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What is an ESOP?

You've probably heard the term ESOP before. ESOP stands for Employee Stock Ownership Plan. It's an option some business owners are considering as they contemplate selling. GJM Partner Bob Bobek explains how an ESOP works.

There are many important considerations for any business looking at options for a potential sale, including ESOP. It is critical to work with your team of trusted advisors as you assess your succession planning options and decide what's best for your particular situation. GJM's Transaction Advisory experts are here to help.

GJM’s Amanda Lewis to Graduate From Hancock Leadership

Amanda Lewis Gilmore Jasion MahlerGilmore Jasion Mahler CPA Amanda Lewis recently went back to school. Well, sort of. A Consulting and Assurance Manager with GJM, she’s a member of this year’s Hancock Leadership class. The nationally recognized 9-month program offered by the Findlay-Hancock County Chamber of Commerce is designed to foster professional and personal growth and encourage participants to further embrace community service.

And, there’s no doubt Amanda experienced all of that, and more.

With GJM for almost seven years, it is safe to say that she already has a strong professional network. But Amanda says being a part of the 2021 class helped with further professional development, allowing her the opportunity to network and meet a number of professionals across various occupations.

"A great experience..."

“I think it’s been a great experience to learn more about the community and meet others. I was so impressed with how the Chamber presented our sessions. Even in the middle of a pandemic, sometimes wearing masks, or meeting virtually, I really felt like I got to know my fellow classmates and learned so much,” she says.

Chamber Executive Director Dionne Neubauer oversees Hancock Leadership. She says early on in the program, Amanda took on a leadership role as committee chair, overseeing fundraising efforts for the History Walk, this year’s class project.

“While her classmates drew on her financial skills, Amanda’s ability to engage and empower her committee led to exceeding the project goals,” says Neubauer. She describes Amanda’s involvement as one of the key drivers in the success of the class project. 

About History Walk

Hancock Leadership 2021 History Walk“Our class project is a History Walk at Brucklacher Memorial Park (by the little red schoolhouse),” says Amanda. “It was completed in partnership with The Hancock Historical Museum and Kiwanis Club of Findlay. There are 12 stations along the walk that each feature a panel with a description of a historical event specific to Hancock County.”

The class not only oversaw fundraising for the History Walk, but also handled construction of the path, including landscaping and donor recognition displays.

While seeing their project come together was exciting, Amanda says on a personal level, probably the most rewarding part of being involved in Hancock Leadership was learning more about the Findlay-Hancock County community as well as connecting with her classmates. The class met once a month for nine months to learn more about core community information and organizations. Topics and sessions ranged from economic development to agriculture to the justice system.

Hancock Leadership 2021Amanda says some of the most enjoyable sessions for her personally included the Findlay Airport session, and going out on the runway, as well as justice and law day. She says the class was able to tour several county facilities and sit down and speak with a number of county officials. One of the more interesting things she learned was that Findlay has two large water reservoirs outside of town that she was unaware of. One session day they traveled by bus to the reservoirs and drove around them.

Asked if she would recommend the Hancock Leadership experience to others, Amanda said most definitely. She described it as a great experience to learn more about the community and meet others.

Many other GJM staff members are prior graduates of Hancock Leadership, including Andrea Jennex, Mike Brough, Chuck Stumpp, Cindy Larrigan, Kit Augsburger, Matt Long and Tracy Kennedy. Many other GJM staff are graduates of Leadership Toledo.

Congratulations to Amanda and her classmates, who graduate on June 8th. If you think you know of someone who might be a good candidate, Hancock Leadership is currently accepting applications for the upcoming class year. Applications are due on June 9. To learn more or download the application, visit Findlay Hancock Chamber.com/HancockLeadership.  

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.

Manufacturing COVID Cleanliness & the Skilled Labor Shortage

manufacturing covid-19 cleanliness workforce shortageManufacturers already struggling to find workers are dealing with another monumental obstacle to hiring: the COVID-19 pandemic. Pandemic-related unemployment benefits and even concerns about COVID-19 infection in the workplace are taking a toll. Those manufacturing businesses hoping to overcome these obstacles may want to reflect on some good old fashioned childhood advice from mom: clean your room.

