__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

Plastics Business Spring 2015

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Quality Mindset at Crescent Industries Applicant Background Checks Effective Inventory Management Sales and Service Team Structures

Official Publication of Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors


Plastics Business

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Contents

profile

8

production

solutions

22

34

features profile Quality Mindset at Crescent Industries..................................................8 view from 30 Offering Employee Relocation Expenses Embracing 2 Second Lean A Deeper Look at 2 Second Lean......................................................... 18 production In-Mold Decorating Project Success: More than Technology................ 22 industry Recent Spate of Lawsuits Serves as Wake-Up Call on Proper Use of Job Applicant Background Checks................................................... 28 solutions Effective Inventory Management Adds to the Bottom Line................... 34

departments director’s letter................... 6 association.........................15 MAPP innovation award.....16 product..............................32 advertisers.........................50

outlook Engaging in 5S..................................................................................... 39 focus Structuring Sales and Customer Service Teams................................... 44 management Nurturing the Work Environment......................................................... 48

4 | plastics business • spring 2015

plasticsbusinessmag.com


MEMBER DISCOUNT

ToolingDocs.com/MAPP

?

having resources to work proactively? ToolingDocs training is the answer: • • On-site Maintenance Capability Assessments and Training We can help you do the math to target an exponential return on your toolroom’s investment. Contact us at 1-800-257-8369 to discuss how

HEAR FROM CERTIFIED REPAIR TECHS AT TOOLINGDOCS.COM/TOUR

www.pcic-group.com


director’s letter

Virtues of Truth and Honor Set You Apart

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

Recently, a very good friend of mine who runs an extremely successful plastics company confided in me about a decision he had to make regarding an outstanding performer in his organization. Many of those reading this letter and serving in leadership positions will be able to relate to his pain.

MAPP Board of Directors President Mike Walter, MET Plastics, Inc.

My good friend made a conscious decision that would negatively impact his own business because of the ultimate need to remain true to the principles and values of his organization: he removed a valuable manager from his staff due to a dishonorable act; an act that only was known among few. Similar to an NFL coach removing the most valuable player from the team roster because of an inconspicuous honor violation, the impact of this decision will have substantial impact on the rest of the company’s management team. Because many often ask me about characteristics that differentiate good leaders from great leaders, I use this example to illustrate a very serious point. No matter the cost, a leader will not tolerate a lack of judgment mired in any diminishment of truth, honor or integrity. May 12, 1962, a date I believe to own the most famous of all leadership addresses, was the date Gen. Douglas MacArthur, on the grounds of the United States Military Academy at West Point, delivered a memorable tribute to the ideals that inspired the great American soldier. Excerpts from his address have been engraved into the souls of United States military leaders and are words great leaders live by, no matter what leadership role or occupation they serve. “Duty, honor, country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn… these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character… They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid. They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for actions, not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge.” – Gen. Douglas MacArthur My friend did not seek a path of comfort, nor was he unbending on the principle of staying true to his organizational values. He did not take the path of least resistance, which would have been to simply look the other way, but rather made the most unpleasant decision at his own choosing. The impact of his decision and those that all leaders must make on matters relating to truth and integrity send loud messages to team members and employees. Done correctly, these messages serve to build strong organizational cultures, provide actual comfort to employees and build distinguished reputations with customers – all of which provide competitive advantages in the marketplace. I have empathy for my friend, but I admire the purity of his leadership!

Vice President Ben Harp, Polymer Conversions, Inc. Secretary Alan Rothenbuecher, ICE Miller LLP Bill Bartlett, First American Plastics/Quad, Inc. Tom Boyd, Blow Molded Specialties Craig Carrel, Team 1 Plastics, Inc. Norm Forest, Dymotek Molding Technologies Kelly Goodsel, Viking Plastics Bob Holbrook, Viking Plastics Ed Holland, M. Holland Company James Krause, Microplastics, Inc. Bob MacIntosh, Nicolet Plastics, Inc. Glenn Nowak, IQMS Eric Paules, Crescent Industries Ryan Richey, Precision Plastics, Inc. Missy Rogers, Noble Plastics, Inc. Teresa Schell, Vive LLC Tom Treadway, Erie Molded Plastics, Inc.

Plastics Business

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Published by:

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 Jen Clark Brittany Willes

Art Director Becky Arensdorf Executive Director, MAPP

6 | plastics business • spring 2015

Graphic Designer Kelly Adams

Circulation Manager Brenda Schell


Visit us at MD&M East - Booth #2107

“The impossible we do immediately; the miracles take a little longer.” — L EON ARD S CHN IPKE —

Medical Aerospace Consumer

Over 40 years of Excellence in precision injection molding.

• Precision and Micro Injection Molding • Turnkey Automated Assembly Solutions • Contract Manufacturing • In-house Mold Design and Fabrication Capabilities • FDA / GMP 820 Compliant • ISO 9001 and 13485* certified • Six Sigma Quality, Design and Testing • Insert and Over-Molding *13485 Certification is for the Schnipke Southwest location only.

To learn more about why Schnipke Precision Molding represents some of the world’s leading OEM’s, call us at 419-453-3376 or visit our website.

www.schnipke.com


profile

Quality Mindset at Crescent Industries by Dianna Brodine

Crescent Industries is the largest employer in New Freedom, Pennsylvania, a town with a population of 4,500. As the company approaches its 70th year, Eric Paules has a deep appreciation for the legacy created by his grandfather, father and uncle, and an excitement for the possibilities of what the next generations will bring. Medical molder begins as machine shop Crescent Industries was founded as Summit Machine Works by Frank and Mary Paules in 1946. Frank had been a foreman at the American Insulator Corporation in New Freedom, but the post-war boom meant opportunities for those with machining experience. Frank’s garage shop quickly grew and was incorporated as Crescent Industries, Inc. in 1954. Frank passed away unexpectedly in 1959, but his wife and sons carried on to build the business into a community staple. In the early 1960s, the company added its first injection molding machines to aid with sampling the molds produced in the shop, and in the mid-1970s, Crescent Industries molded its first medical product – a diagnostic tray. “We had a reputation as a tool builder, and that reputation carried us well into the 1980s,” said Eric Paules, vice president and COO. “We grew into a medical molder because of our customers, and we entered the medical market with a single tool. We picked it up from our customer and loaded it into my dad’s Chevy on the way to hunting camp when I was eight years old. That tool still is running today.” In the 1990s, Crescent Industries implemented an active marketing program, attending tradeshows and advertising its medical molding services to potential customers. page 10 u

8 | plastics business • spring 2015


Easiest to Use Mobile Wheel Dryers Standard Dry Air Conveying Package

Standard LED Alarm Light...Matsui Charges Over $250!

Just enter your polymer type and the Smart Control PLC does the rest…

What Good is a Mobile Dryer if You Don’t Know the Dewpoint? We Include It. Matsui Charges an Extra $900!

Exclusive Overdry Protection Ideal for Nylon and Other Sensitive Materials

Very Smart Upgraded Software Senses Faults…

Automatically Tells You When to Change Filters

Standard Conveying Blower Package Pictorially Guides You in a Solution

Built-in Standards... Sold as Options Everywhere Else! www.novatec.com/dryers

Standard 5-Year Warranty | Made in the USA | 800-237-8379 | www.novatec.com © Copyright 2015 Novatec, Inc.


profile t page 8 Growth in production volume led to significant growth in the employee base, building from around 90 employees in the 1990s to 140 employees today. The Paules family retains a majority ownership, but in 2001, Crescent Industries allocated one-third of the company shares through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. This provides a long-term retirement benefit for the company’s employees, ensuring the success of the company is shared by the people who make it successful. Evolution necessary for growth “Crescent Industries began injection molding plastic parts as a way to sample the molds we were building back in the 1960s,” said Paules, “but growing that part of the business was a very conscious choice.” Now comprising 90 percent of the company’s annual revenue, the company offers injection molding for the medical, pharmaceutical, dental, defense, small arms and industrial/OEM markets. Annual sales are approximately $18 million, and the company processes over one million pounds of resin annually in moderate- to high-volume production runs. “In terms of revenue, the molding eclipses everything else,” Paules explained, “but we look very closely at the integration of the whole project. Mold design and mold construction definitely are emphasized.” To provide its customers with an integrated single-source solution for injection molded components, Crescent Industries offers five core services: design and development, manufacture of new injection molds, custom injection molding, production machining and contract assembly and packaging services. Secondary services have been strategically added to aid the company in its drive to become a single-source solution. “Customers want to work with one vendor to project completion,” he explained. “We do partner with vendors for certain services, but most of the secondary services are done in-house.” These services include device assembly, production packaging, ultrasonic welding, vacuum/pressure testing, annealing, cap lining, pad printing, CNC milling, drilling or tapping, EMI or RFI shielding, laser engraving, sterilization, ultrasonic parts cleaning and custom operations. “Around 60 percent of the projects we manufacture require some type of secondary or value-added process,” said Paules. The company makes annual capital investments in equipment to keep molding machines, machine tools and screw machines up to date, with the goal of maintaining an average machine age of less than 10 years. In recent years, purchases have replaced hydraulic injection molding machines with electric, and the company has moved toward high-speed mills for its machine tool equipment. “We continuously make investments in automation and robotics by adding automated work cells, most recently by adding two

10 | plastics business • spring 2015

Crescent Industries molds products for the medical, pharmaceutical, dental and defense markets, with 60 percent of those projects requiring a secondary process.

