CPFilms Rehires 24 as Kollar Moves the Company into Rebound PositionAugust 5th, 2009 | Category: Featured Content
After approximately ten weeks on the job, Ray Kollar is inciting change within CPFilms. Kollar took the helm amidst a rocky period for the window film manufacturer, as its parent company Solutia Inc. made several difficult maneuvers to ensure its future.
“Clearly CPFilms, Solutia, and everyone for that matter, was in hunker down mode, because nobody knew where the bottom was,” Kollar explains. “And if you didn’t get out in front of it, you might not have another chance.”
Kollar points to many of Solutia’s recent decisions, including layoffs at CPFilm’s Martinsville, Va.-based manufacturing plant, and a change in leadership as necessity.
“To Solutia’s credit, they managed this thing beautifully,” he explains. “They got themselves in a position, quickly, to definitely survive no matter how bad it got, and then tracked it to ensure that they didn’t over react. If you had waited a month or a quarter longer, perhaps, on some of these decisions, which some did, then you may not get the chance to make those decisions, because you’re not in business anymore.”
Several of the company’s recent moves seem to show signs of stabilization if not rebound. In June, CPFilms hired back 24 positions in Martinsville, following two rounds of layoffs in 2009 totaling 90, and already Kollar is speaking of doubling the window film giant’s business.
“I was brought in by Solutia to grow this business,” he says. “We brought back 24 people for a variety of reasons. We need to keep up with demand and we need to get out ahead of growing the business.”
Doubling CP’s business, he says, will require changes to the company’s strategy in a number of areas. On July 27, CPFilms announced the creation of an in-house sales specialist team to help find and win retail and commercial architectural projects.
“By developing a specialized team in-house and avoiding a ‘middleman,’ we are able to keep costs lean while maximizing value for our dealers and finding growth opportunities in the architectural market,” explains Sal Abbate, general manager Americas for the company.
Kollar says that under the leadership of Jeff Hammerer, the newly-formed sales team will focus on cultivating corporate relationships and funneling resulting projects to CPFilms’ dealer base. But he says the company will also need to implement changes to its manufacturing process to match the effort.
“We’ve got to be able to grow the opportunities through getting involved in governmental affairs and those sorts of things. But as I do these things, I’ve got to have an engine that sits behind all of this and can react to it,” Kollar says. In the past, he says CP’s manufacturing strategies were centered on utilization of resources, rather than throughput—something he says must change sooner than later. Kollar says the company will need to set up a process that leans away from speculation and closer to a Just In Time (JIT) manufacturing model.
“When you’re trying to double the business, it’s going to be spurious,” he says. “You’re either going to get that 80,000 square foot deal, or you’re not. If you’ve guessed wrong, and you’re operating under a delay, that’s bad news. So it’s not that I’m focused on manufacturing; it’s that I need that manufacturing and supply chain engine to match the growth initiative.”
Kollar points to CPFilm’s recent moves and Solutia’s rebounding stock as evidence that the worse may be behind the company.
“There was a time when, I’m sure, the markets were concerned with whether Solutia could pulled it off [or not],” he says. “Within the last six months, our stock was at a dollar and some change. Now it’s closer to eight dollars, because they did a really nice job.” But Kollar recognizes that many of Solutia’s moves did not come without pain. “That’s a tough thing to tell the guy who’s losing his job,” he says. “But, on the same token, if you don’t preserve the company, you won’t have the chance to bring anyone back. To the credit of the people at CPFilms, I think they understood that. Especially here, where you’re talking about brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles—when someone loses their job, they’ve got 25 connections to this company that feel for them. It was a tough story, but I think they understood.”—DV