Founded in 1976, Midwest Rubber Service and Supply Company is a family owned manufacturer of die-cut rubber, conveyor belts, fabricated rubber products, and products for floor care equipment. Its floor care business provides squeegees, skirts, and hose and product development services to cleaning equipment manufacturers. Midwest Rubber’s comprehensive belt fabrication capabilities include splicing, v-guiding, cleating, vacuum belt punching, die cutting and stamping, and full on-site repair and maintenance services. The company works with a number of large OEMs and serves a broad range of industries including the beverage and packaging industries. With additional plants in China and the Netherlands, Midwest Rubber provides local support to its customers’ operations around the globe.
Midwest Rubber has traditionally created annual strategic plans internally. In the last few years, however, the company has experienced tremendous growth and leadership knew it needed to establish a more structured long-term strategic approach for the business to effectively position the company for continued rapid growth, and also prepare to transition to a new generation of leadership.
Midwest Rubber recently worked with Roger Hurd, one of Enterprise Minnesota’s consultants, to help with its marketing, and knew that Enterprise Minnesota could assist with strategic planning, as well. Hurd and Mary Connor, also an Enterprise Minnesota consultant, proposed taking Midwest Rubber through its Strategy Management methodology.
The Proactive Marketing program, led by Hurd, focused on reviewing Midwest Rubber’s marketing assets, challenges, and resources along with developing and implementing an integrated marketing plan. The Strategy Management service helps companies gain a deeper understanding of its current business, while positioning for long-term growth. Hurd and Connor helped Midwest Rubber define its mission, vision, and core values and aligning strategic organizational goals with leadership, management, and employees.
Hurd and Connor helped Midwest Rubber identify critical performance benchmarks and establish a formal strategy roadmap. Connor worked with company stakeholders to research 21 areas of Midwest Rubber’s business. The resulting data helped the leadership prioritize its key strategies that will guide the company as it executes its growth initiatives. These key strategies were each assigned a “champion” – a member of the leadership team who would be accountable for its implementation and success. By the end of the process, Midwest Rubber was well on its way to transitioning from a company where the decisions were made mostly by an entrepreneurial leader to a more structured and strategic organization focused on broader employee involvement and customer satisfaction.
As a direct result of Strategy Management and Proactive Marketing, Midwest Rubber expects to realize an increase over $33 million in new and retained sales and invest over $500,000 in plant equipment, information systems, and workforce skill development by the end of 2018. In addition, Midwest Rubber also expects to create 18 new jobs as a result of its work with Enterprise Minnesota.
I was fortunate to be involved with both the Proactive Marketing and Strategy Management projects. Both were great as they focused on the needs of manufacturing companies. Roger (Hurd) and Mary (Connor) were great resources and did a wonderful job of steering us through the projects. With the Strategy Management, every employee in the company was involved in at least one or more of the 21 research areas. We also included customers and vendors in the process. As a result, we established a solid foundation from which we are able to build upon and keep the business moving forward.