Baxter robots,” Paules explained. An Objet 3D printer also has been purchased to serve low-volume and prototyping needs, but more may be on the horizon. “Additive manufacturing holds great promise,” he said. “At present, we use it to help our customers develop their products for manufacturability, but in the near future, there will be opportunity to satisfy larger lots sizes. Also, metal additive manufacturing will continue to evolve in terms of capability, durability and speed, which will open new options for design and development of tooling and components.” Having noted limitations due to available material options for the Objet machine, Crescent Industries is looking to expand its capabilities with another equipment investment in the near future. Three facilities provide flexibility, risk management As the company has grown over the past seven decades, its facility needs have grown, too. Today, the company has three separate locations for its tool building, general injection molding and cleanroom molding operations. “If I stand on the roof of my largest building, I can see the other two facilities,” laughed Paules. The 12 North Front Street facility that houses the mold building operation today was the original location of Crescent Industries. “That was our primary and only facility until the mid-’90s,” he said. “A room was added for four new injection molding machines in the 1980s, but we outgrew that space quickly. By the early ’90s, we were renting space at a nearby industrial park.” There were challenges in running two facilities with molding operations at both locations. “We had material storage at both locations, and our production staff wasn’t able to communicate


effectively,” Paules said. When Crescent Industries was able to buy a building in the industrial park, the company consolidated all of its molding operations to that location. In 2009, when construction costs were down, the original tooling facility was renovated to bring it up to more modern building standards, and the company gained 7,000 square feet in usable space. In the same year, Crescent Medical Plastics (CMP) was established as a cleanroom molding operation located across the street from the general molding facility and in the same industrial park. There currently are four injection molding machines, plus a cleanroom facility, at CMP. The general molding facility has another 22 injection molding machines, and the mold building facility houses its own injection molding machines for production sampling. “There has been debate over the years about the advantages of being under one roof,” said Paules. “In the end, the logic was simple. Operating in three separate buildings provides flexibility we wouldn’t have otherwise, and it also provides an immediate solution to any disaster recovery situation.” He acknowledged there are tradeoffs, which include some duplicate equipment that

had to be purchased for each facility, but Crescent Industries has developed a seamless operation, with material and people resources that are appropriately allocated and working together. “It also has allowed us to build a world-class cleanroom facility cost-effectively, while keeping the operational costs of a cleanroom isolated from customers who do not require such services,” said Paules. The medical molding facility is unique in its setup. The facility’s employees are self-directed and cross-trained in multiple job functions. “We have a team leader and 20 employees who are dedicated to CMP,” he explained. “Almost all know how to do each other’s job, including material handling, mold setups and quality checks.” The facility runs in two shifts, with the employees setting their own work schedules. Paules acknowledged a higher training level is required for the staff at CMP, but believes the employees have a higher level of investment in the facility as a result. “When I first looked at setting it up, I wanted it to feel like a Silicon Valley start-up,” Paules said. “I wanted the people who page 12 u

P Polypropylene Luran® SAN SABIC ®PPCompound Styrolux® Clear SBS Copolymer Terluran® ABS

V

Formolene® Polypropylene

S

Mitsubishi Engineering-Plastics Corporation Reny® LEMALLOY® NOVAREX® XANTAR® CELSTRAN® LFRT

Ultradur® PBT

CPPP Copylene ™ RCPP Copylene ™

Naxaloy® PC

Marlex® PE MarFlex® PE mPact™ mPE

Proudly Servicing the Plastics Industry since 1955.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 11


profile t page 11 would be operating the equipment to be involved in the decisionmaking from the very beginning.” Quality woven into the fabric of the culture A company the size of Crescent Industries operating in three separate facilities in highly regulated markets has a unique need for quality control. The tools and procedures must ensure consistency of product, while communication becomes critical to ensure everyone involved – from product design to tool build to molding – is documenting the course of a project as it moves throughout the company. “Our quality system has been woven into the fabric of our company culture,” Paules said. “ISOregistered since 1998, ours is a mature and tested quality system.” The company utilizes an integrated ERP system from IQMS at all facilities to ensure everyone is using the same procedures and information to make decisions, regardless of their physical location. “Quality systems add value to the company,” he explained. “They provide discipline and structure for doing the things you do every day. Initially, it was a struggle to get everyone to see past the procedure and the documentation. Now, I see people thinking and talking in the language, without necessarily referring to the standard. You know it’s become part of the culture when you hear the quality system being discussed in every situation by your employees.” Paules explained that extending the quality system to the tool building operation was a challenge simply because of the personality traits required to do the job well. “By its nature, tool building tends to be a more creative process,” he said. “There’s a great deal of personal pride in the craftsmanship of the job. Getting those employees to realize they can be creative and innovative while still being in compliance with procedure meant we first had to help them understand that the quality measures weren’t going to tie their hands, but rather guide their hands.” Rather than throwing every nuance of regulation and procedure at the employees at once, quality procedures were implemented in stages at Crescent Industries. First, employees were asked to log, initial and date changes in paper form. Then, a central computer system was implemented. Also, since tool building is a visual, creative process, quality standards and controls were introduced in ways that were compatible. “We wanted everything to be geared toward the way they think, and our people responded to that,” Paules said. While quality is everyone’s responsibility, 10 percent of the workforce directly is involved with quality activities at Crescent Industries. A quality manager and three quality engineers lead the team, with inspectors on each shift reviewing overall project

12 | plastics business • spring 2015

Crescent Industries invests in new equipment, including automation and robotics, with the goal of maintaining an average machine age of less than 10 years.

quality and lab techs who review all quality measures. “We have a large number of people involved, from ensuring quality at the product development stage in our R&D department to reviewing client requirements and our documentation to make sure all of the paperwork is correct when a job leaves the facility,” said Paules. According to the company’s website, its quality engineering tools include PFMEA (Product/Process Failure Mode and Effect Analysis), Control Plans and Process Validation (including IQ, OQ and PQ). “These are an upfront agreed upon requirement between Crescent and our customers, with our SOP validation process outlining the minimum requirements,” the site explains. The company has what Paules calls “standard equipment for any modern lab” – coordinate measuring machines, video scopes, optical comparators, microscopes, gauges, etc. With the quality mindset always at the forefront, Crescent Industries is looking for new opportunities to improve its processes. “Our biggest opportunity going forward is in process monitoring,” he explained. “We’re looking at a new system to monitor characteristics of the injection molding process, which will give us quality assurance rather than quality control.” Crescent Industries has seen a market increase of 12 percent in the medical, pharmaceutical and dental industries, which drove its recent decision to become an FDA-registered manufacturing facility. The company has been 13485-certified for several years, so it wasn’t much of an extension, according to Paules. “We needed to develop a master validation protocol and looked more carefully at how we validate our processes. It’s made us a better molder because of the detail required to meet the standard,” he said. “It’s the mentality we’ve often had in building this


company. We create the value we perceive our customers want, and then we promote and advertise it to gain more customers.” First-generation values, third-generation possibilities Crescent Industries is a very personal enterprise for Eric Paules. “I’m the third generation, and although I never met my grandfather, I think he would be proud of the way in which we conduct business,” he said. “We chose to run this company with integrity, and that value runs through the fabric of the company in the way we deal with employees and in the way they, in turn, deal with customers. It honors my grandfather’s vision and his intent when he started the company.” With the seventh decade of family ownership coming to a close, Paules is confident in the company’s future. “I’m convinced each generation is uniquely prepared to do what they need to do,” he said. “My grandfather was a mold maker and machinist with the courage to take a risk by leaving a secure job and starting something on his own. I’m not sure my father or I have that adventurous spirit, but my dad was able to persevere through a very difficult transition when he had to pick the reins up to run the company right out of college and through difficult economic conditions. Then, along comes the

