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Top 100 2012: Midstate businesses 'ring the bell' as teams

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Tom Duff is CEO and president of Mount Joy Wire Corp. Photo/Amy Spangler
Tom Duff is CEO and president of Mount Joy Wire Corp. Photo/Amy Spangler

For many executives, nothing about their business warms the heart more than when their employees are a team, working harmoniously toward the same goal.

And as Travis Eby, president of Lancaster County trailer manufacturer M.H. Eby Inc., put it, that genuine teamwork allows everyone to “ring the bell” together when there’s a great success.

But to get to that point, companies need to know their competition and train their people. Here’s what some of Central Pennsylvania’s manufacturing “captains” said about how they approach team and market-share building.

M.H. Eby Inc.
trailer manufacturer
M. Travis Eby, president
East Earl Township, Lancaster County


How do you prepare to face the competition?

First of all, we embrace competition and we look forward to it, because it keeps us sharp. Strategically, we learn all we can about their product — we want to be experts on ours and their products. That way, we know in what areas we compare most favorably and where we need to improve.


What’s your training strategy/approach?

On the sales side, it’s not very sophisticated. We throw people into the fire and see how they handle it. From there, we talk and analyze and try to get our people to look at why a certain situation worked out or didn’t work out. We try to instill a philosophy of “relationship” building with our clients, not just looking at every deal as a “transaction.” Some people get it naturally; others need to have it reinforced over time.

On the operations side, the biggest training strategy revolves around safety. Injuries are bad for people and bad for business. A culture of safety is No. 1.


What does success look like for your team?

I guess that depends on if you ask the team or if you ask me. Personally, I see the most success when I see our team acting as — a team! Not when it’s forced, or when I’m in the room, but when they bring positive ideas and results through working together. It’s very satisfying to see our people getting along and thriving together. They know each other personally, their family, all that kind of stuff. I think a lot of them actually like each other!

We also like to win, so when we get orders, large or small, we kind of “ring the bell” and enjoy those moments together.

Mount Joy Wire Corp.
wire and cable manufacturing
Tom Duff, president and CEO
Mount Joy, Lancaster County


How do you prepare to face the competition?

Preparing for competition is ongoing. We gather market intelligence about competitors and ourselves. We gather this information from various sources such as direct customer contact, trade shows and staying abreast of global economic news. This information will confirm if we are setting the correct priorities for continual improvement. Not surprising, our strategic plan has various team members striving to improve quality and customer service, while reducing costs and increasing efficiencies.


What’s your training strategy/approach?

Training is very individualized. As part of employees’ appraisals, they are asked to self-assess their strengths and weaknesses. Also for skills or disciplines that will advance them professionally. Then together we lay out a professional development plan that allows the employee to grow in areas that support our mission statement.


What does success look like for your team?

Success is measured two ways, by individual goals and by achieving the company’s team targets. Our business plan is updated annually, setting goals for all departments that when the pieces come together, the company’s vision has been supported. We have a small but outstanding team that works together to ensure success. Key goals and accomplishments are reviewed monthly and discussed with the complete management team.

Top manufacturing companies

The High Cos.: $522.98 million

Utz Quality Foods Inc.: $490 million

Tim-Bar Corp.: $244 million

Farmers Pride Inc.: $207 million

Dutch Gold Honey Inc.: $120 million

Flinchbaugh Engineering Inc.: $67.7 million

The Warrell Corp.: $62 million

M.H. Eby Inc.: $52 million

McClarin Plastics Inc.: $44 million

Greiner Industries Inc.: $42.93 million

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