FROM THE TOP: CEO Perspectives - Adhesives Manufacturer

The Reynolds Co. was founded in 1978 and is a manufacturer of waterborne adhesives and coatings, hot-melt adhesives and coatings, and dry-blended adhesives. The company also toll produces products for a number of different end users. With revenues in excess of $30 million annually, Reynolds has a payroll of approximately 100 employees, most located at its facility in Greenville, SC. The company services all areas of the continental U.S. and does some exporting to various parts of the world.

The Reynolds Co. is a privately held, family business supplying a number of markets including: packaging, product assembly, textile, nonwovens, furniture and woodworking, and automotive.

Lex Reynolds is president of the Reynolds Co. He attended Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC.

How long have you been in the adhesives and sealants industry, and how has the industry changed during that period?

Reynolds: I have been in the industry for approximately 25 years and have seen a lot of changes, particularly in the last 5-10 years. The biggest change has been the consolidation trend of the major producers, and the emergence of some super-sized companies. There has been a loss of leadership, in my opinion, within the industry because of these consolidations, and changes in philosophy of these "giants." There is a leadership vacuum, if you will, within the industry.

What is the biggest challenge your company faces? What steps are you taking to face this challenge?

Reynolds: The biggest challenge all of us face is to reverse the attempts by our customers to commoditize our industry and its products. Unfortunately, many of the larger players within our industry have fostered and supported this major industry problem.

All of us are attempting to reduce our cost structures as much as we can, Reynolds included. We are adding new equipment, which is highly automated, adding more bulk capabilities, and adding more capacity. Unfortunately, cost reduction only goes so far; then we must all rely on getting fair prices for our products and services. The industry, and again, many of our larger participants, need to wake up to the realization that commoditization and price cutting are dead-end roads, so to speak. Unless we all pull together to reverse these trends, the industry as a whole will suffer irreparable damage.

In addition, the other challenge we face is finding good people, to help us grow our business. We have the products, the infrastructure, the will, the know-how - all we need are more good people who are motivated to grow along with us.

What do you see as the biggest challenge to the adhesives and sealants industry overall?


  • Reverse the recent trends to commoditize the industry.
  • Find good leadership to lead these efforts and others.
  • Bring pressure to bear on Washington to quit talking and take action on issues such as fair trade, dumping in U.S. markets, oil and gas exploration, alternative energy sources, fiscal and trade responsibility (reducing the imbalances that are growing), and meaningful torte reform.

Do you anticipate continued growth in the markets that Reynolds serves?

Reynolds: No question about it. Our company, in many respects, is in a position that many of our larger competitors were in years ago. We are lean, we are focused, we are customer and service driven, and people enjoy doing business with us. Many of the larger players have forgotten just how important this is. It is, in my opinion, still about people, relationships, doing what is right for our employees and our customers, and providing quality products at fair prices, coupled with service that no one else can match. On top of that, we have fun doing what we do!

Our business today represents less than 1% of the total North American market! There are plenty of opportunities to grow, as long as we remain committed to doing all of the above and if we can surround ourselves with good, competent people.

What does the future entail for your company?

Reynolds: No one knows what tomorrow has in store, but our hope and belief is that we will continue to grow our top line, and more importantly, our bottom line, by continuing to add more good people and more products to our line. We believe we are in a unique position to be very successful in this industry, and that certainly is our goal.

If you would like to participate in this new column, and are a CEO/president of a company manufacturing or applying adhesives, or supplying to the adhesives industry, please contact Editor Teresa McPherson at or phone 810-664-0030.

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