While quality is everyone’s responsibility, 10 percent of the workforce directly is involved with quality activities at Crescent Industries. A quality manager and three quality engineers lead the team, with inspectors on each shift reviewing overall project quality and lab techs who review all quality measures. next generation geared toward technology and computer science. I’ve been able to bring that into the company, and who knows what the next generation might achieve?” Paules continued, “One-third of the company is owned by employees, and that’s the biggest endorsement of how we value the people who work at Crescent. It will be interesting to see where they will help us go. We have a lot of talented people within these walls.” n

“Paulson’s excellent injection molding training courses develop every employee in our – Bryan Graves, 
 company.” Trademark Plastics Signup for FREE access to 
 our plastics training member site. View videos in injection molding, extrusion, blow molding and thermoforming. Plus, download multiple study guides FREE! 1-855-637-2989 PaulsonTraining.com/Training

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 13


HOW CHASE PLASTICS IS REDEFINING RESIN DISTRIBUTION:

• The industry’s broadest product line FL

E XIBILIT Y

• Materials in stock, ready to be delivered • No minimum order size

• 99.2 percent on-time shipments

• Dedicated account teams DE

D I C AT

ION

• Empowered sales professionals

RE

• Quickest written responses to quotes in the industry

SP

SS

• Two-hour callbacks O N SIVENE

99.2%

• Technical service and application development engineers • Business solutions provider

6,400+

• Specialty, engineering and commodity thermoplastics • Outrageous customer service

IN SIG H T

STOMER CU

SER ICE V

IMPROVED BOTTOM LINE FOR YOUR BUSINESS Call 800-23-CHASE to learn how we can help you improve your bottom line!

ChasePlastics.com


association

Welcome New MAPP Members! Engineered Profiles, LLC Columbus, Ohio MedPlast – West Berlin West Berlin, New Jersey Pam Trading Kernersville, North Carolina Laszeray Technology, LLC North Royalton, Ohio Weiss-Aug Co. East Hanover, New Jersey Bemis Manufacturing Lenoir, North Carolina Century Mold Shelbyville, Tennessee Majors Plastics, Inc. Omaha, Nebraska Paramount Mold and Tool Fort Lauderdale, Florida E-S Plastic Products, LLC Waterford, Wisconsin Revere Plastics Systems, LLC Clyde, Ohio Intralox Harahan, Louisiana Dana Molded Products, Inc. Carpentersville, Illinois

is available to provide onsite support during trials and throughout the production process. Peer Networking Conversations Debuts New Group – Operations The successful Peer Networking Conversations webinars are an easy way to get your questions answered by your peers. Gain new ideas and advice that can be implemented to solve problems in your company. In a previous Human Resources session, the group benchmarked its employee review procedures. This document was compiled from member submissions and now is available on the MAPP website. For the next session, on June 4, MAPP is pleased to announce the formation of a new group focused on operations.

MAPP Welcomes Two New Sponsors iD Additives is a young company backed by many years of experience and expertise in fulfilling additive needs in the plastics industry. iD’s products and services are of the highest quality, yet engineered to be efficient and cost-effective. iD has a line of foaming agents, UV stabilizer systems, purging compounds and additives that will fulfill a majority of its customer’s needs. Coupling foaming agent technology with other additive and colorant needs allows iD to offer a costeffective “One Pellet Solution” for its customers.

MAPP members may register from the MAPP website calendar page. Peer Networking Groups include Human Resources, Operations and Senior Leaders.

Aurora Plastics Inc. is a leader in the manufacture of high-quality exterior weatherable RPVC (Rigid PVC), interior grade RPVC, cellular foam RPVC, injection molding compounds and PVC/acrylic alloy cap stock, as well as custom and tolled compounds in both powder and pellet form. Unlike other manufacturers in the market, Aurora Plastics is 100-percent focused on PVC and related blends. Its extensive technical support team, which consists of highly seasoned industry professionals,

This two-day learning and networking experience will showcase keynote speakers and safety-focused breakout sessions. It will offer thought leadership and advice about safety and risk management, construction safety, compliance and safety technology. The sessions, along with multiple networking events, provide high-level safety professionals with ideas they can take back to their facilities and implement to improve operations and achieve world-class safety.

Register today! Don’t reinvent the wheel – reach out to the membership for help. EHS Summit to be Held June 11-12 in Columbus, Ohio The Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Summit is designed to share best leadership and safety practices with EHS professionals hoping to achieve world-class safety at their companies.

To register, visit the calendar page at www.mappinc.com.

MAPP Key Events May 21 Intertech Plastics Plant Tour Event

June 1 Wage & Benefits Benchmarking

June 4 Peer Networking Conversations

Denver, Colorado

Email Survey

Webinar

June 11-12 Environmental, Health and Safety Summit Columbus, Ohio

July 9 OSHA Training Requirements Webinar

Oct. 22-23 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference Indianapolis, Indiana

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 15


association

MAPP Debuts Innovation Award To emphasize and showcase the power of creativity, MAPP conducted its first Innovation Award contest. For its inaugural year, the contest focused on mold change carts (or SMED carts) that often are used on the production floor to facilitate and expedite quick mold/die changeovers. “We received entries from members across the United States, narrowed it down to 12 finalists and asked the entire membership for their opinions,” said Marcella Kates, MAPP’s marketing manager. “After receiving hundreds and hundreds of votes, the three top finishers were identified as Deluxe Plastics (Wisconsin), first place; Plastic Molding Technology (Texas), second place, and Microplastics (Illinois), third place.” MAPP’s Innovation Award for SMED cart designs showcases how companies in the plastics industry aggressively are

First Place: Deluxe Plastics Our SMED cart contains all essential tools and equipment to perform a mold change in an efficient manner. In addition to the physical tools, it also acts as a wireless information center. The SMED cart is restocked and prepared for the next mold change after every use. – Peter Blaas, Deluxe Plastics

16 | plastics business • spring 2015

addressing issues relating to setup time reductions. As industry judges discovered, the final 12 cart entries were designed to improve efficiency by having all tools, support equipment and supplies readily accessible to changeover professionals. Sharing best practices and ideas while creating a community that makes everyone better is the true spirit of MAPP – and is the spirit with which this award will be given. The 2016 Innovation Award topic will be announced at the MAPP Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference, October 2123, 2015, Indianapolis, Indiana.


Second Place: Plastic Molding Technology (PMT), Inc. PMT’s state-of-the-art SMED carts are a one-stop shop for the production department’s employees, built for easeof-access and eliminating unnecessary travel. Our newly designed carts decrease mold setup time by 50 percent, while increasing cost savings. Standardized tool sets readily are available, with all extra equipment now centrally located. – Jennifer Perez, PMT, Inc.

