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37. Be Process-Oriented. | Rose Marie’s Message

Rose Marie’s message:

For everything we do, systems and processes help with consistency in our responsibilities. 

“Being Processed-Oriented” accelerates the training/learning for new Famous associates.  Clear, step-by-step processes result in less errors.  By having a process that explains “why” it is done also promotes the understanding of “how” it is done.

With Famous’ Perfect Order Commitment, specific and detailed processes are imperative. We must Honor Our Commitment to exceeding customer expectations, and consistently executing our processes ensures a better chance of excellent performance. Listening to our customer’s needs could create a fantastic process improvement for all Famous customers.

Being Process-Oriented is understanding the whole process.  Whatever your responsibility is, there was an action to cause your reaction; your action affects the next person’s reaction. By understanding the whole process, errors are identified before they develop into a larger, unfavorable situation.

 “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
~John Wooden-former college basketball coach

I hope this New Year will provide you the Best of Health, along with New Goals and New Achievements.


Rose-Marie Kendall
Purchasing Coordinator

P.S. If you would like to read any of our previous messages from our Executive Leadership Team on each of our Famous Fundamentals, Please Click here. We hope that you enjoy them and feel free to share with others as well.
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40. Keep Things Fun. | Dave’s message

Dave’s message:

This week’s “FUN”damental is my favorite…….HAVE FUN…….I believe all people want to be happy in their lives. I want to share a brief story.

For many years I had the pleasure of living next to the last (1979) World Series Pittsburgh Pirates Manager, Chuck Tanner. Chuck was known as the eternal optimist and “Mr. Positive”. First he was a professional baseball player (playing with Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn and many others) and then had several managerial jobs in baseball before coming to the Pirates. Chuck always had fun every day. This in no way means that Chuck did not work hard and make tough decisions.  As one of the best managers in baseball, Chuck considered himself very lucky to coach his hometown team of the Pittsburgh Pirates (he also coached the Oakland A’s and Chicago White Sox). He worked with some of the best ballplayers of that era (Willie Stargell, Dave Parker and Richie Allen just to mention a few). I am sure these superstars weren’t the easiest to coach and guide. One evening, several years after he retired as a manager, I stopped to talk with Chuck in his yard. One thing that struck me was the always positive conversations I would have with him. That night Chuck said something that I will never forget. “Lynch, I have been the luckiest guy in the world to play a game that I loved and work with some of the nicest people in the game of baseball. Why wouldn’t I have fun every day? Chuck has been gone for several years but I often think of his comment and how it relates to my (everyone’s) day to day activities. “WHY SHOULDN’T WE HAVE FUN EVERY DAY”?

Isn’t it so much better to work alongside someone that is upbeat and happy?

I know we have a lot of people within the Famous organization that practice the “HAVE FUN” fundamental every day. And it is contagious!!…… Next time someone says “Good Morning” to you with a gentle smile, I hope you think of what Chuck Tanner told me………….“WHY SHOULDN’T I HAVE FUN EVERY DAY”?

Thanks for reading and make it a great day!

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39. Be In The Gray Zone. | John’s message

John’s message:

 Have you ever been to a store trying to return an item and the Sales Associate rattles off their return policy? I am guessing you wouldn’t have been at that store if you thought your request to return the item wasn’t fair to the store or manufacturer.

I remember trying to return a gasoline powered trimmer that I received as a Christmas gift from one of those big box stores (no names). The person that waited on me informed me that any gasoline powered equipment must be sent back to the factory for repair after 30 days, so I couldn’t get a replacement trimmer. I guess I should have used the trimmer in the snow in January!! Well policy is policy, and they sent it back, and a month later, I was able to use that brand new trimmer.

I was at a convention with other distributors, and the speaker stated what he thought was the biggest difference between retail and wholesale distribution. He stated that most wholesalers set guidelines, and most retailers set policy.

An associate who comes to mind when I think of this fundamental is our branch manager in Cleveland, Sherri Foster. Sherri always wants to do what is right and fair for the customer, and for Famous. She also helps guide others to help them feel empowered to make good decisions in the gray zone.

Every circumstance isn’t the same. Look at each circumstance, and do what is fair for both parties. As we “Do the Right Thing Always”, “Take Ownership” and Be In the Gray Zone” … we will build relationships, loyalty and our business (profitably) over the long term.


