Hosting an informational open house once every three years, R&D/Leverage, a firm that specializes in structural brand development and mold manufacturing, invites anyone interested in their processes or company to come learn with a combination of speakers, a tour, and Q&A sessions. The latest of these events took place the weekend of September 21, 2017, at the Courtyard Marriott in Blue Springs, MO, and spanned three days in total.
The program focused on breaking down the "Silo Mentality". As Bob Schiavone, the global marketing director explained, this mentality is when there are multiple departments in a company that will not share innovation or information with other departments. Breaking down the silo is about both yielding a higher quality product on time and fostering innovation.
The event opened with a hosted breakfast followed immediately with a series of info sessions with various leaders within the company. Hearing the people who are in charge of R&D/Leverage was hearing experts speak to what they know best. The coverage spanned topics such as the current technology used by R&D, innovations, and even an overview of the current world climate. The theme of the event seemed to be a combination of innovation and tradition.
Touring the entire facility of R&D/Leverage, which is based out of Lee's Summit, MO, with groups of attendees, we were treated to an in-depth and fascinating understanding of just what goes into the creation of the packaging we use every day. Walking through the factory also brought about a feeling of nostalgia as we saw packaging from products long gone but still so familiar. We learned that R&D has worked with household names from Windex to Heinz, and we were introduced to different leaders of each department of R&D/Leverage as we stopped.
Mike Stiles, the CEO, shared with me the story of Ivan Drienik, founder of the company and his vision for the company as a whole. Discussing the apprenticeship program, Jordan Schiager, a graduate of the apprenticeship, said, "You can sit in a classroom for 12 weeks and learn a little or you can come work in the shop for a month and learn a ton." Justin Eakes and Duncan Hardy, shared that the mentality and environment at R&D/Leverage shifted focus a couple years ago to the younger generation who will carry on the company once their large staff of tenured employees retires.