It comes as no surprise that Betco, a Bowling Green-based commercial cleaning manufacturer reports a major shift in the priorities and needs of commercial customers related to facility cleanliness. Vice President for Brand Marketing Barrett Betz says they’ve seen an increase in their customers’ commitment to creating awareness among workers when it comes to hand hygiene and disinfection, as well as safety measures like social distancing. Betco has also changed its own protocols. And, if you’re looking for best practices related to keeping a manufacturing facility clean, who better to ask than a manufacturer of cleaning products.

Betco’s Approach

“We have implemented what we call a ‘Collaborative Cleaning’ program, called Clean Core, in which our team members are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting their workspaces, as well as actively disinfecting any facility areas they have been occupying for meetings, eating lunch, etc. after usage to ensure surfaces stay clean and safe,” says Betz. “This is something we have seen our customers, specifically in the education market, adopt as well. We feel this is an easy and useful strategy to get people working together to maintain safety within facilities.”

Health & Safety: A Priority

There’s no question that health and safety are top priorities for manufacturers as they handle their response to the pandemic. Taking strong measures to protect your workers is essential. Communicating your commitment to potential new hires may be equally important. Betz says he thinks safety and cleanliness are very strong messages right now for manufacturers looking to hire new team members, as we all want to stay healthy and not risk exposure to COVID-19.

“Making people feel comfortable by instituting proactive and collaborative cleaning measures such as our Clean Core initiative is one way to not only make them feel safe, but encourage participation towards a common goal,” he says.

James Smith is a VP with Cleveland-based Rust Belt Recruiting. His company focuses strictly on the skilled trades, and helping manufacturers looking to fill positions including welders, technicians, and manufacturing engineers, as well as more professional level roles like purchasing and operations. He says he sees many challenges in the skilled trades shortage: the wage gap, not enough people having an interest, the unemployment surplus during the pandemic, and concerns about the virus. He says you need to be sure you can welcome in new staff with open arms, but to do it as safely as possible. He notes the pandemic has been a bit of an eye opener for some employers.

“I think its general cleanliness as well that probably a lot of these manufacturers didn’t see how they were underperforming in that area, having a clean and safe work environment.”

Jeff Doepker is CEO and President of The Doepker Group, a professional recruiting firm with offices across Northwest Ohio and a specialization in manufacturing. He says the appearance of a manufacturing facility, in terms of cleanliness, can speak volumes, and not just about cleaning practices.

“If a company pays attention to health and safety protocols and is clean and well kept, it’s probably a detail-oriented business,” he says. “It can be a good indicator of how a business is run in general. So as a potential new hire, look around. If you see a clean well-run, organized facility, that’s a good sign.”

COVID-19 Safety

What does safety look like now in a manufacturing facility? The changes due to the pandemic are quite dramatic. Here’s some of what Smith and Betz say they’re seeing:

  • Health questionnaires before entrance
  • Temperature checks upon entrance
  • Hand sanitizer/workspace sanitizing
  • Mask mandates
  • Social distancing
  • Staggered attendance to limit building occupancy
  • Staggered daily activities, including lunch times
  • Virtual and phone call recruiting interviews with follow up on-site visits

Betz says demand has been high for a number of Betco’s products during the pandemic, including hand sanitizers, skin cleansers and disinfectant products. While its critical to have these products on hand for workers, he says educating your staff is equally important: creating awareness and encouraging participation amongst team members and visitors. He says some of their customers - educational facilities across the country - have gone to the next level, adopting a Betco program called Enhanced Facility Disinfection which includes:

  • Properly assessing risk
  • Developing protocols
  • Creating best practices for maintaining cleanliness and disinfection
  • Creating awareness within school buildings

Educate & Communicate

But, don’t think you’re all set if you’ve established these protocols. Now you need to remind your people and remind them again. Communication is key. Educate your staff, develop signage to keep workers informed, and communicate clearly, not only to staff, but to any visitors, and most definitely potential new hires. And, Betz says, don’t expect this to go away. Things aren’t going back to the way they were.

“I believe the increased emphasis on hand hygiene, facility cleanliness, and disinfection are absolutely here to stay, although strategies to successfully implement and reach facility cleaning and safety goals will evolve as the industry continues to innovate.”

