From Louisville Business First
Story by William Deshazer
People to know in manufacturing:
Phil Tarullo, CEO, LSI Wallcovering
Years in current job: 30
Years employed in the manufacturing industry: 40
Why did you choose your line of work? I fundamentally am a creative person — I’m not an artist but love to apply creativity to business development, product innovation, marketing and general problem solving.
What is the most engaging aspect of working in manufacturing? The most daunting? The most engaging aspect of manufacturing is mastering the delicate balance between market-driven innovation and manufacturing optimization. The most daunting is striving to exceed customer expectations through the engagement of a large number of employees embracing the pursuit of high-performance results.
How can America better compete with cheaper manufacturing operations abroad? I’m a believer in globalization or regional manufacturing, which leverages global resources applied to regional facilities that have the advantage of short lead times, low transport/tax costs and regional market responsiveness. American manufacturers must be creative to develop competitive advantages over import products and be willing to establish regional manufacturing in overseas markets.
How has technology affected your operations? Technology is driving automation and efficiency which levels the playing field with low-wage overseas manufacturers. The most significant technology impact, however, has been with information and communication systems that have revolutionized the way we interact within our company, with customers and how we influence end markets.
What do you wish more people understood about the manufacturing industry? Manufacturing is not the dirty, laborious, undesirable workplace that it once was and is perceived still to be. Most manufacturing operations now are sophisticated workplaces and offer great career opportunities from the plant floor to the C-suite.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to build a career similar to yours? Education in international business and foreign languages along with international travel and emersion provides invaluable benefit. While the world has become small and globally connected, not all manufacturing businesses have global opportunity – but all have an opportunity to innovate for competitive advantage. Finding a way to develop this mind set is important. Lastly, the ability to effectively communicate with employee groups, peers, customers and senior management is vital. Professional communication is objective, unemotional, inspiring and honest.