Philpott Recognized for 100% Accident Free Record

BRUNSWICK, OH (June 2018) - Philpott Rubber & Plastics was recently recognized for its commitment to the safety and welfare of its employees. The company was honored by the Medina (Ohio) County Safety Council maintaining a 100-percent accident and injury free workplace rating.

“Sponsored by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s Division of Safety and Hygiene, this award demonstrates the importance Philpott places on ensuring a safe work environment,” commented Philpott CEO, Jim Vaughn. “However, it is our employees that play the most productive role in achieving this record. They do this not only by following Philpott’s safe practices policies, but also by maintaining awareness of their surroundings and remaining observant for unanticipated dangers.” Vaughn concluded, “Working as members of a cohesive team, our employees expect that we will be back to celebrate this result again next year!”

Philpott Earns Upgraded ISO Certification

BRUNSWICK, OH (June 21, 2018) — Earlier this week, Philpott’s quality system earned ISO 9001:2015 certification. This came after a comprehensive audit of each component of Philpott’s quality system documentation and processes by a highly-respected, third-party ISO consultant. According to Philpott Senior Vice President, Greg Stafford, who also led the team when Philpott was first ISO certified in 1997, “We are extremely proud of the Philpott entire team, all of whom contributed to this process.” Stafford went on to say, “Not only did we pass the audit, we did so without a single nonconformity finding.”

In a Philpott employee gathering to celebrate the certification, Philpott CEO, Jim Vaughn, complimented the dedicated Philpott employees and reinforced that, “Quality is what our customers expect, and we intend to earn every order through our quality commitment.” He also reinforced to the team, “Although this ISO certification upgrade is a source of pride to us all, each individual’s commitment to performing better every day in our customers’ eyes will be the key to our success.”  

Dr. James Vaughn Chosen to Lead Philpott

BRUNSWICK, OH (June 7, 2018) —At its meeting earlier today, the Philpott Solutions Group Board of Directors elected Dr. James (Jim) Vaughn to be the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer. At their annual meeting, also held today, Dr. Vaughn was also elected to the Philpott Board of Directors by the company’s shareholders. Dr. Vaughn replaces the retiring Mike Baach, who served as CEO since 2009.

Prior to joining Philpott as its Chief Operating officer this January, Dr. Vaughn served in executive management capacities at Omnova and GE. Mike Baach commented, “We were most fortunate to attract Dr. Vaughn, who is one of the most professional, energetic corporate leaders that I have ever met.” Dr. Vaughn said, “The opportunity to join Philpott was one I simply could not pass up. I saw it as a place where the confluence of my executive management, marketing & sales, innovation, and manufacturing skills coincided with Philpott’s leadership requirements. Although I have worked for larger companies in my past, the challenges are the same; however the impact of my efforts to support the great men and women at Philpott is much more immediate”.” Dr. Vaughn continued, “We are in the early stages of bringing Philpott’s China manufacturing jobs back to our plant in Aurora, Ohio plant, which we recently purchased, fully remodeled, and equipped with brand new molding equipment.” Vaughn continued, “Philpott is a great place with great people. Since each employee is also an owner in Philpott, we all share in our stated goal to grow Philpott’s business and create jobs in the USA by earning each and every order with value-based products and services that our customers require!”   

Dr. Vaughn lives with his wife, Tracy, in Hudson, OH, with their 2 sons. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Geneva College and his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from The University of Pittsburgh. For further information about Dr. Vaughn, please visit his LinkedIn page at

Congress Calls on Philpott to Testify on Tax Reform Impact

BRUNSWICK, Ohio - May 2018 – Last week Philpott Rubber & Plastics CEO & President Michael Baach was interviewed in Washington, DC by the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tax Policy concerning Tax Reform and Small Businesses: Growing our Economy and Creating Jobs.

