As the leader of the company, I meet with every new team member both upon hire and after 90 days, when they are fully vetted as a new team member. At that time and thereafter, it is clearly articulated they are the greatest asset the company has and that they should challenge us and existing processes/procedures and the status quo as much as we will challenge them, as it is a two-way street.

It is expressed that if there is anything I as the leader can help them with – whether it be inside of work or outside of work – please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly, as we are a family and I am there to support and help.

If they have any questions in regards to opportunity, career advancement, compensation potential, they should not hesitate to ask. HR [human resources] regularly meets with them as well, and, after 90 days, they are given their first objectives, which thereafter are reviewed and updated every 90 days.

< How do you encourage the crew when navigating in choppy waters?

I encourage the crew when navigating choppy waters by showing confidence and letting them know if we stick together as a team, we can ride out any storm and that the power of the team can overcome all.

By being transparent and allowing them to see for themselves and being part of steering the ship through these choppy waters, we as a team ride out choppy waters better than if the captain alone navigated. This gives the team confidence that the ship is not going to sink or that the need exists to jump overboard and swim to another ship before it might otherwise.

Fear of the unknown or unseen can be very powerful, and this is avoided by being transparent and letting all team members know what we are facing ahead.

< How do you define a successful voyage for your company?

A successful voyage is becoming a highly respected and valued company in our industry with a reputation that is second to none.

Our suppliers respect us for the fair and empathetic strategic approach we undertake in partnering with them, whereby we are totally transparent with our expectations but in turn allow for a fair return.

Our customers see us as a valued partner, as well, whereby we serve as an extension of them in meeting the drivers of their business in delivering a value proposition superior to our competitors.

They see us as friendly and committed to doing the very best we can in meeting the challenges that arise in everyday business. They know they can count on us, too, and we, in turn, underpromise and oversupply to the commitments we make.

Last and most importantly, members of our team feel respected, engaged, empowered, appreciated and fairly compensated, where they have an opportunity to grow and realize their career potential in providing for their most important priority – their family – and in turn commit themselves to bringing a high level of energy, innovation and aggressiveness in making the company the best that it can be.

 

PRECISION MEDICAL INC.

Michael Krupa, CEO

Northampton

< What are the keys to being a great captain?

A great captain knows he is only as good as the people that surround him. He creates a core management team of trusted, skilled decision-makers. Then he listens.

< Besides you, what else steers the ship for your company?

Change. Flexibility is our rudder, as we are buffeted by advances in medical technology, fluctuations in financial markets and changes in government policy.

< What’s the most important part of onboarding a new member of your crew?

The hardest part of a new job for anyone is learning the ins and outs of a company. There are never two companies that run identically. Each company has a personality all its own.

When a new member joins the team, the initial training on company philosophy and products is key to success for both the new member and the company.

< How do you encourage the crew when navigating in choppy waters?

A captain has to stay focused on navigation to the goal. Communication with his/her crew is a major key to keeping on course.

The exchange of information is imperative when there are challenges facing smooth navigation.

< How do you define a successful voyage for your company?

Success can’t always be measured in dollars and cents. Sometimes you need to take a step back and ask yourself, “As captain of this ship, did I accomplish what I set out to do for my company and my crew?”

If I can answer “yes” to that question, we all had a successful journey, and everything else will fall into line.

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