Third Place: Microplastics, Inc. Our cart has a few benefits that I assume most setup carts have, but probably to a higher level. The back has jumper hoses of every possible length needed, along with 200 and 300 series fittings. This way, the guys quickly can replace leaking hoses and increase our mold uptime. Obviously, all of the necessary setup tools are present and organized properly, but in addition, we keep all necessary pipe fittings, plugs, O-rings and job change paperwork on our cart. This also is our sample cart, so on the side we have a large variety of sprays and lubricants, which often are needed for those first shots. – Andrew Schaus, Microplastics, Inc.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 17


view from 30

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. by Brittany Willes

Offering Employee Relocation Expenses As the job market becomes ever more competitive, recruiting the most qualified employees is essential. However, those employees may not be local, and moving households is both time-consuming and expensive. According to a survey conducted by Atlas Van Lines, employee relocation has been on the rise since 2010. In 2014 alone, nearly half of all businesses saw increases in relocation volumes. Over a third of small firms surveyed reported volume increases, along with more than half of large and midsize firms. According to Atlas, further increases are expected in 2015. This increase perhaps is why many companies now provide relocation expenses for their newly hired employees. One such company is PMC SMART Solutions, LLC. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, PMC began offering relocation assistance as a means of ensuring the company is not limited in its hiring practice, filling positions with candidates who best fit its needs. “Offering relocation assistance expands the pool of potential new employees beyond our immediate region,” explained Lou Ripley, vice president for PMC. “Relocation assistance increases the opportunity for finding high-quality candidates.” There are several factors at play when it comes to determining the expense of moving households. Keeping in mind the often unpredictable housing market, relocation expenses often go beyond just selling one house and buying another. There also are closing costs to consider, moving/purchasing furniture and other personal belongings and, common when it comes to

18 | plastics business • spring 2015


employee relocation, the rental costs of temporary residence while searching for a permanent residence. The cost for an average family to relocate is estimated at $25,000-$75,000. Taking such factors into account, PMC offers its newly hired employees various packages in order to help offset the cost of relocating. While each situation is evaluated on an individual basis, average relocation expenses that could be covered include • Movement of household goods by professional movers; • Temporary living expenses (usually for three months, but may be longer); • Closing costs on the sale of the home at the old location; • Closing costs on the purchase of the new home in the new location; and • Travel expenses from the old location to the new location. “We are flexible as the situation requires,” Ripley added. “The company does cover other expenses, depending upon the circumstances.” One of the few relocation benefits PMC does not provide is offering to buy the relocating employee’s home in the old location. Overall, PMC has had positive experiences as a result of assisting its new hires through the costly tribulations of relocating. As Ripley stated, “We haven’t had any significant challenges or issues with our assistance policies. The cost of aiding new employees is an investment in hiring the best people.” Thus, PMC has created a culture of investing in employees and developing a positive company atmosphere. The company’s employees who have benefited from the program likewise have expressed appreciation of a positive experience. “New hires have responded very well to our relocation assistance program,” Ripley asserted. “It makes the transition to their new location easier, helps them settle in quickly and enables them to focus on their new assignments,” he said. Companies, such as Chase Plastic Services, echo PMC’s sentiments that offering relocation expenses is beneficial for all involved. According to Gustina Sell, HR manager for Chase Plastics, “There are several needs that are being met by offering moving expense assistance. It allows an employer to get the best candidate for a position while alleviating the financial stress from candidates, thus allowing them to focus on the new job at hand. It also allows the company to strengthen its succession planning by making sure its next generation of leaders is getting the right experience and positioning.”

MAPP Executive Director Troy Nix asked other association members to share their company policies regarding relocation expenses. Several companies responded, stating they cover a range of expenses, many of which depend upon the distance moved during the relocation. A sample of responses is as follows: • Company offers relocation expenses for salaried and hard-to-fill technical positions, primarily reimbursing rental fees and fuel expenses associated with moving trucks (typically around $2,000). Professional moving company expenses are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The company also will pay for up to 30 days in a hotel. • Company offers limited relocation, with a cap of $5,000. In addition, up to five additional vacation days may be provided to support relocation for the first year. • Company provides a set amount of cash to the employee to be used for moving expenses or other expenses. • Company offers relocation expenses on a case-by-case basis, up to $10,000. Temporary living support is offered up to three months, also on a case-by-case basis. page 20 u

You Can’t Argue with Results Over 65 M&A Transactions

Over 50 placements each year

2015 Transactions

w w w. m o l d i n g b u s i n e s s . c o m

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 19 MAPP 2015 Quarterly Ad-2nd Quarter.indd 1

4/22/2015 1:33:46 PM


view from 30 t page 19

Embracing 2 Second Lean In the last several years, lean manufacturing has spread rapidly throughout service and manufacturing industries such as aerospace, automotive, electronics and health care. Lean has served as a core business strategy, creating a competitive advantage by emphasizing elimination of non-value-added activities (waste), while delivering quality products with greater efficiency at the least cost. Hansen Plastics Corporation, Elgin, Illinois, began seriously implementing the tools and methods of lean manufacturing in October 2013 following a MAPP conference where Paul Akers, author of “2 Second Lean,” detailed his own company’s positive experiences with lean. “We had been conscious of lean for about 10 years,” said Tim Bayer, president of Hansen. “We had used some of the tools here and there; however, it wasn’t until MAPP – and Paul – that we began to understand more about lean culture. In fact, culture is the true lean process. “We started with communication and commitment,” Bayer further explained. “We scheduled daily 15-minute meetings for each shift where we would go over our sales, any issues or concerns, education about waste and suggestions for improvements.” The company’s commitment to education and improvement included reading from an educational book for a few minutes every day, watching videos every day and recognizing employees’ efforts. “Every day, we recognize improvements that employees have made, and we clap for them,” said Bayer. “They deserve to be recognized and doing so helps to further build lean culture.” Along with their improvement efforts, employees are recognized for upholding the core company values of respect, honesty, gratitude, humility, knowledge and diversity. Bayer stated that while the company always had followed the values established by founder Elmer Hansen, those values had never been formally documented. As part of the shifting culture, each day employees would pick a core value and show how it was being met using lean methods. Despite the company’s initial commitment to lean, the transition was not necessarily a smooth one. In the beginning, Hansen employees viewed lean as a passing fad – something they would talk about for a few weeks before it went away. When it became clear that lean was there to stay, employees in turn worried about how it would affect their jobs. “We had to make sure they knew they weren’t working themselves out of a job,” Bayer explained. “They needed the security to know the company was not eliminating jobs. It was cultivating jobs.

20 | plastics business • spring 2015

In the beginning, Hansen employees viewed lean as a passing fad – something they would talk about for a few weeks before it went away. When it became clear that lean was there to stay, employees in turn worried about how it would affect their jobs. With lean, the goal was to eliminate waste in order reinvest those resources into the company. Since 1971, we’ve never had a layoff. Being 100-percent employee-owned, we never want to have a layoff.” Over time, Hansen employees have seen the positive effects of lean and embraced the company’s commitment to continuous improvement. “Lean is hard. It’s not for everyone,” said Bayer. “It’s a mindset, and you have to be passionate about it. It’s not going to work if you just like the idea. I’m incredibly proud of our people – of how much they’ve learned and grown and taken control of it. That’s one of the best things to come out of this whole process.” According to Bayer, lean has allowed the company to create a more diverse and inclusive culture. Employees of all shifts have gotten to know each other better. Instead of having segregation between shifts, they now recognize one another. There is a sense of continuity throughout the company that extends even to new hires. “When someone starts here, we send a package to their house with Paul’s book so they know right away what we’re about and how we operate,” said Bayer. “We still do his videos every day. We feel like Paul is our best friend, even though we’ve never met him.” Lean is very difficult, if not impossible, for those who are unable to handle change. Knowledge, one of Hansen’s core values, is perhaps the most important part of performing lean successfully. “You have to have a passion for knowledge,” stressed Bayer. “You have to be willing to learn more every day, to ask questions every day and to change your thinking. I love bragging about what everyone at Hansen has accomplished. They’ve done some amazing things. The whole-heartedness that has come out of this process really has brought people together.”


