Happy Birthday

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Early in 2006, we were discussing things that we could do to celebrate Tacony Corporation’s 60th anniversary.  We wanted to do something that would benefit our dealers, to help you make your business more profitable, your life a little easier.  "How about a blog?" we said.  There was a lot of activity in the "blogosphere" but there didn’t seem to be anything directed at our customer, the independent retailer.

Southwest Airlines had a blog.  Most computer companies had a blog. Robert  Scoble, an employee of Microsoft, had made a name for himself by writing a blog that was often critical of the company.  But blogs by non-computer related businesses were few and far between.  So we decided to give it a try.

On April 24, 2006, Mine Your Own Business was born with a post creatively titled "Welcome".  There’s a permanent link to it in the left column.  That was followed the next day by a post called "Mine Your Own Business?"  There’s a link to that one on the left too, right under the link to "Welcome".  So far, so good.  This blogging stuff was pretty easy.  Of course, we hadn’t told anyone about our "test" so the blog was only being read by a few people inside the company.  As the days have turned into weeks and months and now a full year, it turns out that some days it’s still easy.  Some days it’s not.  There are even occasional days when it’s just impossible.  Fortunately that hasn’t happened very often.

The first "real" post also appeared on April 25.  It was called "Most Business Owners Unprepared for Natural Disasters."  (It’s always good to get started on a positive note.)

Today, after 247 posts, we celebrate our first anniversary.  There have been 77 posts on "General Business", 41 posts on  "Advertising, Marketing, & Positioning" and 35 on  "Customer Service".  There was an 18 part series on  "Challenges of the Future" and a shorter series on "Pricing". 

These stats are surprising. If you had asked me I would have said that at least 200 posts have been about "Customer Service" and only a few on "General Business."  Of course, the categories are slightly arbitrary and most entries could have been put in other categories.  The stats do point out that some categories are being neglected.  That will change in the future.

After our first year I hope that you find MYOB to be interesting and useful.  The increasing number of daily readers and subscribers tells me that it is.  As far as we know, we’re still the only company in any of our industries that’s doing a blog on topics of interest to our customers. 

Quoting from our very first post,

"The bottom line is that this blog is about you; your problems, your concerns, the things that keep you up at night and the things that make you get up in the morning."

Thank you for reading MYOB and for letting Tacony Corporation be a part of your business.

Here We Grow Again

Yesterday morning, April 20, 2007, Tacony Manufacturing broke ground on yet another expansion of our St. James, MO facility.  The new 100,000+ square foot addition will more than double the plant’s space and create an estimated $3.7 million in private investment and 20 new, full-time jobs within two years while just down the road, Briggs & Stratton, the lawn mower engine company, was announcing the closing of it’s St. James plant.  The new addition will be used both for manufacturing and distribution.

Ken Tacony, speaking at the ground breaking ceremony, said, "This is a big day. We’re moving onward and upward, and just down the road the news is not so good. It’s ironic. 

Speaking to the Tacony Manufacturing team, Ken said "Every single product that comes through this company has an impact on
whether we will be a success in the future.  It’s a challenge to each and every one of
you. As we continue to grow, this will be fun.”

At an employee meeting this morning at the company’s Fenton headquarters Ken pointed out that ten years ago we weren’t even in the manufacturing business.  Today we have four plants, three of them in the United States with the fourth in Southampton, England.  Total company-wide employment has reached 650.

Some information is taken from the Rolla Daily News.

Another Tornado Makes News at Tacony Corporation

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Just last September, the topic of conversation around here was the tornado that hit our manufacturing plant in St. James, MO and the outstanding job our associates did in getting everything up and running again, losing just one day of production.

Now, in February, the "t word" is popping up in conversations again, but this time it’s good news.  Tornado Industries, a full line manufacturer, importer, and distributor of commercial floor machines has joined the Tacony family.  Tornado, based in northwestern Chicago, near O’Hare Airport, has been in business since 1927. 

The Tacony Corporation commercial floor care business now includes four major players:  Tornado, Powr-Flite, CFR, and Truvox.  We will now have research, engineering, sourcing and assembly facilities in Fenton, Fort Worth, Chicago, St. James, Southampton, England, and Shanghai, China.  The consolidation of four major names in commercial floor care under a single American ownership is unprecedented and very exciting.

