Getting Involved in All Aspects of the Business Helps Stacy Johnson Move the Marketing Needle

Learn how Stacy Johnson is helping Dorner Mfg. Corp tell its story.

Getting Involved in All Aspects of the Business Helps Stacy Johnson Move the Marketing Needle

 

With more than 10 years of experience in the packaging and processing space, Stacy Johnson, Dorner Mfg. Corp.’s director of marketing and strategic planning, has what it takes to expand Dorner’s reach and communicate the importance of conveyors to the industry. As Johnson comes up on her fifth year anniversary at the company, she is strategically positioning the company for success in the future. Whether she is getting involved in new product development or evolving Dorner’s workforce to adapt to industry trends and demands, Johnson goes beyond her marketing role to elevate Dorner.

 

OEM: How did you find your way into the packaging industry?

I have always been drawn to the manufacturing industry and business-to-business markets. The company I was at previously dabbled in a lot of different markets, including food processing and packaging. I got to see how each of those verticals operated, but I was really drawn to packaging because of the close-knit relationships that I saw within the industry, and the overarching theme of continuous improvement. Compared to other industries, there seemed to be a lot more teamwork happening in packaging.

 

OEM: As the director of marketing, what does your day-to-day look like?

At Dorner, marketing isn’t just marketing. It is actually really heavily sales-focused. I travel often with our sales people to our customer sites. I am involved in all of the new product development teams, and I work with new products that we are releasing from inception to promotion. We are very cross functional, and I think that’s different from most companies in this industry, which makes me feel very fortunate to be involved in many different things. It also makes my job easier because I can visit a customer, see their application and then come back and work with my team to better figure out how we can adapt a solution to fit our customer’s problems and demands. And on top of that, since I am so involved, I know how to promote these products in the best way.

 

OEM: Even if you’re not an engineer, should you understand the technologies that are important to success (such as automation, analytics, IoT, etc.)?

I think it’s very important for everyone to not only understand their company’s product, but also the other equipment and technology being used in this industry. Packaging lines incorporate multiple pieces of equipment, so understanding how they all work together allows you to recognize the application and give expert advice about how your solutions can make anyone’s processes better.

 

OEM: Dorner has grown significantly over the last couple of years, how did you play a part in that?

Five years ago, we only had one facility in Wisconsin, and now we are global. We acquired companies in Germany, Malaysia and Mexico, and we also opened an office in Canada. I have been traveling to those different locations to do trainings and integrate a marketing plan. Just this last month, we completed what we call a “brand merge,” so all of the brand locations are listed under Dorner, we have one website and now we can promote ourselves globally and increase awareness. 

 

OEM: How else are you helping Dorner innovate in your role?

In this last year, we have been focused on improving our digitalization capabilities. First, we’ve implemented new technology to better understand the customers. They are all scattered across different industries, and every customer has a unique set of demands, which has caused us to shift how we target each customer. Whether it is through our pay-per-click campaigns, email campaigns or other web activities, we are sending out different messages to reach these customers no matter where they are in their equipment purchasing journey. We are also doing a lot more with social media. There have been so many people who have thought social media wasn’t right for this industry, but we are seeing a lot of good results come out of it, and it’s a really nice tool for getting our message out there. 

 

OEM: What are some other industry trends that you have your eye on?

A lot of people don’t realize the importance of the conveyor in the packaging line, but really, your line can only go as fast as your conveyor. So if you have a machine that runs high rates, but you have a slower conveyor, you aren’t going to be able to utilize that machine to its fullest capacity. So with our conveyors, we put a big focus on precision and product orientation so when it gets to that next piece of equipment, it’s ready and it won’t be the bottleneck. So often, the simplicity of conveyors is overlooked. So we aren’t only trying to focus on improving the conveyors, but also showcasing that precision to the industry. 

 

OEM: What resources do you use to keep tabs on trends and business drivers?

For marketing trends and industry topics, I use a number of resources. I follow a lot of different organizations, publications and industry people on LinkedIn. For me, LinkedIn is the one stop shop for getting all of the information I need to do my job effectively. I am also constantly reaching out and networking with people to find out what they are doing through groups on LinkedIn. 

 

OEM: What is your observation of women in packaging? Do you get the sense there is still work to be done to move women into engineering and leadership roles?

There is always more work to be done, but I’m seeing more and more women in leadership roles within their organizations in the packaging industry. There are more women attending trade shows and industry events, and I am very happy to see the growth in members in PMMI’s Packaging and Processing Women’s Leadership Network. From my experiences with local colleges and PMMI’s focus on developing engineering students, I’m noticing an increase of women in those engineering programs, and I think this is promising for the future of the industry.

 

Are you interested in joining PMMI’s Packaging and Processing Women’s Leadership Network? Learn more by visiting: oemgo.to/ppwln

 

OEM: What was an obstacle you faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

In this industry, the relationships are so close-knit, and it’s difficult to break into groups of people who have known each other for so long. To overcome this, my advice would be to find a mentor or someone at your company who can help you develop your career and introduce you to key players in the industry so you can build your network. PMMI’s Emerging Leaders Committee also helped me socialize within the industry and get to know other rising talent. 

 

OEM: How did you become involved with the Emerging Leaders Committee?

I was reaching out to other people in the industry and asking them what they do and what kind of groups they were involved with, and someone recommended the committee to me. I was excited about it because I think one of the best things about this industry are the relationships, but it’s also a challenge when you’re first entering it. Everyone is really close and already have solid relationships. It’s not always easy to join in or make connections on your own. This has been a great opportunity to be involved with the industry, but also with a group of people who are going through similar things as I am. 

 

OEM: Do you have any other advice for young talent in the manufacturing industry?

Bring your ideas forward. There is always room for improvement, and if you can find those opportunities, and voice your ideas or approach, it gives you and your company the opportunity to grow. If you have questions, ask them. I tell employees, ‘I don’t always know what you are looking for or need, so if you need more training on something or you want to take on more responsibility, speak up.’ With everyone being so busy, time can fly and opportunities can be missed if you don’t communicate.

PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, recognizes the importance of professional growth and development for our members. The PMMI Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) was created to provide a forum for the industry’s future leaders to connect. The ELN is a group of processing and packaging technology professionals dedicated to the success and progression of the industry. For further information, visit www.pmmi.org/ELN or search ‘PMMI Emerging Leaders Network’ on LinkedIn.