Page 1

Plastics Business 2018 Issue 2

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Cobot Implementation at Wisconsin Plastics Life After Acquisition at Met2Plastic Steel Tariff Action Items Marketing Strategies for Molders

Official Publication of Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors


2018 Issue 2



view from 30




profile Opportunities After Acquisition at Met2Plastic by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business


benchmarking Manufacturers Address Drugs in the Workplace by Ashley Burleson, membership and engagement manager, MAPP


economic corner The Economist’s View: Steel Tariffs – Good, Bad, Both? by Chris Kuehl, managing director, Armada Corporate Intelligence


outlook US Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum Imports: Action Items for Businesses by Dave Andrea, Daron Gifford and Bryan Welsh, Plante Moran


view from 30 Implementing Cobots: Working Collaboratively with Robots at Wisconsin Plastics by Lara Copeland, contributing editor, Plastics Business


marketing LinkedIn Marketing for Plastics Businesses by Kyle Milan, CEO, 5 Fold Agency

4 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2


strategies Email Marketing for Molders by Katy Ibsen, contributing writer, Plastics Business

48 54 56

focus How to Prepare for the Next Downturn by Dr. Andreas Reger, researcher



management This Year I Hope to (Insert Answer Here) by Jeff Bush, author booklist Goal Setting and Follow Through by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business

departments viewpoint.....................................6

association................................. 32

news.......................................... 22

supplier directory...................... 58



Plastics Business

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Published by:

Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors, Inc. (MAPP) 7321 Shadeland Station Way, Suite 285 Indianapolis, IN 46256 phone 317.913.2440 • fax 317.913.2445 www.mappinc.com MAPP Board of Directors President Norm Forest, Dymotek Molding Technologies Vice President/Treasurer Ryan Richey, Precision Plastics, Inc. Second Vice President Tim Capps, Par 4 Plastics Inc. Secretary Alan Rothenbuecher, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP

MAPP Board Members Mike Benson, Stout Brendan Cahill, PTG Silicones Craig Carrel, Team 1 Plastics, Inc. Glen Fish, Revere Plastics Systems LLC Chris Gedwed, Cosmetic Specialties International Ben Harp, Polymer Conversions John Hoskins, Octex Holdings LLC Glenn Kornfeld, Asaclean-Sun Plastech Inc. Jim Krause, Microplastics, Inc. Bob MacIntosh, Nicolet Plastics, Inc. Tom Nagler, Natech Plastics, Inc. Samir Patel, Midwest Molding Inc. Missy Rogers, Noble Plastics, Inc. Stacy Shelly, AMCO Polymers Chuck Sholtis, Plastic Molding Technology, Inc. Tom Tredway, Erie Molded Plastics, Inc.

Peterson Publications, Inc. 2150 SW Westport Dr., Suite 101 Topeka, KS 66614 phone 785.271.5801 www.plasticsbusinessmag.com

Editor in Chief Jeff Peterson

Advertising/Sales Janet Dunnichay

Managing Editor Dianna Brodine

Contributing Editors Nancy Cates Lara Copeland

Art Director Becky Arensdorf Graphic Designer Kelly Adams

Circulation Manager Brenda Schell

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 5


Finding the Space to Listen Recently, my sister Terri and her best friend were visiting from Arkansas and spent the weekend with my wife and me. Although I enjoy spending time with my sister, the purpose of her visit was to see my mother, who has Alzheimer’s and is failing quickly. On a good day, the trip to the memory care facility takes nearly two hours. On the return trip from a very fulfilling, yet emotional visit with my mom, I didn’t feel much like talking. Because of my mood, I decided to just listen to the conversations among the women in the car, instead of participating. It is amazing what emerges when you find the “space to listen!” For 105 minutes, there wasn’t a second of silence. The conversations covered what seemed to be the full gamut of life, from serious discussions about religion, death, marriage and kids to lighthearted exchanges about gardening, perfumes, art, music and hair products. While my inclination after an emotional day was to reflect in silence, theirs was to connect with each other in a meaningful way by sharing thoughts and feelings about a wide range of topics. Despite what some of you may be thinking, this is not a gender discussion – plenty of scientific research and published evidence debunks the claim that women speak more words than men on a daily basis. Instead, what this exchange helped me rediscover is the fact that good leaders must not only be extremely cognizant of the personality differences of those on their teams, but they must quickly adapt during daily engagements and communication exchanges in order to effectively lead, inspire, motivate and educate. Our organization, like many of yours, utilizes personality profiling as an educational tool to improve teamwork and grow the effectiveness of communications. Each employee has his or her individual profile prominently displayed to remind peers how the employee processes information, communicates, takes initiative and responds to specific situations. As an example, I need a great amount of data to make decisions – so much so that I have been nicknamed “Rain Man,” after Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of a mathematical savant in the 1988 film. Along with my personality index, I inherently struggle to make small talk and can be rather impatient with long, drawn-out conversations. Because of the acute understanding

6 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

of my own personality makeup, I have become keenly aware that there are people on my team who must openly talk out their ideas to arrive at specific conclusions and decisions. This awareness helps me to ratchet back my own dominant traits to allow theirs to work for them!

Good leaders must not only be extremely cognizant of the personality differences of those on their teams, but they must quickly adapt during daily engagements and communication exchanges in order to effectively lead, inspire, motivate and educate. Seeking to better understand your teammates and their individualism is key to maximizing business performance. In fact, many company leaders of best-in-class plastics processors utilize personality tools to aid in hiring, drive personal development and create stronger connections between employees to maximize team building. For 105 minutes, the passengers in the car reminded me of the important lesson that may not always be at the forefront of my mind: Each person’s personality affects the way he or she communicates, takes in information, reaches decisions and acts on directives. Recognizing those differences will strengthen an organization – or a family – if you take the time to understand them.

Executive Director, MAPP

Your partner

for successful molding INCOE Hot Runner Systems are the heart of the injection molding process — managing and controlling Melt Logistics™ inside the mold. Our global commitment is to be your partner — producing value in your process — and ultimately delivering satisfaction where it counts.

www.incoe.com North America | Europe | Asia | South America

© 2017 INCOE® 08/17


Opportunities After Acquisition at Met2Plastic by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business


host of reasons exist for selling a company, even if – or because – it’s been in the family for decades. But, what happens when the acquisition is over? Can a company retain its identity, culture and values through the uncertainty and change a new owner can bring?

outside of the plastics industry selling packaging equipment. One day, I made a sales call to a plant that processed packaging peanuts, and I smelled the sweet smell of molten polystyrene. I realized how much I missed that smell, and shortly thereafter made the move back to MET Prototype Molding.”

Met2Plastic, Elk Grove Village, Illinois, can look back, 2½ years after its acquisition by French company Dedienne Multiplasturgy® Group, and answer emphatically, “Yes.”

Walter initially held a number of roles, from working in the toolroom (where he claims he was kicked out because his workpieces kept flying across the room) and developing a quality structure to integrating an ERP system.

“We are transforming as a company,” said Met2Plastic President Mike Walter. “It’s a completely different game we’re playing right now because we are able to offer services we didn’t have access to before the sale, and we have a much stronger engineering base that we can utilize. But, at our core, we’re still a family-owned company. That was important to us.”


Originally incorporated in 1970 as MET Prototype Molding, the company specialized in building aluminum molds and injection molded parts for prototype applications. MET quickly developed a loyal customer base made up of Illinois’ technology giants of the era, including Bell & Howell, Motorola and Zenith Radio. When the company moved its operations to a larger facility in 1982, it expanded into mold building and injection molding operations. Even though the company positioned itself as a prototype injection molding house, MET’s customers increasingly awarded production molding business to the company. By the mid-1990s, much of the company’s business had transitioned to high-mix/low-volume injection molding production work. “The company was started by my father and two partners, both of whom had left the company by the mid-1980s,” said Walter. “I worked at MET Prototype Molding (renamed MET Plastics in 2000) on a part-time basis through high school and college in a range of capacities, from sweeping floors and operating machines to clerical work. After college, I spent a few years

8 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

“At that time, we had only 15 employees,” he explained, “so it was a great experience because I was able to wear many different hats and learn all facets of the business.” Walter soon took on the role of general manager and was tasked with developing a plan to grow the company. “At the time, much of our work was in functional prototype development work,” he said. “We saw the risk of that business being overtaken by the rapid prototype industry, and simultaneously, we saw the risk of high-volume work being moved overseas, so we decided to shift our focus to lowvolume production molding. That’s when we really started to grow.”

Market Focus

The company now has 50 employees, and many of the key staff members started as machine operators before working their way up the ranks. Those employees are armed with a solid understanding of each facet of the facility, which allows Met2Plastic to operate nimbly in its chosen markets. The business focus is on the manufacturing of metalreplacement components using high-performance thermoplastics and thermoplastic composite materials, hence the name “Met2Plastic.” Capabilities include thermoplastic injection molding, mold building, machining of plastics and assembly, and volumes can range from 100 to 1,000,000 pieces per year. Photos courtesy of Met2Plastic

A number of investments have been made recently, including two new molding presses and a RocTool induction heating system to allow further development of the company’s ability to “lightweight” components by improving material flow to reduce wall thickness and part weight. (Dedienne was one of the early adopters of this technology in France.) Two new CNC machines were added to handle increased capacity requirements in secondary machining operations, and a new stand-alone ISO Class 8 cleanroom was designed with Met2Plastic’s highly precise customer base in mind. “Our goal has always been to work in aerospace and medical markets to maintain some diversification,” said Walter. “We feel the industries complement each other very well because the quality organization structure needs to be similar, and the volumes are close to one another. Also, both markets play to our expertise in high-performance materials.” Met2Plastic was guided in the direction of high-performance material use when the company moved to its current specialty as a low-volume/high-mix production molder, which then pushed the company into niche industries such as aerospace and medical. “In aerospace, in particular, we realized that to compete and grow, we had to build on our expertise in materials,” Walter said. “We made a conscious effort to develop that knowledge base, upgrading our skills through new hires and research and development activities.” The aerospace industry offers significant growth opportunities with its push to incorporate thermoplastic and thermoplastic composites into the aircraft. “Weight savings is the name of the game in aerospace – the more that is saved in aircraft weight, the less fuel is consumed, so there’s a huge push to transform traditional metal parts with new materials,” he continued. “But, plastics offer a lot of other advantages as well, including cost savings in materials and an increase in corrosion resistance. “Prior to being acquired, much of what we were doing was on the ‘me too’ end of things – we were being pulled into development page 10 u

We realized that to compete and grow, we had to build on our expertise in materials.

PROFILE t page 9 to meet customer requirements, rather than actively pursuing research,” Walter said. “However, after acquisition, we’ve been able to combine the expertise we have in tool building and high-performance materials with the processing expertise of our parent company. Now, we’re able to work on very complex components utilizing high-performance materials, such as PEEK and Ultem. We’ve expanded the programs we work on to include almost every area of an aircraft.”

“Being a part of a group has changed our marketing approach and our sales approach because now we’re not just one small company offering its wares – we’re able to offer a plethora of services through our overseas sister companies as well. We have a much stronger engineering base that we can utilize, while still providing a North American presence for our US customers.”


The acquisition by Dedienne was finalized in December of 2015. For Met2Plastic, one of the benefits of its acquisition has been the expansion of potential service offerings. Sister companies in Dedienne have expertise in the stamping of composite materials, thermoplastic molding and a variety of other “spokes in a wheel” that now can be offered to Met2Plastic customers. In addition to that, said Walter, the company’s toolbox has expanded with Dedienne’s independent R&D department. “We’re focused on being able to reduce weight for our customers,” he said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean choosing a lighter material, but also enhancing our processing techniques to be able to fill parts with thinner walls.

Even Crossword Puzzles are approached with Strategy

Do you go for the small words first? Only use pencil? You have a plan of action. Don’t approach marketing without a strategy either. Across

4 An industry exposition 5 Marketing for Manufacturers 6 The Plastics Show



1 Online presence of your company 2 Visual identity of a brand 3 Manfacturers Association for Plastic Processors


3 4 5 6

What is Your Marketing Strategy? Vive delivers a strategic marketing approach that will achieve your business goals.



10 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

“We weren’t actively marketing ourselves,” explained Walter. “We were approached by a representative for Dedienne after our company exhibited at an aerospace tradeshow. Dedienne was looking for a partner that could help grow operations in North America. What attracted them to us was our capability to mold high-performance polymers, combined with our cleanroom capability, which allowed Dedienne to expand its “Multiplasturgy®” offering.” While Walter hadn’t been seeking the sale of his family’s company, he also was aware that challenges were on the horizon for a small company in a big industry. “At the same time conversations began with Dedienne, we performed a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis that revealed two issues,” he said. “First, we had aerospace customers with operations in North America and Europe – and, because we are based in Illinois, we were only able to access 50 percent of their operations. Additionally, we realized with the consolidation of the aerospace industry, it was likely a matter of time before our small company was squeezed out by larger players.” Several options were considered to address the concern, including organic growth or growth through acquisition of another processing company, but the challenge still remained that members of the family ownership structure would someday have an interest in selling their shares. This was an opportunity for them to exit the company. “We got calls about potential buyouts all the time, but the approach wasn’t very targeted,” Walter explained. “Part of what intrigued us about Dedienne was that there was a reason the company was interested in our company, so I agreed to meet. What was supposed to be a one-hour meeting turned into four. Immediately, we saw potential for what we could become if we partnered.” The potential synergies in market share weren’t the only appealing aspect of the Dedienne partnership. During conversations, Walter quickly realized the two companies had similar values. “One thing I’ve always wanted – and, my sister Heidi Weiner (Met2Plastic’s vice president and human resource manager) has felt the same – was

to treat everyone like family,” Walter said. “Dedienne has a similar philosophy – the group is one big family. It’s one of those things that can’t have a number put on them, but it made a difference to feel we shared the same ideals. Dedienne wasn’t a company that was just looking for quarterly returns but was playing a long game that had the potential to help us do big things.”

be sensitive to what would happen to their jobs, and that was a concern Dedienne had, too. As we were going through the process, we assured our team this was a strategic acquisition to ensure the long-term security of the business. We wanted to do what we could to ensure the legacy of the company and solidify everyone’s job security.”

