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Experience Speaks: Keith Dovel

  • President and Chief Operating Officer, Plymouth Printing Co. Inc.
  • Management style

    Results via good planning and execution

  • Motto

    Make profits, and have fun doing so — you need both

  • How did you get into this business? I was involved with a start-up company in 1979 printing pharma inserts/labels and dairy lidding.
  • Do you have a personal hero? My parents are my first heroes. They created a wonderful, large family environment for me, my four brothers, and two sisters. Don Drysdale, Dodger pitcher, who was never afraid to throw inside and always played with fairness and determination, is another.
  • What is the biggest threat to the converting industry right now? Material costs.
  • What is your key to retaining good employees? Keep them challenged and promote from within whenever possible.
  • What is the biggest mistake you made, and how did you fix it? Allowing self-centered workers to stay in the organization too long. I focus now on working with new emplyees to help set the tone for team effort.
  • How do you handle a difficult customer? Educate them on our process.
  • What keeps you up at night? Cost-cutting ideas.
  • Have any management books influenced you? Lean Six Sigma by Michael L. George and Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charon.
  • What do you most enjoy about your job? Seeing other employees succeed. Managing successful operations.
  • What do you enjoy least? Passing on a price increase, which we rarely do.
  • What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started out in business? Some things can wait until tomorrow.
  • What is the best advice you ever got? Be honest to customers and employees and expect the same in return.
  • What is the worst advice you ever got? That management teams should stay up in the clouds and not take discussions to the ground level. It is at the ground level that ideas either prosper or fail.
  • What advice would you give someone just starting out in this business? Keep an open mind.
  • What does your company do that makes your customers enjoy doing business with you? Competitive prices, excellent service and quality, and a never-ending story to tell regarding innovation.
  • Is there any one association that is particularly helpful to your business? Yes, the PPLA — Printed Pharmaceutical Literature Assn.
  • What sustainability efforts has your company made? Reducing energy consumption through innovative plant installations and changes in habits. Recycle and Kanban programs that eliminate waste and inventories.
  • What makes you proud? In most of my mangement years in domestic and global operations, I have managed to form the right teams to turn good profit margins.

About Plymouth Printing Co. Inc.

  • 450 North Ave., Cranford, NJ 07016
  • Founded 1928; two plants; 130 employees
  • Specialty | Printing packaging components for the pharmaceutical and related healthcare markets

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