By: David Hood, Induron CEO
In case you missed it, check out part one of this blog series, 50 Years with Induron: Changing Roles at Indurall.
When beginning Induron Coatings, our goal was to find the right niche. The markets that seemed to be “not too big and not too small” were the ductile iron sewer pipe and water tank market. We experienced success in both markets. By concentrating on them technically and through sales and marketing efforts, we aimed to become experts and offer more value to our customers. Of course, it was not easy, but we have persevered and become more successful than imagined.
Establishing Specialization and Efficiency
Since becoming Induron (instead of Indurall), we’ve made our factory more specialized and efficient while reducing overhead. Our warehousing and customer service departments are more specialized to fit the needs of fewer and more similar customers. We have reduced the number of inventory items and have space to keep what our customers need in stock for immediate shipment. Basically, we have taken a “retail store” service system to a market not used to “immediate” service.
Our lab facility, our chemists and our quality control systems are specialized and as good as there is in the market. We have worked very hard to make proprietary products that offer benefits the market has recognized and rewarded. We will continue this effort as we find other markets that reward this effort.
The Electric Distribution Market
A few years after the change in name and business model, we were able to find the right person to help us get into the electric distribution market. We have created products and established expertise in this market. Consequently, it has grown to be a significant share of our business. Plus, it provides an entry to international business, which is a growing market for Induron.
Succeeding or Failing Together
While I had expected to retire and sell majority interest to my son, Davies, in 2007, that did not go as planned for several business and personal reasons. At that time, the economic state of the country drove down our sales by about 30 percent, and survival became an issue again. Plus, my wife passed that same year, which put everything on hold for a little while.
Our culture required that every employee take a pay cut in equal percentage, so we worked hard to re-build sales and made it through 2007 and 2008. We restored pay by mid-2008. At Induron, we succeed or fail together.
Davies became General Manager and began the process of learning to manage the diverse parts of our rather complicated formulating, marketing, manufacturing and sales company. He learned to manage people, replace retirees and keep the momentum to routinely improve everything we do. After a few years as General Manager, Davies bought 80 percent of the business and became President. He wisely decided that operations were not his area of expertise and swapped jobs with Jeff White, our Sales Manager. Making that role change is up there with the best decision Induron has ever made.
Jeff is an excellent leader and is doing a great job as Executive VP and Operations Manager. Everybody reports to him except the sales and technical service people. They report to Davies, who absolutely loves what he does.
My Role Today
Not long after that, I moved into “semi” retirement. My job is to participate in our Monday morning managers meeting and have lunch with Davies. I answer questions and sometimes offer advice. We have made a successful transition from second to third generation—not every company can do that!
When I started in 1969, we were a general paint maker. We tried to satisfy virtually every market that used wet paint. Today, Induron is a highly competitive, technically sophisticated specialty coatings company that knows its markets, customers, products and customers’ needs. We will never stop improving in every area of our business and in offering our markets outstanding value in every sense of the word.
I am proud of what has been accomplished by our dedicated and loyal employees. I am especially proud of their ability and willingness to help our customers succeed!