How Peter Anthony makes employees into team members at UGN

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Peter C. Anthony, president and CEO, UGN, Inc.
Peter C. Anthony, president and CEO, UGN, Inc.

Industrial and Distribution
When Peter C. Anthony took over as president and CEO of UGN, Inc., the first action he took was indicative of his philosophy. He changed the company’s term of “employee” to “team member.”
His philosophy was that everyone at UGN is part of the same family, or team. In a complex manufacturing process such as that at UGN, a manufacturer of high quality interior trim, soundproofing and thermal insulating products for auto manufacturers, every member is vital, and he wanted people to feel that way.
Anthony’s commitment to inclusiveness is also demonstrated in the transparency in which he runs the company. Every month, he shares a copy of the P&L statement to the entire team. His goal is to connect people directly with the product of their labor.
Anthony recognizes it is often difficult for a team member, who performs one specific job, to see how he or she contributes to the company’s success. When he shares the company’s financial performance with everyone, it demonstrates his belief that every member of the team plays a part in UGN’s success.
On a weekly basis, Anthony sits down and has a brown bag lunch with team members in the factory.
One of the greatest challenges faced during his tenure as CEO was the 2009 recession. In the fourth quarter of 2008, the company’s orders disappeared. The recession brought an opportunity for Anthony to truly flex his entrepreneurial muscle. He guided the company through the recession using the following key concepts: all management took pay cuts across the board; new cross-training programs for team members were developed; and work weeks were shortened rather than issuing layoffs.
Within four months, Anthony guided the company back into profitable territory.
Another challenge was the Japanese tsunami in 2011, which halted Japanese auto production almost immediately. UGN offered furloughs with paid benefits rather than mass layoffs. The strategy proved highly successful, and resulted in strong retention.
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