Strategic thinker Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2007

In 1978, when Tom Thieman took over as president and CEO of his father’s stamping business, Thieman Stamping Inc., he had plans to grow the business. Over the years, he’s done that, but he’s done so by maintaining the company’s focus and not getting lost in the short-term gains that some opportunities can present.

He’s made two strategic acquisitions over the years, which created Thieman Tailgates Inc. and Thieman Metal Tech LLC. But acquisitions alone don’t grow a company. Thieman has employed a strong dedication to both customers and employees.

For customers, warranties aren’t challenged. He says it costs less to replace something than it does to argue about it. This creates a strong sense of trust. For employees, he pays their life insurance policies, and while the company used to pay 100 percent of health benefits, they’ve been able to absorb most of the rising costs, and employees now pay just $40 a month for their and their family’s coverage.

Thieman has had his share of challenging times, too. After a manufacturing recession in 1998, he lost six figures worth of money when a major customer filed for bankruptcy. He was determined not to let that happen again, so today no customer can account for more than 25 percent of the company’s revenue. When one starts to approach that mark, he finds other services to expand into to maintain a balance and ensure future success.

HOW TO REACH: Thieman Stamping Inc. and Thieman Tailgates Inc., (419) 629-2612 or www.thieman.com