Smith says while the pandemic has put many people out of work and compounded the labor shortage in manufacturing, there is a bright note for anyone in search of a career opportunity in manufacturing.

“If you have a skill, learned a trade, your services are certainly needed and in high demand right now.”

Resources

If you’d like to learn more about COVID-19 health and safety measures or the Betco products and services Barrett Betz discussed, you can get in touch online or call 888-GO-BETCO.

Learn more about The Doepker Group and search open positions.

Learn more about Rust Belt Recruiting and see their list of current openings.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.

GJM Welcomes New Risk Consulting Team Member

Joshua Bushong GJMWe're pleased to welcome Joshua Bushong to the Gilmore Jasion Mahler team as a Risk Consulting Senior Associate. Here's a chance to get to know a bit about him and his professional and personal background. We hope you enjoy this Q&A.

Describe your role at GJM: My focus within Risk Consulting will be leading IT general control and business process SOX testing. Additionally, I will be helping clients with their cyber security, information security and privacy, and regulatory compliance needs.

When did you start employment/will you start at GJM? April 19, 2021

Why did you choose the accounting industry? Originally I entered the accounting industry because of my love for numbers, specifically baseball statistics and I believed that would be a good fit for my career. However, over the past few years I have been fortunate to merge my passion for technology with my understanding of accounting principles.

What do you like best about accounting? I enjoy the accounting industry because it is ever changing. Businesses are facing unique challenges each year, that is especially evident this year as COVID has shown to present its own distinctive challenges. We as public accountants are met with the task of helping our clients navigate through these business changes and interruptions as seamlessly as possible.

Are you from the Toledo area originally? If not, where are you from? I grew up in Mount Blanchard, OH and moved to Toledo in 2015 to attend the University of Toledo.

What do you like about living in Northwest Ohio? Family, Friends, and the opportunities available in the community.

Anything you would like to share about your past professional experience? I’ve been fortunate to have experience working with a big four accounting firm in Detroit, as well as have spent some time working at Masco.

Do you have any pets, hobbies, family? My hobbies include working out, golfing, tennis, and I enjoy spending time at my local shooting range.

Favorite song or music? My favorite song of all time would be too difficult to choose so I’ll say country music is my favorite genre.

Favorite book or movie? My favorite book would be ‘Satisfied’ by Jeff Manion. My favorite movie is the Jurassic Park Series.

Are you involved in any community organizations, do any volunteer work? I am not currently involved in anything but would love to get involved in something soon.

What is something people may be surprised to find out about you? For anyone that has or will ever golf a round with me, they may be incredibly surprised to find out I have hit a hole in one... Every broken clock is right twice a day!  

Anything else you’d like to add? I am eager to begin this new journey with the firm and am excited about what the future holds!

Learn more about GJM's Risk Advisory services.

Supply Chain Challenges and Opportunities

supply chain challenges GJMIn these unprecedented times, manufacturers and their supply chains are facing many challenges. We were reminded in recent weeks that supply chain disruptions can come out of the blue, when the giant freighter “Ever Given” got wedged in the Suez Canal for almost a week, blocking a critical trade route and halting the movement of goods. Its impact on global supply chain is still evolving. The “Ever Given” incident only compounds the massive supply chain disruption over the past year brought on by the global COVID 19 pandemic. What can manufacturers learn from these disruptions? Can your business gain a clearer understanding of your supply chain challenges so you’re better prepared for the inevitable disruptions of the future?

Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) brought together a virtual panel discussion to help manufacturing businesses identify opportunities for supply chain improvement. The March 11 webinar, moderated by GJM’s Wes Beham, featured guest panelists David Cohn and Bart Huthwaite from RSM Supply Chain Services. GJM is a member of the RSM US Alliance. Also featured on the panel, with the private industry perspective: Andrew Risner, Director of Procurement and Global Supply Chain Management for Findlay-based manufacturer Rowmark.  

A Bright Note to Start

In spite of all the challenges facing manufacturers, there is reason for optimism. A survey done of attendees prior to the GJM roundtable webinar found that 74% of those surveyed were somewhat or very optimistic about the future. Survey respondents said their greatest concern over the next year is building their workforce. Their second greatest concern: uncertainty in demand and supply shortages.

