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FLEXO Magazine : October 2013
zone in order to rebrand itself as a full-service solution com- pany to satisfy current and potential clients’ needs. This story explains the process. While it’s modeled on one firm’s experience, the ideas and procedures can be univer- sally applied. cuLture cHAnge Industry trends, such as printer-converters taking prepress capabilities in-house, pointed toward the need to grow into new areas. Despite 2012 being one of its best sales years in decades, the company was thinking long-term. As an organi- zation, it had to start shaping its future. An aggressive campaign, or “revolution” as it was dubbed internally, began in June of this year and included a restruc- ture of the company’s senior leadership by a small team led by President Pat Meadows. Core competencies would not change, nor would the skilled group responsible for them, but for the first time in its history the company brought in proven winners from the outside. The objective was to become more efficient on the opera- tions side and more aggressive in business development. Getting out of a comfort zone would become a daily goal and this started with a refocus on people—both the company’s own and its customers. The first and greatest challenge was changing the company culture. While many employees—which currently number 57— have fortunately been with the company for a long time, chang- ing long-standing ways of thinking is no easy task. During this transformation project, there have been challenging periods that involved asking people to think and act in new ways. Account Services Director Johnna Imel joined in June as part of the management restructuring, fresh from Sara Lee Corporation’s bakery packaging design division. She says joining a company with a long and storied history, one that is steeped in tradition, comes with challenges. “Culturally, Dixie had developed a tendency as a company to look backward at how we’d always done things, which is not a way to thrive in a business setting,” Imel says. “That’s been the biggest piece of our transformation—coaching, retraining and encouraging our subject matter experts to look forward, which is what we have to do to be whatever our customers need us to be.” coMMunicAtion is KeY Changing the culture began with becoming a more trans- parent organization and to do that employees became more involved in the company’s direction and decision making. In Mike Rother’s book Toyota Kata, he describes people and their capability to develop solutions, instead of the solutions themselves, as being vital to a company’s success. Management made the commitment to not only listen to employees, but also take full advantage of their experience and skills. We wanted all employees to feel fully invested in the company’s growth and success, as well as overcoming challenges. When employees know why changes are being Save the Date! www.flexography.org Forum & INFO*FLEX 2014 April 27 – 30 | Hilton Baltimore and the Baltimore Convention Center | Baltimore, MD Current work in Dixie Graphics’ operation entails pre-media and manufacturing for the commercial printing and architectural industries. 84 FLeXo OCTOBER 2013 www.flexography.org