When the team has your back

Author Keith Jennings
September 26, 2019 - 08:00am

Welcome to September and the home stretch of 2019. Hopefully, this period will include plenty of machining after a summer lull in our market that involved lots of people on vacation and a few projects put on hold until those people returned. Whatever the reasons for the letup, some suppliers eventually were impacted—we noticed an increase in their visits and requests for business. They explained that a number of markets suddenly had slowed and because our shop was consistent, they were eager to maintain our account and provide professional service. We also noticed a sizable increase in contacts from out-of-state companies seeking business, indicating an ease in manufacturing.

Such meetings with good suppliers may include owners like me, managers or other key employees. Visits might feature a lunch outing or a trip to the shop office. But sometimes, owners aren’t available and can’t be present for a conversation. This scheduling conflict puts us in the position of relying on employees to professionally represent and support the company. It requires confidence and trust in crucial employees, who we must have on our side to succeed.

This requirement was made clear to me again after an important supplier finished a business lunch with several of our staff members but no owner. After returning to our office, the account manager saw me and privately reiterated his appreciation for our business and the professionalism of our staff. Best of all, he affirmed our employees’ vocal support and backing of the owners and managers, even with all the ups and downs. 

While owners and managers should recognize and reward the efforts of good employees, reciprocation of that recognition back to owners and managers from employees isn’t so common, as it’s not their job to do so. But when you get word from several primary vendors who confirm your employees’ support of you, your company and your management team, you realize why it’s good to be in business and work with such a high-quality group.

There are many examples of employees in such conversations conveying the opposite attitude—showing a lack of support for management or owners, complaining or being disgruntled—all without your knowledge because you can’t be at every meeting. Undermining management and ownership creates instability and other issues, which are obviously bad conditions for making good parts at a machine shop. This unfortunately goes with the territory. Everyone isn’t happy all the time.

However, earning the loyalty of pivotal employees and their positive representation of your business, values and management dramatically will increase your likelihood for success. I was grateful to be told several times this year that our employees professionally represented the company and our family. Now that we find ourselves approaching fall, it’s great to know that your team has your back.    


Related Glossary Terms

  • backing


    1. Flexible portion of a bandsaw blade. 2. Support material behind the cutting edge of a tool. 3. Base material for coated abrasives.

  • sawing machine ( saw)

    sawing machine ( saw)

    Machine designed to use a serrated-tooth blade to cut metal or other material. Comes in a wide variety of styles but takes one of four basic forms: hacksaw (a simple, rugged machine that uses a reciprocating motion to part metal or other material); cold or circular saw (powers a circular blade that cuts structural materials); bandsaw (runs an endless band; the two basic types are cutoff and contour band machines, which cut intricate contours and shapes); and abrasive cutoff saw (similar in appearance to the cold saw, but uses an abrasive disc that rotates at high speeds rather than a blade with serrated teeth).


Manager's Desk Columnist

Keith Jennings is president of Crow Corp., Tomball, Texas, a family-owned company focusing on machining, metal fabrication and metal stamping.