Professor Mike Lord says Inmar Expansion is a Vote of Confidence in the Company

10.13.2011 Article, Faculty News, General

Inmar to add 120 jobs
Reposted from Winston-Salem Journal | by Richard Craver

Inmar's sharp focus on innovation, particularly with coupons and product returns, has led the company to expand its Winston-Salem workforce by 120 employees by year's end.

The company said Thursday it will add headquarters jobs in information technology, accounting, customer service and operations. The openings range from entry level to experienced management positions. It will begin accepting applications online Sunday.

"The expansion of our business has now accelerated to the point where we must significantly increase our workforce in order to meet growing client demand," said David Mounts, Inmar's chief executive.

The hiring initiative represents an 18 percent increase in its Winston-Salem workforce to 795. It also has about 125 jobs in Rural Hall.

The hiring is in addition to dozens of open positions the company has listed on its website — — for Winston-Salem and other operations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Michael Lord, an associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University, said a commitment to hire 120 employees in less than three months "is exceptional in this sort of economic environment."

"It's especially good because these are not all entry-level jobs," Lord said. "It's a vote of confidence in the company by its leadership."

Given that more companies are outsourcing promotional and returns services, Lord said "it's better to be benefitting from business trends than to be blindsided by them."

The primary factor behind the expansion is increasing demand for services in key divisions of its business, particularly pharmaceutical and promotions.

Supply-chain services, including product returns, recalls, withdrawals and asset recovery, made up 58 percent of Inmar's revenue in fiscal year 2010.

Promotional services, which include couponing, digital promotions, rebates and sweepstakes management, represent 42 percent of its revenue. It processes more than 2.5 billion coupons annually.

Inmar said that in 2010, it had a 78 percent market share in handling returns for grocery and chain drug stores, 55 percent in handling pharmaceutical returns, 42 percent in handling manufacturer coupons and 28 percent in handling retailer coupons.

The workforce expansion is the latest initiative for Inmar, which has spent $100 million on information technology since 2007 and increased its returns facilities to 33.

In May, Inmar bought M-Dot Network, which specializes in technology involved in digital promotions. At September's community Technology Briefing, Inmar said it is launching a program in which digital coupons can be obtained from mobile devices, kiosks, ATMs, televisions and online for use at retail point-of-sale transactions.

Bill Catania, Inmar's vice president of retail network development, said its goal is better connecting its 1,200 retail and manufacturing customers with consumers as they are out shopping.

Lord said Inmar's expansion is "more evidence that job growth often comes less from huge multinationals, which on average have reduced their U.S. workforces, and more from small- and medium-sized businesses that are still growing."

Inmar has more than 4,500 employees across the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Gayle Anderson, president and chief executive of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, said Inmar's decision is "a wonderful example of an existing business expansion that enhances our community's work to grow our knowledge-based economy."

"Inmar has continued to refine its business to use the latest technologies and is a leader in innovation. It validates our entrepreneurial climate and our moniker as a City of Arts and Innovation."