February 2nd, 2012
My Day with Joseph
When I talked with Joseph Pigliacampo, president of Joseph Machine Co., in depth at an industry event last year, his enthusiasm for “zero scrap” was contagious. I told him I would definitely set a time to learn more, and that time came this past Tuesday when I traveled to the company’s plant in Dillsburg, Pa.
I can’t wait to tell you more about his “zero scrap” philosophy and how you can save up to a million dollars per year by implementing these principles (look to the March issue).
When you read my article I hope I succeed at bringing you Joseph’s true personality because he certainly is a “gem” if you will and a person you want to know. You just can’t help but be inspired by what he has done here and “root” for him for the future tasks at hand.
Those tasks include doing a better job at marketing his quality products. You can have a great product but if no one knows about the product it doesn’t matter, and Joseph Machine is facing some of these challenges. I was impressed by the candor of Joseph and his general manager, Sanjay Parikh, who told me over and over how they have failed in this area. We have let the Europeans take market share simply because they do a better job with their “sexy” machine designs and marketing efforts.
His enthusiasm is infectious, but we talked about the fact that sometime passing that enthusiasm to others is a challenge. “I fully believe in what he has been preaching,” said Parikh. But the challenge is how to get everyone to be become a believer, new hires and all? It’s a challenge I’m sure most companies face.
I love hearing what companies like Joseph Machine are doing in the industry but I also enjoy being able to spend the day with industry folks and learn about non-industry stuff. I took a break from my note taking, and over a turkey sub, I learned that Joseph came over on the boat from Italy when he was 14 and didn’t know a word of English. His father, came five years earlier and was supposed to be on the Italian ocean liner, the Andrea Doria but decided to wait for another ship. If he didn’t change his mind he could have perished with the 46 people who died. “You talk about fate,” says Joseph when recalling the story.
I learned he is a true family man who often travels across country to Colorado to see his son and is ecstatic that his daughter, a true love of the fashion industry, is realizing her dream and moving to L.A. I learned he likes non-healthy food and his son likes everything organic. I also met his wife Aleta, who also works at Joseph, and who he adores.
That love of family translates to his extended family of customers as well. After our interview, Joseph and Parikh took me on a tour of the plant and I was lucky enough to be there on the same day as a customer. Representatives of Quanta Technologies were there to look at two of the SFMC machines that they purchased and will go on line at their Lancaster, Pa., facility in roughly a month. (It turns out the day before their visit the company was featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer).
“This will give us the ability to produce in much larger volumes,” says Jay Reyher, one of the owners.
I didn’t want to press too much. I wanted to give Reyher space to observe the machines but he turned to me and said, “When you are here it’s like you are working amongst people in your own company. You can quote me on that.”