CFO of the Year
TENTE Casters, Inc. supply high quality wheels and casters internationally. We speak to the firm’s CFO Benjamin Mulling about his role in making the firm a worldwide success.
TENTE makes more than just first-class casters and wheels. At many international locations our employees ensure mobility that makes life easier with solutions that get things moving. We provide absolute precision, visionary design and service that inspires. Our products are at home in four market segments around the world: Medical, Institutional, Industrial and Heavy Duty.
Company: TENTE Casters, Inc. Name: Benjamin Mulling, CMA, CPA.CITP Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.tente.us Address: 2266 Southpark Drive, Hebron, KY 41048 Telephone: 859-586-5558
The firm has been striving for 90 years to improve upon the humble wheel and change the way people move around the planet. Tente, a suburb of Wermelskirchen in Germany, is where, in 1923, the firm’s marketing of ball casters and castors for sliding cupboard doors began. By a decade later, the company was manufacturing casters itself. Thanks to proximity to our customers and the highest product quality, today the firm holds a leading position in a variety of markets. What began as a factory has developed into a group of companies that today does business all over the world, and we continue to grow. My role within the company is as the CFO of the North American location of TENTE. Despite being a family firm TENTE now operates in over 100 countries around the globe and continues to grow. Personally I am responsible for the management of the finance, IT and Human Resource functions in North America, including our Canadian locations. My primary responsibilities, aside from managing the day-to-day requirements of finance, mostly pertain to the overall development and management of the strategic plan. This involves many facets, including the development of technology initiatives, customer needs management, market analysis, financial analysis and growth opportunities such as mergers and acquisitions. It is my belief that my success is primarily down to my proactive and ambitious approach to managing my career. To be successful in today’s environment, you must have these skills. I always attacked my goals (i.e. education and certifications) very aggressively. As such I never stopped during my early working life and have always kept pushing myself to learn and develop more in every area. You must never stop learning. I also always volunteered for projects with whatever company I worked for. I had a desire to really understand every aspect of the companies that I worked for. This really helped my understand organizations from a macro level and better grasp the industry and what makes a company who and what it is. In other words, when you have an opportunity to be a leader, you must take a hold of that. Our organizations today need personnel who are willing to be seen as a leader, and that was always important to me as well, because ultimately it is leaders that are promoted.
36 Acquisition International - December 2015
Having obtained my role at the age of just 28. I feel there are a number of advantages to being a CFO at such a young age. First, I grew up in the tech era. As a result, I have a passion for using technology in everything I do. Decision support using data analytics has always been something of great interest to me, and that is what I built a lot of my early success on. Big data and data analytics is continuing to boom in the finance and business environment, so it is important not only that you can use this type of technology, but that you can drive change with it as well. Second, being a millennial, I tend to be very comfortable with change. In fact, I thrive on it. I feel very stagnant if my company or I is not changing or improving. It’s a continuous process that we all must go through. In our environment today, change is happening in more areas and with more frequency, and it’s very crucial for today’s leaders to be very comfortable in that type of environment. Change brings about an excitement and a feeling of progress which I really enjoy. As a globally expanding company TENTE offers me a unique opportunity to be a part of a vast change, as the firm looks towards becoming a leading manufacturer of casters and wheels around the world. In North America we have grown over 70% in the past five years. This is directly attributable to our focus on the markets and bringing value to our customers. Additionally, as mentioned before, we are very comfortable with change. As a result, we can adapt to new processes and opportunities very quickly. This is one of our core strengths in North America. Often we use technology to drive a lot of this as well. There is more change to come as the firm looks towards the future and considers its role in the global market. Externally, we are keen to continue to focus on the market around us, especially our customers. We lead with what our customer’s need, not just what we want. Internally there is greater adaptation as we continue to have a strong capital expenditure plan in the coming years. This has already included department expansions, building additions and additional product lines to expand into other markets, which are already completed. Now we will continue to build on that through productivity improvements, automation in production and continue technology initiatives. The main thing is that we do all of this with a long-term strategic focus. We don’t just budget or plan for next year or even the next three years. We strategically plan six to eight years in advance as we understand that to guide a company, you must be focused on the future. Accountants are guilty of focusing on historical figures, and while those are important, they don’t really help you develop a company. Future focus is the key.