Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 143

GMi Companies

shipments and damage prevention. "Because we are
focused on being made in America we have to be efficient," Collins adds. "We are constantly looking at metrics and making improvements."
GMi Companies operates its shop floors on the
"made to order" philosophy. Collins explains this
means lean manufacturing is essential to its operations
and complicated by the fact that they have both assembly line production and job-shop mentality for custom
products made in the same facility. "We have to have a
really good system when we make and ship a product
within 48 hours, especially when some of the items have
special handling," she adds.
At the core of the company is its focus on the customer experience. The company vision is posted and
echoed throughout its facilities to provide distinctive
products and experiences that result in a feeling of
"That's exactly what I wanted." "We are constantly surveying and re-evaluating how we can create an impressive, hassle-free and pleasant experience for our customers," Collins says. "Knowing what our customers
want and appreciate is crucial."

Northeast

explains. "Parts of our product line have also been the
same for 20 years and those are the staples of the line."
Because visual communication and furniture products can be easily researched, the company recognizes it
needs to offer unique and high-quality products. "We
have changed to become more high-end and offer a higher value of product," Collins adds. "We work with dealers
to bring distinctive products that others can't."
Glass is one of the most popular materials GMi
Companies is using to stay relevant among its customers, Collins says. "Glass is the hottest thing in use
for dry erase," she adds. "People are writing all over
glass any chance they get." The company is launching
several glass products this year along with its new simplicity family of whiteboards, featuring Acrylite.
Acrylite is a strong, acrylic-type surface that looks and
performs like glass, but is half the weight and has twice
the scratch-resistance. "We are constantly doing things
like that and looking for new opportunities and ways to
help our customers communicate," Collins adds. "We
keep changing and remain open and flexible. It's fun to
see the organization continue to evolve that way." mt

Quality Performance
Training its 150 employees on manufacturing is critical
to being efficient and producing high-quality products.
GMi Companies has safety and general manufacturing
training programs in place for employees at each of its
companies. The OZ Principle Training Program
encourages accountability among every employee.
"This has made a big impact on individual empowerment, understanding their role in the organization and
focuses a lot on each individual asking themselves
'What can I do to improve that?,'" Collins explains.
GMi Companies is successful because its employees
and leadership team members are focused on exceeding
customer needs by keeping up with the constant
changes in visual communication and technology.
"Technology is the biggest challenge in our industry,"
Collins notes. "There is still a need for people to take a
marker and write, dream or collaborate on a whiteboard, but supporting technology is prevalent and [our
customers] are looking for how we can connect the
whiteboard with an iPad or a flat screen television. We
are working to complement and support technology
while it's changing rapidly."

Innovative Designs
GMi Companies' product line is constantly evolving,
but some items are always available. "We discontinue a
dozen or so products during the year and add a significant number of new products every year," Collins
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 manufacturing-today.com

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014

Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 1
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