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  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 11:00 a.m. October 30, 2015
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
  • Strategies
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Executive Summary
Company. Tervis Industry. Retail, manufacturing Key. Company is utilizing open space design trends to improve productivity.


Of all the happenings at Tervis in the past year, from dozens of hires to glossy TV commercials to a new building, the coolest might be a printer.

A 3-D printer. The high-tech machine allows Tervis employees to design a cup and then standby and wait for a prototype to pop out. About 65% of the company's products — multiple lines of tumblers and assorted drinkware — run through the printer. The product next goes through numerous meetings and research studies, to see if it's ready for market.

The printer is one of several things, both tangible, and intangible, that have helped redefine Venice-based Tervis over the past 12 months. For one, the company, which turns 70 years old in 2016, is near a major payroll milestone: It will surpass 1,000 employees when it adds seasonal workers in a few weeks. Through the end of September, Tervis, which doesn't disclose annual revenues, had 958 employees.

A chunk of those people work out of the company's 21,000-square-foot innovation center, which opened in October 2014.

The innovation center could be the most tangible change at Tervis, executives say. It's helped break down silos between departments, led to multiple new marketing initiatives and brought a higher level of efficiency to the production process. The center is also the latest in a burgeoning commercial real estate trend: open design, with the goal of boosting collaboration, eliminating hierarchies and generally making hipper use of office space.

At Tervis, the layout includes cushy chairs, huddle rooms and offices along the sides with glass doors. Even the stairs in the two-story building are wide and open. Those stairs, besides a way to get up and down, have accomplished another goal: Employees from different departments often cross paths on the stairs and chat about projects. “There's been a lot of impromptu meetings,” in the center, says Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Danene Jaffe.

The rooms and spaces in the building, fitting its moniker, have names that revolve around innovation. Those include: the Dr. Seuss Kitchen; Edison Square, after the iconic inventor; Lombardi Cove, after the football coach; the Dylan Conference Room, for the singer; and the Winslow Room, named after John Winslow, an entrepreneur who owned the company in the 1950s and moved it from Michigan to Venice. (A pair of engineers from Detroit, Frank Cotter and G. Howlett Davis, created a double-walled insulated tumbler that could keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot in 1946. They named the company Tervis, after the last three letters of their names.)

And while Tervis has a 90,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and offices next door, the innovation center has become the heart of company-wide quarterly meetings called Brand Live. Executives, board members and guest speakers talk to employees those days about what's new with the company, products and licensing.

“We are really excited,” says Jaffe. “We have a lot going on here, and it's all really positive.”

 

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