The dulcet tones of Andy Hedberg helped craft a recipe for success.
Hedberg began a professional voice-over career while still attending Lansing Community College. His ability to deliver a line, plus a $10,000 loan from Old Kent Bank, led the aspiring entrepreneur to found The Production Department Inc. in 1993 — and later the neighboring Trailer Consignments LLC in Lansing.
The Production Department was formed to support a small group of mid-Michigan business owners who required recurring audio productions for the message-on-hold and overhead-messaging industries. That business model proved to be a ripe seed for growth, and The Production Department now supports over 50 message-on-hold and audio marketing firms across the nation and abroad, including key partnerships in the U.K. and Canada.
Through another of Hedberg enterprises, Pdept Properties LLC, he purchased property along Grand River Avenue in Lansing to establish the headquarters of The Production Department. A number of years later, Hedberg used the neighboring vacant parcel to establish Trailer Consignments LLC, a trailer rental and sales business that has grown to a rental pool of more than 25 trailers, a newly renovated shop and a retail office.
That tenacity and drive earned Hedberg the distinction of the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award in the 2021 Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Awards.
“Understanding how long the Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Awards have been around and the many great businesses that have won the award in the past give me a sincere feeling of pride,” Hedberg said. “It’s the kind of recognition a business owner rarely gets from its local business leaders. Starting, running and maintaining a successful business is hard work, involves risk and takes dedication. I feel extremely humbled and honored for this recognition.”
The Production Department’s a la carte style of audio production and creative services allows dealer customers to pick and choose what level of services are required of the company to meet their businesses goals and their clients’ marketing objectives. Around 2000, the business had more than nine employees under one roof, including writers, audio engineers, voice talents, clerical, customer service and a shipping department. However, due to a telephone technology shift to web-based business phone systems, the team transitioned to a more virtual system of supporting customers’ needs.
The future is bright for both operations. Trailer Consignments’ business expansion plans include a dealership package that incorporates a small inventory of popular trailers as well as networking of key territories across the nation to include a trailer “sharing” concept among territory owners to take advantage of the one-way needs of consumers.
As far as The Production Department’s future, the voice audio marketing industry is not going away, but it continues to evolve with new telephone-on-hold, auto-attendant and point-of-purchase marketing opportunities. And Hedberg plans to transition to accommodate the growing demand as it arises.
“The foundation is laid. The growth plan is in motion,” Hedberg said. “Moving forward with the long-term plan for expansion might involve an acquisition or two of my vendors in the business. New data management tools are on top of the list of must haves to ensure continued success. Lastly, a fine tuning of the business plan that addresses the emerging opportunities I see on the horizon.”