The FYI on APV

Yesterday I had the opportunity to check out a local company with worldwide impact, APV Engineered Coatings.  As a person with zero mechanical ability or engineering understanding, I was definitely a fish out of water walking through the various manufacturing plants.  However, as the vice president of manufacturing, Tom Venarge, narrated our tour, a few leadership lessons surfaced:

Re-identify yourselves every day: When APV was first established in 1878, they were AVW (Akron Varnish Works) finishing half of the nation’s bicycles with their enamel.  With their expansion into paint products, AVW changed its name to APV (Akron Paint and Varnish Company).  But today, they produce very little paint and no varnish.  Part of the reason for this company’s long history of success is that they continue to reinvent themselves, realizing what they are building today, won’t sustain them for tomorrow.

Forecast for change and opportunity: APV is constantly looking for ways to expand their business.  Whether it is buying used equipment or taking over dying businesses, they continue to seek to create a niche for custom formulations and engineered coatings.  Recently they just built an addition onto one of their facilities with room for expansion, yet having no definitive concept as to what the space will be used for.  They just know they need to be prepared when the next key product comes their way.

Outsource, outsource, outsource!: A portion of APV’s business comes from outsourcing opportunities.  Due to their expertise in manufacturing specialized products, high-end equipment, quality staff, and superior waste management, they can produce portions of products better than the actual product maker.  So with more specialized segments of a products development, some companies will outsource those portions of the manufacturing to APV.  APV takes initiative in making proactive pitches to various companies showing how their part in the company’s manufacturing process will save money and create better quality.

To check out more about APV’s history, click HERE.

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~ by Dave Smith on October 16, 2009.

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