The transition process began in February of 2015. “It was not a fast process, Walter said. “And, that’s the European way – to get to know people thoroughly before doing business with them. “As it was my first acquisition, there was quite a bit of learning to do, so we consulted with a number of people in the MAPP community, including Harbour Results, Plante Moran and Ice Miller,” he continued. “We also had to get a few of our key customers to sign off on the proposal since we had contracts in place, but we had no issues getting those approvals.”


While Met2Plastic’s customers were pleased with the growth potential as a result of the acquisition, Walter wasn’t sure how the company’s employees would react. “Initially, we didn’t provide too many details to the team because we didn’t want to raise expectations,” he said. “We were very aware that everyone would

After nearly 50 years of independent operation of a familyowned company, some small irritations might be expected with the sale to an overseas group. But, when asked, Walter struggled to come up with specifics. He attributed this to the mutual benefit found by both companies with the combined abilities to better serve their customer bases. “From a commercial perspective, many of our customers have operations in both the US and in Europe, and we are now able to leverage the ability to support their sites on both continents, which has created a number of new opportunities for us,” he said. page 12 u

Your one-stop solution

from the leader in machinery, parts, services and technology for the plastics molding industry

Control retrofits for all makes of molding machines

Value-priced injection molding machines from Asian Plastic Machinery

Your parts, service and calibration experts save you time and money

Innovative controls, sensors and hydraulics

Sold, installed and serviced exclusively by CPT

Extend the service life of your older machines


Precision Solutions. Measurable Results.

info@cinprotech.com www.cinprotech.com Call to see how we bring efficiency and cost reductions to your operations.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 11

PROFILE t page 11

As noted previously, one of the reasons Dedienne was interested in acquiring Met2Plastic was to support its aerospace customers with operations in the US. “The aerospace industry is driven by Airbus and Boeing,” said Walter. “If you’re only operating on one continent, then you’re only able to support half of the commercial aircraft market. The acquisition has created new opportunities for both Dedienne in Europe and Met2Plastic in the US with Tier 1 suppliers across the industry.” Access to technology also has made a critical difference in Met2Plastic’s offerings, Walter explained. “The term ‘Multiplasturgy®’ was coined by Pierre-Jean Leduc, Dedienne Multiplasturgy® Group’s CEO, and it reflects the company’s mission of simplifying our customer’s projects by offering multiple plastic processing capabilities. To achieve this, the organization spends a considerable amount of resources on research and development of processes and technology. As a smaller organization, MET Plastics didn’t have the resources to develop technology on our own.” This has led to collaboration with Dedienne’s engineers on various programs, allowing Met2Plastic access to vast expertise

And yet, despite the company’s new ownership structure, the small, family-owned atmosphere remains. “We may be part of a larger group, but we still try to treat our employees as if they were part of a small family business – maybe because this is the only way we know how to operate,” Walter said. “We’re a pretty tightknit group, and we try to make all employees feel like they’re part of the Met2Plastic family. Our group CEO also refers to the group as a ‘clan’ or ‘family,’ which aligns with our core values. When visiting the Met2Plastic facility, he always makes a point of walking the production floor and shaking everyone’s hand, which shows that he genuinely cares about the team.” Employee reaction to the acquisition has been mostly positive, particularly as they are now seeing some of the growth opportunities that have resulted from the acquisition. Customers’ responses have been positive as well, especially those with operations in Europe. “Prior to the acquisition, size was a concern for some of our customers, especially in the aerospace industry, where consolidation of Tier 1 suppliers is taking place at a frenetic pace,” said Walter. “Those customers are focused on consolidating their supplier base, and we are now in a much better position to support their objectives than we were as a stand-alone organization.” And on a personal level, Walter has found opportunities for growth, too. “One of the big benefits that I saw in the business sale is that I was tired and ready for a change,” he said. “I knew I couldn’t have a change with our existing business without completely abandoning it, which wasn’t an option. This created an opportunity to be part of something different while still staying in the same business. It’s been a tremendous learning experience, and I’ve picked up a lot of knowledge.”

REAL PEOPLE. REAL SOLUTIONS. You have a vision for your product. That’s why our team applies industry knowledge and technical insight to guide you from material selection to manufacturing success.

The acquisition has provided resources far beyond the technological – including those offered from a business planning perspective through marketing, long-term planning, focus and vision. “It’s increased our bench depth, not just on the executive management level, but throughout the organization,” Walter said.

REAL INSIGHT • Technical Service and Application Development Engineering Support • Experienced, technicallyskilled sales professionals • Advanced inventory and supply chain management technology From resin to reality, we make it happen.


in high-performance plastics and composites while sharing its knowledge to help implement best practices.

Contact us today! www.chaseplastics.com

12 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

“From a best practices standpoint, one thing I’ve always enjoyed with the MAPP association is the ability to share with people who understand exactly what challenges I’m facing. Now, the acquisition has allowed us to take best practice sharing to a different level because we can be completely transparent with our sister companies. We’re not competing with them – we’re working on growing together.” n

There’s no substitute for experience.

Package Design & Manufacturing, Inc.

has been acquired by

sold its automotive electronics operations in La Ferté-Bernard, France to AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL ACQUISITION CORPORATION




Package Design & Manufacturing, Inc.

acquired hashas been acquired by

(f.k.a. Nypro Juárez)

sold its automotive has been acquired electronics operationsby in La Ferté-Bernard, France to AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL ACQUISITION CORPORATION


STOUT INVESTMENT BANKING. Twenty years of delivering successful outcomes in the plastics industry. Let us relentlessly deliver for you. PLASTICS & INDUSTRIALS Michael D. Benson, Managing Director +1.248.432.1229 mbenson@stoutadvisory.com

PLASTICS & PACKAGING David M. Evatz, Managing Director +1.312.752.3328 devatz@stoutadvisory.com

stoutadvisory.com Stout is a trade name for Stout Risius Ross, LLC, Stout Advisors SA, and Stout Risius Ross Advisors, LLC, a FINRA-registered broker-dealer and SIPC member firm. The terms “Stout” or the “firm” refers to one or more of these independent advisory practices.



Manufacturers Address Drugs in the Workplace by Ashley Burleson, membership and engagement manager, MAPP


inety-four percent of manufacturers across the United States currently have a drug policy in place, according to a recent report published by the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP). The recent Drugs in the Workplace Report revealed that, while the majority of surveyed manufacturers already have drug policies in place, many are searching for ways to update, improve or implement new policies in response to changing US drug laws and the opioid crisis. The Drugs in the Workplace Report is the first of its kind generated by MAPP. The report data come from a study done in collaboration with the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) and the Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers (ARPM). Both the questions and format of the study were guided by manufacturing industry professionals. The study included questions regarding status of policies, types of drugs screened (Graph 1), situational drug testing, company programs and available education. Along with the study, company drug policies were collected from 48 US manufacturing organizations. These policies were analyzed by MAPP staff for trends, as well as gaps within policies.

Drug policy analysis

As stated above, the vast majority of manufacturers have written drug policies, but the thoroughness, implementation and relevance given the changing landscape vary greatly. For instance, three different potential situations for drug testing were surveyed: preemployment drug screening, post-accident drug screening and random drug testing. Of those, 81 percent of manufacturers always drug test before hiring an employee (Graph 2), 58 percent report always testing post-accident (Graph 3) and only 28 percent always conduct random drug screenings (Graph 4). Some manufacturers indicated they are required to drug test in specific situations due

14 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

to their workers’ comp programs, while others remarked that the additional cost has kept them from screening employees. Why is this important? According to a recent article by Federated Insurance, drug testing employees actually saves companies money in the long run. This savings can come from direct savings, such as those available through workers’ comp discounts, or indirect savings, as employees under the influence of drugs and alcohol are most likely to experience a workplace injury. Graph 1. Marijuana and cocaine are the drugs most frequently screened for among the companies surveyed.

However, cost alone isn’t the only barrier to drug testing of employees. A tightened labor pool, legalization of marijuana and an opioid crisis have caused some in the industry to loosen their in-house procedures regarding drug testing. As one executive put it, “If I randomly drug tested some of my most reliable production employees, I know that they would fail. I simply cannot risk losing these key employees, especially in this labor market.” Others have changed their policies, especially in areas where recreational and medicinal marijuana are legal. “We allow medical page 16 u

Graph 2. Eighty-one percent of companies surveyed always conduct preemployment drug testing.

Graph 3. After an accident, 58 percent of those surveyed continue to drug test post-incident.

When the first shot matters.

Graph 4. Only 28 percent of those surveyed consistently conduct random drug testing.

Synventive, the industry leader in hot runner systems, now offering Thermoplay products for high cavitation.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 15


Some manufacturers indicated that even though medicinal or recreational marijuana use is legal in their area, they still do not allow testing positive on any drug screenings for this substance. marijuana on drug screenings if the employee has a doctor’s authorization,” reported another study participant. Nevertheless, some manufacturers indicated that even though medicinal or recreational marijuana use is legal in their area, they still do not allow testing positive on any drug screenings for this substance. Rather than change the rules, many have turned to educational programming and employee assistance programs to maintain a drug-free workplace. While only 16 percent of participants report that they host any on-site educational programs regarding the impact of drugs as a prevention method or safety training,

this number may continue to grow, as several have indicated they currently are looking to implement such training. Along the same lines, 54 percent reported they have a company employee assistance program in place to help provide treatment through either inpatient or outpatient programs. Indeed, several of the policies submitted even outline the process for accessing and utilizing these programs if an employee is struggling with drugs or alcohol. By analyzing the policies submitted by participating manufacturers, additional topics were present that other manufacturers may consider implementing. These include specific language regarding changing marijuana laws in their state, “failure to cooperate” clauses, inspection of personal property while an employee is on the job, employees’ right to contest a drug test result, allowing the employee to come forward ahead of time if he/she may fail a drug test and seek assistance, and employee behavioral expectations while consuming alcohol or using drugs during work-related events. n More information: visit www.mappinc.com.


The Next Generation Of Innovation ● ● ● ●

Intuline - IoT System Enhanced Design for high speed performance Vibration control for high-precision applications Complete expandability with protocols such as DeviceNet, Ethercat and Ethernet/IP ● Next Generation of Collaborative Robots for automating all areas of manufacturing

Thank you all for visiting our booth at NPE 2018 and making this a successful show!

It is out of this World

INNOVATION NEXT www.YushinAmerica.com | SalesInfo@yushin.com 35 Kenney Drive, Cranston, RI 02920 | (401) 463-1800 Ad 2018 Q2 -business R01.indd 1 16 | MAPP plastics • 2018 Issue 2


5/15/2018 2:26:51 PM

The POWER of Pr Heavy Duty Series 4” X 30” & 6” X 40”

Mini Puller Series 3” X 12” & 3” X 20”

Regular Duty Series 4” X 30” & 6” X 30”

© Copyright 2018 NOVATEC, Inc.

recision Downstream All Servo for the Most Precise, Accurate Speed Control on Your Tubing & Profile Extrusion Line

20” Servo Traveling Up-Cut Saw






Servo Cutters for On-Demand or Continuous Operation Bessemer C and NC Series


warranty O F




Contact the Downstream Extrusion Experts Today. 800-237-8379 | sales@novatec.com NOVATEC products are made in the USA. Supported worldwide.



The Economist’s View: Steel Tariffs – Good, Bad, Both? by Chris Kuehl, managing director, Armada Corporate Intelligence


here are few things more certain than death and taxes, unless it is a debate over one or the other. The plan to impose stiff tariffs on steel imported into the US has been discussed and considered and argued over for years – decades even. Once upon a time, the US was perhaps the world’s biggest steel producer, but many things changed in that industry and there was too often a delay in responding and too many strategic mistakes. It has never been a single-issue problem. It is true that labor costs have been a factor, and it is true that environmental laws have been a factor. It also is true that many other countries have sought to bolster their own capabilities when it comes to steel output, as this commodity has long been wrapped around a host of other issues. Nations do not want to be vulnerable to others when it comes to steel supply; this is an industry that still accounts for a lot of jobs – but not as many as in the past. It is a point of national pride to have a thriving domestic steel sector, and many governments have been subsidizing and protecting that sector for many years.

Over the last decade or two, the US steel sector has been under a great deal of stress and for a variety of reasons. The costs of production are higher than in rival producer nations; there has been a steady decline in the amount of available scrap; and steel users have started to shift to other products (aluminum in cars and the growth of plastics). The recession hit the steel sector hard, with declines in many key steel-consuming sectors, such as vehicle manufacturing, construction and the like. That demand is only now starting to come back. Right now, there are nine operating integrated steel mills in the US – down from 13 in the year 2000. There are about 112 minimills in the US, which use scrap metal as opposed to iron ore. The mini-mill sector accounts for about 60 percent of all the steel produced in the US, and the sector’s greatest challenge is that scrap is a harvestable resource – and one that is dwindling. There is less metal in vehicles to begin with, and they are not being scrapped as aggressively as in the past. The slowdown in construction activity has meant fewer tear-downs, and severe restrictions remain on scrapping ships in the US, as there are all manner of environmental hazards with which to contend.

20 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

These are the factors that led steel companies to seek some kind of shelter from global competition. The current drive to impose tariffs would not be the first time this tactic has been explored. Under George W. Bush, a 25 percent tariff was imposed on imported steel, but the effort was abandoned just two years later, as it was doing far more harm than good to the US economy. The two-year experiment created a host of issues for the US and invited retaliation from the affected countries – most of which were and are US allies. The current effort is grounded in national security concerns (and that was the rationale used in 2002 as well). The assertion is that a country’s national security depends on access to steel – its own steel. That assertion is grounded in the kind of industrial production a country would need to engage in should there be a major conflict. Steel would be needed for ships and tanks and trucks and all manner of construction. Of course, there are many other commodities that would require similar protection these days – everything from aluminum to lithium and cobalt and all those rare earth minerals that are key to electronics. The majority of the steel that comes into the US is from nations that are either allies or at least friendly to the US. The top exporter to the US is Canada (17 percent) and then Brazil (14 percent), South Korea (10 percent), Mexico (9 percent), Russia (8 percent), Turkey (8 percent), Japan (5 percent), Taiwan (3 percent), Germany (3 percent) and India (3 percent). The top 10 exporters to the US account for 80 percent of the steel the US brings in. The other 20 percent is spread among nations that export just a little to the US. China has ostensibly been the target as far as limiting steel imports to the US, and it is the nation that always mentioned

is as an unfair competitor. It is accused of dumping steel and cheating on a wide variety of global steel rules, but the reality is that China is not even in the top 15 suppliers of steel to the US. The bottom line is that imposing a stiff tariff would affect US allies and friends far more than it would impact nations of which the US is suspicious.

