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CEO of the Year

Pollmann are experts in the design, manufacturing and implementation of combining metals and plastics to create electrical and mechanical products. We spoke to Gregory Harriman, CEO of Pollmann North America, who took time out to speak to us about running this highly innovative company.

With our products, we enable our customers to create new solutions that integrate multiple components, increase efficiency, reduce weight, reduce number of components in assemblies and realize new technologies.

As CEO, I am responsible for the growth, longevity and profitability of the North American plant. In addition to the oversight of the daily operation, a good portion of my focus is to provide strategic guidance to my team and the global organization through the understanding of the markets we are in and the global economic trends of technology demands. As part of this growth, we will mature from 23 million a year in sales to 30 million by 2020.

In order to ensure that we reach this target, we have Key Performance Indicators (KPI) which we report out weekly and in quarterly employee meetings. The vision is clear and tracked by management as well as being posted for all employees to view themselves. Additionally, each employee has the ability to earn a quarterly bonus based on how well the company does with its KPIs.

Having these highly transparent performance indicators is paramount, and I have worked heavily with my team to revamp our KPIs. Through this process we have eliminated items that are not in-line, and brought my senior management in to the process to improve clarity and gain team buy in. We now use these KPIs as our short list and guiding principles. As a result, each department manager is fully responsible and accountable for the goals of the company and reports out in our management meetings.

However, it is also important that we take these past the department leads and to every employee of the company. I have implemented an employee incentive/bonus program that is updated weekly and posted throughout the plant. These KPIs that go to the employees are items that the employees have the ability and responsibility to control. I have also instilled the responsibility to every employee that if they see someone affecting the goals in a negative way, it is their duty to eliminate this.

From my experience, attracting and keeping the right talent has never been easy. I believe that you have to make an environment where people are challenged and want to come to work every day. Furthermore, an environment where conflict and growth are desired and not shied away from is also important. All employees having a voice in the company is crucial, not just for them being able to say things, but to be empowered to say and do them is the key.

In terms of our ethos, we are guided by the principles of "Ever Forward" and "Communicate". To be the best, you have to learn from your mistakes. The expectation that I drive is that every time we do something, we learn from it and make it better (Ever Forward). We have implemented Gate reviews and KPIs that monitor how well we perform to each of these topics. Each Gate Review cannot be signed/ passed unless we reviewed what we have done and have lessons learned.

Pollmann International has a motto that states "Innovation with Precision." We are constantly looking for new ways to do old things. To look forward to the next generation of the product while developing the current generation. In order to achieve the high standards we set for ourselves, we start with safety first, then quality and then work our way down. If we can maintain these first two, we find that the rest want to intuitively follow. Any member of our team can stop – call – and wait for help to arrive. From my perspective, if we are all thinking the same way we can effect change rapidly.

Our industry encompasses a number of challenges and opportunities. Perhaps our biggest challenge is to be cost competitive when manufacturing in the United States, but we believe that this can be overcome with ingenuity. As a global company, we find that each region has their own way of doing business, and even though our customers are global customers and strive to have global commonality, they still have tendencies to act as separate organizations with different costing structures. We also find that our customers say that they want local for local and that they do not look at products as commodities, but when it comes to sourcing they look at the cheapest solution and treat our products as commodities. As for opportunities, our largest is trying to stay up with current automotive demands, which are the highest in years and which is a nice problem to have.

Despite working in a highly competitive environment, we believe that we have a number of attributes that distinguish us from our competitors. We are a highly automated company, and that is probably the biggest difference. We do things that many companies either shy away from or feel are impossible. We don’t mind change, not for change sake rather for the value in it.

Looking further ahead, we are confident that we will be able to reach the goals we have set ourselves for the coming years. Once we have achieved these, we will certainly not rest on our laurels, but forge our way on to the next goal and beyond.

Contact Details

Company: Pollmann North America

Name: Gregory Harriman

Email: gharriman@ pollmann-na.com

Address: 950 Chicago Tube Drive, Romeoville,IL 60446

Telephone: 815-834-1122



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