TSM growing into a second generation of leadership

By Jim Johnson
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: April 23, 2014 12:50 pm ET
Updated: April 23, 2014 1:01 pm ET

Image By: Jim Johnson Jim O'Callaghan, center, started TSM Control Systems in 1977 and is now seeing his sons, Shane, left, and Richard, right, take on company leadership.

Related to this story

Topics Machinery

This is a time of change at TSM Control Systems as one generation gives way to another.

As father and founder helps prepare sons to fully take over the family business.

As new ideas, new energy and new management take hold.

But this also is a time of great growth for the Dundalk, Ireland-based company that makes blending and control systems sold around the world, a company that has created a name for itself since 1977 by building reliable machinery but knows it can do better on marketing and customer relations.

Jim O’Callaghan started TSM in 1977 before his sons were even born.

Shane O’Callaghan and Richard O’Callaghan, the second generation, remember discussing the family business around the dinner table while growing up as children. But those boys are now men with an appetite to take the company to new heights.

Jim O’Callaghan says there’s the “harsh reality” that the company he founded 37 years ago needs to move beyond the founder’s vision and control.

“They are both a lot younger than I am. And they have new ideas. New energy if you like. And much greater ambitions,” he said.

The senior O’Callaghan, who describes himself as a “techie, fundamentally,” has stepped away from the day-to-day operations of the family business as General Manager Richard O’Callaghan and European Sales Manager Shane O’Callaghan put their stamp on TSM.

Theirs, admittedly, is a wider view.

There was a time when TSM was satisfied with making reliable machines that would run year after year after year, with little need to check in with customers after the purchase was made. With more than 10,000 installations in 60 countries, the company’s technology and reliability have been codified. Business has been successful and solid.

But now, with the changing of the guard, TSM views itself differently. Dependability is still a cornerstone of the company, but TSM is placing much more emphasis on marketing, customer relations and exploitation of the firm’s patented technology to increase sales.

That new approach was on display at last year’s K Show in Düsseldorf, Germany, where the company introduced its new blending technology — both batch blending and continuous blending — as well as a new logo.

The K Show happens only once every three years, gathering plastics people from all over the world to Düsseldorf. A lot can happen between these triennial shows, and that certainly was the case for TSM.

Sales grew by more than 50 percent during the three years leading up the show as a management transition took taken place. Along with the O’Callaghan brothers stepping up, TSM hired in a new management team to help support the new vision.

“In terms of the succession part, we don’t make any secret of it. A very challenging journey. We’ve been very disciplined about it. There’s a lot of planning that’s gone into it. It’s very challenging for the rest of the organization as well, for the people in seeing their natural leader as it was changing over to the next generation. and the transfer of trust and responsibility,” Richard O’Callaghan said.

With so many suppliers out there fighting for business, TSM sees its future as not only an equipment maker but also a partner with its customers, he said.

“It’s too easy to supply a piece of equipment that sits there and someone forgets about the customer. Now we have to differentiate ourselves best with better service and be more engaged with our customer base,” Shane O’Callaghan said.

Along with manufacturing in Ireland, the company now has regional offices in Alpharetta, Ga., Taichung City, Taiwan, and Guangzhou, China, to provide a better support network for those folks.

“It’s a family business. We’re going to maintain that element to it, but take the family business and change it into this corporate structure, a scalable enterprise, a crack management structure,” Richard O’Callaghan said.

“We are getting to know our customers more and more and that means it’s a true partnership with them,” Shane O’Callaghan said.

“The family values are still there. We know our sales partners intimately. We’re getting to know our customers more and more. That means it’s a true partnership with them,” he said.

A large part of Richard O’Callaghan’s job, during the past couple of years, has been putting together the senior management team to help lead the change.

 “I suppose it’s an element of just wanting to take and grab and run with it. Create something really big. We’re in a great place as a company. We’ve got an atmosphere of change. The culture is changing with the business,” he said.

Declan Byrne was brought in to lead TSM global sales and business development, and he knows how to talk up the business. That’s for sure.

“The company is very much in a growth phase. We have expanded our office network. We have increased the people in those offices. We even have introduced our new branding,” he said. “The energy now that is behind the company is tremendous.”

“We’re positioned for tremendous success,” he said. “What I see is energy. If you have energy in any business, you have a lot going for you.”


Comments

TSM growing into a second generation of leadership

By Jim Johnson
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: April 23, 2014 12:50 pm ET
Updated: April 23, 2014 1:01 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Plastics News Now: Recycling machine dispenses food for stray dogs, cats

November 26, 2014 6:00 am ET

A PET bottle recycling vending machine is providing food and water for stray dogs and cats, a plastic tire is looking to replace rubber pneumatic...    More

Image

2014 US machinery shipments up 6 percent

November 25, 2014 5:17 pm ET

Through the first nine months of 2014 U.S. shipments of primary plastics equipment — for injection molding, blow molding and extrusion —...    More

Image

Globalization brings sizable growth, primarily in Asia

November 25, 2014 1:40 pm ET

In 1990, the year after Plastics News published our first issue, there were 33,000 injection molding machines sold worldwide. Fast forward to 2013,...    More

Image

Taipei Plas vandal and German firm trade lawsuits

November 25, 2014 1:26 pm ET

Taiwan businessman Karma Tang, who splashed red paint at German firm Baumüller GmbH's Taipei Plas booth, is in a messy legal battle.    More

Image

Auxiliary equipment maker Ross expands in India

November 25, 2014 1:12 pm ET

U.S. auxiliary equipment maker Charles Ross & Son Co. is expanding in India, opening a new plant early next year in Pune.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events