The Impact of a Steel Tariff on the US Domestic Economy

The rationale behind these tariffs is threefold: to provide a boost to the US economy, to create (or at least to preserve) jobs and to support the businesses involved in steel production. Questions exist as to how effective the tariff would be in terms of achieving these goals, but the bigger issue for the US economy is that this tariff would have a profound and negative impact on those industries that use steel. Studies from a variety of think tanks and government agencies assert that for every steel-specific job in the US, there are 60 jobs in steel-using industries – automotive, construction, machinery manufacturing and the like. It is hard to estimate the impact of something that has not happened as yet, and those who have tried must make assumptions that may or may not be accurate. The proponents of the tariff assert the impact will be minor, and those who oppose it can come up with catastrophic numbers.

hurting the US effort to control China. The latest deadline was down to the wire and then extended for another month. The uncertainty has been taking its toll, and steel prices have risen sharply – despite the fact that 85 percent of the steel imports and roughly 90 percent of aluminum imports are still taking place. The steel makers in the US are hedging their bets to some degree and seem to expect the tariff regime to be in place at some point. Meanwhile, the latest data on manufacturing show a sharp slowdown based on higher prices for steel and aluminum, and lately of oil as well. n Chris Kuehl is managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence. Founded by Keith Prather and Chris Kuehl in January 2001, Armada began as a competitive intelligence firm, grounded in the discipline of gathering, analyzing and disseminating intelligence. Today, Armada executives function as trusted strategic advisers to business executives, merging fundamental roots in corporate intelligence gathering, economic forecasting and strategy development. Armada focuses on the market forces bearing down on organizations. More information: www.armada-intel.com

The best assessment is to look back at the 2002 tariff as guidance. Two of the hardest hit states were Michigan and Ohio, which lost 9,829 and 10,553 jobs, respectively. Both states rely heavily on steel to manufacture a variety of products. It is likely that several thousand jobs were preserved in states such as Indiana and Illinois, where the steel operations exist. On balance, the data showed that five time more jobs were lost than were gained or protected due to high-priced steel. There is no doubt that the US steel industry has been hit hard by waves of unfair competition over the last few decades. There are countries that overtly subsidize the production of steel, and others that deliberately overproduce with the intent of dumping that excess capacity. China has been at the center of these debates, but it is not the only county engaged in these tactics. China consumed the bulk of the steel it produced in the days of double-digit expansion and thousands of projects all over the country. Every region wanted its own steel operation, and China had no issue with this, as it needed the jobs and the steel. Since then, the construction sector has slowed, and China no longer needs the steel. This has not stopped these regions from producing, as they still need to preserve the jobs. The tariffs have been a political football in the last few months, with exemptions based on whether the countries are helping or

advantage Practical Advice for the Plastics Industry Ice Miller focuses on one goal, to meet the needs and issues of our clients efficiently and cost-effectively. Ice Miller attorneys with plastics industry experience can meet your greatest legal challenges. Contact Josef Keglewitsch at 614-462-2279 or Josef.Keglewitsch@icemiller.com for more information.

100+ lawyers from Ice Miller recognized by Best Lawyers in AmericaÂŽ


300+ lawyers in Columbus and other offices Ice on Fire

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 21


iD Additives Introduces New QuickShots® Purge Products

Conair Launches New Desiccant Dryers A new generation of Carousel Plus® desiccant dryers from Conair, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, includes the X Series portable dryers and dX Series mobile drying/ conveying systems. They offer resin drying together with advanced yet easy-to-use controls, high reliability and energy efficiency, and a new air-to-air aftercooling option. The new DC-C programmable electronic controller, which was developed specifically for drying applications, uses software developed by Conair to maximize flexibility in adapting to current and future customer application needs. It is available on both the X and dX series dryers in two configurations: the DC-C Plus package features a 4" touchscreen user interface, while the DC-C Premium offers a 7" screen. For more information, visit www.conairgroup.com.

Vive Develops Zweck Analysis™ to Replace Traditional SWOT Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Vive LLC introduced the Zweck Analysis™, a newly trademarked, customized, internal deep evaluation into a company’s core that finds the purpose for being in business. “Zweck” is the German translation for “purpose.” Vive has always believed in placing strategy before tactics. The Zweck Analysis™ is no different, as it begins the process of brand storytelling to determine what a company’s unique purpose is – its why. Teresa Schell, president and owner of Vive, created this new process to replace and upgrade the traditional SWOT analysis. For more information, visit www.vive4mfg.com.

22 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

iD Additives, Inc., LaGrange, Illinois, introduced two new QuickShots purge products, which are single-dose purge compounds that come in individual packets. These compounds allow operators to purge their machinery by dropping the packets into the feed throat/hopper of the machine. The products work with all resin types on all plastics machinery processes, including injection molding, extrusion and blow molding. The expanded QuickShots product line will include QuickShots liquid in pouch; the new QuickShots HD (heavy duty), with glass prills mixed in for extra cleaning strength; and the new QuickShots SP (pellets in a pouch) – including a new, extra-small 0.5-oz. version, ideal for lab lines and small runs. For more information, visit www.iDAdditives.com.

Frigel Reveals Line of Microgel Machine-Side Chiller/TCUs Frigel, East Dundee, Illinois, introduced its line of Microgel machineside chiller/temperature control units (TCUs) with digital controls that let users capture energy consumption data to further increase productivity and profitability. The ability of the Microgel units to display and record historical process cooling energy data marks an industry first. In addition to energy consumption, the Microgel digital controls give users the ability to review temperatures, pressures and flow rates. All operating data are stored in a historical log and accessible via a user-friendly touchscreen. The result is the ability to easily adjust the unit for specific molding conditions for optimal efficiencies. For more information, visit www.frigel.com.

Carbon Releases Two New Materials

PolySource Expands Technical Sales Team

Carbon, Redwood City, California, announced two new materials: Epoxy (EPX) 82 and Elastomeric Polyurethane (EPU) 41. EPX 82 is a high-strength engineering material with a heat-deflection temperature of 125°C and good impact strength, making it ideal for applications requiring a balance of strength, toughness and thermalcycling durability, such as connectors, brackets and housings in the automotive and industrial sectors. Its mechanical properties are comparable to lightly glass-filled thermoplastics (e.g. 20 percent GF-PBT, 15 percent GFNylon) and meet the USCAR-2 fluid compatibility standards. EPU 41 is well suited for producing elastomeric lattice geometries that can outperform traditional foams. It has higher resilience and better low-temperature performance compared to EPU 40, and its combination of tear strength, energy return and elongation make it perfect for cushioning, impact absorption and comfort. EPU 41 also performs very well in functional testing, including fatigue, hydrolysis, UVstability and plastic deformation tests. For more information, visit www.carbon3d.com.

PolySource, Kansas City, Missouri, expanded its technical sales team with the addition of two technical application development managers, Chad Miller and Kyle Attebury, and a technical application development specialist, Laura Myers. Miller joins PolySource with 10 years of plastic expertise as a project engineer, account manager and material manager. He will manage the Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Indiana territories. Attebury comes to the PolySource team after accomplishing more than four years of record growth in a $9 million territory with a privately held custom compounder. He will manage the Eastern Missouri, Illinois and Southwest Indiana territories. Myers is a recent graduate of Ferris State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in plastics engineering technology. For more information, visit www. polysource.net.

Paulson Announces ProMolder™ 2 Paulson Training, Chester, Connecticut, enhanced its ProMolder™ 2 injection molding seminar, calling it the “next generation” in advanced molding skills training. This rigorous, handson certification course features 6+ additional hours of machine time, the addition of a comprehensive math for molders module and time with Paulson’s SimTech™. Paulson’s ProMolder™ 2 seminar is a week-long immersive learning experience taught in Paulson’s partner technical facilities around the country, including ARBURG, Polymer Center of Excellence, Extellent, Krauss Maffei and Toshiba. Paulson’s ProMolder™ 2 is one of six technical training seminars being offered by Paulson’s Plastics Academy and is the second level in the injection molding ProMolder™ series. For more information, visit www. paulsontraining.com or call 800.826.1901.

Wittmann Battenfeld Introduces EcoPower Xpress-400 Wittmann Battenfeld, Torrington, Connecticut, introduced the all-electric high-speed injection molding machine, EcoPower Xpress-400. Its main movements are driven by water-cooled servo motors. The machine is equipped with a highly dynamic injection unit, and its clamping unit is a 3-platen/4-tiebar system with a 5-point toggle lever, self-locking in the end position, with a drive system consisting of a servo motor and rack-and-pinion gears. The EcoPower Xpress is primarily geared to the requirements of the packaging and thin wall industry. The dynamic drive axes for injection, as well as closing and opening of the EcoPower Xpress, are designed for fast movements and ultimate control accuracy. For more information, visit www.wittmann-group.com. n

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 23


US Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum Imports: Action Items for Businesses by Dave Andrea, Daron Gifford and Bryan Welsh, Plante Moran


y now, you’ve heard about the new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum instituted in early March 2018. It's no surprise many businesses have questions and concerns. Here’s our overview and key actions to consider.

The situation

The 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum were based on findings from the US Department of Commerce. The tariffs will apply to all goods entered, or withdrawn, from warehouse for consumption on or after 12:01 a.m. EDT on March 23, 2018. With objectives to increase US steel mill operating capacity to 80 percent (from an estimated 72.3 percent in 2017) and primary aluminum production to 80 percent (from an estimated 39 percent in 2017), the Department of Commerce found that “excessive” steel imports and the “present quantities and circumstances” of aluminum imports are weakening both the domestic economy and national security. Since the tariffs are being justified as a means to maintain national security, the termination dates are uncertain. How long will the capacity utilization rates need to stay above 80 percent before the commerce secretary determines the tariffs are no longer needed? And, what about the politics involved in the determination of exemptions, the determination of whether negotiations with Canada and Mexico on NAFTA are agreeable, as well as ultimate termination? Right now, those questions are open. The nomination of Larry Kudlow as chair of the National Economic Council also will be important, since his public positions are supportive of free trade.

The country suspensions and the exclusion process

On March 23, 2018, the Trump administration announced that steel and aluminum imports from the following countries would be temporarily suspended through April 30, 2018: • • • • • • •

Argentina Australia Brazil Canada Mexico The 28 member countries of the European Union South Korea (steel only)

24 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

Canada, Mexico and the European Union were later exempted through June 1. Based on the status of the discussions, the president will decide whether these countries will remain exempt from the tariffs. The European Union is negotiating on behalf of its member countries. The Trump administration continues to state these suspensions are subject to “pending discussions of satisfactory long-term alternative means to address the threatened impairment to US national security.” It already has been reported that South Korea has negotiated a quota of steel imports equal to 70 percent of the average level over the past three years, along with an extension of the existing 25 percent tariff on two-door, light-duty pickup trucks through 2041 as part of the ongoing renegotiation of the Korean-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). Expect analogous announcements out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) related to Canada and Mexico to keep these countries on the suspension list. The exclusion process was posted to the Federal Register on March 19, 2018. The most important considerations for both steel and aluminum exclusion submissions include the following: • The two exclusion processes follow the same structure, but have different criteria based on the differences between the steel and aluminum industries. • Only individuals or organizations, not trade organizations, using steel and aluminum in business activities in the US may submit exclusion requests. • Approved exclusions will be made on a product basis and will be limited to the individual or organization that submitted the specific exclusion request, unless the secretary of commerce approves a broader application of the product-based exclusion request to apply to additional importers. • The forms with required documentation and additional information are found within the Federal Register posting. The reviews are expected to be completed within 90 days, with the approved exclusions being posted in the Federal Register for a 30-day comment period. • If approved, the tariff exemption is retroactive to the public comment posting date. The exclusions are generally expected to be one year in duration.

How manufacturers can assess the impact

Manufacturers know the cost of their raw materials and material cost in purchased semi-finished goods, but there always is uncertainty about where the material is purchased from, particularly when buying steel or aluminum through distributors and service centers. For the auto industry, provenance may be more certain given the strict material specifications that may limit where materials are sourced. For other manufacturers, contractors and those with steel and aluminum in their bills of materials, the primary source of materials may be a surprise. And again, domestic prices will rise – although perhaps not oneto-one – with import prices. To begin to minimize the impact of the new tariffs, consider the following steps: • Identify the materials, material processes and processors, and fabricators in your supply chain, as well as inbound and outbound logistics patterns. Do this as far down through the supply chain as possible. • Match these steps in the value stream against the list of countries that have suspended tariffs. Be careful to identity the country of origin, not the point of shipment. For remaining material and components in the value stream, match these to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (see below) to determine what content is subject to tariffs. Be careful: aluminum tariffs also include downstream aluminum castings, forgings, tubing and similar products. • Carefully review contracts with suppliers and customers to assure your company is as material-neutral as possible and not accepting material cost increases from a supplier that cannot be mitigated with the customer. • While complete cost neutrality is never possible – neither in absolute terms nor timing – this is where you can initiate discussions with suppliers and customers. Where is supplier renegotiation possible? Where are customer opportunities, such as material resale programs, available and commercially viable? • Identify where alternative sources are viable. They always are available, but can the sources be certified, validated, etc.? While the many and broad effects of the new steel and aluminum tariffs won’t be fully evident for some time, manufacturers should consider taking the steps above now – and stay abreast of developments through your colleagues, advisers and industry associations. This is particularly important as country additions or exclusions are tied to complex, ongoing trade negotiations.

