Soul Sourcing

September 6, 2007

Employ+Ability Inc., a company based out of Massachusetts has taken an admirable approach to manufacturing their products. Employing fifty-five people in integrated manufacturing operation positions, thirty-six of those employees have developmental or physical disabilities. The motto, “Work is good” goes against the grain of what most people perceive factory line work to be. And yet the employees that staff this company are always eager to work, some have perfect attendance records for up to a decade of working with the company. Not many companies can boast that kind of loyalty.

With competitive hourly rates, and incentives like health and dental benefits, disability insurance, and even a 403(b) retirement plan, Employ+Ability encourages and helps their employees afford to live independently. For those with disabilities, it is a welcoming environment. They are treated with respect, love, and care. Employees have said they gain a sense of self-worth and pride in the work they accomplish.

The company produces over ten million hot and cold packs a year, ranking as one of the largest manufacturers in the country. Overall, Employ+Ability has been in business for twenty-five years, and produced over two hundred and fifty million hot and cold packs. And all that time, employing men and women with disabilities. These employees are not only accepted, but also welcomed with open arms and encouraged to their individual strengths to become a vital part of society. Every employee knows that they are showing society what they can do, and that they can do it well. It’s companies like this one that deserve a little extra recognition for a job well done.

Employ + Ability

And yet that recognition is falling short as of late. Although Employ+Ability is one of the largest manufacturers of hot and cold packs in the U.S., overseas there are larger competitor companies that offer the same products at lower prices, resulting in many U.S. buyers of these products to engage in outsourcing. By undercutting prices, through cheap foreign labor these competitors are taking prime business away from Employ+Ability, resulting in their need to turn down potential employees, as well as lay off employees in order to stay in business.

In a company where each employee is treasured and respected, I can only imagine how hard it would be to tell one of them that they can no longer work there. But I’d like to believe that buyers of their products have a high loyalty factor to this brand, for several reasons. Employ+Ability gives job opportunities to men and women with disabilities but are perfectly functioning human beings who realize their potential through the work they do. This company provides quality products through quality work by quality employees.

I can understand outsourcing from a purely financial standpoint, where it matters to save every penny on manufacturing. But in the long-term picture, quality, reliability, and a sense of a company doing things right should win out over outsourcing. Think of it as “soul sourcing”

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Written by James R. Gregory and Charles J. Muir



Employ + Ability

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