Putting Others First to Make a Difference

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Hannah Ziegeler
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Keystone Solutions Group, a West Michigan-based product development and medical device contract manufacturing company, finds that its employee-centric culture helps it to focus on what’s most important: its customers.


KEYSTONE SOLUTIONS GROUP; KALAMAZOO, MI | “I know that what I do each day matters. It matters to my team, my customer, and my company,” says Product Development Manager Jason Barr.

Director of Operations Vaughn Gerber explains how President Jim Medsker assembles his multifaceted team: “The type of person that fits our culture is somebody who is a self-starter, self-motivated, collaborative, and a team player who serves with humility. It’s putting others first. We just roll up our sleeves and get it done.”

The company’s war rooms are designed for collaboration, featuring custom-designed workstations with embedded horizontal screens. Up to eight people can gather around and visibly mark up and expand upon ideas. At any time, any one of the company’s employees can be called into the iterative process. “We all are here to help one another. Office staff help production if needed. Production can help product development,” says Production Supervisor/Planner Kari Treat.

To acknowledge employee contributions, a “Kudos” wall stands prominently in the production space. Employees write and post notes recognizing team members’ service to customers and each other on the wall, which was designed by Treat. These notes are physical manifestations of Keystone Solutions Group’s commitment to helping customers bring their ideas to fruition. Many of the resulting products, like wound care kits and MRI markers that help treat prostate cancer, go on to save lives in the world of healthcare.Cleanroom Lead Sisu Lull says, “I know that what I am doing is helping people. The products we design and make save lives. I may never meet one of those patients, but every day, I think about them. It makes me feel like my job makes a difference.”

It’s those attitudes of ownership that were front and center at this year’s annual meeting, where 90 percent of the meeting focused on each employee, their role, their contribution to their department, and touching facts about their family, children, hobbies, and strengths. For Medsker, “Keystone is about building long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships and creating value within our team, with our customers, suppliers, and all stakeholders. Our team is truly a work family.”

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