How long will the capacity utilization rates need to stay above 80 percent before the commerce secretary determines the tariffs are no longer needed? 7302.10, 7302.40 through 7302.90, and 7304.10 through 7306.90, including any subsequent revisions to these HTS classifications. Aluminum: Applies to Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) as: (a) unwrought aluminum (HTS 7601); (b) aluminum bars, rods, and profiles (HTS 7604); (c) aluminum wire (HTS 7605); (d) aluminum plate, sheet, strip, and foil (flat rolled products) (HTS 7606 and 7607); (e) aluminum tubes and pipes and tube and pipe fitting (HTS 7608 and 7609); and (f) aluminum castings and forgings (HTS 7616.99.51.60 and 7616.99.51.70), including any subsequent revisions to these HTS classifications. n Article reprinted with permission from Plante Moran. Daron Gifford is a partner with Plante Moran, one of the largest accounting, tax and consulting firms, with 22 offices globally. He leads the company’s Strategy and Automotive industry consulting services, with over 40 years of experience working with manufacturing companies to advise them on their critical strategic challenges. More information: www.plantemoran.com, daron.gifford@ plantemoran.com or 248.223.3709

For additional key information on the potential impact of tariffs and managing the risks to your business, access the following links: https://www.plantemoran.com/explore-our-thinking/ insight/2018/04/tariffs-and-customs-how-well-do-youknow-your-value-stream https://www.plantemoran.com/explore-our-thinking/ insight/2018/04/concerned-about-tariffs-six-ways-tomanage-uncertainty

Additional details on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule

Steel: Applies to Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) 6-digit level as: 7206.10 through 7216.50, 7216.99 through 7301.10,

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 25


The View from 30 Feet Business gurus often talk about the view from 30,000 feet – the big picture that provides a look at overall operations. Perhaps, however, the focus should be on the view from 30 feet – a close-up of specific processes and procedures that make an impact now.

Implementing Cobots: Working Collaboratively with Robots at Wisconsin Plastics by Lara Copeland, contributing editor, Plastics Business


t's a common joke at parties and a worry among laborers: robots taking over the world. But, employees of all levels at Wisconsin Plastics Inc. (WPI), located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, have embraced change by working in harmony with robots for one year. The contract injection molding company began taking steps to implement a collaborative robot, or what WPI now refers to as a cobot, in January of 2017, shortly after Plant Manager Carl Bartle was hired. “Our motto is ‘We provide innovation,’” Bartle said, “and a few of us at WPI were excited by how innovative these robots are.” Wanting to test the waters, the company owner, the vice president of operations and Bartle visited a factory that had already successfully implemented the use of a cobot. “That's when we first started realizing how hightech and helpful they truly are,” he said. Following the plant tour, the team began discussing the possibility of incorporating a cobot at their facility. “We were able to look at the cost justification right away and determine that the labor savings and efficiency improvements were going to return our investment very quickly,” Bartle stated. He also pointed out that by installing a cobot, WPI would be able to provide more line employees with stimulating work where they’d be able to utilize their skills and expertise more frequently. “It all boils down to trying to remove the redundant, motion-intensive tasks from our talent’s job description,” he added. “It not only helps to prevent injuries, but our employees are more fulfilled with their work.” The team saw an opportunity to use a cobot on the multi-step assemblies that required human interaction and therefore ran the risk of error, production bottlenecks and frustrated employees. “These offline assemblies tend to be slower because there’s nothing driving the rate other than the people running the line,” Bartle explained. He said that by implementing a cobot, perhaps

26 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

Wisconsin Plastics Inc.’s collaborative robot is affectionately named Laverne. Photo courtesy of WPI.

they could bring one of the assembly lines back into the injection plant, attach the cobot to the presses and use it to not only drive the rhythm but also to help get the processes simplified to the point where assembly could be done within the press cycle time. “We focused our energy on the toughest assembly – we figured we could either try something easy and cheer when we’re successful, or we could try something really hard, and then really get excited if we could make it work.” Looking to provide more gainful employment for line workers, WPI decided to include a cobot on a line that had two employees on the injection side making the plastic components, while

the assembly side had four more people working on it. Bartle reported that the rates on the assembly side varied depending on the day of the week, which shift was working and who was assigned to it. “When humans are setting a part on the fixture repeatedly all day long, it gets tiring and boring and often results in inconsistencies in the number of parts we get out per hour and per day,” he said. “Implementing the cobot allowed us to offer more inspiring work for folks.” By May 2017, WPI had purchased a cobot – affectionately named Laverne. Next, the company hired an integration team to help determine how to incorporate Laverne with the press it would be running on. This press was an older machine, and the overhead picking robot was an older piece of technology. As Bartle explained, “This required some really talented individuals to help us figure out how to get the old technology integrated with the new technology.” The team worked to determine the fixturing, set the timing associated with that fixturing and make sure everything was in place at the proper point in time. The company now runs a Universal Robot with its standard machine robot to pick, place and pad print parts as part of its human assembly line.

Once the cobot was fully integrated, Bartle said they turned it loose on the assembly floor to let the machine operators and the assembly personnel get involved. “We wanted them to tell us what they thought about the cobot,” he said, “and that’s where it got really exciting.” At first, the assemblers and operators were what Bartle described as “shy.” He elaborated, “They were worried about the robot taking over their future, but once they realized that it was just there to take over the duller tasks – tasks that are repetitive and don’t require any skills or talent to complete – they realized they could then focus on the more complex tasks, like quality control inspection and the actual assembly itself.” The employees then were excited to work with the cobot, and they shared their enthusiasm with Bartle. Several WPI employees have come forward and asked about buying more cobots, offering ideas on where to put them. “The ingenuity coming from the shop floor is fantastic,” Bartle said. The presence of the current cobot has been a catalyst for more automation projects. “They’re realizing that it’s not here to replace anyone, but it’s helping them improve their individual page 28 u

NEW! The Technology of Injection Molding, available anytime, on any device. “The money we saved with Paulson and our other investments is staggering.” –Joel Scott., IAC

Paulson’s newest injection molding training 
 takes you inside the molding process showing you what you canÕt see on the production ßoor. Combined with SkillBuilder,™ our injection molding simulator, this course takes you directly from learning injection molding concepts to hands-on practice making this the most effective injection molding training available.

Visit PaulsonTraining.com/skills or call 800.826.1901 for your FREE TRIAL.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 27

VIEW FROM 30 t page 27

skill sets while also allowing them to focus on other tasks that require talent.” In addition to the boosted morale, the company has seen tremendous results in efficiency. So far, the cobot has increased throughput for the assembly line by 25 percent, in addition to allowing WPI to reassign three assemblers per shift. “With the cobot on the shop floor, we’ve been able to take the machine operators and promote them to assemblers,” Bartle responded. “I was able to bring the two people assigned to the two machines running parts, plus another four people on the assembly line in our other building, down to three people.” The three reassigned employees were shifted to other necessary lines and projects. “As a plant manager, I have to make sure that I’m applying an individual’s skills accordingly and not wasting their expertise on picking up a part, setting it down and pushing a button.” Bartle said that such experiences are never good for job satisfaction or product quality. Moreover, from a labor-saving perspective, the robot is much more cost-efficient.

The Clear Choice for Your Application


Industrial Delivering Application Solutions



Consumer Goods


Amco Polymers has the technical knowledge, lab resources and compounding facilities to assist in your most challenging application needs. Contact our 24/7 Customer Service Team

28 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

We focused our energy on the toughest assembly – we figured we could either try something easy and cheer when we’re successful, or we could try something really hard, and then really get excited if we could make it work. “The engineering team and I had a basic concept for this cobot,” Bartle continued, “but it wasn’t until it hit the floor that things dramatically improved.” He explained that employees drove the line set-up and still are constantly coming up with new ideas. “We hear suggestions about positioning, moving the conveyor, flipping the robot to run the other direction – all sorts of things to shave a few seconds off the line and add consistency to the product.” In the future, the company is thinking about bringing in more cobots to do specific and simple tasks, such as visual inspection. “The robots have cameras that can be mounted on them to look at the part, adjust it and look for basic defects,” Bartle clarified. WPI also is wanting to utilize robots for part sorting and packaging assistance. “We currently are looking at how we can utilize a cobot to scan and pick cases coming down a conveyor before moving them to the correct outbound product lines.” Future cobots also may be integrated into offline assembly processes. Bartle said they’ve looked at utilizing smaller cobots to put screws in products or for placement of parts onto a fixture. In 2017, MAPP presented WPI with a third-place Innovation Award for Automation Deployment. As Bartle said, “everyone was thrilled,” and the award is displayed in the front office. “The people who were involved in getting the line established are pretty proud of the fact that they were engaged in this project, and they enjoy the idea of being involved in the future now that they realize the robots will not replace anybody – that the robot is here to help us.” As a plant manager, Bartle thinks cobots are the way of the future because they drive cadence and keep employees focused. “It’s nice because the robot keeps things going while still allowing people on the shop floor to have their conversations, but they don't have those pauses or frustrations when placing something on the fixture that won’t align properly. If we can implement more of these, our labor efficiencies are going to go way up. It is then that we can really dive into more complicated tasks where we need those human skill sets – we’re not wasting those anymore.” n


launching a perfect tool the first time.

Simulation Injection molding simulation using SigmasoftÂŽ, Moldex3D, and AutodeskÂŽ Moldflow Insight

optimization Hands-on optimization of the mold design, part design, and injection molding process


Evaluation Evaluation of polymer and resin selections, in-mold sensors, and current process procedures

Real-world consultation, including process monitoring and control strategies, research and development, and training and workshops


Challenges accepted.

Solutions delivered.


Novatec’s continuing innovations provide the drying solutions for today and tomorrow.


All-in-one Conveying, Drying and Temperature Control.

© Copyright 2018 Novatec, Inc.

Space-saving design has a single footprint, single control. Features mistake-proof setup with the ultimate QC package.




–5– YEA







warr R anty O W


Mobile, beside-the-press package self adjusts to avoid over drying. Includes Novatec’s Patented Moisture Manager and OverDry Protection. Self-adjusts to save energy and avoid over drying of expensive resins.


The industry’s first Non-Oxidizing Nitrogen Generating Dryer. Many specialty resins are subject to yellowing, oxidation, or degradation caused by drying in an oxygenated hopper. That’s all cleared up with NITROdry.

Contact the Drying Experts Today.

www.novatec.com 800-237-8379 | sales@novatec.com


Young Professionals Plant Tour Scheduled at Thogus Products On June 20, MAPP’s Young Professionals will visit Thogus Products, Avon Lakes, Ohio, for a full-day event focused on how plastics companies can create a culture of continuous improvement. Thogus has a dedicated focus on culture and employee engagement that fosters continuous improvement across the organization. From its monthly communication meetings that highlight ongoing initiatives and recent successes to the company’s unique manager alert cards that allow employees to identify opportunities for continuous improvement, there are no shortages of great ideas being generated. Employees at Thogus are trained to seek out opportunities for innovation and improvement and are rewarded and recognized for their efforts.

Attendees will network with one another, discuss opportunities to improve the practices in their own facilities, hear from the team at Thogus Products about their experiences in creating this dynamic culture, as well as gain training from industry experts. Learn more and join other plastics industry young professionals by visiting www.mappinc.com. Drugs in the Workplace Report Available Published in mid-April 2018, MAPP’s 2018 Drugs in the Workplace Report is a 193-page document that includes analysis of inputs from more than 110 US manufacturers in regard to their organization's drug policies. Topics highlighted include legality of marijuana, type of testing conducted, drugs screened during testing, accident documentation, company EAPs and adaptations due to the current opioid crisis. Along with an analysis of findings, the report includes 48 unique drug policies submitted by manufacturers. These policies have been scrubbed of company-identifying information and serve as a benchmark and inspiration for those organizations looking to update, improve or implement a drug policy in their establishment. To learn more and purchase this report, visit www.mappinc.com/resources.

32 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

MAPP Plant Tour at Par 4 Plastics Scheduled for July Join MAPP’s staff, board of directors and industry executives at MAPP’s summer plant tour at Par 4 Plastics, Marion, Kentucky, on Thursday, July 26. Par 4 Plastics is a familyowned company with family values, established in 1990. The team at Par 4 has a strong belief in partnerships with people, community, customers and suppliers. Serving the automotive, electronics, sporting goods and construction markets, the company has 200,000 square feet of manufacturing, molding and assembly processes at two facilities located on 30-plus acres. The facilities and equipment are modern, clean and world class. All of Par 4’s equipment is automated with various poke yoke technology for quality performance, and the facilities have been retrofitted with LED lighting and air conditioning. To learn more and register for the tour, visit www.mappinc.com/events. Association Welcomes New MAPP Members MAPP is proud to welcome the following plastics organizations into the MAPP network: • Ambrit Engineering Corp., Santa Ana, California • Blue Ridge Industries, Winchester, Virginia • Davalor Mold Company, Chesterfield, Michigan • Fabrik Molded Plastics, McHenry, Illinois • Flex, Manchester, Connecticut • Imperial Plastics – Heron, Lakeville, Minnesota • Imperial Plastics – Mora, More, Minnesota • ITW Deltar Fasteners, Frankfort, Illinois • P&P Industries, Sterling, Illinois • Plasti-Coil, LLC, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin • Polymer Contours, Allentown, Pennsylvania • Revere Plastics Systems, Jeffersonville, Indiana • Revere Plastics Systems, Poplar Bluff, Missouri • Triangle Rubber & Plastics, Goshen, Indiana

2018 Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Summit: Leading to Zero The 2018 Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Summit is a unique event focused on helping manufacturing companies achieve world-class safety records. Scheduled for July 18-19 in Columbus, Ohio, this year’s EHS Summit will feature keynote speaker David Sarkus and will provide safety professionals with implementable ideas they can take back to their facilities.

This event is designed to facilitate best practice sharing, build leadership skills and give attendees practical and innovative solutions to their largest safety challenges. Visit www. mappinc.com to learn more about this event and register.

