Fidelity is a leading independent U.S. manufacturer of vinyl wall coverings for use in offices, hotels and health care facilities throughout the world. For more information regarding Fidelity Industries, please visit Fidelitywall.com.
1. What sets Fidelity apart from other companies in the wall-covering industry?
Despite being a mid-sized company, we run Fidelity like we would a small start-up. We pay attention to detail, stay updated with product trends, and focus closely on meeting our customers’ needs.
2. What do you think is the secret to your success?
We closely monitor accounting to ensure that we are on top of our cash flow and maintain a robust financial position. In addition, Fidelity strives to provide customer service with a personal touch. We quickly adapt to order changes on short notice like deadlines being moved up and other special requests to meet our customers’ needs.
The highly competitive nature of our industry requires vast innovation, and we keep a vigilant eye out for new ideas that are out of the box. I’ve joined a few corporate executive groups in other industries that provide a platform for sharing ideas on expanding businesses, handling challenges that crop up, and other related areas. I’ve found that to be quite helpful.
3. What challenges or advantages does Fidelity face as a family run operation?
Working with family presents a unique set of benefits and drawbacks. There is a built-in trust among our team, and we will quickly step in for each other when needed. On the other hand, it can be difficult to establish a professional corporate environment with close family when many meetings and plans take place in a familial, informal exchange. Regardless of how your company is held, the ideal balance is to use the disadvantages to your advantage. When you accomplish that, your company will certainly excel.
4. Did you experience a particular obstacle in Fidelity’s early years?
As many young and inexperienced beginners, I had a tendency towards overestimating my business acumen. I was fortunate to have my late father-in-law, Mordechai Rivkin, as a superb teacher and mentor. He taught me how to run a successful business. I recommend that anybody interested in starting or operating a business should find a mentor. There’s a great deal to learn from people with experience in your chosen field.
5. What projects are you currently working on?
Right now we are working towards implementing a new manufacturing process. With funding from a state grant, we are establishing a policy of “lean manufacturing,” which is a Japanese efficiency technique for producing more product while decreasing the amount of excess time, money, and energy.
6. What advice would you offer to someone looking to start a business in the manufacturing industry?
Manufacturing can be very lucrative. However, I don’t recommend jumping in unless you are well versed in the business, and understand what it takes to succeed. It can be difficult to calculate whether your company will earn a profit or not. If you are knowledgeable in the industry, be sure to seek advice from those with experience. Many businesspeople have made mistakes along the road to success, so utilize opportunities to learn from them.
Shmuel Brook is vice president of Fidelity Industries, a family business founded by his late father-in-law, Mordechai Rivkin, in 1974. An Israeli native, Mr. Brook arrived in the United States at the age of 16, and has resided here since then. After completing his kollel career in 1980, he joined the family business and this has been his occupation ever since.