Manufacturing Executive Group Pays Big Dividends

August 12, 2013

John-MarcAs the old saying goes, it’s lonely at the top.

If you ask them, most business owners and executives will freely admit they sometimes feel isolated—left alone with problems that no one can relate to.

Barry Callebaut

“It’s not uncommon to feel stuck in a situation,” says Jean-Marc Desheraud, Plant Manager of Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products. “And it’s not easy to find people who understand what you’re dealing with.”

Fortunately, these leadership challenges tend to be similar from organization to organization, or even from one leader to another. That means there is priceless wisdom to be gained from speaking to others about how they resolved certain issues. Moreover, time spent talking to other business leaders can offer a view of what works…and what doesn’t.

And when exchanges between leaders take place in an organized setting, these experiences are elevated further. Given a bit of objective distance from a challenging—or even painful—business challenge, executives are often remarkably forthcoming about the difficulties, their responses, and the results.

In 2012, Desheraud found himself in just such a situation as he set out to find an executive networking group. After a bit of searching, he chose DVIRC’s Manufacturing Council.bc3

As a member of a large, multinational enterprise, Desheraud sought a group that would connect him with the local business community and further his understanding of manufacturing in the state of Pennsylvania. He decided to join the council after a few trial visits, and today he has already found great insight from his fellow members.

“The quality comes from their ability to deal with new situations and talk through ways to tackle them,” he says. “You have the experience of these people, but also their experience in their own industries.

“During one of our sessions I mentioned some energy-related issues, and someone in the group had a connection for an energy-savings company,” he continues. “That helped us to save easily $100,000 over the year. So the contacts benefit us greatly.”

Environmental Tectonics Corporation (ETC)

Tom Laughlin, COO of ETC, shot for DVIRC

According to Tom Loughlin, Vice President of Operations at Southampton, Pennsylvania-based Environmental Tectonics Corporation and council member since 2011, “…it’s the best forum you can find for business professionals to solve problems. There’s always someone to help who has had the problem before.”

As specialists in creating environment simulations for aviation, space travel, and other challenging applications, ETC is frequently faced with issues that lean toward the uncommon end of the spectrum. Loughlin, though, sums up his own council involvement succinctly: “If you don’t get a resolution out of this group, you may not get one. You might not always like what they want to say, but it’s good advice—it’s things you need to hear.”

About Barry Callebaut

Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products. Combined with the recently acquired cocoa ingredients business from Petra Foods, Barry Callebaut represents more than 8,000 employees operating approximately 50 production facilities in more than 30 countries. Barry Callebaut is the global leader in cocoa and chocolate innovations, providing a comprehensive range of services in the fields of product development, processing, training, and marketing. The company is actively engaged in initiatives and projects that contribute to a more sustainable cocoa supply chain.

About Environmental Tectonics Corporation

ATFS-400Since 1969, ETC has specialized in simulated environments for training, testing, and research & development for a variety of niche markets worldwide. ETC’s global reach includes operational installations in over 90 countries, with offices in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. ETC’s Global Headquarters in Southampton, Pennsylvania, includes a powerful group of local specialty vendors; built on decades of complex and demanding project experience, this network spans the technology-heavy northeastern U.S. and adheres to the highest design and manufacturing standards.

About the DVIRC Manufacturers Council and Executive Forum

DVIRC offers the area’s only networking groups dedicated to executives and leaders of small and medium-sized manufacturing firms. Through our Manufacturer’s Council and Executive Forum, attendees benefit from peer-to-peer knowledge sharing in a small, confidential setting. Professional facilitators are on hand to structure meetings, and attendees have the opportunity to discuss members’ real-world challenges, offering meaningful feedback in a peer advisory group format. If you’re interested in learning more about either group, contact us today.

Join us August 20 – Manufacturing Leadership Event
You might also plan to attend our Annual Leadership Event and Networking Meeting on August 20. This event, held at White Manor Country Club in Malvern, is a once-a-year opportunity to network with your manufacturing peers, attend presentations on impactful industry topics, and participate in a business roundtable discussion. Learn more or reserve a seat here!