Q&A: Jennifer Ploskina

Jennifer Ploskina leads sales and marketing at Matthews Marking Systems with an eye toward growth and a frictionless customer experience

Building on her successful and varied career in business development and industrial sales and marketing, Jennifer Ploskina joined Matthews Marking Systems just over a year ago to take on the role of Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing. She combines technology know-how from her education in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh with business acumen and an MBA from the same university.

Jennifer has enjoyed a more than 25-year career journey with stops at Eaton, Empyrean, BI Worldwide and others. She began her career in sales engineering roles and moved into strategy development and leadership/management roles. She brings deep insights into the challenges manufacturing companies face and the leadership skills needed to build high-functioning teams.

We sat down with Jennifer to better understand what excites her about Matthews and what the future holds for the organization. Here’s her take in a nutshell:

“At Matthews, our people, product, and process define our success. We aim to be and often are the problem solver in the room. Our customers buy from us because they trust us and know we get the job done. I’m excited for the future as we build out our portfolio – both hardware and software — and continue to evolve our customer experience for the better.”

We’re excited too! Keep reading for the full interview.

What attracted you to this position leading sales and marketing at Matthews Marking Systems?

Over my career, I’ve had a lot of experience in industrial control and automation, which fit well with the solutions Matthews brings to market.  I was very impressed from what I learned about the reputation of Matthews from a quality and reliability standpoint. It was also apparent that the company has a great opportunity to grow. For this role, that’s exciting.

The Matthews’ leadership team brings a wealth of experience to growing businesses in the manufacturing, automation and software development space and a renewed focus on the things that have made Matthews the company that it is today. Matthews’ products are reliable, solve real customer challenges and the company has a clear vision for the future.

There’s no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice coming here. I wanted to work in a company that valued things like honesty, ethics, morals, and respect, and I have not been disappointed.

You’ve enjoyed a successful and varied career in sales and business development. How has this experience prepared you for your current role?

The fun thing about starting a new role is you get to build on past experiences and have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t.

In any sales or marketing role, you must understand your customers’ needs and preferences so you can approach them in the best way possible. My ongoing studies and research in behavioral economics has been very helpful in terms of understanding the complex and unpredictable way people make decisions. These insights in turn make a huge difference when it comes to crafting programs to increase employee and customer engagement, boost customer loyalty or create a frictionless customer experience.

I’ve spent much of my career selling through channel partners, OEMs, integrators, and working with global key accounts. These are areas of priority for us here at Matthews. And bringing my expertise to complement a team that already has a lot of experience in these areas has been a great next step.

Another major piece is the sales operations management experience that I’ve had. It’s all about continuous improvement to support growth and scale with process, documentation, role design, organization structure, and more.

You recently penned an article about the book Conscious Capitalism. What are your takeaways from that book and how does it apply to your role at Matthews?

I truly believe that we can be a capitalist society and continue to prosper while sticking to our morals and ethics. The whole concept of conscious capitalism is just that. We don’t do things for profit alone; we also do things to make the world a better place.

That philosophy maps to what we sell here as well. Marking systems support healthier, safer food, improved health, safer operation for workers and more. Marking can support waste reduction through more accurate expiration dates and elimination of coding errors.

Looking out into the future, you’ll see us add value  through innovative solutions that support our customers’ goals and those of society more broadly. Plus, there’s a whole sustainability element to what we do, which maps backs to some of the concepts you’ll find laid out in books like Conscious Capitalism.

Matthews has enjoyed strong success in industrial marking and coding over the years. From your perspective, why do customers find value in working with the company?

A big reason why customers buy from us is because of our historic quality and reliability. Not only have our products been trustworthy, but also the people in our organization are trustworthy and knowledgeable.

I’m on the road with our team members quite a bit. When visiting customers, I can see the relationships that have been built, the trust that has been built, the problem-solving knowledge that our team shares with customers. It really comes through, and I think we stand out from others in the industry.

Another part of our success is the value of our solution. The MPERIA controller is one of a kind in the market, giving our customers the flexibility and mark quality they need for the best price. I spent some time recently in our sample marking lab putting MPERIA through its paces. I was impressed with the flexibility this controller provides – you can solve virtually any problem.

Our in-house ink development is a real differentiator too. We have the capability  to develop or improve formulations in-house or partner with others to get the right ink for every customer. We have the in-house knowledge to support both the ink and the printer technology to really make sure the solutions work.

Another piece is our ability to custom engineer solutions that fit the needs of our customers including integration with robotic arms and working with other production line equipment.

Putting it together, our product quality and reliability, our in-house ink development and our industry knowledge are all foundational to our success. On top of this, there’s our ability to solve problems, to listen to customers, understand the challenges they are facing, and devise an end-to-end solution.

How do you see the marketing and sales functions evolving at Matthews in the next few years?

We have a great sales and marketing team. I see us continuing to improve – from building even more trust to improving productivity, upskilling, and driving operational improvements. Each team is consistently bringing forth ideas to improve, and we have built a systematic process to surface ideas, build project teams, and execute. But most importantly, we are laser-focused on delivering a “frictionless customer experience.” We are proactively working with our customers and channel partners to remove barriers and identify areas that will make us even easier to work with.

We’re also embracing new technology. For instance, AI-based tools help increase our reach and frequency in a way that takes many administrative tasks off our team. The goal with any technology like AI is to maximize human capability. There’s a lot of potential there to allow individuals to focus on their strengths and “outsource” tasks that aren’t as valuable (or they don’t want to do!), ultimately giving us all more time to understand customer challenges and solve them.

What gets you excited when you come to work every day? And what gets you excited when you’re not at work?

Although I don’t call myself a workaholic because I do take time for myself, I really enjoy this work. I love the strategy and the business development side, and we have a fantastic team.

On the personal side, I have 25 years of marriage and kids that are now young adults who have moved past seeing us just as mom and dad and turned into friends. I love to play tennis, swim, travel and enjoy a spa day every once in a while.

I also spend a significant amount of time supporting others outside of work. An example is my recent investment into the Ladies of Charity, an association under the St. Vincent de Paul Society of the Catholic Church. Our motto is “To serve rather than be served in humility, simplicity, and charity.” This has been my aim my entire life — past, present, and future.

Want help solving your marking problems? Give us a call today

With more than 170 years of marking and coding experience, Matthews has helped countless manufacturing companies streamline and automate their operations and streamline marking and coding processes. If you’re looking for the right guidance from a supplier you can trust to be there year after year, we’re here to help. Give us a call at 1-800-775-7775 or email us at [email protected].