Rowmark’s Andy Risner says 2020 was a challenging year as they responded to the pandemic. He says the company was already reexamining its footprint before COVID-19 to better align with customer locations. As a global distributor, he says efficient movement of goods is certainly one of Rowmark’s top priorities.

“Shipping costs increase each year and service levels are important,” he says. “So, you take that coupled with the Amazon affect; you know, people want it, and they want it in two days, and they don’t want it to come in three different shipments… We don’t want to pay for split ship, so, shipping costs are a very big part of our business and we really spent the last two years trying to get our arms around it.”  

Understand the Nature of Supply Chain Disruptions

RSM’s David Cohn says disruptions in supply chains happen on an average of 3.7 years, resulting in an average of 42% profit of its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) over the course of ten years. Unfortunately, these disruptions are expected to become more frequent as globalized chains become more tightly linked, as well as other reasons, such as climate change.

Know the Five Enterprise Risk Categories

  • Operational Risks. This risk category includes the ability to forecast supply disruptions, labor competition and availability, and the uncertainty of demand by the consumer.
  • Financial Risks. This risk factor includes supplier costs, currency fluctuations, and even dealing with fraud. 
  • Strategic Risks. This category of risk involves the impact of competitors and the perception of vulnerabilities, and the adaptability of business models.
  • Regulatory Risks. Mitigating these risks means planning around taxation and other similar factors.
  • Unforeseeable Risks. These risks include natural disasters such as earthquakes or tornadoes, socioeconomic risks, and even war. You can add stuck barges to that list now, too.

Prioritize Value Chain Preparedness

RSM’s Bart Huthwaite says you need to be as efficient and effective as you can, while ready to react and adapt to outside forces. He says prioritizing preparedness includes these steps:

  • Analyze. Be sure to analyze the flow and efficiency of the supply chain.
  • Anticipate. Preparedness means being able to anticipate what parts of the chain are most vulnerable. It is highly recommended you use predictive analytics.
  • Plan. Be prepared to restructure the company. It is also important to note the balance needed between efficiency and risk. A costly mistake many companies make is not considering risk in the name of efficiency.
  • Execute. The final step is to execute well thought out plans. Know how much the changes will cost and the way it improves productivity.

Learn from Industry Leaders

Industry leader David Cohn of Supply Chain Services says that improving supply chain stability includes organizational alignment, or “Trying to get the right hand of the company to talk more effectively with the left hand of the company… This means all links of the chain must work together, cross functionally to align supply with demand.” This can look like anything from major company restructuring to monthly meetings.

What else should you examine to prepare for the future? Here’s what the RSM Supply Chain Services team says supply chain experts are doing to help protect businesses:

  • Network rationalization: evaluate/optimize your distribution centers
  • Demand Planning/Forecasting
  • Supply planning
  • Sourcing strategy: should you look more regional, with less reliance on Asia, for example?
  • Operational visibility: a clearer view of your inventory, capacity. Possible technology adoption to streamline these efforts
  • Inventory management: focus on the critical SKUs so you have capacity to meet demand
  • Supplier relationship management
  • Supplier/third party risk management
  • Advanced analytics
  • Simulation-scenario planning
  • “Control tower” (get a high-level view/insight into your entire supply chain)  

Our experts say that building a strategy for your business around supply chain management, with these principles as a framework, will better prepare your company for the disruptions of tomorrow.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your GJM team or contact us via our website for assistance.  

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.

RSM US Alliance (www.rsmus.com/alliance) is a premier affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms in the United States, with more than 75 members in over 38 states, the Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico. RSM US Alliance provides its members with access to resources of RSM US LLP, the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market, with more than 9,000 people in 86 offices nationwide. RSM US Alliance member firms are separate and independent businesses and legal entities that are responsible for their own acts and omissions, and each are separate and independent from RSM US LLP. Members of RSM US Alliance have access to RSM International resources through RSM US LLP but are not member firms of RSM International. For more information, call toll free 800.537.7178 or visit rsmus.com/alliance.