MAPP Best Practices Awards Submission Deadlines Announced Awards season has arrived, and MAPP has recently announced the schedule for its annual Best Practices Awards Series. Each year, MAPP celebrates innovative practices across all areas of plastics manufacturing. Hard work and commitment always are crucial to success, but being competitive means working smart. Across the hundreds of MAPP member companies, there are stories about small improvements that are implemented on factory floors by employees who make their work faster, safer and more efficient. To celebrate that commitment to innovation, MAPP instituted its annual Best Practices Awards series, dedicated to honoring companies that are doing the “small” things that it takes to get ahead in an increasingly competitive marketplace and elevate the industry as a whole.

resolution and surface finish from a pool of resin in a process that eliminates the shortcomings of conventional 3D printing. From aerospace, automotive, electronics, industrial components and highly customizable medical devices, Carbon makes it possible for creators to design the parts and products of the future. Carbon is pleased to offer a $500 resin credit to all MAPP Members. Operator and Entry-Level Employee Training – a MAPP YP Project As part of its founding mission, MAPP’s Young Professionals Network is working on its first annual project. Each year, the Young Professionals Network is charged with developing and delivering a project that positively impacts MAPP members and/or the industry as a whole. This year’s project focuses on operator and entry-level employee training. The project, with a planned release date of October 2018, will include a structured outline for the skills new operators and entry-level employees need to be successful. This outline also will include specific topics and curated resources available exclusively for MAPP members on the MAPP website. page 34 u My accountant found a way to get tax credits for research and experimentation. That’s more than accounting.

n Safety Best Practices Awards • Accepting submissions through May 25, 2018 n Innovation Award • Accepting submissions June 25 through July 31, 2018 n Educational Outreach Award • Accepting submissions Aug. 13 through Sept. 7, 2018

that’s innovation

For more information about these awards, visit www. mappinc.com/resources. MAPP Introduces New Cost-Reduction Program MAPP is excited to welcome Carbon into the MAPP organization. Carbon works at the intersection of hardware, software and materials to empower manufacturers and producers to evolve beyond basic prototyping to producing digital 3D manufacturing at scale by revolutionizing how they design, engineer, make and deliver their products. Carbon hopes to educate members on their technology and to provide them with new revenue opportunities though tool-less end-use production parts. Carbon makes this vision possible by combining engineering-grade materials with exceptional

If your business has developed or improved products, processes, techniques, formulas, inventions or software, you may be able to claim a federal tax credit. What have you created lately? Let’s see if it qualifies.


Visit muellerprost.com or call us at 800.649.4838.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 33

association t page 33

Anyone interested in helping with this year’s annual project should reach out to Ashley (Turrell) Burleson at aturrell@ mappinc.com. Plastics Industry Fly-In to Take Place Sept. 12, 2018, in Washington, DC For the third year in a row, MAPP is proud to support and sponsor the Plastics Industry Fly-In. The Plastics Fly-In allows plastics industry professionals the opportunity to show up in Washington, DC, as a group and educate those on Capitol Hill about how plastics help change peoples’ lives for the better. Attendees will have face-to-face meetings with lawmakers and key decision makers, giving them the opportunity to share their real-world stories. These meetings help lawmakers understand how legislative issues will impact the health and viability of plastics’ businesses, their employees and their customers.

Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference – Registration Now Open Mark the calendar for Oct. 10-12, 2018. Early bird registration now is open for the 2018 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference, to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana. This year's theme – BE EXTRAORDINARY – will inspire, motivate and educate processors on how to continuously improve every day. Good leaders continually work to make themselves better, and attendees of the 2018 Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference will accomplish that goal! For more information and to register for the plastics industry’s only conference focused on plastics processors, visit www.mappinc.com. n

MAPP invites its members to join MAPP’s staff and board of directors at this event. Visit www.mappinc.com for more information.

1 34 |iDadditives_FoamingAgents_PB_HalfPgHorizontal_050218.indd plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

5/2/18 4:08 PM

“We spec only Progressive’s Ejector Pins. Their sizing is the industry’s most consistent, and where others’ gall, Progressive’s perform.” Steve Kieffer, Termax LLC

engineered for production Molders can experience a high rate of mold downtime due to ejector pins failing. To eliminate this, turn to Progressive: • Best surface finish and hardness for 420 SS inserts • No dishing or nicking due to a 48-50 HRC core • Consistent quality, no need to size holes for pins Don’t let inferior components bench your tools. Call Engineering at 1-800-269-6653 to discuss how the Progressive advantage can generate profits for you.



LinkedIn Marketing for Plastics Businesses by Kyle Milan, CEO, 5 Fold Agency


ver the last 10 years, we all have heard about the importance of social media and the trends associated with it, but most plastics companies are stuck in a losing strategy, sending out Twitter posts that get no engagement. Regardless of your hashtags, cool tradeshow pics of your booth or distribution of your content, Twitter is the platform with the most noise. Your posts are getting lost. When the results of your efforts are audited, the lack of engagement should have you changing your focus immediately… and, it’s not 2011 anymore. It’s time to take a step back and rethink your strategy. The key aspect of social marketing is making sure that you are active on the social platform where your potential prospects are active. Your prospects may be on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, but it’s critical to identify where they are focusing their attention. Experience has proven LinkedIn to be the primary social media outlet that provides the most ROI to manufacturing and industrial companies, because it’s still the leader in the B2B arena.

in the summary areas that will resonate with potential clients, along with buttoning up everything from headline and headshot to profile content and engagement with your network. Your active sales/marketing team must be dedicated to time spent daily producing and sharing content that will engage with connections for sales opportunities to follow.

LinkedIn has proven benefits, because approximately 75 percent of the companies that plastic businesses are trying to target are on LinkedIn in some way. Even if a company doesn’t have its own page, the company’s employees will have LinkedIn profiles. As the platform evolves and improves, it’s estimated that two new LinkedIn users sign up every second. Currently, there are about 500 million users and about 250 million monthly users. People are no longer using the platform strictly as a job searching tool.

Having good content is only part of the battle. Continue to build your personal network daily by using the 80/20 rule: Keep 80 percent of connections relevant to your industry and the goals to be achieved in terms of prospects and industry professionals. The other 20 percent should consist of influencers with 15,000 or more connections who can assist in pushing your content to a broader audience, gaining you notoriety as a knowledge source in the industry.

Many people who have profiles on LinkedIn also have profiles on Facebook, but the purpose for each is different. On LinkedIn, you’re going to see fewer personal stories and more focus on career and business. LinkedIn also provides total control over your privacy and settings. It’s made for business and excels with manufacturing and industrial companies.

In addition to marketing your company, use LinkedIn to provide value to your network. This tends to get missed as companies often only promote their news and updates. You’ll find an abundant return if your company shares information to help the community (without self-promoting) and provides industryrelevant information 75 percent of the time. Pushing company content has a place, but focus on providing value first in your manufacturing marketing strategy.

This makes your company page and personal page of the utmost importance to prospecting. It is imperative to have updated, accurate company and personal profiles. From a sales/marketing standpoint, this means sharing a compelling professional story

36 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

If used strategically, LinkedIn can build your brand and drive sales. You could find thousands of articles telling you how to do

this, but those tricks often can lead to mistakes and wasted time. The rest of this article focuses on organic and paid ways to make LinkedIn work for your business.

The Organic Approach

Here are the top five organic manufacturing marketing strategies you can implement today that, over time, will increase your brand awareness and sales. 1. Improve your LinkedIn profile If all you’ve done with your LinkedIn profile is add work experience, your job title and a profile photo, you’re missing opportunities. When you think of the marketing side of LinkedIn, a profile often isn’t at the top of the list of things to put work into, but it should be. Users search the platform every day for your expertise and what you have to offer. Optimize your profile with a ton of relevant content under each section, starting with the headline. Having your current job title as your headline doesn’t express nearly enough of what you have to offer. Use a strategic sentence to tell future clients and network connections or partners what you can do for them and use vertical bars to break down each aspect of your expertise. Next, move down to the summary and use it to tell your professional story. Compel people to do business with you based on the value you can provide and accomplishments you have achieved. Go into detail about each position under your work experience. What did you do? What were some accomplishments you made? How did you help the company? What are some skills you picked up working there? The more optimized content on your profile, the better. 2. Have patience You have to water your grass before it will grow. Not every message you send will get a prompt response, and sometimes you may not get any response. This is what separates those who succeed in marketing on LinkedIn and those who don’t. It’s human nature to get frustrated, but giving up is not an option when you want results. You might post something in the hopes that a specific person sees it and that person might not check the site every day or every week. When they get on the next day, your post is lost in their feed unless it was passed around by other connections or had enough shares/likes/comments to show up again. Have patience with connections and messages you send and with the content you post. Be persistent and consistent with your marketing efforts. 3. It’s work, but worth it If you aren’t willing to spend the time and energy on LinkedIn, don’t expect sales to follow. I challenge you to put in a couple

Keep 80 percent of your connections relevant to you, and build the other 20 percent with influencers who have 15k+ connections and who are regularly engaging with their network. hours every day engaging, prospecting and producing content on LinkedIn. This is not a sprint: It’s a marathon, and your behavior must reflect that to be successful. The more you engage with your network, the more you’ll get out of it in return. Use the time you spend on LinkedIn purposefully. Promote other people daily by liking, commenting on and sharing their posts. Put in the work with your content as well. Use your knowledge and experience to publish articles on LinkedIn that your network will benefit from with no expectation of an immediate benefit. Search for valuable blog posts and articles that you can link to and make yourself a resource. Follow up with connections and messages and keep yourself organized by using tags in the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Break tags down into categories like interest level and prospect qualification. Then, attach those tags to people’s profiles to keep everything in order. Get out of the mindset that this is just a social network – it’s one of the most valuable marketing tools that is available right now for B2B. 4. Give first, ask later Nothing will put a prospect off more than pitching them without providing them with something useful first. Old school and onesided marketing advises that you shouldn’t give anything away without getting something in return, whether that’s an email address, subscription or a sale. Instead of abiding by that philosophy, provide your network with value first, and you will be astonished at the long-term results. The ROI on time you spend providing that value will come back exponentially. Remember: Be patient. 5. The 80/20 Rule I’ve already discussed my thoughts on the 80/20 rule in the previous text; however, here is some additional information to consider. Keep 80 percent of your connections relevant to you, and build the other 20 percent with influencers who have 15k+ connections and who are regularly engaging with their network. The 80 percent who are relevant to you will be an asset to your marketing strategy as you engage with people in positions and page 38 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 37

MARKETING t page 37

industries that you focus on serving. That 20 percent influencer base is just as important, giving you connections who can help pick up a post and blast it to their thousands of connections for additional exposure. One way to really take advantage of this is to compose a post, not more than once a month, and tag one of your influencer connections. Mention them in the post, give them credit for something and then push with your content. They may then like and share that post and you’ve extended your reach – that’s the 80/20 rule at work. To put LinkedIn to work for your organic industrial marketing strategy, first evaluate your profile and LinkedIn practices. Once you have corrected how you use LinkedIn, you’ll start to see results, but remember – this can take time, so don’t get discouraged. Instead, forge on and continue creating meaningful content that will draw people to your profile and let them see you as an authority in your field. If you aren’t using these strategies, implement them today and watch the results start to work for you.

The Paid Approach

Once you’ve completed the above organic growth approach and you’re firing on all cylinders, beginning a simple paid campaign is a great tactic to penetrate deeper into your target demographic and quickly increase brand awareness. Before you go reaching for that “start” button, there are some basics that you need to understand first to avoid wasting money. If you’re going to go at it alone, and not hire an agency to manage it for you, here are the basics when running a self-service campaign. 1. Types of advertising There are basically four types of advertising on LinkedIn for self-service, which means that you can control the strategy, the copy, the style and the frequency of your campaign. You can also stop, pause or cancel a campaign at any point.

A. Text ad – These are simple and are 30 to 100 characters of text at the top of a LinkedIn feed. As you refresh your feed, a new text ad will come up. This is the least effective form of advertising on LinkedIn because it’s often overlooked by the viewer. B. InMail – LinkedIn’s Sponsored InMail is its version of cold email marketing. There are a lot of pros to this type of advertising: it’s cost effective and you can still target your audience. Your return on investment will be lower and the effectiveness of the campaign is lower than the third and fourth options. C. Sponsored post – This shows up in your native newsfeed. It’s typically the second or third post in the center of your feed that most LinkedIn users will see as they go through their newsfeed. This will be some sort of graphic, white paper, article or something below the company name, and it’s going to say “promoted” or “sponsored” in light gray, which indicates it’s a paid post. D. Sponsored video (new) – Using the same delivery and placement as a “sponsored post,” this shows up in your native newsfeed. By using a native upload (instead of YouTube) your video will auto play as the user scrolls through their feed, catching their attention immediately if the creative relevancy is done correctly. Sponsored posts and sponsored videos are the most effective method of LinkedIn advertising for manufacturing companies, but also the most expensive cost-per-click or cost-perimpression. These sponsored posts are the most expensive because you can do hyper-targeting and strategic campaigns to a very specific and focused demographic. Therefore, LinkedIn can charge anywhere from $8 to $20 per click because they know you have total control over who sees it. They know it’s worth it if your product or service has room for a higher client acquisition cost.

Experience. Innovation. Excellence. ProtoCAM is a leading provider of value-added additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping services for customers in a wide variety of industries.

www.protocam.com 610-261-9010

SLA | SLS | MJF | FDM | PolyJet | Urethane Castings | Metal Prototyping | Specialty Finishing

38 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

If the product or service that you sell is in the thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars per client, like a lot of manufacturing companies, then it’s worth it to invest into sponsored posts and videos. In the long run, your cost per client acquisition is minimal compared to the contacts and opportunities that you’ll see and profit you will make once a prospect becomes a customer. 2. Optimize your graphics When you’re running a LinkedIn sponsored post, you want to make sure that the graphics you’re using for the post are customized and created fresh for your specific campaign. You don’t want to recycle graphics unless it’s applicable to the message that you’re trying to send. Graphics are something you’ll want to continuously update and refresh. 3. Send click traffic to the correct page Send the traffic to a page that has specifically been created or optimized for the campaign that you’re running. You always want to send paid advertising traffic to a specific page, and you don’t want to just send them to your homepage unless you’re running a campaign that is strictly for brand awareness. Sending traffic

You take healthcare seriously. So we take it personally.

with a specific call-to-action means focusing on the relevancy of the text and the graphics that match the relevancy of the page. If people see your ad and have interest in your ad, they want to be brought immediately to a page that corresponds to that ad. 4. Tighten up your target demographic Once you’re setting up your campaign in LinkedIn’s campaign manager, you’ll have 100% control over who sees your ads based on your target demographic, which is driven by the information people provide on their profile. This information can be their title, geographic location, company, the school they attended, job function or the seniority that they have, and it can all be used as target triggers when setting up your campaign. The key is to be as specific and strategic as possible and determine the tightest target demographic while also making sure that the number of people that come up in your results is high enough. This information can be found at the top right corner of the LinkedIn campaign manager, and it will help ensure that your ads are actually going to be seen on a daily basis by your demographic. page 40 u

When healthcare-related molding is your business, the stakes are high. That’s why M. Holland is committed to delivering plastic resins exactly how and when you need them. Our dedicated healthcare experts know how to marry your physical and chemical requirements with your regulatory responsibilities— even when both can change quickly. When you succeed in a mission-critical industry, we’ve done our job. Because to us, it’s more than just business. It’s personal. Learn more at mholland.com.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 39

MARKETING t page 39

The best tactic for this is to focus on company names. Each campaign allows you to have 100 company names that you can input and pair with their company LinkedIn page. Then you’re going to look for employees in those specific companies based on their job function, whether it’s purchasing, engineering, operations, sales, marketing, administration, etc. The next filtering would be seniority if you want to target only managers and above. Be careful not to over-target because you could be missing people who don’t have their profiles properly updated.

campaign either for your brand or a specific tradeshow you want people to attend. A standard LinkedIn campaign with a CPC (cost-per-click) setup shows the lower threshold should be around 0.5 percent to 0.6 percent. Try and shoot for anywhere from 0.9 percent to 1.3 percent click-through rate. • Google Analytics: Check your bounce rate, average time on site and number of page views to get a rough idea as to whether the campaign is effective.