A Deeper Look at 2 Second Lean Paul Akers had years of experience in manufacturing when he started his own product manufacturing business in 1997. Thus, it came as a shock when a consultant he’d hired to help manage the company’s inventory told Akers he didn’t know what he was doing. This moment marked the beginning of Akers’ lean journey, during which he would come to embrace the foundational lean principles of eliminating waste and continuous improvement. In his book, “2 Second Lean: How to Grow People and Build a Lean Culture,” Akers discusses his conversion to lean manufacturing, highlighting several tactics he has used to encourage continuous improvement. He provides a quick “lean” summary of each chapter’s main points and take-away ideas. Additionally, at the end of each chapter, Akers provides brief worksheets and questionnaires

designed to help readers identify areas of waste and potential improvement. Furthermore, Akers emphasizes the importance of building a lean culture as the biggest key to successful lean manufacturing. He explains how his company started hosting morning meetings as a way of getting all employees involved. Every day, before production began, management committed to going over the previous day’s efforts by reading aloud daily sales, reviewing any mistakes made and encouraging discussion on how best to prevent mistakes in the future. Finally, they would review newly introduced processes and evaluate their effectiveness. Team members also became team leaders as they took turns leading morning meetings. According to Akers, “This is the beginning of how we built a culture of continuous improvement. We build leaders every day at FastCap.” Akers’ book concludes with additional resources, including sample agendas for morning meetings, company/employee goals and further suggestions for building lean culture. n

Ultra high-speed PRODUCTIVITY Yushin’s new ultra-high speed double main arm robots are your path to high productivity and increased profitability. We offer a wide range of sizes for micro-molding through ultra-large applications. Thanks to our world-class products, services and personnel, we are a premier supplier of take-out robots, End-Of-Arm-Tooling and custom systems. All of Yushin’s new ultra-high speed robots displayed at NPE are sold. But there’s plenty more where they came from. Contact us to learn how Yushin can improve your ROI.

Introduced at

Discount for MAPP members: Place an order for traverse or sprue picker robots and choose either: • An additional one-year warranty on the purchase of a sprue picker, hybrid or servo robot • 50% off up to 3 seats of Flexible Teaching Software training *Contact salesinfo@yushin.com for details

Contact us today. www.yushinamerica.com salesinfo@yushin.com (401) 463-1800

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 21


production

In-Mold Decorating Project Success: More than Technology by Dave Schoofs, Central Decal Company

Dave Schoofs works in product development for Central Decal Company, Burr Ridge, Illinois. Central Decal provides in-mold inserts, pressuresensitive graphics, dimensional logos and permanent transfers that are functional, decorative, informational and enhance brand identity. For more information, call 262.689.5858 or visit www.centraldecal.com.

There are many articles written about “successful product launches.” Most articles focus on go-to-market strategies or on using tools such as APQP, PFMEA and FMEA to identify the feasibility and manage the engineering/developmental portion of the project. While all of these tools are important, innovative solutions require skills, techniques and other key elements critical for success. Innovative projects are an adventure to a new destination. Like all adventures, you need to know where you are going and sometimes, it is more important to know why. You need to accept the fact that you will encounter unforeseen challenges, often at the worst possible time. So, what is the real difference between the success and failure of an in-mold project? APQP, PFEMA and all the other tools are required, much like a hammer and screwdriver for weekend projects. Proper use of the tools can get you about 90-95 percent of the way to completion. However, to complete the project, you need to know how to use the tools – and have the drive – to overcome any challenges. Assessing the in-mold project Successful projects utilize the typical quality tools and five key elements during product and project development.

Photo credit: Central Decal Company

22 | plastics business • spring 2015

1. Define the goal. Quite simply – why are you doing this? Common goals for inmold decorating might include reducing cost, minimizing assembly, improving durability, minimizing scrap, providing consistent product, enhancing brand image, improving design aesthetics and enhancing user interface. No matter the


goal, everyone must focus on achieving the defined goal; if not, the project is somewhat jeopardized. 2. Define a team of players. Don’t develop in a vacuum. For in-mold projects, you need a team with representatives from the OEM, the molder, the toolmaker, the robotics company and the graphic supplier that is committed and can provide expertise and value. The team must be engaged early in the project, and each representative must develop and manage his/her support team. An indicator of a troubled in-mold project often is seen in a company that will design parts and tooling based on the advice of “experts” who have no skin in the game. The OEM will then shop the project and select the lowest cost supplier. A run-of-the-mill product may have success. If it is truly a cutting-edge design or new to the OEM and molder, the project may be in for a rough ride. 3. Define an achievable timeline and milestones. That is not to say that you always need a lot of time. Instead, make the most out of whatever time you have for design, project review, testing and development of the tooling, graphics, robotics and fixtures. 4. Define the project cost and price parameters that support the goal. By this, I mean the true “honest” total cost and prices. Don’t forget realistic quality/scrap costs, hidden assembly operations, logistics and the commodity management costs. Once defined, the team leaders own the costs and are responsible for monitoring and reporting any variances and suggesting cost avoidance solutions to the team.

Next, the OEM selected the molder. The molder then selected the robotics team, the toolmaker and the graphics supplier. Why did the molder select these suppliers? It was not clear to me until near the end of the project. During this meeting, the team collectively committed to supporting a project for which • two brand graphics will be utilized that have significantly different sizes and shapes; • the housing is completely textured with a heavy, deep texture; • static charging is the only feasible method for label placement; and • the gate location required to minimize knit lines could push the insert. The team was introduced to the project goals and given a 16week timeline to mass production. The molder then defined the major milestones. The toolmaker, graphic supplier and robotics team defined their timelines, milestones, deliverables and costs. Over the next 16 weeks of development and product validation, a true sense of camaraderie developed within the team. When page 24 u

The fifth element is probably the most critical and often defines the real difference between success and failure. So, what accounts for the last 5-10 percent? Before we get into that, let’s review a recent project that included some unique challenges. In-mold project case study To set the stage, an OEM manufactures two brands of durable lawn mowers. This company is not the largest manufacturer in its market; however, it rapidly is gaining market share because of the products’ value and durability. During the redesign of a product, the OEM’s marketing team identified that the location of the brand graphic on the side panel is highly susceptible to abrasion. This abrasion will damage and destroy the brand graphic, negatively impacting brand image. So, the OEM started the four-step process. First the company defined the goal – “create the most durable and repeatable decorating method” – and in-mold decorating was selected. The OEM added project requirements that supported leveraging the housing across different brands, which is common in lawn and garden applications.

advantage Practical Advice for the Plastics Industry Ice Miller focuses on one goal, to meet the needs and issues of our clients quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. Ice Miller attorneys with plastics industry experience can meet your greatest legal challenges. Contact H. Alan Rothenbuecher at 216-394-5075 or har@icemiller.com for more information.

100+ lawyers from Ice Miller recognized by Best Lawyers in America®

300+ lawyers in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Washington, D.C.

Chicago Cleveland Columbus DuPage County, Ill. Indianapolis Washington, D.C.

icemiller.com

Ice on Fire

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 23


production t page 23

challenges were encountered, there was no finger-pointing; rather, the response was “how do we, as a team, get back on track to achieve the goal?” How was this team approach accomplished? First, we met as a team and collectively kicked off the project at the OEM’s location. Then, the team met weekly to review our activities and action items. Sub-teams were developed and were allowed to interact freely. As the graphic supplier, I worked directly with the OEM on the graphics development and provided marketing samples. We supported the EOAT and fixture development with fit and function samples. In addition, we worked closely with the molder to validate the label construction. As we moved closer to launch, unforeseen challenges were encountered. These rapidly were addressed, and the project moved forward. The project launched, and all went well until the second production round of graphics. The parts went from running well to running poorly when the second lot of parts was

The best combo since PB&J.

YOU

www.vive4mfg.com 414.727.VIVE

24 | plastics business • spring 2015

introduced. The inserts were identical to the first lot. What changed? Typically, this is when the shouting and fingerpointing begins, and the excuses start to fly. Rather than placing blame and taking the stance that the problem was someone else’s problem, the team worked together to resolve the challenge. As the graphic supplier, we committed and redirected resources to develop and validate countermeasures. The team members worked together and resolved the challenge within a short period of time. Now, after five months of production, total scrap is in the low single digits. The molder has defined the project as successful and at 100 percent of plan. Why did we achieve success? It is quite simple. The foundation of this project included the five key elements, including the fifth element missing from the recitation above. 5. The fifth key element is PAACE: the Professionalism, Attitude, Aptitude, Commitment and Experience of the team as it resolved unforeseen challenges. PAACE is not easily identified until challenges arise. Do the companies work together to resolve any and all challenges, or does ego and attitude get in the way? So, what other factors supported success? Why did the molder select the suppliers, and how did the molder manage the team on this project? • The team members represented all elements of the project. This project was not designed and developed in a vacuum. This included tool design, resin selection, graphic design, etc. • All team members had skin in the game and provided value. Any non-value-added suppliers and influencers who did not have skin in the game were not on the team. • The team met weekly to review status and action items. The project leads and suppliers were allowed to interact freely. If anyone attempted to restrict the interaction, they were eliminated from the team. • The molder selected suppliers based on Professionalism, Aptitude, Attitude, Commitment and Experience. n


Knowledge Development is an Investment in Your Future Skilled Employees...

