There is a better way to do things.
No matter how efficient or effective your business practices, there is always a better way, Darrell McNair says.
``Every organization has the same basic setup,'' said McNair, president and chief executive officer of Nescor Plastics Corp., a Mesopotamia-based injection molder and second-tier supplier to the automotive industry. ``It's about drive, discipline and commitment. And you have to be able to share that with your staff.
``These are the same principles I'd apply regardless of company size.''
McNair, 43, became the privately held company's majority shareholder in May 2000. He has spent every day since looking for that near-perfect way to do things.
Nescor sits in a tiny hamlet in northeast Ohio's Amish country, where people riding horse and buggy is more prevalent than adequate cell phone reception.
Yet, the 100-employee firm has made a name for itself as a case study in how processors can maintain fiscal health in the midst of an unstable economic climate through continuous-improvement practices and implementation of lean principles.
``Three years ago, Nescor made a very serious commitment to dramatically reduce production costs. They're as good at that as anyone I've seen,'' said Robert D. Skillman, a Kent State University faculty member who specializes in lean and Six Sigma methodologies.
``Lean has allowed us to maintain profitability in a flat marketplace,'' McNair said.
Skillman visits Nescor regularly and works with the company's continuous-improvement manager and engineers who constantly try to better Nescor's operations.
Nescor's 41,000-square-foot plant has 17 injection molding presses. The company manufactures numerous parts for various automakers and suppliers. Nescor uses primarily polypropylene and ABS resins for its processing.
Management prides itself on quality.
``It's your reputation you're sending out the door,'' said John Myers, Nescor's quality manager.
Nescor officials recently acquired TS16949 certification - something they said is critical for suppliers wanting to work in the automotive industry.
It's just the first of many steps to stay competitive in the ever-changing automotive market, McNair said.
``The model that worked 10 years ago is obsolete today,'' he said.
``There's so much competition from foreign sources. Automotive has gone global.''
And because the market is expanding overseas, so too will Nescor, he said.
``In order for us to grow, you cannot ignore low-cost-country alternatives,'' he said.
McNair said setting up additional manufacturing operations in a low-cost foreign country is a virtual certainty.
``It's not an if,'' he said. ``It's a when.
``If I want to grow with my customers, it's imperative that I have operations near my customers.''
Nescor officials also are evaluating plastics opportunities that aren't automotive.
``It's taking the future seriously,'' Skillman said. ``That's one of the things that Darrell is very, very good at.
``They're not making a Nescor for today. They're making a Nescor for the future.''
McNair, an African-American, also doesn't shy away from taking advantage of Nescor's status as a minority-owned company. McNair's not looking for a handout, but he'll take every advantage he can get.
The ultimate goal: continuous improvement and continuous growth.
``I would like Nescor to grow beyond a one-facility operation,'' McNair said.
``You can't shrink yourself to greatness.''