Innovative Thinking and Mutual Values Make for a Winning Team
A shared business philosophy of continuous improvement solidifies a growing business’ partnership with Barnes Dennig and brings new possibilities to the forefront.
When Jon Randman decided to move home to Cincinnati after a successful CPA career in Chicago, he didn’t merely pack his belongings–he bought a company. Easy Way Products Co. was the last in a list of a dozen turnaround companies being offered by a local bank; in Easy Way, Jon found a business in which he could “make a difference”.
A manufacturer of outdoor cushions, umbrellas and furniture covers, Easy Way has proven to be a top performer inits niche market since Jon took over the 50-year-old, family-owned business in 1996. According to Randman, “Our competitive advantage lies in our ability to exceed the customer’s expectations through just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing and effective inventory management.” He elaborated further, “The ability to develop new products and get them to market quickly is one of our strong suits; we can have a custom-ordered product to a customer in 10 days.”
Due to the growth provided by their JIT model, Easy Way expanded their product line to include outdoor drapes and even some indoor textiles, with the hope that these new areas would provide future growth. The company had also been researching innovative ways to make their cushions more durable and weather resistant, adding to the growing number of prototypes and sample production already in motion for existing customers.
Enter Barnes Dennig Director Jim Donnellon, who served as Easy Way’s Client Service Partner. Jim recognized the high level of detail involved in their prototypes and suggested a study to see if they qualified for the Research &Experimentation (R&E) tax credit, and Jon quickly got on board.
Senior Manager Cheryl Ganim worked closely with Easy Way Director of Accounting & Finance Marti Lewis to outline the process of investigating and researching the information needed to quantify the R&E expense. Cheryl provided a list of the necessary information to Marti, in addition to facilitating meetings with the product development group to learn more about the R&E aspects of their jobs.
According to Lewis, “It was a big, intense project, but Cheryl helped guide the process and communicated the details throughout. Cheryl kept us from getting lost in the weeds.”
Jon describes Barnes Dennig as a “helpful business advisor” throughout Easy Way’s evolution and growth as a company. Easy Way’s culture is built upon a strong partnership with their customer, along with Jon’s philosophy that“everything is possible”. These ideas have permeated throughout all levels of the business, making Easy Way nimble, responsive and flexible – the same characteristics they look for in their service providers. Jim added, “In today’s world, we better all be nimble.”
One of Easy Way’s top clients often asks its service providers, “What are you doing to improve your company? If you aren’t striving to improve, you’re moving backward.” It’s this philosophy that keeps Easy Way at the forefront of its market, along with key partnerships with similarly-minded businesses like Barnes Dennig.
According to Jon, “We value the feedback we receive from Barnes Dennig, because it helps us manage our business better.”