SYCAMORE, Ill. — Less than one-third of family businesses successfully migrate from first to second generation ownership, while another 50 percent never survive the transition from second to third generation*.
Ideal Industries, Inc., a global, diversified family-owned business designing and manufacturing superior products and tools for professional tradesmen across various industries, has thrived for the past 100-years under four generations of family ownership. The company credits its continuous growth to its ongoing commitment to support innovation and foster ideal relationships with its customers, business partners, employees, and community.
“We’re family-driven and professionally run, with a mindset of strategic planning and execution, that’s constantly thinking in terms of generations ahead,” said Vicki Slomka, senior vice president of global human services at Ideal. “It’s enabled us to create a dynamic culture where ideas and innovation flourish — and where relationships with our tradesmen, customers, communities and employees are valued above all else. This was the original philosophy of our founder, J. Walter Becker, and we remain fiercely committed to it today.”
The Ideal philosophy is simple: focus on the markets that exist today, while ensuring that they are poised to serve those of tomorrow. Their primary focus is to build a robust pipeline of new products and game-changing innovations that will lead the market. The company plans ten years ahead, constantly thinking in terms of generations and not quarters. How will their family, board and business be different? What are the risks that lie ahead and how can they mitigate them now. How do they put their core business out of business, because if they don’t someone else will.
“Less than three percent of privately held companies make it their fourth generation,” said Ideal Chairman and CEO Jim James. “In a few years, we’ll be grooming our fifth generation. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last century, but we’re even more ambitious about the next 100 years.”
Building an Ideal World:
Since 1916, the Ideal success story has been propelled by the core family values expressed by their founder, J. Walter Becker, which has been forging ideal relationships with their customers, employees and their communities. Each generation of family ownership is expected to leave the company stronger for the next. The family stewardship of Ideal ensures that their professional management team has the strategic alignment, resources and patience to grow and strengthen the company for generations to come.
While Ideal may best be known for their wire connectors, their innovations also touch the sky, as nearly every commercial jet flying today has been constructed using Ideal brand tools to connect and secure their electrical systems. They’ve even reached the moon, as part of the critical equipment on NASA missions. Their Audacy advanced wireless lighting system is installed at major league ballparks, college campuses and airports. Best of all, they touch the daily lives of skilled tradesmen around the globe, who reach for Ideal, Western Forge and SK brand hand tools to get the job done right.
For Ideal, innovation is not only about designing a new product or service to sell, but also focusing on the development of new business processes and best practices in order to improve efficiency, find new customers, cut down on waste, increase profits and keep employee retention rates up.
The family reinvests 90 cents on the dollar to fund innovation projects and develop programs for its employees. Ideal contributes to educational expenses for those that wish to pursue advanced degrees, a benefits package, contributions to 401(k), a comprehensive pension plan, in addition to retirement counseling and financial advisors.
“We’re able to stand the test of time, because we listen first,” said James. “While most companies say, ‘here’s what we’ve got,’ we’re constantly asking our tradesman, customers and employees, ‘what do you need?’ Our commitment to quality and service will continue to spur the success of Ideal, and its family of companies, for generations to come.”
To learn more about the 100-year history of Ideal Industries, please visit http://www.idealindustries.com/about-us/our-history.
*Source: Forbes, “The Facts of Family Business”Tagged with anniversary, Ideal, tED