Finding a rhythm Featured

12:31pm EDT February 17, 2011
Steven Balogh, Mar-Bal Inc. Steven Balogh, Mar-Bal Inc.

Scott and Steven Balogh both have musical training in their backgrounds, so it means something a little different when they talk about being tuned in to what their customers need at Mar-Bal Inc.

The brothers, with Scott as president and CEO and Steven as vice president, view their custom molding company as though it were a jazz combo and symphony orchestra. The manufacturing plants have to operate with a conductor and hierarchy that maintains and improves quality and cost control.

The sales and engineering organization operates like a jazz combo, improvising and innovating with customers and each other to create and develop new products and services.

When they observe what’s happening outside the business and integrate those ideas into the operations at Mar-Bal, it’s as though they were playing a little improvisational jazz. They could be playing a song that’s been played thousands of times by hundreds of other artists. But by adding a touch of creativity to the performance, or in this case, the quality of their product or service, the brothers make it their own, and that’s what people remember.

This approach has helped Mar-Bal adapt to the global economy and evolve its manufacturing operations to consistently give customers what they are looking for and more.

The company utilizes an easy-to-understand metrics and recognition program that helps ensure quality and excellence. Training programs take place at all levels of the company, including the senior management team. An outside advisory board reviews and critiques the performance of the company’s leaders at the top.

Every aspect of the company is scrutinized for possible ways to improve, leading to a culture made up of employees who are always looking to get better at what they do.

“Frankly, we were shocked that a small, Midwest manufacturing firm could reach communication and learning metrics similar to the best organizations in Silicon Valley,” says Valdis E. Krebs, chief scientist at Orgnet.com, a Westlake firm that has analyzed Mar-Bal’s performance.

“To our expert eye, we see a well-poised, expertly trained and highly performing organization, very similar to the best in the world,” Krebs says.

Mar-Bal’s efforts continue to pay off. In December, the company introduced Thermital, a thermoset composite that looks like steel but offers much more flexibility in terms of how it can be used.

How to reach: Mar-Bal Inc., (440) 543-7526 or www.mar-bal.com