In 1997, Robert Pasin received his MBA, and in the same year, as the youngest member of his family, he became president of Radio Flyer, the company founded by his grandfather.
At the time, the company was not growing; it was marginally profitable and was facing many challenges to its continued survival. When he took over, he immediately began to ask many of the key questions that would result in the reinvention of the business. He began the challenging process of “changing everything” while working to preserve the positive aspects of the company’s 80-year-old culture.
Pasin saw that the company needed to change its approach from “What can we make in this factory to cover overhead?” to “What do consumers want and expect from Radio Flyer?”
The result was an overhaul of the way the company does business. Radio Flyer started partnering with outside design firms to develop new products and selected external factories in the United States and China to manufacture products that the company had not produced before, including tricycles, plastic wagons and scooters. The company shut its factory down and discontinued all manufacturing operations.
In addition, it opened an open sourcing office in China, and expanded its R&D team from two engineers to a team of 30 industrial designers and engineers.
In the time since Pasin took over, the company’s sales have gone from flat to increasing by more than three times. Earnings have gone from marginal to solidly profitable, with earnings growing at a faster rate than sales.
Overall, the company has been transformed from a sleepy little factory that makes shiny red wagons to a world-class, brand-driven consumer products company and has gone from merely surviving to thriving.
For More Information: Radio Flyer, www.radioflyer.com