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Embracing change

To achieve goals, companies must cultivate ties with suppliers, customers and associates, says Aviva Leebow Wolmer

MM 0516 face leadMay 2016 - MM: Why does Pacesetter  emphasize the importance of partnerships with customers and suppliers?

Aviva Leebow Wolmer: Pacesetter believes in the power of teamwork, where the entire supply chain comes together to focus on reaching goals. It’s easy to provide a low-price model to try to buy business away from the competition, but not every company is built to offer the level of service, partnership and trust that Pacesetter’s customers and suppliers are accustomed to. We want our suppliers and customers to feel they are a part of the Pacesetter family. Facilitating long-term partnerships helps to create value and offer advantages that may not be available if we focused only on price. We promote collaborative efforts up and down the supply chain and find long-term solutions to satisfy everyone’s needs. 

MM: What do Pacesetter associates contribute to the customer’s experience?

Leebow Wolmer: We do everything we can to earn our customers’ business. With our Ultimate Customer Experience, we go beyond service and let customers know the entire breadth and skillset of Pacesetter is behind them. We specialize our services and hand pick our talent, so they are able to best respond to the challenges in front of our customers as well as provide them with strategies and opportunities. We ask customers what we can do to make their job easier and their companies more profitable. We encourage special requests and feedback, and the flow of ideas and improvements never cease. 

MM: How is Pacesetter handling the transition to a new generation of associates? 

Leebow Wolmer: It’s an ongoing challenge, but it’s an exciting one. At Pacesetter, we embrace change in every capacity and use innovation to fulfill the needs of a changing workforce. Young workers are accustomed to information at their fingertips. We are adjusting our management style and business structure to respond to the experiences of the millennials. By embracing them and understanding their needs, we will only improve communication and create market advantages for Pacesetter.

MM: Is it challenging to integrate this new talent into a tenured team?

Leebow Wolmer: A team grows best when it combines the tried and true with the new and innovative. If you want to see teamwork thrive in your company, promoting collaboration between long-term associates and new team members is a necessity. By holding on to what has made Pacesetter successful, we remember our values and continue in that vein. By accepting new ideas into the mix, we are staying fresh and creative, never relying too much on our past knowledge and experience. 

Coaching isn’t a one-way street from manager to team members. Rather, we place the responsibility on associates throughout the organization to coach and educate each other. In doing so, each person has the opportunity to share their knowledge and insights. 

Tenured team members at Pacesetter are just as willing to listen, learn and understand ideas from new teammates as they are from mature peers.

MM: Explain how investing in the training and education of associates helps mold your business for the future?

Leebow Wolmer: Most of our associates come from outside the steel industry. So we need to teach them the ins and outs of the industry but, more importantly, we teach them both how Pacesetter is different and why we’re different. Education drives growth in every capacity, and we believe in the concept wholeheartedly. 

Aviva Leebow Wolmer has been CEO of Pacesetter since 2014. Prior to that, she was responsible for creating Pacesetter University before transitioning to vice president for people and then executive vice president.

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