TGI managers find success through family atmosphereWritten by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
A lot of people are bound to be happy when a company is poised to double revenue for three years straight while not requiring its employees to show up at the office.
Management is pleased with the growing profits. Business is good, so the customers must be impressed with the product. And the employees — well, they can work in their pajamas if they want.
Such is the success story of Toledo-based Technology Group International, a small company specializing in the development of enterprise resource planning software.
Started in 1990 by three local businessmen, TGI has performed more than 400 software installs across the U.S. and Canada, competing on a global scale against much larger companies, largely from its corporate office in the 6000 block of West Central Avenue. The company does not publish revenue figures, but officials say revenue has grown nearly 400 percent in recent years.
TGI’s typical customer is a small- to mid-size business in the manufacturing or distributing sectors, especially in areas such as food and beverage, building products, chemical products, industrial manufacturing and wholesale distribution. Its software includes functionality to run the manufacturing, distribution and accounting facets of their customers.
Despite its growing triumphs in the ERP software industry, TGI maintains a small business environment, which vice president Rebecca Gill largely attributes to the company’s family-like atmosphere.
“We offer a more focused and personalized feel for the users,” she said. “One very recent implementation (customer) said that the ‘TGI family has been great and I couldn’t be happier’” with the experience. “We are a family and we treat our customers as such.”
TGI employees tend to stay in the family, as well. Gill said the company’s technical support staff is more than eight years, an oddity in the software industry.
The reasons for their loyalty are not hard to pinpoint. TGI offers perks such as employer-sponsored medical reimbursement funds, six weeks paid maternity leave and a 401(k) program that will match dollar-for-dollar up to 10 percent of the employee’s salary.
And if an employee chooses to work from home, the company will purchase them a PC to make that a reality.
“We basically let (employees) determine their own income, based on hours worked,” said Scott Smith, president and chief executive officer at TGI. “They can come in whenever they want. We’re not into babysitting,” he said, noting, “We don’t have a real high turnover rate.”
Smith left Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corporation in 1990 to co-found TGI with Dennis Schmedlen (vice president of consulting services) and Bob Goldstine (manager of new technology).
Currently employing about 25 people (mostly in the Toledo area, although the company also has several workers in its branch offices in Detroit and Chicago), Smith said he aims to roughly quadruple the size of TGI’s business by increasing his workforce by just 10 percent — by the year 2010. This feat will be reachable as the company makes its product even easier to install, Smith said. Currently, customers can expect to spend a dollar on implementation for each dollar they spend on software.
“We’d like to make that number significantly smaller,” Smith said.
Brad Sacks, CEO of More than Gourmet, an Akron-based food manufacturing company specializing in making French sauces, would likely be among those who would appreciate that effort. More Than Gourmet has been a TGI customer for nearly a decade.
“We’ve been with them for the long run,” Sacks said. “Early on, we were looking for a top-quality ERP application, and the design of their application really impressed us.” Further, Sacks said he appreciates the fact he gets to talk to real people at TGI, who are willing to work to fix any problems that may arise in the software.
TGI further contributes to the area’s business community throughout the year by employing roughly six interns each semester from the University of Toledo’s sales and marketing department. The paid internships offer real-world sales experience that has led to jobs with companies such as 3M, Savage and Associates, and Rock Financial, according to Gill.
“Our goal is not to be the largest software company,” Gill said. “Our goal is to be a quality software provider, enjoy what we do and make our customers happy.”
ON THE WEB: www.tgiltd.com