Supplier Family Business of the Year – Prime Line

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Prime LinePrime Line (asi/79530) isn’t just a family-owned business; it’s a company where the concept of family permeates daily operations, driving performance and generating long-term employee loyalty. “It’s important that everyone here feel like they are part of the Prime family,” says CEO Jeff Lederer, son of founder Bob Lederer.

To help create that sense of connection, Lederer and his management team create a work environment that fosters collaboration. A conversation Lederer had recently with a new hire is emblematic of how Prime operates. Lederer told the employee that he wants tons of feedback from her and that he expects her to “totally disagree” with him. “Just like in a family, you need that honesty and open dialog to grow,” says Lederer. “I want employees to feel empowered to make decisions.”

Given the tools to succeed, employees are held to specific metrics. When they exceed goals, they receive rewards that recognize their performance. Prime has, for example, delivered everything from spot bonuses to free dinners. “I want them to be happy and to recognize the important roles they play – to be successful and put money in their pocket,” says Lederer.

To foster a family atmosphere, Prime holds collaborative meetings and provides personal touches that show employees that the company cares, from pizza parties and ice cream socials to birthday recognitions and special contests. Clearly, this approach is paying off. About 80 employees have been with the company for 10 or more years, while 193 employees have been on board for five years or more. Also, revenue increased by 92% between 2009 and 2014, rising from $37.2 million to $71.4 million. Prime has propelled a visionary strategy that centers on delivering innovative products, making strategic acquisitions and improving technology infrastructure in order to provide better customer service.

“I learned a lot of important lessons from my dad,” says Lederer. “You need to surround yourself with smart people and make them a part of your decisions. You need to treat those people and your customers with the utmost respect – provide the best possible customer service. And, you need innovative products that your customers can get excited about.” – CR