Penco, based in Greenville, North Carolina, celebrated 150 years of business success in 2019. Despite the current climate of uncertainty, we push forward with optimism and positivity, believing for a turnaround that will bring universal economic growth. In partnership with our distributors, Penco paves the way to success with progressive values, servitude, and visionary leadership that offers inspiration for others.
In 2001, we made a strategic decision to move our manufacturing plant from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Eastern North Carolina with our corporate headquarters following in 2013. The process was met with challenges, and for several years Penco’s bottom line did not reflect the dedication and effort of our team. Half a dozen years ago, we experienced a tipping point. Tom Kulikowski saw an opportunity to steer the business in an upward direction and accepted the role of President and CEO of Penco. His leadership, along with the hard work of the Penco Team, inspired three tips that helped Penco regain traction:
Assessing the historical practices at our plant in Hamilton, NC, Penco devised a strategic turnaround plan that re-routed our fate. The first step was to infuse our Penco family with the vision: “Inventing a New Future.” Fulfilling that vision called for diligent teamwork, product line upgrades, distribution channel growth, strategic people-resource adjustments, safety standards and procedures modifications, and inventory reduction. As a result, our quality improved, we had record-breaking accident claim reduction, productivity increased, and we began seeing positive revenue gains. Mission accomplished!
Last year, Penco built on the vision to invent a new future by declaring, “Our Future is Now!” Openly communicating the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly about our financial performance and productivity, the team was excited to learn of the tremendous growth in profitability that came as a result of our first transformational step. We modified products, adjusted processes, added equipment, and empowered our team through Employee Engagement training at our plant. Penco celebrated 150 years of successful business through black-tie and family-fun events, giveaways, and more to boost morale.
Penco launched “Project Hedgehog,” a system for team members to share ideas with upper management and have an assurance that their voices are heard. Outcomes of that effort sparked innovation in our home office as well as the plant. Positive vertical and lateral communication has fostered a family-style work environment where employees feel included and significant. Maintaining this type of work culture has also played a significant role in increasing productivity and retaining great employees.
2020 marked the launch of a new vision: Penco is on “A Quest to be the Best!” The Penco family showed support of the vision by setting individual goals to push themselves into becoming “The Best” in all areas of life. A great way to achieve this is through connecting with ourselves (individual connection), connecting with fellow teammates (internal connection), and connecting with our community (external connection). Success in all three of these areas plays a major role in the achievement of any business. When we are better as individuals - whether it be in our health, skill study, training, time management, or otherwise - it reflects in our jobs. When team members communicate better with each other, accuracy and efficiency improves. When we connect with our community, not only are we helping others, but we build individual character simultaneously, making our entire community stronger.
To see the first two objectives come to life, we kicked-off 2020 with Engagement Training for the Home Office Team. This training is designed to help staff look within themselves for areas of improvement and development, to raise awareness of the personality variances in fellow employees and learn how to work well together, and to encourage our team to buy into the overall mission of Penco: “To be the premier supplier of steel lockers and shelving products in North America.”
Penco intentionally connects with the community through incentivized involvement of the Penco Family in philanthropic service. Penco values being a responsible stakeholder in our community and has partnered with some of the most impactful charitable organizations to efficiently offer our hands, hearts, and time in service to others. Among those are the Blood Center, The Food Bank of ENC, Boys and Girls Club, Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, The Children’s Miracle Network, and many more. We also proudly support the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce and we connect with students at East Carolina University through internship opportunities.
“We are here to make a choice – a choice between being average or committing to be the best,” says Tom Kulikowski. Penco has experienced tremendous growth and success over the years, but at our core is the desire to serve our community and see it grow. Penco is the premier supplier of steel lockers and shelving products in North America. Please visit our website at www.pencoproducts.com for more information.