Greenwood Plastics Industries is a woman-owned, fourth generation manufacturer serving custom thermoforming needs and the deathcare industry since the early 1970s. As a true contributor to the Danville community, it was important for GPI to continue to improve their business processes, making the company a great home for employees and a leader in customer service for the next generation.
A unique manufacturer servicing the death care industry through multiple product offerings, Greenwood Plastics Industries was experiencing a quickly changing marketplace. With cremation on the rise at a rate of nearly 50% nationwide, the company’s sales forecasts for burial products were quickly becoming outdated. As the new, fourth generation approached the leadership position the family business knew they needed to align their operational, administrative, sales, and marketing goals under one set of strategies to be successful and adjust to meet the changing demands.
Through a relationship with IMEC, the leadership at Greenwood Plastics began to focus on streamlining their business processes with actual business strategies and developing a plan to ensure an efficient implementation. “It became clear that we needed to break down our company into business segments to more effectively understand our future opportunities for growth and the strategies to get us there,” said Ethan Darby, Director of Sales for Greenwood Plastics Industries. “Historically our business came to us; but here we were trying to be proactive and understand the clearer picture of our potential.” Exploring new product capabilities and growth in non-death care plastics held the greatest potential for new customers, but Ethan and the team also wanted to more deeply engage their existing markets. By developing a “product of the quarter” program to align sales and marketing, and eventually manufacturing, the company is now working together to collectively move the needle; an improvement from the silo mentality they had employed previously.
Additionally, the team at Greenwood Plastics focused on the improvement and engagement of their people. Many team members, and specifically including the management team, had been in the organization for 10+ years and were used to a routine and holding data close to chest. But by educating the staff on the importance of the visibility of metrics planning and goals, the workforce began to think more strategically from the office to the shop floor. “It’s been a great culture shift for our people,” said Ethan. “Everyone now knows where they are heading and have the opportunity to participate. Staff are submitting their own improvement ideas and buying in to the ideas and improvements of others.” As the team continues to make progress they are now focusing on the refinement of goals and the incremental improvements to be made in operations including aspects of lean manufacturing.
- Non-death care signage increased 10%
- Dramatic shift in cost and demand for funeral home display systems; decreasing customer cost from $400-500 per unit to $0, and increasing demand from 60 units in all of 2016 to 50 units in Q2 of 2017 alone.
- Increased meeting efficiency by focusing specifically on action items and results
- Positive shift in output of high-end products vs consistent demand in entry-level economy products
To learn more about Greenwood Plastics, visit the company website at www.gpi-plastics.com or call (800) 798-4900.