Volume 16 | Issue 2 | Year 2013

National Machine Group’s offerings – which form a wide-ranging portfolio of products and solutions – serve numerous sectors (commercial, business, aerospace and industry). It show-rooms a world-class quality of engineering, manufacturing and the related logistics to make the aforementioned all happen.
A hugely successful enterprise, its garnered dollars come from market-served global leaders, and the greenbacks cuts through the problems with the cold precision of a stiletto blade. Diversification calls for nothing less sharp. No dull blade advanced this organization, which is comprised of The National Machine Company, which located in Stow, Ohio and is made up of the Machine Products Division and the Engineered Products Division; and National Aviation, which is based in Tempe, Ariz. Remember when US Airways Flight 1549 went down in the Hudson River in 2009? That plane – an Airbus A320-214 – contained safety systems that included National components, reveals Michael Saville, National Machine Group’s vice president of business development. “Our components were in the safety systems, to deploy the slides and life rafts.”

The National Machine Group also has a South-of-the-Border manufacturing facility (National Manufacturing Mexico, located in Nogales).

The “Technological” Invisible
Often, it’s the case that when you develop revolutionary technology, you need to accept that you’re an “invisible.” After all, the best innovators tend to be the quietest. No scenario better demonstrates this than when human drama overshadows the technical side. Take, for instance, the plane-down incident that took place in 2009 in the Hudson River. News reports focused on the efforts Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger. He became a national hero and garnered all of the headlines – and rightfully so.

But heroic efforts couldn’t have happened without technology provided by National. Still, National didn’t seek glory. It only performed its “invisible” job, which translated into an assigned task – providing the technology that saves property and, more importantly, peoples’ lives.

“We have one thing that we need to care about and, for sure, it’s not seeing our name – or my name – in the news,” says Saville.

That might even mean taking part in news-making efforts that anyone else would shy away from – catastrophes, either natural or man-made (terroristic conflagrations, for instance). The general public can watch the videos on the nightly news or on “YouTube,” in the comfort of their homes. National Machine Group is right in the middle of the fray. “It’s one thing to respect a job; it’s another thing to assume the job,” says Saville.

Deadly Situations – Saving Lives
And the company does that job well – even while doing assuming the role as the “Invisible Man.” No glory seeker, the only thing the company cares about is its self-assigned task, and getting the job done in effective fashion. When citizens and EMS personnel emerge from a situation alive, that job is done.

The Catalyst: The Employee
But wherever (and however) National Machine Group accomplishes it work, human resourcefulness is key, even the predominant success factor.

Technology enhances efforts, but humans make it happen. For this company, it’s an insult to merely say humans are an asset. “They not only embody the company mission but define our culture,” says Saville.

Sure, put in a robot – and, to paraphrase famous author Norman Mailer – witness your humanity decrease, and consider yourself partly responsible for dehumanization.

Humans, says Saville, are still important, and he expresses this important 21st century assumptions: Intuition, spirituality, sense of community, and drive for success, still define the company’s existence. “A company isn’t a balance sheet. It’s an organic entity, comprised of likeminded individuals,” he says, expressing a vivid analogy.

So, this company doesn’t exploit employee ideas and talents. Rather it promotes the idea of the collective mind – one that mutually benefits management, employee and customer. It’s a Biblical idea realizing re-manifestation in the new millennium.

Saville puts it into company terms: “You’ve heard the term before –‘family-based organization’ – and most of the time, it’s just PR.”

But for National Machine Group there’s a converse, and it means “360 employees, each with a voice,” as Saville describes.

And each employee who comes to management (or to the company events) with a question will be answered. “The best managers, the best employers, the best leaders – they know that there is no stupid question. The only stupid question is the one not asked,” avers Saville.

So, the story is not about the company’s success, but how it achieves its success. “Encourage the right mindset,” says Saville.

And he’s not talking about zombies walking in corporate lockstep.

Also, it’s not just about finance (“We’re financially secure,” says Saville. “We haven’t suffered substantially from recent economic circumstance.”)

And it’s not about revenue – even though the company’s is substantial (“We’ve recently recorded an annual $89 million,” reveals Saville.)

And it’s not just about growth (“We range in 12 percent in the past five years,” he adds.)

It’s really all about commitment, says Saville.

And it’s also about the family-based environment fostered by a family owned company. No gripes and groans when an employee goes home.

And when the last employee leaves the shop or the floor, Saville is still there, and the quietness provides him time to contemplate.

“I turn off the lights. I lock the door – of course, not everywhere, as this is a large and growing company. But I know that there will be a good night, slept tight – for me and for the employees. That’s one of the unspoken benefits about working for a company like National Machine Group.”

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