Tornado Industries is dedicated to delivering “Best in Class”
commercial and industrial cleaning equipment and after-sale service
that meets and exceeds the expectations of their customers. In the
industrial cleaning business for over 80 years, Tornado has a strong
entrepreneurial history of partnering with in-house cleaners,
contractors and facility managers to provide cleaning solutions that
deliver innovation, reliability and competitive pricing.

Tornado is also committed to a clean environment.  They proudly support the standards and criteria established by the U.S.
Green Building Council and The Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Green
Label Certification program.  They have a great web site that you can see by clicking here.

Synergy is the key.  As Ken Tacony pointed out to our Fenton associates in announcing the acquisition, the synergies between Tacony Corporation and Tornado Industries will result in lower costs, improved distribution, and lower prices and even better service for all of our dealers, not just in commercial floor care, but across all of our product lines and divisions.  As our mission statement (shown at the left) says, our goal is to "create success for our customers, our associates, and all others that depend on us."

All of us at Tacony are excited by this new acquisition and look forward to working with our sixty new team members. 

You can read a copy of the official press release here.


 



 

More Positive PR for Your Favorite Manufacturer

Our local daily paper, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, had a nice article today about our St. James manufacturing plant.  The writer mentions our one millionth vacuum milestone, our recent acquisition of Truvox International, and our planned $3.2 million St. James expansion. 

While the article is primarily focused on our vacuum cleaner business, the writer’s comment that "a search of mass merchants such as Wal-Mart and Target stores will turn up no Tacony products…" holds true for all of our protected lines. 

You can read the entire article article here.

Tacony Acquires Truvox International, Ltd.

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Truvox International Ltd
is now a part of Tacony Corporation.
Final paperwork was executed on Tuesday, December 19. Truvox will become a wholly-owned subsidiary
of Tacony, effective January 1, 2007.

Founded in England in the 1930’s, Truvox was originally a manufacturer of sound reproduction equipment,
including one of the earliest portable reel-to-reel tape recorders.

In the early 1960’s, the company began producing floor
cleaning machines and is now a world leader in the design and production of
new, effective floor care equipment. The
Southampton factory employs a staff of sixty and ships
equipment to over thirty countries worldwide. Much like Tacony Corporation, Truvox has been a privately held,
family-owned business since its inception.

The marriage of Tacony and Truvox will allow both companies
to offer an expanded line of products to their customers and to enjoy cost savings
based on the larger customer base. 

On Wednesday morning, Tacony executives including CEO Ken
Tacony and President Bill Hinderer met with the Truvox team for an official
introduction. Each associate was
presented with a St. Louis Cardinals World Series Championship baseball cap and
a “Welcome to Tacony” banner that had been signed by associates at our Fenton,
MO corporate centre.

According to Ken Tacony, “Having Truvox join Tacony not only
adds 57 talented associates to our company, it brings us hundreds of new
customers throughout the United Kingdom and in over 30 countries throughout the world.

“This is an important step in building a strong international
commercial floor care business, taking advantage of our combined engineering,
manufacturing and sourcing capabilities
in Ft.Worth,
Fenton, St. James, Suzhou, and now Southampton.”

Tacony News

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The Missouri Department of Economic Development has an article about our St. James manufacturing plant in it’s current newsletter, "Missouri Focus".  On October 25, at a celebration honoring the plant’s achievement of producing 1,000,000 vacuums, Ken Tacony and Plant Manager Jim Flemming were presented with a proclamation from Missouri Governor Matt Blunt and with the 2006 Missouri Industry Award from the Associate Industries of Missouri.

Congratulations to Ken and Jim and the 108 Missouri citizens who work hard every day building the finest vacuums in the world for their achievements and for the well-deserved recognition.

You can see the current issue of Missouri Focus here, or read the complete story here.

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You Can’t Keep a Good Factory Down

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Missouri weather can be very unpredictable.  If you don’t believe it, ask Major League Baseball.  On Friday afternoon, September 22, at about 3:20 in the afternoon, a tornado touched down in St. James, MO.  Tacony Manufacturing was right in its path.  It was one month, to the day, since the one millionth vacuum cleaner had rolled of the production line.  (See "That’s a Lot of Vacuum Cleaners" for more on the St. James plant.)

