By Alicia Cunningham | Oct 12, 2015
West Jordan, Utah
West Jordan, Utah
A manufacturer of promotional products, particularly identification and personal care items, SnugZ USA started in an attic in 1989. When Mackay came aboard in 1994, there were only eight employees.
"Since then, it has changed in every way," Mackay says. "Today corporations use our products for corporate branding when they travel or present at a trade show or even place items in a bookstore or a local school."
The catalog includes everything from lanyards to leashes to lotions. SnugZ also manufactures items for such events as cancer awareness days and special golf tournaments, and for hotels that give away personal care items to their guests. In other words, SnugZ is everywhere.
To accommodate the growth, SnugZ has recently moved into a new facility located off of the new Mountain View Corridor in northern Utah. "It's a great location and a great access point," shares Mackay. "There is a lot of growth out here in the corridor, and it's easier for our employees."
About those employees: Mackay has 380 of them and works hard to hold onto the talents they bring to SnugZ. "Unemployment in Utah is really low and finding qualified people is hard," says Mackay.
He recognizes that Utah is a great place to live and work, but that is having a serious effect on his bottom line. "People want to be here in Utah. Companies want to be here," Mackay says. "It is an employee-based market, and it is starting to move the pay scale. Up to this point, Utah has offered moderate salaries compared to other states, even western states. But we are starting to see some equalization there."
To ensure employees stay at SnugZ, Mackay is focused on improving the work environment. In fact, the company recently received an award from the Utah Manufacturers Association: the Best Practices for Corporate Social/Citizenship Responsibility.
"Our company is a culture-based company," shares Mackay. "The Millennials are attracted to us because they are cause-based, and we work well with the demographic."
SnugZ is dedicated to giving back to the community and fully subsidize their employees' service hours. Whether an employee fills sandbags for a local city or participates in building a home with Habitat for Humanity, that employee is paid for their time as if they were working at the office.
"Our employees can go out and serve and not take a hit financially to do that," says Mackay. "This reflects the principles and values of living in Utah: You have to give to get. We're happy to have these service opportunities and ensure our employees do not feel a financial impact from doing it."
Mackay also feels that it's a great opportunity for employees to strengthen relationships outside of the office. "It's amazing to work hard alongside other employees and see them in a totally different light than within a meeting at the office."
Not that they don't have fun at the office as well. As the holidays approach, SnugZ is ready to work and play hard. "We love all the festivities," Mackay says. "We'll carve pumpkins and have internal trick-or-treating. We also have pajama days and college days and bizarre dress-up days. We are not a public walk-up business. We can be a little more rowdy."
Challenges: Growth. "We face aggressive growth," says Mackay. "It's between 10 and 15 percent a year. Being able to capitalize that growth is hard." In January 2014, SnugZ moved into a 125,000-square-foot facility and were able to consolidate three locations into one. "Our consolidated building makes our business process infinitely smoother," says Mackay.
Opportunities: "I see us continuing to grow," says Mackay. "Our industry is experiencing a lot of consolidation where people are using less suppliers." Because SnugZ is a large company, that's great news, he adds. "We're a one-stop shop, which is attractive and will help us grow tremendously."
Needs: Mackay believes that the industry is desperately in need of a technology evolution. "We need a better operating platform," he says.