Produce Consistent Quality Parts

Influence the Reduction of Scrap Rates

Upcoming Training Schedule Injection Molding Essentials ~ $695 Woodstock, GA

Sep. 2-3, 2015

Systematic Molding ~ $1,250 Traverse City, MI

June 2-4, 2015

Querétaro, Mexico

June 23-25, 2015

Woodstock, GA

June 23-25, 2015

Largo, FL

July 7-9, 2015

Elk Grove Village, IL

July 14-16, 2015

Clearfield, UT

August 4-6, 2015

Chihuahua, México

August 25-27, 2015

Menomonie, WI

August 25-27, 2015

Traverse City, MI

Sep. 15-17, 2015

Indianapolis, IN

Sept 29 - Oct 1, 2015

Successful Strategies for Tool Launches ~ $1,750 Woodstock, GA

Aug. 11-13, 2015

Elk Grove Village, IL

Nov. 3-5, 2015

Math for Molders ~ $300

Improve Production/ Part Rates

Are Able to Uncover Machine & Mold Issues

Woodstock, GA

June 22, 2015

Woodstock, GA

Sep. 1, 2015

Advanced eDART Training Version 9 ~ $1, 095 Traverse City, MI

Nov. 17-19, 2015

Master Molder I ~ $3,495 Traverse City, MI (Full)

June 1-12, 2015

Traverse City, MI (Full)

June 15-26, 2015

Woodstock, GA (Full)

July 13-24, 2015

Woodstock, GA (Full)

July 27 - Aug. 7, 2015

Woodstock, GA (Full)

Aug. 17-28, 2015

Traverse City, MI (Full)

Sep. 21 - Oct. 2, 2015

Traverse City, MI

Oct. 12-23, 2015

Woodstock, GA

Oct. 12-23, 2015

Woodstock, GA - Spanish

Nov. 2-13, 2015

Traverse City, MI

Nov. 30 - Dec. 11, 2015

Master Molder II ~ $4,250

Valuable Discounts Available for MAPP Members

Woodstock, GA (Full)

June 1-12, 2015

Traverse City, MI

Aug. 10-21, 2015

Woodstock, GA

Sep. 21 - Oct. 2, 2015

Traverse City, MI

Nov. 2-13, 2015

Traverse City, MI

Nov. 2-13, 2015

www.rjginc.com/mapp | phone: 231-947-3111


Machine Utilization

Predictive Sensor Technology for Pumps and Dry

Patent Pending Machine Component Wearables

Wireless Data Capture and Cloud Based Data Analytics

Just some of the many sub-component attributes that are monitored with Prophecy Sensors:

Heater Bank Monitoring

Power Factor Monitoring

Oil Viscosity Monitoring

Gear/Bearing Condition

Temperature Monitoring

High/Low Oil Monitoring

800-237-8379 | www.novatec.com/prophecy *NOVATEC is a licensee of Prophecy Sensorlytics™ sensor technology Š Copyright 2015 Novatec, Inc.


BREAKTHROUGH

yers Increases Uptime and Avoids Run to Failure

Actionable Desktop and Mobile App for Predictive Conditions

Prioritized Maintenance Condition Reports for Management

Run to Failure is No Way to Run Your Business. Most vacuum pumps and dryers only report process conditions but don’t monitor the critical components that run or fail within that machine. NOVATEC, using proprietary Prophecy Sensorlytics™ technology, changes all that. Machine wearable sensors and analytic software enables the coordination of predictive maintenance with your production schedule to increase utilization, profitability and avoid costly unplanned downtime.


industry

Recent Spate of Lawsuits Serves as Wake-Up Call on Proper Use of Job Applicant Background Checks Since the start of 2014, the number of lawsuits filed against employers and staffing firms alleging the use of unlawful background check practices has increased dramatically. Many of these cases were class action lawsuits with millions of dollars in potential liability. This sudden surge in litigation underscores the importance of understanding and complying with the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when obtaining background reports on job applicants. Although one might infer from the name of the law that it only applies to use of credit reports, the FCRA also regulates the use of other types of consumer reports, including reports on backgrounds and criminal histories of job applicants. It requires that anyone who uses such a report to deny an application for credit, insurance or employment – or to take another adverse action against the applicant – must inform the applicant and provide the name, address and phone number of the agency that provided the information. The FCRA also requires that the applicant be given an opportunity to correct any inaccuracies in the report before any adverse action is taken based on the report. It has become a common and prudent practice for employers to seek information on applicants’ histories, including prior employment, credit history and criminal records, before deciding whether to make job offers. Some states and municipalities also have passed laws and ordinances imposing restrictions on when in the interview process prospective employers may consider applicants’ criminal records. Others prohibit receipt or consideration of information about expunged convictions. However, most of the recently filed cases involve claims that employers violated the disclosure and notice requirements of the FCRA, a federal law applying to employers throughout the US.

by Wayne “Skip” Adams III, Ice Miller, LLP

This article is submitted by Wayne “Skip” Adams III, a partner in the Labor and Employment Law Section of Ice Miller, LLP. For more information on background checks, contact him at 317.236.2117 or wayne.adams@icemiller.com.

In some cases, class action lawyers file suits on behalf of large classes of unsuccessful job applicants, even though none of them can prove that the alleged FCRA violations prevented them from being hired or that they otherwise were actually harmed by any FCRA violations. Why are they entitled to sue? Because courts have interpreted the FCRA as allowing plaintiffs to bring FCRA lawsuits for employers’ willful violations of the law without claiming or proving that they suffered actual damages. If they prevail, the plaintiffs may recover up to $1,000 in statutory damages for each member of the class, plus punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and any actual damages plaintiffs can prove for any of the class members. After such damages are multiplied by hundreds or thousands of class members, these “victimless” lawsuits can cost employers millions of dollars. By the way, the Supreme Court has held that in order to be a willful violation qualifying for such damages, it need not be intentional. Instead, in violating the FCRA, the employer’s conduct need only be “reckless” and such that the employer knew or should have known it was not complying with the FCRA. What kinds of violations can expose employers to such damage awards? FCRA violations can occur at two different phases of the application process: before and after the employer has obtained a job applicant background report. An employer is prohibited from obtaining such a background report unless it first has disclosed to the applicant its intent to request such a report and obtained the applicant’s consent. One of the primary FCRA violations

28 | plastics business • spring 2015


alleged in many class actions is the employer’s failure to make proper disclosure to each of its applicants. The FCRA requires that the disclosure must clearly and conspicuously inform the applicants that the employer may obtain a background report for employment purposes. Employers frequently run afoul of the requirement that this disclosure be set forth “in a document that consists solely of the disclosure.” Employers violate this requirement – and subject themselves to liability – simply by including this disclosure in their job application form, instead of making it a separate, freestanding document as the FCRA requires. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken the position that inserting a liability release or waiver in the disclosure, whereby the applicant agrees to release the employer from liability for any claims arising out of the employer’s use of the background report, also violates the requirement that the document contain only the disclosure. Companies sued within the past few years for alleged violations of these FCRA disclosure requirements include Home Depot, Whole Foods, Dollar General and Michaels Stores. Other employer violations of the FCRA can occur after the employer receives a background report on an applicant. In those cases, the plaintiffs usually allege that they suffered serious

One of the primary FCRA violations alleged in many class actions is the employer’s failure to make proper disclosure to each of its applicants. The FCRA requires that the disclosure must clearly and conspicuously inform the applicants that the employer may obtain a background report for employment purposes. actual damages due to job loss or harm to their reputation – in addition to the statutory damages capped at $1,000 – by the employer’s failure to comply with the FCRA. For example, Roger Culbertson sued Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in 2013 page 30 u

Since 1958, the appliance industry has come to rely on the technology and expertise INCOE extends. From heavy duty appliances to everyday consumer products, INCOE has provided customers innovative hot runner systems and creative solutions which have ensured they remain productive and competitive. After all, when you compete in an uncompromising and demanding marketplace, you can’t afford to leave your molding solutions to just anyone. Look to INCOE... we’re tried, tested and true. INCOE Corporation Global Headquarters 1740 East Maple Road Troy, Michigan 48083 USA T +1.248.616.0220 F +1.248.616.0225 E info@incoe.com