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38. Treasure, Protect, And Promote Our Reputation. | Bryan’s message

Bryan’s message:

It has been said that it takes a lifetime to build your reputation and only a moment to lose it. I believe these words are very true. As we have seen in our world of social media and public awareness that a business can lose its reputation by the actions that it takes. We have seen long standing businesses that were built on a foundation of integrity fail because they could not maintain that focus. Famous has taken a lifetime to build the integrity, trust, respect and relationships with our customers and business community and it is our duty to maintain it.

This fundamental asks each of us to be a “Brand Ambassador” which requires us to maintain the standard that we have built. This is accomplished in the three steps of our fundamental:

  • Treasure – We must value our reputation as if it were our own as we all share in its success.
  • Protect – We must guard this reputation and treat it as our own and as something that could be damaged. That means acting in an honorable way that maintains that reputation.
  • Promote – This is the ambassador part as we must represent Famous in a way that can strengthen our reputation even further. This includes how we act, speak, communicate and serve our customers.

EVERYONE has an important role in building and maintaining our reputation as we all serve our customers, either directly or indirectly, and that professionalism and service is what our reputation is built on. There are so many associates in our organization that do this well, and two that exemplify this fundamental are Vicki Feola and Tom Krejci. They both understand how to treasure and protect our reputation, because they have experienced the work that has gone into building it. They also work hard to promote our reputation not only through our marketing efforts but also individually by their character. They are excellent examples of brand ambassadors that we can all aspire to in all our roles.

Thanks for reading

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37. Be Process-Oriented. | Jim’s Message

Jim’s Message:

Organizations that grow are usually only able to do so if they have strong (yet flexible) processes., Processes use our best practices to drive consistency of quality in what we produce. They also create cost savings through efficiency. Processes are also like a playbook. Everyone is on the same page with what activities their teammates are doing, how they’re doing them, and why.

Moving to a process orientation challenges us to break down our daily tasks into an improvement process.

  1. Clearly defining the business challenge
  2. Define the metrics that determine success (or failure). Objectively understand our current state and set future goal for performance
  3. Analyze the current issues and identifying the root causes that needs addressed
  4. Improve the process by resolving the root causes of issues
  5. Continue to monitor results to ensure consistent and sustained success

A process orientation leads to better discipline and stronger collaboration across business functions. Stronger processes ultimately mean faster order fulfillment, faster cash receipt, and optimized inventories, just to name a few. We can eliminate redundant work across functions, provide a happier customer experience, and achieve improved business results for Famous.

One associate who’s been great at developing sustainable processes is Del Landin. Project teams he’s led (developing FLS, creating the Central Warranty Team, the Pittsburgh Distribution Center, and the recent Youngstown Branch opening) always have a culture of process. The positive results of those initiatives speak for themselves.

Organizations are continually under competitive pressures. We must always re-evaluate and improve our business model and underlying business processes that drive it. We must continue to be a leader in our industry by finding better ways to do things. This means fostering a culture that’s regularly designing new processes that result in competitive differentiation and / or lower cost. I’m delighted to say we’re doing just that.

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36. Practice Human Connection. | Bryan’s message:

Bryan’s message:

We have all heard of the “Golden Rule” or “Love thy neighbor” reciprocity principle, which is to treat others as you would have them treat you. All of our fundamentals not only require us to think, but also deliver a call to action (Do, Execute, Deliver, Be, Practice…). One of the attributes that I love best about this particular fundamental is the amount of action that it asks of us. First, it recommends that we listen and pay attention to what makes people special, not only the work that we do, but also the qualities that make each person unique. One associate may be particularly accurate in their work, another may be extremely gifted with connecting with customers, and others may have qualities that extend beyond their work, like the ability to handle situations calmly or giving of their time to others.

After first identifying these great strengths in others, we then have a second call to action to acknowledge these people and their great qualities. This is the fun part in that it takes so little effort to lift someone up and acknowledge their accomplishments or important attributes. This can be done through a quick email or message, a handwritten thank you note or better yet, face to face interaction where they can hear your tone and see your sincerity. This simple gesture takes very little time and helps each individual feel valued and that they are truly cared for by others. Many feel this is the essence of human connection that draws us closer together. Treat other individuals in the way you would want to be treated, it is rewarding and it is the right thing to do as well.


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35. Don’t Judge. Get The Facts. | John’s message

John’s message:

 Wow, this one has gotten me in a lot of trouble in the past!! I think that most of us at one time in our lives have reacted to third party information when we shouldn’t have.

