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70 Janurary 08 made us a better company.” Today, 42 years after Jay Chryst began peddling promotional materials from the trunk of his car, the Lancaster, Pennsylvaniabased Jay Group is a $65 million-a-year operation that provides marketing services through three business units. One operates a contact center to provide customer service and support through both telephone and e-mail. A second is a specialty packaging division that creates promotional packaging and in-store displays to help attract consumer attention. The third offers fulfillment services to handle collateral and product to support field sales organizations and dealer networks, as well as fulfilling requests for other consumer and/or retail promotional offers. The Jay Group is also a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), as defined by the US government. Chryst says the company prides itself in providing invaluable assistance to a corporation’s sales machine, help that a variety of consumer companies have sought out, from iRobot Corporation to Heineken USA, CertainTeed to Absolut Spirits Company and Reebok International to Lindt & Sprungli Chocolates. Because it offers a turnkey solution, and has developed an expertise in working with advertising and marketing agencies to ensure that creative campaigns can be executed in the real world, The Jay Group has benefited from the trend among major corporations to outsource non-core functions. “The outsourcing trend has been going on for years. Now we’re seeing the second cycle of the outsourcing experience, where companies are coming to us after experiences that weren’t necessarily good,” Chryst says. “We are fully integrated into our client’s marketing databases in many cases,” says Chryst. The company maintains a dedicated, c l i m a t e - c o n t r o l l e d information technology center with emergency backup capabilities. “We have the ability to seamlessly manage a variety of consumer and trade programs in real time through our leading business management systems. Timeliness, accuracy and care of that data are critical. The people that just have their toes dipped into this business as a sideline haven’t kept up with the investment necessary to deliver that top shelf service.” The Jay Group has invested heavily to attract and retain the best employees. After being a well-kept secret in Lancaster County for decades, the company launched a public relations campaign about five years ago to boost its profile. “We knew we were seeing rapid growth and would need to recruit a lot of people,” Chryst recalls. Before long, the firm was winning awards, including being named one of the best places to work in Pennsylvania, four years in a row. “We became a top-of-mind company for people thinking of places to go to work. We were able to create some real buzz about the positive things we stand for.” Once it finds good workers (the company employs about 500 people full-time) The Jay Group works to keep them through training and career pathing. Its Jay University offers a range of classes, recently adding an accredited course in supervision and management. In 2008 the company will move into a new facility,

January 08 71 TheJayGroup a consolidation of three existing buildings, that was designed with employee satisfaction in mind. Features include an in-house café, concierge service and fi tness path. “We don’t ever rest; we’re constantly trying to shake things up and do more to make ourselves a place where people want to come to work,” Chryst says. The Jay Group has also employed an openbook management policy for years, communicating constantly with employees about the company’s growth, challenges and opportunities and how they play an integral role in it all. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is probably better known as Amish Country than as a business hotbed, but Chryst says the location has been perfect, enabling the company to fi nd both a strong full-time workforce and the surge in seasonal workers it needs during heavy promotional times. “It’s an excellent place for us to be. We are in an area with both a tremendous work ethic coupled with a sophisticated workforce. Our people are tremendous.” Those people have been needed to keep up with the company’s growth. From 2000 to 2006, it had annual revenue growth of 29 percent per year. In fact, The Jay Group was just named to the 2007 Inc. 5,000 Fastest Growing Companies list. While that pace may not continue in coming years, Chryst believes the company will continue to post above-average growth in the 15 to 20 percent range. “That continued expansion will be driven by a deliberate and carefully executed sales strategy that takes the company’s historic experience and success into account,” she says. “We see a very rich funnel of potential customers out there and we have a very systematic process for making them our long-term customers.”