Expertise Beyond the Numbers

Success Matters Series: Avoiding the Status Quo ― Lessons Learned From an Entrepreneurial Company Celebrating 107 Years of Success [Podcast]

In the following “Success Matters” podcast, Brian Briggs, Chief Operating Officer at TIC Gums, provides insights into how privately-held businesses can successfully manage organizational growth and strategic transformation by employing the right people, processes, and technology required to move from “good” to “great.

Many leadership teams are faced with changing external and internal environments, and how they react to these market shifts and corporate culture changes can define success – or the alternative.

TIC Gums was established in 1909 and is operated by the third generation of the Andon family, which has owned the company since 1949. The company is a leading U.S. provider of hydrocolloids (thickeners) used in cosmetics, food (including chewing gum), and pharmaceuticals. Their products ― including agar, carrageenan, guar gum, and pectin ― come in powder, spray, and “pre-hydrated” forms, and are shipped to customers worldwide. The company has agents and stock locations in Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, and North America.

While TIC Gums doesn’t spend the day blowing bubbles, its gums are found in everything from donut glaze and ice cream to hand lotion. TIC Gums’ strength comes from providing texture and stabilization solutions to meet the needs of the demanding food and beverage industry – and by remembering that customer experiences matter. This has been a key underlying factor in TIC Gums’ growth.

TIC Gums is always seen as a thought leader in the industries where they compete ― it is unique to see a 107 year-old company with such a strong entrepreneurial spirit. As an example, in the 1980’s, TIC Gums began the process of expanding the available sources of gum arabic with a goal in mind ― to build a reliable and affordable supply. They mapped the growing regions in Africa, and examined the differences in characteristics of the harvested gum acacia at the molecular level in order to better understand the mechanisms that impact finished product quality. This work culminated in the development of their patented products.

Brian shares his perspectives on top internal and external change management lessons learned during his tenure with TIC Gums, and based on his experience leading other privately-held, public, and international companies. He discusses:

  • Finding the right balance of process and structure – and why it’s both an art and a science that must be constantly managed.
  • Building and developing great internal and external teams – and why professional evolution and mutual trust are critical components of success for personal and organizational growth.
  • Taking time to maintain a fresh perspective – and why “getting outside” of your own business can help leadership teams avoid the status quo and achieve great results.

As Brian emphasizes, TIC Gums remains focused on doing whatever it takes to meet and exceed customer expectations. By remaining focused on people, processes, and technology – in that order – leaders can successfully navigate and manage through change.

Interested in not just surviving—but thriving—despite changing market conditions? Contact Christopher Helmrath for further insights on finding the right balance of people, processes, and technology required to move from “good” to “great.”