Baach testified that “As a small business, Tax Reform is creating growth drivers for Philpott in numerous ways. It gave us the courage to invest more than $5 million in a new facility, equipment and upgraded manufacturing utilities infrastructure. This investment will, in turn, allow Philpott to reshore our manufacturing from China back to the US and allow us to innovate new products. This will drive growth in our business, create new jobs and increase cash and employee stock ownership compensation. All of this will continue to bolster our commitment to the US as we remain Philpott Proud!”

CEOs must always communicate, demonstrate confidence

Call it foolish, selfish or just plain dumb. The drone accident that seriously cut the pinky finger on the throwing hand of Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer put the team in a bind. But it also demonstrated that when a leader communicates a plan that is coupled with a contagious, positive team attitude, success can still be achieved in the face of adversity.

In a pregame radio interview, Indians manager Terry Francona spoke of the plan he had shared with his team in the event that Bauer’s injury forced him out of the game.

With only two outs in the first inning, Bauer’s finger began to bleed profusely and Francona, with great calm and an upbeat attitude, guided the initiation of his plan. The team fed off Francona’s confidence, executed his plan and won the game, despite the overwhelming odds.

CEOs are constantly trying to anticipate the myriad changes in the market, customer expectation, material costs and shortages, supplier status and legal compliance requirements, among other things. What makes our analyses even more complex is that changes in these strategic drivers almost always happen in combinations, thus making plans to address them highly complex.

Experienced CEOs are able to develop appropriate plans that allow their companies to overcome the uncontrollable, external challenges they constantly face. The most successful of these leaders commit these challenges to paper.

Mine is a living, matrix-based document that often changes daily based on the ebb and flow of the issues at hand. As the potential issues move toward the more likely column in my matrix, I create a plan for them, which I begin communicating to our management group and ultimately to our entire team.

As we present and then execute plans to overcome these challenges, our management consciously displays the positive and high confidence we feel deep within our bones. Why? Because we know that all of our employees are watching us and will be guided by how we are acting.

Our obvious confidence infects our entire team with the spirit that by working as a close-knit unit, we will execute the most effective solutions to whatever we are facing.

If we all work together, we can turn the challenges into previously unattainable growth opportunities for our company. We remind our team that as we strive to be the best at planning for and proactively addressing each problem we encounter, we will maintain our strong competitive advantage over those companies who choose to wait and then react.

I must admit that I was in awe watching how Francona had his team ready to face any challenge that night. I admired how to a man, each was confident that their teammates were ready and able to do their part to ensure victory.

Francona encouraged, congratulated and energized each player while showing obvious great joy in leading them through the plan. Why? Because he knew that everyone was watching him! 

We are proud to present an education program at FABTECH 2016: Dynamic Working Capital Preservation: Transforming Coil Storage Warehousing from Square-Feet into Cubic Feet

Our education program and paper demonstrates that through proper use of working capital, operators can improve the safety in their coil storage facilities, greatly improve housekeeping, increase the volume of stored coils by 30% to 70% of that being stored in the current footprint, save substantial capital investments by avoiding construction of new warehouse space and free up additional cash for purchase of steel.

Through the implementation of a well-planned coil storage system that employs highly-engineered, polymeric coil storage systems, operators can accomplish all of this and gain a significant return-on-investment in a short period of time.

The life cycle cost comparisons shown in our education program and paper were established by inputting variables, specific to the case study facility. This tool can be found below and allows operators to approximate and compare costs of the options to expand its warehouse or upgrade the current facility from square foot to cubic footage of storage

Start planning for dynamic growth with the 70/30 rule

I don’t recall ever meeting a successful businessperson that kept a list of dreams. However, they all have a list of goals, supported by clear, measurable plans.

Although many business managers have told me that they are not risk averse, I learned that many need almost 100 percent certainty of success before they execute on an initiative. CEO’s with this belief system have endless lists of questions that stall decision making to the extent that the opportunity has moved on while the grueling evaluation process continues to grind on.