Expertise you can trust. Technology you can rely on. North America | Europe | Asia | South America

www.incoe.com

We’re everywhere. © 2014 INCOE® is a registered trademark of INCOE Corporation, USA and in other countries

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 29


industry t page 29 claiming that the company relied on a criminal background report it received on him in deciding not to hire him, but failed to provide him with a copy of the report or an opportunity to refute it. In his lawsuit, Culbertson acknowledged that he was convicted of battery in 1998, but that the conviction was expunged from his record in 2010. Disney hired him in 2011, but before Culbertson appeared for orientation, the company received a background report inaccurately indicating that the 1998 conviction had occurred in 2010. The day after receiving this report, Disney’s security department placed a “no-hire recommendation” in Culbertson’s file. When Culbertson contacted the company to inquire about his status, he was informed for the first time about the conviction in the background report, and he alleges the company told him he no longer had a job. The next day, Culbertson contacted the background check agency that had provided the report to Disney and informed it of the incorrect date of the conviction. Six days later, the agency issued a corrected report removing any mention of the conviction. However, by the time the report was corrected, Disney claims it was too late for him to receive the required orientation for his seasonal job and that Disney no longer needed

Do you qualify?

xcise el E Fu x Credits Ta

Tax • Audit • Accounting Consulting Services

Ma De nu d

t or ves i

We specialize in helping plastics manufacturers claim these incentives and more!

rer’s ctu ns fa ctio u

Hiring Incentiv es

Research Credits Tax

In Exp c e nt

Mike Devereux II, CPA, CMP Partner & Director of Plastics Industry Services mdevereux@muellerprost.com 314.862.2070

30 | plastics business • spring 2015

Connect with us! muellerprost.com

him. Disney contends that Culbertson lost his job not because of the background report, but because by the time the report was corrected, it no longer needed him. However, in refusing to grant summary judgment for Disney, the court held that the issue of whether Disney gave Culbertson a reasonable opportunity to respond to the inaccurate background check must be decided by a jury. Regardless of the final outcome of the cases mentioned in this article, they deliver an important reminder to all employers about best practices in requesting and using background checks. An employer must inform a job applicant in a separate document (not part of the application form and not containing a release of liability) of its intent to obtain a background report and must receive the applicant’s written consent. Before denying employment or taking any other adverse action against an applicant or employee on whom it has received a negative background report, an employer should send a packet to the individual containing the following: 1. a copy of the report; 2. the name, address and phone number of the agency that produced the report; 3. the government publication “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act,” issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Board (“CFPB”) and found on the CFPB website at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/ bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre35.pdf (this summary was updated as of January 1, 2013, and has replaced the summary previously issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) so employers must make sure they are giving the current version to applicants); and 4. a letter warning the individual of the job denial or other adverse action which may result from the negative report and setting forth a reasonable amount of time (at least five business days) for the individual to respond. Only after that period of time has elapsed without a correction or other acceptable explanation should the employer reject the applicant or take other adverse action based on the report. The employer must notify the individual of this action, and written notice is recommended. n


www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 31


product

ACS Group Offers Line of Portable Vacuum Pumps ACS Group, New Berlin, Wisconsin, unveiled its line of portable VP Series vacuum pumps, giving plastics processors a mid-range alternative to permanently installed vacuum conveying systems for transfer of pellets and regrind. Mounted on casters and designed as a self-contained, compact system, VP Series vacuum pumps can be positioned where needed to convey pellets, regrind and free-flowing powder in plastics processing applications. Offered in three models with pumps rated from 1.0hp to 11.5hp (0.75kW to 8.5kW). Standard features include sustainability for most virgin, powder and regrind applications; compressed air filter cleaning; single, 4-station or 9-station controls and atmospheric relief valve. For more information, call 262.641.8600 or visit www.acscorporate.com.

Conair Equipment Simplifies Commissioning of Cleanrooms To help medical plastics processors select, install, commission and start up white rooms and cleanrooms faster and with less paperwork, The Conair Group, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, is introducing MedLine®, a complete range of auxiliaries – 170 units in all – for molding and extrusion of medical products. The new MedLine product line includes equipment for conveying and storage, resin drying, blending, heat transfer and downstream extrusion. All have been specially sized, configured, documented and supported for use in cleanrooms and other controlled environments for markets like cosmetics, electronics and aerospace. Only mechanical equipment and materials that are compliant with standards for ISO 14644 cleanrooms are used in construction. All equipment is supplied with a quality and regulatory compliance package aligned with ISO and FDA requirements. Machines are factory-calibrated to meet regulatory requirements, installation qualification forms are supplied and preventive maintenance procedures required for regulatory compliance are detailed. To learn more, visit www.conairgroup.com.

32 | plastics business • spring 2015

IQMS Addresses Manufacturing Compliance and Capacity Challenges IQMS, Paso Robles, California, announced new software features designed to resolve two modern manufacturing challenges: the desire to grow capacity without increasing resources and the need to adhere to strict industry compliance and regulations. Using automation such as IQMS’ native planning, scheduling and process monitoring modules, manufacturers can add capacity using their existing plant and equipment. Additionally, IQMS’ real-time automation functions to instantaneously collect production data and automatically relay it to the ERP solution for tracking and analysis, allowing manufacturers to adapt production schedules to real output in real time. Finally, with IQMS’ end-to-end lot and serial traceability and embedded quality management suite, manufacturers can find relief from the changing regulatory environment. For more information, visit www.iqms.com.

New Jupiter II Series from Absolute Haitian Absolute Haitian, Worcester, Massachusetts, has introduced smaller model sizes of the Haitian Jupiter II servo-hydraulic two-platen injection molding machine. Previously available from 1,349 to 4,496 US tons, new model sizes include 506, 618, 730, 844, 1,069 and 1,214 US tons, meeting desire for greater efficiency and a wider range of applications. The new mid-sized Jupiter II machine provides molders with a smaller footprint and generous tiebar spacing relative to similar-sized toggle clamp machines. The Jupiter II/hp model is available with extra-wide platens to open the possibility for molders to accommodate larger parts while paying for a smaller, less expensive machine size. The wide-platen Jupiter II is available in 1,124, 1,349 and 1,798 US ton models. For more information, visit www. absolutehaitian.com.


Sepro Celebrates Growth in North America Sepro America LLC, Warrendale, Pennsylvania, has introduced three new lines of robots for injection molding machines with clamping force between 700-5,000 tons. The large robots improve upon the Sepro Generation 4 Line, which previously covered hightonnage molding applications. The Strong Line is a range of universal robots that make the speed and precision of fullservo actuation available to molders who have applications that require simple pick-and-place functionality and downstream operations. At NPE2015, the robots were represented by a 5-axis 7X-45 model, which combines the same 3-axis platform as the S7 robots with a 2-axis servo-driven wrist developed in partnership with Staubli Robotics. Unlike pneumatic wrists, which only can move to set positions at 0° and 90° or 0° and 180°, the 7X wrists can move from 0° to 180° and 0 ° to 270° or anywhere within that range with precision. To learn more, visit www.sepro-america.com.

Wittmann Battenfeld Demonstrates GRAVIMAX G56 Wittmann Battenfeld, Torrington, Connecticut, is releasing a new gravimetric blender, the GRAVIMAX G56, that allows for the mixing of up to six different components. Even with its large blending volume of up to 5,000 grams, this unit meets the same standards as Wittmann Battenfeld’s smaller models in terms of mechanical attributes, control system, easy access and process reliability. Dosing is carried out by pneumatically operated, wear-resistant metering valves whose cylinders are located outside the material flow, which prevents material from bridging and makes the cleaning process substantially easier. The unit includes a special RTLS (Real Time Live Scale) weighing unit that determines how often and for how long every metering valve must be activated, allowing for a metering accuracy of +0.1 percent. Additionally, Wittman Battenfeld has released the appliance series GRAVIMAX G14 with up to 80kg/h throughput and the model GRAVIMAX G34 with a maximum throughput of 200kg/h. For more information, visit www.wittmann-group.com.

