President & CEO,
RIM Custom Racks
“Be authentic, confident and passionate
about what you do!”
- Founded: 1978
- Headquartered: Detroit, Michigan
- About: RIM Custom Racks manufactures racks, containers and returnable packaging for the Automotive Industry. RIM provides products and services to support the full life-cycle of racks and containers which includes design, prototype, fabrication, repair, modification, reuse and recycle. RIM is located on a 12-acre site in the city of Detroit since it was founded in 1978 with over 130,000 square feet of manufacturing space.
- Website: www.rimcustomracks.com
- Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
Q: When and how was your business started? OR If you did not start your business, how and when did you come into ownership of your company?
RIM Custom Racks was founded in 1978 by my husband Howard and me. We co- owned the business and I was an equal shareholder. I was on the board of directors, but was not involved in the day to day operations until my husband’s passing in 2005.
Q: How has your company grown and changed since becoming WBENC-Certified? What has been the greatest benefit of certification for you and your company?
As a woman business owner, you face some unique challenges. It is very important to establish your business as “best in class” offering your customer quality products and services. This is a very competitive, global economy and the need to distinguish yourself and your business is greater than ever. Becoming WBENC-Certified is definitely an advantage in the marketplace. It signals to the customer that you are able to exceed their demands, giving them the quality and service that they need and deserve. Great Lakes WBC has assisted me in facing and overcoming these challenges by offering me quality programs and networking opportunities which exceed other women business organizations.
Q: What values have led to and continue to support your business acumen? Share your business philosophy and its influence on your success.
I believe that it is very important to be authentic, confident and passionate about what you do. You must have a vision and be able to communicate this with your team to be an effective leader. You must be clear about your expectations and have goals set for your team. Always collaborate with your team and show that you value their contribution. In the end, it all translates to making the customer king and giving them the quality products and services that they need and deserve on time and at a fair price. Everyone at RIM Custom Racks from the CEO on down is there to serve the customer.
Q: What are some of the bigger challenges and barriers you’ve faced as a business owner? How have you overcome them?
In late 2005 my world changed forever, when I suddenly lost my husband of 37 years. We founded our company together, but it was during a slow but steady decline in the automotive industry that I struggled to fill the emotional and operational gaps left in the wake of his loss. Less than four years later, our largest customers were in chapter eleven and undergoing reorganization. Our future as an automotive supplier seemed very uncertain. I attended a Leadership Conference that the Great Lakes WBC offered. I knew I was in the right place at the right time! After the one-day intensive workshop, I felt like I had been given a life line in the form of a very strong group of women helping women! I went back to my business, called my team together, and declared that we would not only survive but we would go on to thrive someday soon! Through the wisdom gathered at the conference, I chose to view this as an opportunity to refocus: to start our lean manufacturing initiative, to rebrand the company and to recommit RIM Custom Racks to achieving customer satisfaction by producing the highest quality products delivered on time and at a fair price.
Q: What is your proudest moment thus far in business?
RIM Custom Racks met the tremendous challenges brought about by the Great Recession and automotive restructuring. Instead of collapsing as many automotive businesses did, I looked at the downturn as an opportunity to take a hard look at my business and address areas that needed improvement. I used the time to implement many lean initiatives like single cell manufacturing. I worked on customer diversity and launched a rebranding campaign. When the recession was over I was ready for business.
Q: What advice do you have for a new entrepreneur?
The best piece of advice that I can offer is to be authentic and passionate about what you do. Believe in yourself and lead with confidence. Don’t get comfortable, with continuing globalization of commerce, the business environment can change in a blink of an eye; you must be prepared to change with it or get left behind!
Q: What guiding words would you like to share with a newly certified WBE who is looking to get involved in the WBENC community?
Assistance provided by WBENC and the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council has proven to be invaluable to me and my business. The innovative programs have strengthened my leadership through education, enrichment and mentoring and have helped me create new ideas for business growth and development. Take advantage of the many opportunities before you as a WBENC-Certified WBE, because you are a member of a powerful organization that truly partners with you to accelerate your business growth through empowerment, enrichment and education.
Q: If you partnered with other WBENC-Certified WBEs in the past on contracts or utilized other WBEs as suppliers, what has been the benefit? Why do you feel it is important to work with other WBEs in the WBENC network?
RIM Custom Racks has very intentionally increased our WBE spend every year. It is so important to “walk the talk.” Women are collaborators; we network well. It’s all about relationships! I have enriched my supply chain by dealing with WBEs. The quality of my products and services has improved tremendously. I have formed strong alliances with other WBEs and consider them critical to my business success.