In my career with Famous, one of these instances sticks out. It was early in my career as the manager of the Akron Branch, and one of our Sales Associates came to me with an issue on a delivery. Needless to say, I was upset at how we failed on our customer service and ran back to talk about this with our shipping supervisor, Steve Worcester. I began to communicate my displeasure on how we handled this particular situation, and Steve was more than gracious with how he listened to me, especially with all the emotions I was showing. When I completed my dissertation, Steve smiled at me and said, “Now do you want to know what really happened?” Little did I know that Steve was the one that made that particular delivery. To make a long story short, “open mouth, insert foot.”

In our lives, it’s easy to jump to conclusions without getting all the facts. I think most all of us with children can relate to this as well. In dealing with my two sons, Rocco and Gio, both have opinions on what transpired with issues that arise from time to time. To be in alignment in those conversations, it’s important that we all listen to one another for the best and desired outcomes. The older I get, the more I realize how important this fundamental is personally, with our families and professionally in our business at Famous.

Have a great day.

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34. Maintain A Healthy Work/Life Balance.

In 11th grade I was trying out for my high school golf team. It was a 4 day tryout at the end of the summer and going into the last day I was a few strokes away from the final spot. The tee-off was 6:30 Thursday morning, but the course didn’t have a driving range. My dad had an idea. We had collected a bunch of old balls over the years, so we decided to get up early (around 5:00 am) so we could have our own practice session to loosen up (and get an edge on the competition).

At the time, I didn’t think much of what my dad did. Just like me, he woke up a little early, and after I hit balls and teed off he went into work. Only after a few years of working a full time job do I realize how incredible that was.

That day was a really special day for me and he didn’t want to miss it. Yes, I did make the team by a stroke, which was a cool feeling, but the real memory I cherish was that 45 minute practice session with my dad. We were the only two people awake and we were outworking the competition. Not only was he the only parent to show up, he wanted to be a part of the day. To me, that is what work life balance is all about.

Sometimes you read articles saying people need to work fewer hours to achieve balance. I’m not sure I agree with that. I see how dedicated our team is and the fulfillment that comes from a day’s work. I believe work life balance is about finding out what is important to you and prioritizing your time so you don’t miss those moments that you will remember for the rest of your life. I have an incredible amount of respect for everyone at Famous that fully immerses themselves in their work and family. Two people that come to mind are Tim Kiley and Bruce Neubauer. I am constantly blown away by their dedication, their passion, and the hours they put in for our company. But what I’m even more impressed by is how they won’t let work get in the way of their family time. I doubt Tim has missed a wrestling match and Bruce is always there for Adam and Bonnie. If something is important to them they will make the time – and that’s a great lesson to live by.

Thanks for reading

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33. Always Remember That We’re A Family. | Pete’s message

Pete’s message:

 Recently Julie Wright asked me an interesting question. While completing a credit card authorization form for a hotel reservation for a fellow associate, the question was asked, “What is your relationship to the hotel guest?” Traditionally, she would check “coworker”. Her question to me was, “Shouldn’t I be checking the box that says family?” Of course, the accurate way to fill out the form is to check coworker, but I think this question sums up the way we feel about each other as the Famous family.

All of our fundamentals are very important, but family is not only an important fundamental, but it is our first and foremost core value. Speaking of family and Famous, I would like to take a moment to put in a good word for the Famous family fund and all the great work it does for our Famous family. If you are already contributing, thank you. If you have not participated in contributing to the fund, please take a moment to consider helping out this great cause.

Thank you and have a great week!



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32. Show An Attitude Of Gratitude. | Bryan’s message

Bryan’s message:

I may be showing my age but over the years I have noticed a lack of gratitude in customer service within business in general. The power of a simple “Thank You” has been lost over the years as business has become faster and more digital. I worked through college as a bicycle mechanic and salesman, and the job taught me the value of customer service from a business and customer perspective. We dealt with customers each day that needed repairs or advice on a purchase. After helping a customer we always thanked them for their business which kept our customers coming back for service and products. That gratitude established a relationship and trust with our customers.

In our business at Famous, we not only have external customers that we should show our gratitude for the business that they give to us each day, but we also have internal customers that we serve and should show our gratitude for helping us with our roles. I am certain that each of us work with fellow associates that help us to accomplish our work each day. From those associates that support one another in operations and customer deliveries to inside and outside sales associates that team up to service our customers, we are thankful for the teams that we have formed at Famous to assist our customers and grow our business.

Take time today to think about those fellow associates that help you at Famous and thank them for the work that they do to help you in your role, assist customers with their orders, grow our business and make Famous a better company. Famous should be an organization where our customers, both external and internal, hear our gratitude for the business that we share.


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