At Philpott, we create a strategic plan each year that is condensed into a one-page Objectives vs. Strategies matrix which guides every employee’s activities. This plan provides the roadmap that I use to steer our team through each opportunity that has an acceptable likelihood to fulfill our objectives through execution of our strategies.

Opportunities can be identified by anyone in the company and are usually communicated to a corporate officer.

That officer generally takes the lead on the project and forms a multidiscipline review team to create a due diligence list. Each listed item is weighted and then graded by each member of the team as information is assembled.

The team leader establishes what may seem to be an unreasonably short timeframe for team members to gather the needed information. However, since our team members are all highly competitive, with few exceptions, this work is completed on time.

Once the information is gathered and assembled, the data is evaluated and a determination is made as to whether or not to move forward with the initiative. When I joined Philpott and introduced this process, many asked, “How will we know when we have sufficient data so that we do not make a mistake?”

First, I explained that our weighting/grading process turns the data into information. Then the rollup of information from all team members creates intelligence on the initiative. Experience has regularly proven that mistakes occur when less than 30 percent of readily available data becomes intelligence through our process, but waiting for much more than 70 percent will ensure that the opportunity has passed.

So, having somewhere between 30 percent and 70 percent of intelligence on an initiative must suffice if a prudent, yet timely decision is to be made.

The 70/30 Intelligence Rule must always account for the most critical variable: likelihood of success. Surely, no one would embark on an initiative where the team composite likelihood of success is less than 50 percent.

Although we are not risk averse, our composite opportunity ranking is usually on the upper side of the 70/30 Intelligence Rule to move forward. In addition, each team member’s rating allows us to separate the skeptics from the supporters of the initiative. If the initiative moves forward, we have identified those on the team who will take the highest ownership and thus exert the most success-assuring energy in the project

By: Mike Baach

The sharing of ideas with your team must be a two-way street

In most successful companies, innovation and ideas come from their valued customers. For this to be the case, ideas must be brought into the company from the people that have the greatest amount of contact with customers.

Many may think that only the sales force does this. Although this is true to an extent, the responsibility is not exclusive to sales team members. In our company, we listen to our customers through the ears of our finance, purchasing, operations and sales personnel, all of whom are expected to have regular, formal interaction with our customers.

Think about it. Your accounts receivable personnel are in regular contact with your customers’ payable personnel who, believe it or not, often hear of ideas from others in their company. If you do not create an environment where everyone on your team shares a common vision for growth through customer engagement, this productive resource for innovation is lost.

It can’t be all you

Sure, as CEO of an enlightened company, you spend much of your time interacting with customers, but to think that you will be the only one to recognize innovation opportunities is foolhardy. When you do, it is critical that you present the idea to refiners and activators in your company.

This team should consist of three or four energetic employees from several layers of the reporting chain. When you present the idea, do so in a very succinct manner focusing first on what value the idea will bring to customers before you talk about how it will impact your company’s bottom line.

Then encourage critique and expansion of the idea. This will not only allow the employees to expand on your point of view, it will also identify who should lead the development project based on which employees demonstrate the greatest amount of understanding and enthusiasm.

Some CEOs discover that the roadblock to hearing about employee innovations or getting his or hers’ effectively communicated to the team lies within the executive team, i.e. the CEO’s direct reports.

Our company embraces the idea Gino Wickman presents in his book, “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.” In it, he teaches that the executive organization chart should have the “right seats,” meaning that there is clear definition of the activities for which each position (seat) is responsible and accountable.

A strict rule in making this concept work is that although one person may sit in more than one seat, each seat can only be occupied by one person. Then, you must regularly determine if you have the right people in the right seats. If you don’t, you have likely identified an innovation bottleneck.

If you are to have a company that is truly innovative, you as CEO must set a culture that encourages creative participation at every level. Although you may have great ideas, consider yourself the facilitator. Only then will your company succeed. ●

Mike Baach is president and CEO at The Philpott Rubber Co.