14664 Fri, 06/13/2008 - 12:17pm
NEW YORK–As the Feiss family steps aside, Greg Vandia, president of Murray Feiss Lighting, is striving to maintain the family atmosphere and strong relationships, while constantly looking for ways to improve the company.
In a recent interview during a business trip in China, Vandia outlined his top priorities for the company.
“The first and perhaps the most challenging, is in a rapidly changing economic environment and market place, maintaining the ‘family feel’ that Murray Feiss has always shared with our most important asset, our customers,” Vandia said. “The relationships and bonds that the Feiss, Greene and Hersh families have with our dealers had so much to do with the success of our company. Murray always viewed our customers as part of the extended ‘Feiss Family.’
“Having been a member of that ‘family’ myself for almost 30 years as sales rep, vice president of sales and now president, I’m also a great believer that each Feiss customer is a true partner in the business and must always be treated with respect and dignity, and to continue to welcome and act upon their opinions, comments, suggestions and criticisms,” Vandia added.
Beyond that, Vandia said he seeks ways to improve the company.
“A second and equally important priority is engaging in an honest and open evaluation of our own company in an increasingly competitive world,” Vandia said. “What must we do to improve and how can we become a better supplier to our customers? Some time ago we began a process that involves our dealer base, our sales force and internal management to answer this very important question.
“Everything is up for discussion to better evaluate our current position in the market place and to understand the changes that need to be made to improve,” he continued. “At times, this can be a painful process, but one that we’re committed to. We’ve already begun to see results—with more coming in the near future—that will position Murray Feiss to remain a strong and reliable supplier for years to come.”
Even so, Vandia doesn’t foresee radical changes ahead.
“I’m not a revolutionary but a believer in business basics, so any fresh ideas that I will bring will be based upon sound business decisions that can help our company grow intelligently,” he said. “We will be looking to find ways to cooperate more closely with our Generation Brand partners to improve processes, and to share in the vast amount of talent and knowledge that each company possesses.”
What changes will customers notice under Vandia’s leadership?
“Hopefully, only changes that will be made with one goal in mind—that being constant improvement in product and service while maintaining that special bond that Murray and family established with our customer,” he said.
What lessons will Vandia retain from Murray Feiss, the boss and mentor?
“Several things from many that I could say about Murray,” Vandia said. “I met him when I was a young lamp buyer from one of Federated Department Stores’ smallest business units. What impressed me immediately was his willingness to sit down with me, talk about business and to listen to what I had to say even though I was a small fish in a large pond.
“I learned very quickly that Murray is a great salesman—one of the best that I’ve ever seen—but he’s a better businessman and true entrepreneur because he listens and invites opinion,” Vandia continued. “I was impressed that day over 30 years ago and to this day, how he genuinely respects and appreciates his customers. He’s also a man of action and one who knows only one direction—forward. These are only a few of the many things that I’ve learned from Murray and I expect to continue to learn.”
Vandia continued: “He may have retired but I always will know that I can pick up the phone at any time, speak to him, and get sound and intelligent opinions and advice about business specifics and life in general.”