Thankfully, the plant works on a schedule of four ten hour days, Monday through Thursday so theSt_james_6
number of people working that afternoon was small and no one was injured.  The building wasn’t so fortunate.  When the storm had passed, those who were working that day found a 30′ X 70′ hole in the roof.  Several doors had been blown out.  Water was pouring in from the still-falling rain and from the plumbing for the sprinkler system, which ruptured when the roof blew off.  There was a 35′ X 16′ hole in one wall.

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The sprinklers were quickly turned off and most of the raw materials and material handling equipment was saved.  Employees living nearby soon arrived to help, dodging tree limbs, power lines and other assorted debris.  By early evening, a recovery plan was in place and materials had been ordered.

To make a long story short, in spite of the severe damage, the factory was up and running Tuesday morning, the 26th.  We missed one day of production. 

Tacony Manufacturing works on a lean production system, meaning that we don’t keep a lot of finished product on hand.  Merchandise is produced as it’s needed to supply our customers.  Had we been shut down for any length of time, it would have been a big problem for a lot of dealers.  The quick work of Jim Fleming, our plant manager, and all of our associates in St. James not only ensured that our business would continue with little interruption, it also ensured that our dealers’ business would not be disrupted.

We were very fortunate, especially that no one was hurt.  It just shows that you can be celebrating a milestone one day and repairing major damage the next.  If you haven’t reviewed your own disaster plan recently, now would be a good time to do it.

Jim has prepared a more complete report of the events of that weekend and you can read it here.  Click on any of the small pictures below to see them in larger size.

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That’s a LOT of Vacuum Cleaners

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In 1998, Tacony Corporation made the decision to move production of our very successful line of upright vacuum cleaners from the Far East to a factory in the United States.  Our senior management believed (and they were right!) that we could produce a better product, faster and at less cost, right here in Missouri.  With many other companies were moving their manufacturing out of this country, it was a bold move.

In the eight years since we built that first vacuum cleaner in St. James, in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks, along historic US Route 66,  our vacuum cleaner business has prospered.  Our vacs are considered to be among the finest in the world.

Yesterday morning, August 22, at 8:15 am, the ONE MILLIONTH VACUUM CLEANER came off the line.  That’s 1,000,000!  Six zeroes and two commas.  A whole lot of vacs.

Assuming the average vacuum cleaner is about 45" tall, one million units, laid end-to-end would reach from St. James, MO to San Antonio, TX, or Colorado Springs, CO.  They could form a line all the way from our factory in St. James to Thunder Bay, Ontario or to the Atlantic Ocean, or well out into the Gulf of Mexico.  No matter how you slice it, it’s a lot of vacs.Stjames_3

All of us at Tacony Corporation are extremely proud of Tacony Manufacturing. 
Our Award Winning, ISO certified manufacturing team produces consistently high quality products.  Their excellent manufacturing processes make it possible to maintain their high quality standards and allow our dealers to compete successfully with any vacuum on the market, regardless of where it’s manufactured.

Congratulations to Jim Fleming and his St. James team on this milestone.

Shameless Self-Promotion

Link: Can Tacony Vacuum Leave Miele in the Dust?.

Svcanister_group I know this blog is about general business issues for all types of retailers, but I couldn’t resist posting a link to this Business Week Online article. 

Congrataulations to our Vacuum Cleaner team for the excellent job of keeping our dealers competitive!

MINE Your Own Business?

"Don’t you mean MIND your own business?"

Nope.  MINE your own business.  Your business, our business, every business is like a diamond mine.  You know the precious gems are in there somewhere, but sometimes you have to move a ton of dirt fo find them.  At Tacony Corporation, we believe that our job is to help you find those diamonds.

2006 is our Diamond Anniversary.  Over the last sixty years, believe me, we’ve moved a lot of dirt.  But, in the process, we’ve found thousands of diamonds, our valued business partners; you.  Thank you for trusting us to be a part of your business.  To learn more about our Diamond Anniversary, click here.Miner1_1