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"Paying it Forward" to Support Growth and Learning

by Linda Kleineberg | Apr 04, 2012


Pay it forward. It's a simple concept. We share what we've learned so that others may benefit. 

Yet time and time again, I'm met with incredulity when I talk to individuals, reporters, and social network acquaintances about VIBCO's commitment to helping others succeed.

"You do what?"

"Are you guys for real?" 

"What's in it for you?"

I can understand the cynicism hidden behind those questions... as a society, we've been conditioned to question motives and to trust sparingly.  So here's the real scoop on VIBCO.

"You do what?"

We share our customer focus and show others how we're improving processes every day to remove waste and increase value to customers while holding pricing.  We open up our doors and invite other manufacturers, public officials, and service providers to get up-close and personal with our internal processes and our employees... for free.  We never charge for our plant tours.  We spend a tremendous amount of time and energy sharing our lessons learned with anyone who will listen.

And we love it. 

It's our way of helping to sustain and grow a vibrant, innovative and thriving manufacturing community.  It's our way of helping our public officials understand that there are ways to improve constituent services without the need to raise revenue. It's our way of helping to create better opportunities for all; of working to support a happier, more engaged, better trained workforce; and it's our way of saying thank you to all who have freely shared their knowledge and help with us.

"Are you guys for real?"

Yup! We really do believe in the power of each and every person to be brilliant and that our very survival depends on supporting employee engagement and creativity. Our customers want and need rapid delivery, low prices, quality products, and responsive support.  Those things don't happen by magic - they are only possible because we innovate all the time. We do things that skeptics and cynics think are strange or "out there" or "wacky," and that may appear to be an industrial fairy tale.  We've even had people ask if the employees they met on our plant tour are actually paid actors. 

Let me assure you that VIBCO is 100% authentic.  Throwing a fish around the shop, decorating a bar stool, wearing silly hats, spray painting graffiti on the wall, doing a conga line through assembly, smiling, stretching together each morning...  they're all very, very real.  And they help us to achieve our real business goals.  Innovation and creativity can't be mandated, they have to be nurtured and practiced.  Our relentless commitment to customers can't be programmed, has to be lived.  At VIBCO, those emotional connections to our business come from being uniquely, strangely us. 

"What's in it for you?"

If you look at the investment we make in sharing, touring, and having fun from a traditional P/L, ROI standpoint, you won't see a huge financial benefit.  Most of the people who come to visit the VIBCO factory are not current or potential customers.  We don't charge for tours or speaking engagements, and we don't use our web TV show as a revenue stream. 

BUT... and it's a big BUT... we do, in fact,  reap incredible rewards from our efforts and so do our customers. We get to support and develop a learning, growing, innovating and thinking organization that is creative, engaged and enthusiastic about PROCESS IMPROVEMENT. We get to demonstrate behaviors and values that reinforce the need for each and every VIBCO employee to question the status quo and seek opportunities to improve value to our customers.

And really, with great products, competitive pricing, and a culture of improvement like ours, why the heck would you buy your vibrators anywhere else?