It was a "challenging" previous year at ePlastics, Elliott Rabin said, due to factory shutdowns and price increases. And while they lost some customers in 2017, they also picked up some new customers along the way. But with sights set on 2018, Rabin said the main goal is to refine the way they do business.
"We've got a team where a lot of these guys have been here 10 years or more; we're very efficient," Rabin said. "As I walk around the entire factory, I let people know exactly what their position is in terms of what the customer sees.
"The customer may never see some of our faces, but they'll see our work. … There are so many places where the order is touched and you want to leave your mark," he added.
Rabin said ePlastics also is working on a "more advanced website to allow people to search our database really fast and get answers really quick," which is set to be rolled out by late spring.
At the end of 2017, employees received a bonus.
"We did that before the tax cut; [President Donald] Trump can't claim that," he said with a laugh.
In addition to the year-end bonus, employees get to take advantage of near-monthly catered lunches, as well as holiday parties and barbecue cookouts. San Diego-based ePlastics marked 50 years of business in 2017 and observed the occasion with a party.
To recognize the roughly 50 employees at the material distributor and custom fabricator for their years of service, ePlastics started a "wall of fame" organized by seniority.
"As you scan [the wall] from left to right, you see the 25 years, 40 years, 50 years [of service]. These people have been here a long time," Rabin said. "They must be doing something right. It's not just performance on the job, but it's coming to work every day. I'm always thrilled when I drive into the parking lot and I see it full of our employees' cars and customers' cars and trucks and all the activity going on.
"People want to do business with us, and our employees want to come to work here every day," he added. "It's not just a paycheck; it's a whole tribe. … People stay here a long time."
Rabin also gives gift cards as an acknowledgement of appreciation to employees who have exhibited an exceptional team-player attitude.
"I think one of the main [company values] is just trust, which comes with truth and integrity," Rabin said. "We don't cut corners; there's no room for that. You want to be able to sleep at night. … I have a partner in the business, John Short, … and we always come to the same agreement. It's a place we want to come to work. And if we want to come to work here, by golly, I'm sure that everybody else is going to enjoy coming to here as well."