5. Monitor performance You can’t effectively know if your campaigns are working without monitoring the performance of those campaigns through the LinkedIn campaign platform and, more importantly, through Google Analytics website traffic.

6. Ad rotation The most effective way to run a LinkedIn ad is for each campaign to have four ads with graphics in rotation. If your target demographic sees your ad in their LinkedIn feed and they don’t click that ad for whatever reason, either the graphic is not optimized for them or they don’t notice it. The next time that they come to LinkedIn or refresh their feed you want to show them a different ad with a different graphic.

• LinkedIn campaign monitor: Look at the click-through rate that you’re seeing on your campaigns within the LinkedIn campaign manager. LinkedIn produces content that says a good click-through rate is anywhere from .25 percent to .35 percent. In our experience, that percentage is extremely low unless you’re doing a brand awareness

7. Bid strategies The way the bid strategy works with LinkedIn is the same as Google AdWords or Facebook: you only pay a penny more

Since Polymer Technology & Services was acquired by Amco Polymers in December, I have been repeatedly impressed by the caliber of people in the customer center. The team is very proud and engaged with a collective focus on taking care of the customers. It will be great leading a commercial team with such amazing service and logistics capabilities!

James LeGacy, Director: Application Development Team



The first - and clear - choice in resin distribution

40 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

than the next highest bidder. The issue that you’ll come across is people get gun-shy when placing a higher bid because they don’t want to burn through their budget. You have to think about it this way: The amount of time your target demographic spends on LinkedIn, how far down they scroll and how many minutes they spend per session will determine whether they’ll see your ad. It’s much more effective to show up higher in the feed in either the first ad position, which is the second or third post they’ll see, or the second ad position, which will be the 8th to 12th position in their feed. Focusing on the top two positions guarantees a higher likelihood your targets will see your ad once they’re fresh on the platform. People often get lost or distracted while scrolling, so showing up in the first one to three ad positions is going to be the most advantageous and produce the best ROI.

don’t put in the work at an employee engagement level then the results will be hindered. n Kyle Milan is an accomplished B2B sales and marketing professional with more than 18 years in the manufacturing and industrial industries, with 10 of those years in custom injection molding. He is the CEO of 5 Fold Agency and a LinkedIn marketing and advertising expert. He has published several articles at major news media outlets on various topic in industrial marketing, manufacturing marketing, LinkedIn marketing, advertising and entrepreneurship. He also has a daily Vlog on YouTube when he shares all of his methods to help manufacturing companies improve sales and marketing. More information: (312) 515-8145, kyle@5fold.agency or https://5fold.agency

Whether you’re only comfortable doing the organic approach or want to get into paid advertising, any attention and focus you put into a proper LinkedIn marketing strategy will be well worth your time. We have worked with hundreds of companies in the plastics space and produced amazing results, but if companies

Don’t let your energy costs cause a budget meltdown! There’s a better way to manage your energy. Take a more strategic approach with solutions that can impact your bottom line. See how Constellation is helping other MAPP members.

Constellation’s tools and resources to set targets based on your plastic processing needs. Jody Spaeth, Director, Regional Sales—jody.spaeth@constellation.com

and product names are trademarks or service marks of their respective holders. All rights reserved. Errors and omissions excepted.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 41

Proud to Support Molds Made in America. AMBA Members stand ready to serve plastics processors across the US. Find the right source for tooling, prototyping and more by calling these AMBA Member companies.

Innovative Technology at its Best Facility & Design Capabilities • Mold Flow Analysis • 3D Part Design & Modeling • Parametrically Linked 2D Part Drawing • Comprehensive 3D Mold Design • 3D Electrode Design • Detailed 2D Mold Design • Multi-Action Mold Function Animation • Final Data & Drawing Supplied Complete Full Service Mold Builder • 3D Contour Programming • High-Speed Machining • Hard Milling • CNC EDM • Multi-Axis CNC Wire • CNC Turning • Complete Tool Build & Inspection to Customer Standards • Rigorous Mold Sample Tryout 12273 N US 131 Schoolcraft, MI 49087

P: 269.679.2100 F: 269.679.2157




We have been producing injection and compression molds of the highest quality for a long list of satisfied plastics industry customers since 1945. Carson has earned its reputation for “Excellence” by designing and building over 5,000 quality molds since our inception. PLASTIC INJECTION MOLDS Cold Runner Hot Runner High Cavitation Unscrewing Stack–Tandem THERMO-SET MOLDS Injection Compression DIECAST Aluminum Zinc

 Large Molds  Multi-Action  Multi-Cavity  Multi-Shot  Thin Wall

 Modular  Tandem  Stack  IML

Quality Plastic Injection Moldmaker


3070 Moon Station Road • Kennesaw, GA 30144

P: (770) 427-3716 • F: (770) 426-6429

(708) 345-5000 | a1toolcorp.com

Who we serve: Since 1964, we have been a leader in the design and manufacture of injection molds for perfection driven customers. Typical molds: Single cavity, Multi-cavity and Multi-mold programs for parts that fit in the palm of your hand. Markets served: Tight tolerance standard and micro molds for medical disposable and minimally invasive surgical devices. Why Mold Craft: Molds with true interchangeability of components at tolerances to ±.0001” – done right the first time.

Designing & Building Precision Injection Molds 200 Stillwater Road • Willernie, MN 55090 • tel: 651-426-3216 www.mold-craft.com


Email Marketing for Molders In-house marketing teams find value in reaching customers through email marketing by Katy Ibsen, contributing writer, Plastics Business


mail marketing is nothing revolutionary in the world of marketing; however, applying it to the world of plastic manufacturing is a somewhat recent development. Various plastic processors have introduced the marketing tool in the past few years to inform and educate suppliers, customers and their communities.

“Customers want to know that you are investing in new technology and capabilities, and often we all collectively assume that existing customers know us well simply because we currently do business with them,” said Mitch Nichols, vice president of sales and marketing at PTA Plastics, Oxford, Connecticut.

To better communicate with customers, PTA launched its email marketing in October 2017 with the release of a new website. The goal was to drive existing customers to its website and obtain new email subscribers (potential customers) from inbound visits to the website. Once readers are on the website, they are exposed to more information, such as PTA’s new technology, case studies and white papers. “For example, email prompts a customer to go to the website to download content, after which they would receive a follow-up email or the opportunity to download a case study,” said Nichols. “Then we would offer another piece of info.”

PTA develops its email content one of two ways; either from a customer comment about wanting to learn more, or an opportunity to create awareness and interest in the company. Take a Tour of Our KY Facility!  To answer a client’s question or request for more information, 1 message Nichols and his marketing coordinator develop ideas and Viking Plastics <sbailey@vikingplastics.com> Katy Ibse Reply­To: sbailey@vikingplastics.com rely on the experts within their company. Case studies are To: katy@petersonpublications.com developed with details from team members in engineering, Preview ­ Thank You for Your Investment with Team 1 Plastics The strategy tool design, finance or IT.   1 message Strategy for email marketing varies from company to company, noreply@hubspot.com <noreply@hubspot.com> depending on desired outcomes. “As an example,” said Nichols, “I co-authored a case study Reply­To: noreply@hubspot.com To: katy@petersonpublications.com on validation with our lead NPI engineer. I provided her with The reality is, customers do not. PTA Plastics is just one of many companies deploying new marketing strategies through email. Viking Plastics, Corry, Pennsylvania, and Team 1 Plastics, Albion, Michigan, also are using email marketing to reach new and existing audiences.

Validation: IQ, OQ, PQ

Not rendering correctly? View this email as a web page here.

IQ, OQ, PQ are requirement based methods that facilitate the validation of a process.

Hi, ,

All products and processes need validation when verification cannot be identified in the process output by monitoring or measuring. These types of validations are performed to reduce production costs and ensure regulatory requirements are met. Installation Qualification, Operation Qualification and Performance Qualification (IQ, OQ, PQ) are requirement-based methods that facilitate the validation of a process before it is placed within a target environment. In the medical community, the primary regulatory body is the FDA which requires all medical device manufacturers perform a detailed IQ, OQ, PQ validation to fully verify each process. IQ validation ensures that the facility and all equipment used to manufacture, measure and test the product is installed, maintained and calibrated as required. Additionally, this validation provides the opportunity to benchmark specific installation and process conditions over the life of the molding program. For example, if a process is not yielding the same dimensional stability after multiple runs, the problem could be attributed to water flow, different styles of nozzles or tips, or the use of different equipment. These deviations can contribute to process and dimensional variation as well as part instability. Documenting the initial installation settings allows for quick identification of the root cause of rejects. OQ validation verifies key performance components of a product or process without taking into consideration the cumulative effects introduced within the environment during testing. Through the use of analytical processes, statistical/ dimensional evaluations, and engineering studies, this validation can establish the

assigned a Risk Priority Number (RPN) which assists the molder to narrow in on the problem areas of the process. In addition to the high-risk variables, a molder will also use the specifications of the materials, molding press characteristics, and part geometry to choose the process parameters to vary during OQ validation. An OQ protocol outlines what will be tested throughout the run - including the number of samples. After completing gate freeze and viscosity studies, the different combinations of those pre-determined parameters are tested in a Design of Experiment (DOE) and the parts are delivered to the Quality Department assuming all cosmetics are acceptable. A complete First Article Inspection (FAI) is an essential piece to OQ validation and determines whether all aspects of the tool are correct. A capability study is also essential and performed on all customer-identified critical to

2017 has drawn to a close and what a year it was for Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry! It was a year of celebrating, reflection, and renewed purpose. Programming and utilizing Micro-Vu measurement system for quality assurance

print specifications to account for the actual results of the molded parts. PQ validation demonstrates that the process is stable and dimensionally capable and the molded part meets the customer’s expectations. Typically, PQ is accomplished by running the defined process through three separate runs. These runs are a simulation of three separate production runs with a shutdown period between each run. If the PQ is unsuccessful and the molded part does not meet customer expectations, the root cause needs to be evaluated and the two parties must work together to define and accept a resolution. Validation is a method of establishing documented evidence that proves a high degree of assurance that the manufacturing process will consistently yield a product of predetermined quality. The business approach that integrates validation

Throughout the entire year, the company celebrated its 30th Anniversary. Through a series of news articles, highlighting different milestones in Team 1’s history, its owners, and its Team Members reflected on the different stakeholders who have supported Team 1 throughout its 30­year history. Thank You for Your investment in Team 1 Plastics! The company sponsored a very successful giving campaign to raise funds for local community projects. Although final numbers are still pending, there has been over

an outline of what I was trying to communicate, and she provided technical details for the various protocols and why they are necessary. The case study was prompted by multiple customer meetings where the OEM commented that IQ/OQ/PQ was something they knew was a requirement but didn’t quite understand all it entailed.” PTA also has seen the value in informing existing customers of the company’s ability and capacity. With two locations that build tooling in-house, customers may not know the full capacity of the company if they have only worked with one location, and email marketing was a means to combat this.

The first step in the strategy is to have relevant content that speaks to the right client. “We don’t need 20 new customers every year. We would like to add a customer or two every year,” said Craig Carrel, Team 1 president. “We don’t look at email as an opportunity to mass communicate to try to get 100 new clients. We are trying to make sure that it’s more focused so when people hear from us, they can see right away whether we’re a fit for them, because we’re not going to be a fit for the vast majority of people looking for a molder.” As with PTA, the second component of Team 1’s strategy is to keep customers updated. “As a company, we did a poor job of saying ‘Hey, we’ve got this new machine,’ or ‘We’ve got this new little thing we’re doing with technology.’ We would be in customer meetings and they’d say, ‘I didn’t know you did that,’” said Carrel. “A big part of our email campaign is making sure people know what we’re doing, what we’re working on and the new stuff coming out. We’re keeping our current customers up to date with this strategy even as we are reaching out to new customers.”

“When a large project becomes available, we often have to reinforce this with existing customers,” said Nichols. “Potential clients are not familiar with you, and email campaigns and other social media are vital to gaining mindshare. Our OEM customers are just like the average consumer. Today’s consumer visits a website five or more times before they make a purchase. You cannot replace face-to-face interaction, but providing meaningful email content has prompted requests for contact or RFQ’s.” Katy Ibsen <katy@petersonpublications.com> The final part of Team 1’s strategy is aimed at soliciting new Team 1 Plastics maintains a three-part strategy for the employees. “I’ve been amazed when I talk to new team members company’s email marketing, which goes out roughly three times how much they’ve researched our different marketing channels. a year. Brenda Eubank, Team 1 marketing assistant, manages They know about us before they start,” said Carrel. “I think Mon, Mar 26, 2018 at 9:12 AM en <katy@petersonpublications.com> marketing for the company and has helped implement email that’s a huge advantage for a company like ours.” communications. Viking Plastics shares commonalities with both PTA and Team 1. Marketing Coordinator Shana Bailey uses a well-curated Wed, Mar 28, 2018 at 9:35 PM template to help manage her strategy for email marketing. Each email includes news, a section highlighting Viking’s capabilities or products, content relevant for engineers and often an employee highlight.

