Steve Peplin Interviewed in Plain Dealer about Creating A Culture of Trust at Progressive Die Stamper – Talan Products

November 16th, 2010

The Sunday, November 14 2010 issue of The Plain Dealer ran a column: Talk with The Boss featuring a conversation with CEO Steve Peplin of the Cleveland based progressive die stamping company, Talan Products.

The column contained excerpts from a chat between Peplin and Plain Dealer reporter Robert Schoenberger. The overarching theme of the talk? “We trust our employees enough to be open with them.” Here are some brief excerpts and below is a link to the entire article.

The Question: How do you maintain a culture of mutual trust as the company grows?

The Answer: You have to have people who have your philosophy, your care, your attitude. Because you can’t be everywhere.


People have to be able to make their own decisions and do things their own way . . . but they have to know how we do things.

The Question: Talan has grown from a startup to having more than $25 million in annual sales. How do you craft a strategy to guide the company from an entrepreneurial phase to a professionally run company?

The Answer: You have to set your goals carefully. In the early days, it was all about growth.

We knew we had to grow the top line quite a bit. In our business, you have to have about $25 million to $30 million [in sales] to justify the costs.


A few years ago, we decided it was important to have our own product line instead of being a contract manufacturer. So we set that as a strategy and looked for products that fit. [Talan formed GoPro in 2008, a company that makes aluminum brackets for building staircases.]

The Question: You’ve said that as the company has grown, you’ve filled in weaknesses by hiring people with specific skills. Is that a strategy that can work as the company matures?

The Answer: There’s always opportunity in change. Last year, even though we shrank 30 percent, we managed to not lose money. We managed to expand, hiring a new plant manager. We had to right-size our workforce, but we added to the office.


When times are tough, it’s not necessarily a time to cut back. You can add if you’re adding for strategic reasons.

To read the entire article click here: http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2010/11/bosses_need_to_trust_employees.html


Talan products is a Cleveland based metal stamping company specializing in producing large-volume metal stampings utilizing progressive die stamping. They work with a variety of metals including aluminum, steel, stainless steel, brass, Inconel, and copper.

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