Monthly Archives: May 2017

May 31, 2017

Our Commitment to Education

MRS is motivated to keep our employees educated in important facets of business that are instrumental for the success of the business. MRS recognizes the importance of employee professional development, and the value of continuously educating its employee base. Long-term individual development yields the true value of professional development, culture, innovation, and creativity. This past winter, we required all employees to take a class in a field that will help them grow as an employee and a person.   All inside sales reps attended exceptional customer service, human resource and Microsoft Excel classes.  The accounting department attended customer service and human resource seminars.  Our foreman, Jasin attended a meeting that helped him transition from a co-worker to a manager, OSHA and how to be an effective communicator.  Each employee received a specific tool to be used on the job.

Our inside sales team; Aaron Paolella, Weiss Froogh, and Kaitie Oringer attended a seminar about “How to build exceptional customer service.” They expressed that the class was an overall beneficial experience to the company and to themselves.  They learned that in just seven seconds customers will form eleven impressions about you and your organization.  Some of the key impressions were responsive, punctual, confidence and more. It’s important to display these qualities when communicating to clients since clients should trust you with their business. Sales people need this seminar more than everyone else because they have to attract large orders to increase company revenue.

Microsoft Excel is software that is used frequently in the office. People need to understand the program to complete spreadsheets. Excel indicates various products and the revenue produced for each. Sales employees Marcus McCallum, and Chris Dorman took a seminar on Excel.  The MRS employees quoted “it was interesting and worthwhile to go to.”  They learned ways to dramatically decrease time spent on projects, and learned how the program can better help them analyze sales. They used their new techniques immediately, and saved about an hour and a half overall. Now that’s progress!

Anita Phillips, one of our accounting personal, attended a customer service seminar which focused on helping employees to stay consistent, be more diplomatic, and not being repetitious in dealing with customers and co-workers to make everyone’s job easier.  To build stronger relationships while increasing satisfaction with the customer and in the workplace.

Sandra Coutinho, Accounting Manager attended a Human Resource seminar for people who were newly assigned to a position in Human Resources. The seminar was very impressive, and it gave a lot of real life examples that could related to the company.

Our very own president, Stephen Boyd, also went to a Human Resource seminar which enhanced his knowledge of how to deal with exempt employees, employee files, interviewing, company policies, disciplinary actions, and respect in the workplace.  Steve is excited to implement new ways to organize data, and keeping files together in an orderly matter.

MRS has quality standards, such as accuracy, responsiveness, friendliness, expediency, and knowledge. The key point for our organization is that we must cultivate good internal customer service, which will result in more customers, increased revenue and employee satisfaction.

May 31, 2017

Leading on Leadership

Appeared in the May Issue of LBM Journal

Stephen Boyd has led Manufacturers Reserve Supply (MRS) as President since 1983. Although he has no desire to slow down, knowing who will take over the helm of the family- owned, fourth-generation company—whether the circumstances are planned for or unexpected—has always been at the top of his mind as well as the rest of the leadership team.

Even though Boyd has two children, how succession would unfold at the Irvington, N.J.-based wholesale distributor was never set in stone. His daughter, Nancy, went into pharmaceutical sales and his son, Brian, went to work for another building material distributor after college for five years.

Brian did decide to join the company, returning to MRS in 2010. Like Stephen, who also spent some of his early years outside the family business, Brian’s experience brought a different level of work ethic, knowledge, sales experience, and vendor management, helping him fully understand how businesses operate. It also gave him unique perspectives to bring back into the MRS fold that allowed him to establish his own worth beyond his lineage.

Upon his return, Brian entered into a multi-year program in which he immersed himself into two-year stints in different areas of the company, ensuring he understood every element, from cleaning the warehouses to dealing with financial matters. Six months ago he was promoted to General Manager and is surrounded by a strong leadership team that MRS carefully built and is working together to define the company’s future.

As such, Steve’s own role has gradually changed. Today he’s more focused on strategic issues, including mentoring and training, rather than the day-to-day operations. It’s a role he’s not only enjoying, but also allows him to keep a gentle but hands-off eye on the leadership team while fostering programs within the company that engage employees and increase their investment and loyalty. In other words, he’s continuing his career-long efforts to keep the company on a strong footing and growth path.

Throughout the process, planning and communication have been key. “Some of the things employees are always cautious about is the movement of succession planning and how it’s going,” Steve notes. “It’s incumbent upon the owner to over-communicate the process, how it’s going to look, and how it’s going to evolve. Current management also needs to understand that their job is not threatened, that their job is whole and their loyalty will be rewarded.”

Outside partners also need to know what’s going on, he notes. “You need to take a proactive approach to discussions, whether managers, employees, customers, or suppliers, which I don’t think everyone does.”

Boyd and the managers meet with a business coach every six months, which includes occasional evaluation of their skill sets to determine where there are weaknesses or vacancies that may need addressing through new executives. The management team also is continually evaluating its “catastrophe” succession plan, which is in place to guide the company in the event of Steve’s unexpected departure.

Thirty-four years after he took the helm, Steve has no desire to slow down, continuing to work up to 60 hours a week and still loving the action each day brings. If and when he decides to pull back, he’s ensuring he’ll leave the company in the well-prepared and capable hands of a thoughtfully curated leadership team that will continue the MRS legacy.

Katy Tomasulo is a Seattle-based freelance writer, editor, and content marketer with 17 years of experience covering the LBM industry.