NEWS At Viking Plastics, we serve multinational customers from our four facilities in Corry, Pennsylvania (headquarters), Louisville, KY, Suzhou, China and São Paulo, Brazil. Click below to see the new video of our Louisville, KY facility!

Bailey said the emails “always, always, always – every section – have a call to action to the website, whether it’s a ‘Read More’ or it’s clickable somewhere with hidden links.” Keeping with a consistent format, Viking sends emails roughly every four to six weeks, allowing enough time for Bailey to develop new content and readers to absorb the existing content.

What works

Because Team 1 uses its email marketing to share more about its company, it saw big success when using the tool to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary. Eubank noted that part of her approach is to summarize the previous year in the year’s first email, which allowed her to highlight the anniversary. page 46 u


www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 45

STRATEGIES t page 45

Process focused. Technology powered. Adapt quicker for superior plant-wide cooling system performance. Introducing the revolutionary 3PR Intelligent Control System, offering enhanced monitoring capabilities and the power to make timely adjustments on the fly.

Give uptime a boost with greater closed-loop cooling accuracy.

“Last year was our 30th anniversary, and we were doing a fundraiser for community projects, so we sent our emails last year in correspondence with that,” Eubank said. All three emails highlighted the opportunity to give back to community projects while honoring the company’s work within the industry. “The campaign was very successful. We raised almost $9,000.” Another tactic that has seen a lot of success is videos. Viking has experienced positive outcomes since September 2017 by featuring a video within each email. According to Bailey, having the video mentioned in the subject line and located at the top of the email gets more opens and a greater click-through rate. “I saw that our previous use of videos had done well. The past four emails all featured a video, and all of those had a good open rate,” she continued. “So, videos will definitely play a role in our future emails.”


In its March email, Viking highlighted a video tour of its Kentucky plant, illustrating that videos can provide technical information through staff or provide clients an opportunity to get an insider’s view of a company. PTA has seen success in utilizing emails to promote upcoming events, such as a tradeshow, or new technology. Casting an even wider net, the company promotes a similar message as seen in email through social media channels.

Molding Business Services is now

MBS Advisors

UNMATCHED RESULTS w w w. m b s a d v i s o r s . c o m

“In conjunction with the emails, we leverage LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to have consistent messaging,” said Nichols. An example of this was a recent campaign PTA launched to promote a new automated line for product serialization. “We introduced this first at a tradeshow with a press release and a video,” Nichols continued. “We then followed up with an email announcement and a LinkedIn post. The number of views was significant and led to appointments with new customer targets.” A targeted approach is vital to the success of any email campaign, but so is a healthy database of email addresses and a defined frequency for sending communications.


Over 100 placements each year

M&A Advisory 95 transactions and counting

46 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

Team 1 has seen a strong response to its smaller (about 600) list and lower email frequency of three times a year. The company’s January email had a 30 percent open rate and, of that, a 27 percent click-through rate. “That’s one of the reasons we don’t send them all the time. If you get an email from a company every week, unless it’s something you'd be interested in, you’re not going to open it every time,” said Eubank.

PTA’s Nichols would agree that a marketer wants to avoid ending up in a spam or junk folder, which is why PTA reaches its list of 7,100 only four times a year with an informative email, adding more as needed for tradeshows. “Our goal is to have new content quarterly, but it has to be relevant or provide value to the end customer. Too many emails and you risk ending up in the spam or junk folder,” said Nichols.

Outbound from in-house

All three companies deploy these email marketing efforts from in-house. Utilizing their small, but mighty marketing teams allows companies to have more of a hands-on approach while also minimizing resources needed for a third-party vendor. While they are not outsourcing their marketing, all three do engage a form of cloud-based software equipped to manage the email template, database and campaigns. “We leverage HubSpot for campaigns, which allows us to track the number of views and open rates. And, we also can track which emails have bounced or if the contact has opted out,” said Nichols. HubSpot is used by PTA and Team 1. With both free and paid versions of the software, companies can test marketing strategies with a free version and upgrade as the efforts grow. Constant Contact is another popular software resource used among marketers for email management. Of course, the software is only as good as users make it, enabling the marketing professionals to create content and draft emails that will engage the recipient. Viking uses Constant Contact and outsourced the design and interactivity of the email template.

than a year,” said Bailey. “We continue the brand recognition on our website with all the same colors – even the buttons look the same as they do on our website.” For content creation, Team 1 hosts an annual brainstorming session with about 10 to 15 internal stakeholders and members from various departments to jot down anything that comes to mind for marketing. On average, about 50 ideas are generated. “We prioritize which ones we want to do, and then other things come up – like news items, getting an award or the kinds of things that are more seasonal,” said Eubank. “Between the brainstorming session and the ones that just come up routinely, we are easily filling in the editorial calendar.” PTA is precise in its approach, taking advice from what others have seen in successful email marketing. Nichols noted that keeping its content brief and to the point helps readers retain more information. “The vast majority of people will read your email on their mobile devices first, rather than on a computer. So if the content is too long, they won’t have the patience to scroll through the message. With that in mind, I like to focus on ‘be brief, be bright, be gone,’” he said. “Capture their attention quickly and be respectful of their time. Sell value as quickly as you can.” Overall, plastic processing companies are finding success in email marketing. Nichols summarized it best by saying, “the key is not to force a set schedule and not send content just for the sake of having a set campaign. It has to be important and relevant – otherwise, it is just noise.” n

“We didn’t always use the same template, but to push brand recognition, we’ve been using the same exact template for more

Your One Stop Shop • • • •

Injection Molding Machines Robots & Automation Temperature Controllers Granulators


• Conveying • Blenders • Dryers


Tel: 860 496-9603 www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 47


How to Prepare for the Next Downturn by Dr. Andreas Reger, researcher


ll businesses face threats of decline, but none is as great as the threat posed by an economic recession. According to the National Bureau for Economic Research (NBER), the US economy has experienced 11 recessions since 1945 and business failures are disproportionately concentrated during such recessions. Because of the financial crisis of 2007-2009, the number of company bankruptcies in the US surged from a low of 20,000 in 2007 to 60,000 in 2010 (see Graph 1).

with the financial performance of the companies throughout and after the crisis. The study yielded several significant findings of which the following are most pertinent to small and medium-sized plastics processors: 1. Company size matters Although both large and small businesses suffered from the

More than eight years have passed since the financial crisis, and the economy still is expanding. However, the next recession might be just around the corner. The purpose of this article is to help companies to be better prepared for this next â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and inevitable â&#x20AC;&#x201C; economic downturn. The basis of this article is a research study that investigated the combined financial impact of turnaround strategies pursued by members of the Manufacturers Association of Plastics Processors (MAPP) during and after the financial crisis of 2007-2009. Numerous turnaround strategies are available to companies, and the purpose of the study was to identify the strategies that proved most beneficial for small and medium-sized plastics processors.

Graph 1. Source: https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/bankruptcies

The study classified these strategies into two major groups: a) efficiency strategies, and b) entrepreneurial strategies. Efficiency strategies are more internally focused and include financial and operational measures. Entrepreneurial strategies are more externally focused and include customer, product and market measures. As shown in Graph 2, this study researched 20 measures that were available to the participants. Information was collected with the support of Plante Moran, which surveyed senior leaders (mostly the CEO and/or CFO) of MAPP member companies and provided the anonymous financial data of these companies for the years 2007 through 2013. The participants were asked to estimate the level of intensity to which they applied these 20 financial, strategic and operational measures. The application of these measures then was correlated

48 | plastics business â&#x20AC;˘ 2018 Issue 2

Graph 2.

same external circumstances, their strategies varied greatly. One of the most remarkable findings is the unlikely impact a change in product pricing had on these companies. As one would expect, the financial performance of smaller companies was very positively impacted by any increase in product pricing that was implemented in the 2007-2010 timeframe. At the same time, the financial performance of larger companies (greater than $100 million in annual revenues) seemed to benefit even more from a small decrease in pricing. Graph 3 shows that the financial performance of companies under $5 million (solid blue line) improved considerably for

every one percent price increase, while a price increase was less beneficial for larger companies. Although this seems highly counterintuitive, there is a logical explanation for this effect. During the retrenchment phase of the financial crisis, customers were looking for strong and financially healthy suppliers that could ensure uninterrupted supply of product. This benefitted the larger companies that were financially stable and allowed them to take on transfer business from smaller competitors. Although they might have had to offer a slight price decrease, the overall increase in volume helped them to increase their market share and cover their fixed costs. Any price decrease also greatly limited the risk of being replaced by a competitor. Once the recovery set in, these companies had consolidated the market and reaped the benefits of increase volume production and reduced competition. 2. Company financial health1 matters Financially strong (i.e. Altman Z’-score greater than 2.9) and well-capitalized companies (i.e. sufficient cash flow was generated to cover working capital requirements) did not have to implement any turnaround strategies to survive the recession. The implementation of efficiency strategies (i.e. financial and operational measures) had almost no measurable impact on their financial performance.

Graph 3.

On the other hand, financially weaker companies (i.e. Altman Z’-score less than 2.9), benefitted greatly from the implementation of efficiency strategies. Applying multiple linear regression analysis, we found a direct and positive relationship between the number of efficiency strategies implemented and the financial performance of these companies. As Graph 4 shows, companies that applied all eight efficiency strategies improved their Altman Z’score by more than one point from 2007 to 2010. Forty percent of the study participants had an Altman Z’-score of less than 2.9, and the turnaround strategies that most positively impacted the performance of these companies during the 20072010 timeframe were as follows: a) piece price increases (particularly for smaller companies), companies), b) inventory reductions,

Graph 4.

page 50 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 49

FOCUS t page 49

c) headcount reductions, d) skilled headcount redeployment, e) capital spending reductions, and f) an increase in accounts payables. 3. Speed matters Companies that waited too long to act suffered deeper declines than companies that took quick and decisive action at the beginning of the downturn. Companies that had not prepared for the downturn and started thinking about turnaround strategies only once the economy tanked took considerably longer to recover from the recession than companies that were well prepared and had developed a “playbook” with strategic options that they then could implement quickly. 4. Timing matters All turnarounds, whether caused by external (e.g. recession) or internal (e.g. operational and strategic) issues, encompass two stages – the initial retrenchment stage (decline in economic activity) and the subsequent recovery stage (increase in economic activity)2. These two stages require different strategies. Graph 5 (on page 51) shows that the same strategies that helped financially

Graph 6. Strategic possibilities for consideration as pre-crisis actions

50 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

weaker companies during the retrenchment stage (i.e. there was a positive correlation with financial performance) became detrimental and damaging during the recovery stage (the correlation turned negative). During the recovery phase, Value Analysis Value Engineering (VAVE) and new product development proved to be most successful for both financially stronger and weaker companies. Lesson Learned: Successful turnarounds depended on a combination of financial, strategic and operational improvements. To secure financing (i.e. liquidity) is a crucial first step in a turnaround situation! However, as financial results are the outcome of strategic choices and operational performance, it is important to correctly assess the original cause of decline to apply the appropriate strategic and operational countermeasures. A focus on financial ratios alone might lead companies into a succession of bankruptcies (e.g. Aloha Airlines, Bally, etc.). Be prepared and develop a “playbook” Identify, assess and develop the strategic options that are available before the next recession hits. Develop a playbook as the manual

Graph 5. Companies with an Altman Z’-score < 2.90

to survive and prosper during the next crisis. Preparation is half the battle. Don’t be surprised, be prepared. Deploy “pre-crisis” strategies Take action today while time, resources and leverage to do so are available. Graph 6 shows some examples of strategic actions that should be considered. The appropriateness and benefits of each of these measures vary among companies, and a more thorough analysis of each particular situation would have to be conducted to assess their applicability.


This is the first study that analyzed turnaround strategies for a wide variety of privately-held, US-based plastics processing companies. While no two companies are 100 percent the same, the findings of the study are widely applicable, as the participants represented a sample of the plastics processing industry in the US. In addition, even though this study focused on an external event (i.e. recession), the findings also apply to turnaround situations that are caused by internal issues, such as operational inefficiencies and poor strategic choices. The most successful businesses have always had a more expansive view by comparing a firm’s performance to the performance of other companies in the industry or the economy. Therefore, the need for turnaround also might arise as a consequence of a company’s substandard performance. Recognizing the signs and admitting a firm’s decline is a crucial first step for management to initiate corrective actions, which need to be implemented as quickly as possible before problems become too severe. page 52 u

WHY CHOOSE POLYSOURCE? One-dimensional distributors can cut corners, leaving you with an imperfect resin product purchase. PolySource takes every step with you – playing three essential roles in every customer relationship. 9

Distributors with laser customer focus and unmatched import expertise.


Consultants who bring the latest technical knowledge and support to the field.


Entrepreneurs driven by innovative spirit and empowered to do the right thing, every time.

Whatever your challenges might be, we’re prepared to assist. Contact our technical support team at 816.540.5300 or email us at sales@polysource.net.


www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 51

FOCUS t page 51

Companies can and should proactively prepare for the next downturn. Among other factors, company size and financial strength influence the choice of strategy, as well as its effectiveness and benefits. The same strategy that works for a financially strong company might be fatal for a financially weak one, and small companies cannot just copy the playbook of larger companies. There are significant differences between companies that need to be considered and analyzed. A thorough analysis of internal operations and the external / competitive environment is required. Benchmarking information such as Plante Moran’s North American Plastics Industry Study can provide valuable financial and competitive benchmarking data. Knowing where a company stands compared to its peers helps to identify areas of improvement before they become a major issue. Once the root causes of underperformance are identified, the appropriate strategic and operational countermeasures can be applied. n

Dr. Andreas Reger has spent his whole career focusing on growth, turnaround and performance management in an international business environment. His professional experience includes P&L responsible leadership positions at Siemens, Continental and Dürr, as well as privately held plastics processors. Dr. Reger studied International Business Management in Germany and Spain, obtained his Master of Business Administration degree from Colorado State University and received his Doctorate in Business Administration from Lawrence Tech in Southfield, Michigan, where he researched the impact of turnaround strategies on financial performance of small and mid-sized manufacturing companies. More information: areger@ltu.edu


1. Financial Health was measured by the Altman Z’ score; which is a predictor of the potential for bankruptcy in privately-held industrial companies. 2. For the purpose of this study, we used annual US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rates to define these stages. Based on real GDP, the 2007-2009 period was considered the retrenchment stage and the 2010-2012 period the recovery stage.

The author would like to thank Plante Moran and Jeff Mengel for the invaluable support that made this study possible.

QUICKLY AND EFFECTIVELY DIAGNOSE THE HEALTH OF YOUR COMPANY HRI’s proprietary Business Assessment takes an up-close look at a company’s entire operation to identify speciic areas of strength and potential gaps. Our team has been in your shoes, and this combined with seeing countless other operations, makes us uniquely qualiied to provide valuable insight. ASSESSMENT DELIVERABLES INCLUDE: In-person discussion of your company’s results, including strengths and opportunities for improvement by category. A report benchmarking your company against its peers in nine assessment categories. Customized recommendations on how to improve overall business and drive prootability. Implementation plan on the top opportunities for improvement.

WHY HARBOUR RESULTS? The leading authority on the manufacturing industry, HRI utilizes data, experience, expertise and relationships to deliver sound strategies, implement operation improvement and drive sustained business successes.


52 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2


This Year I Hope to (Insert Answer Here) by Jeff Bush, author


magine closing your eyes, throwing a dart at the Wall Street Journal to pick a stock you had to invest your entire savings in. You can’t look at the price until the last day of the year; nervous? But yet, this is how most businesses plan. They choose one time a year, develop a plan, put it in the drawer only to review it at the same time the following year and hope they achieved their goal. This approach is not a good investment strategy, nor is it a good business planning process. Everyone has heard the saying, “hope is not a plan.” That’s because it rings true. But equally true is that your life is only limited by the work you don't do. You work to achieve. Achievement is the manifestation of executing more consistently and methodically. Are you ready to achieve your goals? Are you prepared to get your business back on track? Try this strategy. A more fluid approach to business planning is more realistic in the “real world” vs. the one-and-done way of planning. Business planning should be a living, breathing process that follows a cycle of brainstorming, winnowing, executing and measuring, which naturally leads to the next planning opportunity. This process can be as short as weeks or as long as years. Each part of a business follows different timelines, and the planning process for each should match. Just like New Year’s resolutions fall away quickly because of a lack of an execution strategy, business plans succumb to the same fate; destined to collect dust on a shelf or occupying the ignored bottom position in your inbox. Why? Because these methods lack a quantifiable execution and measurement strategy, which is a pivotal portion of the planning process – the part of the process where most fall short. Whether you’re well on your way to achieving your business goals and are ready to shoot for something bigger, or you’ve fallen short of expectations and are looking to get back on track, a measurable execution strategy must be deployed and continuously redeployed through the process.

Make the goal actionable

The first step in any execution strategy is to define the issue in sufficient detail such that anyone in your organization will intuitively understand the incremental activities necessary to achieve the goal. If you cannot break the goal down into

54 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

actionable steps, you need to continue refining your goal. A goal is only actionable when it is evident to everyone in your business what those actionable steps are. The most straightforward example is a sales goal. Most business plans will state a specific numeric goal, “$50 million in product sales.” But, if your organization doesn't understand the connection of that goal to unique job duties it will likely never happen. Instead, restate the goal to something more actionable, “Maintain 100 percent client retention of profitable $1 million clients while sourcing, vetting and closing one new client that will average $5 million in sales.” If the goal is restated in such a way to that every department of your company understands its role in achieving that goal it is much more likely to happen. A sales goal is not going to get a person in accounts receivable to change their behavior. Arguably, an overly zealous receivables person could be detrimental to your goal by collecting in such a way that drives clients out the door. By changing the focus of the goal to an action statement, it changes the way your staff views their role in executing their part in the process. It focuses a goal into a philosophical change with obvious incremental steps. Now list the steps, as few or as many as it takes, but it must be actionable and measurable. 1. Identify five leads weekly. 2. Qualify three prospects per week from the leads. 3. Each month, close one client with a potential average $5 million in annual sales. Keep in mind, if you onboard a new client late in the year, they likely will not do $5 million in sales this year. 4. Reduce new client onboarding time to three business days. 5. Prioritize your customer service model to spend 80 percent of your time with those clients making up 80 percent of sales. (Once again, the old 80/20 rule.) 6. Achieve 100 percent on-time shipping every day. 7. Reduce accounts receivable to 45 days.

Do the work

Now, you have to do the work. While this seems obvious, the majority of goals find their way to the scrap heap for the

most basic of reasons. The work was done intermittently – but honestly, the work was not done. Someone first said, “What gets measured, gets done.” And they were right. So measure your action steps. Use technology to help keep track of your progress. Reminders on your phone work, but some prefer something more visual. Use a spreadsheet program to come up with a customized action tracking sheet. A suggestion: At the end of the measuring period, color code the boxes to highlight successes and challenges. Distribute the finished sheet each period to all stakeholders. “What gets measured gets done.” And finally, you need to have a consistent and honest accountability system. Accountability means doing the small, necessary steps to accomplish your goal, both in quantity and quality. The fallacy of the spreadsheet of reminders is we can lie to ourselves. As human beings, we have a horrible ability to lie to ourselves and, worse yet, believe our lies. So how do you manage this fault? Have an accountability partner.

Find that person who cares enough about your success that they won't tell you what you want to hear or make you feel better about only half-hearted work. Share with them your spreadsheet each week and go over every single event. Mutual accountability works well. Find a fellow salesperson, manager, significant other or business owner that is working on their own goals, and be accountable to one another. It has been said, “If success were easy, everyone would be successful.” While it is not easy, you have more control over your success than you think; and sometimes it is just about having a definable goal, doing the work consistently and being honest with the quantity and quality of your efforts. n Jeff Bush, Wall Street’s Washington insider, is a dynamic and insightful speaker on tax and fiscal topics, and the author of American Cornerstones: History’s Insights on Today’s Issues. A 28-year veteran of the financial industry, Bush works with executive teams, business owners and high income individuals to proactively prepare their organizations to succeed in an ever-evolving marketplace. For more information on Jeff Bush, please visit www.JeffBush.net.

Every Great Journey Requires

a Plan

FEDERATED LIFE® No matter where you are on your journey, business succession planning can help. To learn more, contact your local marketing representative.

Federated Mutual Insurance Company and its subsidiaries* federatedinsurance.com | *Not licensed in all states. 18.02 Ed. 12/17

| © 2017 Federated Mutual Insurance Company

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 55


Goal Setting and Follow Through by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Busines


s I sat down to work on this issue’s Booklist, I was distracted by an advertisement for an accessory that would make it easier for me to manage my planner, notebooks and other workday necessities. I went back to using a paper planner a few years ago… partially as a strategy to gather all of my sticky notes in one location. I’m an obsessive list maker and goal setter, and I’m fascinated by strategies for increased productivity and organization. For me, the combination of a paper planner and a blank notebook has added an element of organization to my hectic work life that was much needed. It’s been a while since I’ve looked for newer books on the topic and, after a little research, four stood out – including a new release from the man who financed Google.

Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs Author: John Doerr Released: April 24, 2018

In the fall of 1999, venture capitalist John Doerr met with the founders of a start-up whom he'd just given $12.5 million. Larry Page and Sergey Brin had amazing technology, entrepreneurial energy and sky-high ambitions, but no real business plan. For Google to change the world, Page and Brin had to learn how to make tough choices on priorities while keeping their team on track. They'd have to know when to pull the plug on losing propositions, to fail fast. And they needed timely, relevant data to track their progress – to measure what mattered. Doerr taught them about a proven approach to operating excellence: Objectives and Key Results. In this goal-setting system, objectives define what we seek to achieve; key results are how those top-priority goals will be attained with specific, measurable actions within a set time frame. Everyone's goals, from entry level to CEO, are transparent to the entire organization. In Measure What Matters, Doerr shares first-person, behindthe-scenes case studies, with narrators including Bono and Bill Gates, to demonstrate the focus, agility, and explosive growth that OKRs have spurred at so many great organizations.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World Author: Cal Newport Released: January 5, 2016

Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly

56 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep – spending their days instead in a frantic blur of email and social media, not even realizing there's a better way. In Deep Work, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four “rules,” for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill. A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, Deep Work takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories – from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air – and no-nonsense advice. Deep Work is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.

Principles: Life and Work Author: Ray Dalio Released: September 19, 2017

In 1975, Ray Dalio founded an investment firm out of his twobedroom apartment. Forty years later, Bridgewater has made more money for its clients than any other hedge fund in history.

Along the way, Dalio discovered a set of unique principles that have led to Bridgewater’s exceptionally effective culture, which he describes as “an idea meritocracy that strives to achieve meaningful work and meaningful relationships through radical transparency.” In Principles, Dalio shares what he’s learned over the course of his remarkable career. He argues that life, management, economics and investing can all be systemized into rules and understood like machines. The book’s hundreds of practical lessons include Dalio laying out the most effective ways for individuals and organizations to make decisions, approach challenges and build strong teams. He also describes the innovative tools the firm uses to bring an idea meritocracy to life, such as creating “baseball cards” for all employees that distill their strengths and weaknesses, and employing computerized decision-making systems to make believabilityweighted decisions. While the book brims with novel ideas for organizations and institutions, Principles also offers a clear, straightforward approach to decision-making that Dalio believes anyone can apply, no matter what they’re seeking to achieve.

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business Author: Gino Wickman Released: April 3, 2012

Do you have a grip on your business, or does your business have a grip on you? All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations – personnel conflict, profit woes and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. But, there is a solution. It’s not complicated or theoretical. Based on years of real-world implementation in more than 100 companies, the Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses – and you can, too. n

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 57

SUPPLIER DIRECTORY Additive Manufacturing/ Prototypes

Financial Services



Federated Insurance www.federatedinsurance.com Page 55

A-1 Tool Corporation www.a1toolcorp.com Page 43

Amco Polymers www.amcopolymers.com Pages 28, 40

Energy Strategy

MBS Advisors www.mbsadvisors.com Page 46

B A Die Mold www.badiemold.com Page 42

Chase Plastics www.chaseplastics.com Page 12

Constellation www.constellation.com Page 41

Mueller Prost www.muellerprost.com Page 33

Carson Tool & Mold www.carsonmold.com Page 43

M. Holland www.mholland.com Page 39

Equipment/ Auxiliary Suppliers

Stout www.stoutadvisory.com Page 13

Concept Molds www.conceptmolds.com Page 42

PolySource www.polysource.net Page 51

Cincinnati Process Technologies www.cinprotech.com Page 11

Foaming Agents

Ivanhoe Tool & Die Company, Inc. www.ivanhoetool.com Page 43


ProtoCAM www.protocam.com Page 38

Conair www.conairgroup.com Back cover Frigel www.frigel.com Page 46 Novatec www.novatec.com Pages 18, 19, 30, 31 Progressive Components www.procomps.com/pins Page 35

iD Additives www.idadditives.com Page 34

Hot Runners INCOE Corporation www.incoe.com Page 7 Synventive Molding Solutions www.synventive.com Page 15

Legal Counsel

Wittmann Battenfeld www.wittmann-group.com Page 47

Ice Miller LLP www.icemiller.com Page 21

Yushin America, Inc. www.yushinamerica.com Page 16

Marketing Services

Events/Organizations MAPP www.mappinc.com Page 57 MAPP Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference www.mappinc.com/conference Pages 53

VIVE – Marketing for Manufacturers www.vive4mfg.com/answers Page 10

MRO Supplies Grainger www.grainger.com Inside back cover

58 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 2

Mold Craft www.mold-craft.com Page 43

Paulson Training Programs, Inc. www.paulsontraining.com/skills Page 27

Operations Consulting Harbour Results, Inc. www.harbourresults.com Page 52

Process Monitoring IQMS www.iqms.com Page 3 RJG, Inc. www.rjginc.com/tzero Page 29 SIGMA Plastics Services, Inc. www.3dsigma.com Page 17 Syscon International www.syscon-intl.com Page 51

Purging Compounds ASACLEAN/Sun Plastech Inc. www.asaclean.com Inside front cover

Plastics Business 2018 Issue 2

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Cobot Implementation at Wisconsin Plastics Life After Acquisition at Met2Plastic Steel Tariff Action Items Marketing Strategies for Molders

Official Publication of Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors

A guide to this issue's Plastics Business advertisers.

What people

are saying... MAPP’s MRO Program with Grainger ensures we receive the best pricing on all of our supplies. No need to waste extra time and extra effort – just order and save. Grainger gets it done. It’s that simple.” – Jim Krause, Microplastics, Inc.

Grainger offers MAPP members significant discounts off 13 categories, including: • • • •

Motors Safety (people) Electrical Safety footwear

• Power transmission • Safety (facility) • Hand tools

• Material handling • Abrasives • Power tools

• Lubrication • Welding • Machining

Members also receive a discount off all other Grainger catalog and online products, as well as FREE shipping (restrictions apply).

Start saving with


Visit www.mappinc.com Grainger hotline: (888) 326-8605 Other freight charges will be incurred for such services as expedited delivery, air freight, freight collect, sourced orders, export orders, hazardous materials, buyer’s carrier, shipments outside the contiguous U.S. or other special handling by the carrier.




You may be the Brian, the Susan or the Joe. No matter what they call you, they know that things just aren’t the same without you. You ensure that everything keeps running and you’re on the front lines

Our support team never rests, so you can. Day or night, you'll always get guaranteed customer service from a real person in 15 minutes or less.

when something goes wrong. For over 60 years, Conair has helped people just like you. As the

We hold ourselves to near-impossible standards, like being able to ship replacement parts in under 6 hours. Anywhere in the USA.

leading producer of auxiliary equipment for plastics processing in the world, we’ll add more than just machines to your process. We

7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

practically add super powers.






Profile for petersonpublications

Plastics Business - Issue 2 2018  

Plastics Business - Issue 2 2018