Sumitomo Introduces SE-EV-HD All-Electric

Yushin Introduces Concept Robot

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, Strongsville, Ohio, has introduced the SE-EV-HD all-electric to the North American market. The new high-duty (HD) models of its flagship SE-EV Series specifically are designed for thickerwalled parts, including complex parts with a combination of thin and thick walls. Designed for parts with cycle times of 15 seconds and up, the SE-EV-HD can provide full pressure for up to 40 percent of the molding cycle, while maintaining exceptional molding stability. Applications range from automotive, appliance and consumer products to other types of general purpose parts requiring high-precision, energy-efficient molding. Standard features include proprietary belted motors for ejection and plasticizing; high-power, belted injection servo motors; highcontact nozzle force with selectable settings and high-speed, direct-drive motors for clamping. For more information, visit www.sumitomo-shi-demag.us.

Yushin America, Cranston, Rhode Island, has pooled its four decades of experience in the fields of industrial automation and robotics to create a Cartesian full-servo robot. Designed to work in conjunction with a standard take-out robot or as a standalone product, this design is suited for assembly, packaging and other secondary operations. The dual arms are angled toward each other to maximize the robot’s cooperative abilities and somewhat mimic human arms for task collaboration. Strokes and payloads can be reconfigured to match any combination of the many configurations of Yushin’s standard robots. The single controller offers synchronous cooperative axes of motion, including full integration with auxiliary downstream equipment. Each axis can be programmed to function independently or in combination of axes. For more information, visit www.yushinamerica.com. n

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 33


solutions

Effective Inventory Management Adds to the Bottom Line by Dianna Brodine

According to a presentation from a Grainger representative at the MAPP Annual Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference in October 2014, more than $110 billion in MRO (maintenance, repair and operating) supplies were purchased in 2013, ranging from light bulbs and cleaning supplies to maintenance parts. Unfortunately for the bottom line of the companies making those purchases, inventory worth approximately $12 billion is sitting idle on shelves. Beyond MRO consumables, additional inventory in the form of resins, colorants and machine-specific spare parts may remain unused and untracked in plastics processing facilities, representing another significant drain on profits. In many cases, this inventory sits on shelves for weeks, months and years because companies do not effectively track what they have on hand. Why track supply inventory? Whether keeping a few light bulbs on hand or buying extra parts for a piece of equipment that frequently breaks down, it may seem like a good idea to make inventory purchases in anticipation of future needs. However, that decision can lead to thousands

34 | plastics business • spring 2015


of dollars sitting idle as inventory migrates into toolboxes and supply closets throughout the facility. If the inventory isn’t readily accessible and where it’s supposed to be when needed, it becomes easier to replace the item rather than committing time to tracking it down. Eventually, an inventory count comes up with 15 wrenches when only five are required. In the case of the unreliable equipment, what happens to the spare parts when the machine finally is replaced? How many years will it be before someone notices those parts sitting on a shelf in the maintenance area? Instead, creating a method of tracking the location, consumption and reorder points for the inventory needed in the facility leads to a controlled system. Some retraining may be necessary as employees are asked to take an extra step or two to log item use. However, cost reduction comes from accountability, and accountability is a natural outcome when inventory use is tracked and analyzed. Managing inventory IQMS, Paso Robles, California, provides inventory management as part of its suite of software for the manufacturing industry. Offering software systems since 1989, IQMS has industryspecific experience in providing real-time ERP, manufacturing, production monitoring, quality control and supply chain solutions to those involved in the automotive, medical, packaging and consumer goods markets, among others.

An effective management system quickly can reduce purchasing costs, alleviate inventory bloat and help to accurately assign all costs to the appropriate project.

knows how many are available for use, whether in the supply closet, at a station in the tool room or next to a press on the molding floor. “That works for everything from shop towels and light bulbs to resins and packaging.” Consumable use can be updated via desktop computer, tablet, smartphone app or handheld scanner. “That provides flexibility during mobility,” Nowak said. “If you give the maintenance page 36 u

On-site consumables are only a small part of the inventory tracking provided by EnterpriseIQ, IQMS’ manufacturing ERP software, with modules for tracing inter-company transactions, outsourced product and vendor-managed inventory, as well as warehouse tracking for finished product. Still, the software helps to avoid an abundance of unused inventory by providing a system in which to • track the order of inventory items; • assign them to purchase or job orders once on-site; • evaluate use patterns; and • signal the purchasing department to place another order at a predetermined level. An inventory management system improves shop floor efficiency, streamlines the accounting process and reduces costs associated with unnecessary ordering. “Consumables can be received against a purchase order and then assigned to a location, so those on the floor know where the item is and how much of it is in each location,” said Glenn Nowak, vice president, IQMS. The consumables can be split and moved to more than one location, so that the system still

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 35


solutions t page 35 person a tablet or cellphone with an app that links to the inventory system, the use of a consumable can be logged immediately. If that person is required to find a computer station, the inventory use may not be logged right away – or at all. Flexible tracking methods provide accountability right at the point of use.” In addition, the system can provide valuable information for the purchasing department. “If there’s an inventory item that always needs to be on hand, such as a mold release agent, a reorder point can be created within the system,” said Nowak. “That triggers the purchasing department to replenish, so when an inventory item is consumed – no matter what location that occurs at – the order happens automatically and flows through to the purchasing module.” Nowak explained the level of detail tracked through an inventory management system often relies on a cost/benefit assessment for each company. “For smaller consumable items, it comes down to whether the company wants to spend time With EnterpriseIQ, items can be received and assigned to multiple locations.

Benchmarking. Market Intelligence. Best Practices. Strategic and Operational Excellence. HRI’s comprehensive company assessment provides a detailed evaluation and road map for implementing improvements and financial success. Put our expertise to work for your business’s bottom line. Harbourresults.com

MAPP members receive a special assessment discount

Preparing for the future, while optimizing the present

36 | plastics business • spring 2015

page 38 u


Are you confident your next mold will produce quality parts right from the start?

Would you like to be? This unique system delivers results you can

trust every time. SIGMASOFT ÂŽ Virtual Molding

combines the complete mold design with reliable

material properties and the entire molding process.

Yes—the entire process!

See us at booth S32026

Virtual Molding 10 North Martingale Road | Suite 425 | Schaumburg, IL 60173 | 847.558.5600 | www.3dsigma.com


solutions H O T

R U N N E R

T E C H N O L O G Y

Introducing Introducing

™™ activeGate activeGate

Tool-Based Molding Technology NewNew Tool-Based Molding Technology Synventive fromfrom Synventive Independent melt flow control Independent melt flow control at each individual gate! gate! at each individual Benefits include: Benefi ts include: - higher quality surface finishes -

- higher rates higher qualityproduction surface finishes - less scrap rates higher production - faster mold start-ups minimized scrap - enables parts of complex geometries faster mold start-ups enables parts of complex geometries

Dynamic Feed® Injection Pressure Control eGate® Electronic Control SynFlow® 2-Stage Hydraulic Pin Control nuGate® Pneumatic Control

to track it in the system,” he said. Some organizations want complete control over the inventory in their facilities, while others set a financial value above which items automatically become a tracked inventory product. “It’s also a compliance issue,” Nowak added. “Can the company get its employees to log the use of every consumable item, or does it make sense to require it only for higher dollar-value items?” Once consumable use is assigned to each production activity or tracked with the use of employee/job codes, reports can be generated to see consumption patterns. “I would describe it as cradle to grave,” Nowak said. “An item came in the door. Then, where did it go? Who moved it? How was it used? An inventory master report will explain what is being used for each production job, and that provides important historical information and traceability.”

The family of Synventive activeGate technologies includes: -

t page 36

www.synventive.com

We “Black Box” and eliminate the challenges of sourcing molds offshore so you can focus on your core molding business. Quality • Language Steel • Resins • Culture Banking • Time Zones

Molds built and tested to your standards Bullet-proof steel & resin certs + standard components American Company, Engineering, Client Support & Banking Connectors | Closures | Precision Medical | Automotive Silicone | LSR | Thermoset Sonic Horns | Fixtures | Hot Stamp Dies | Robotics Call 262-510-0081 or email sales@jademolds.com Jade Group International, 114 Main Street / PO Box 677, Kewaskum, WI 53040

38 | plastics business • spring 2015

Conclusion An effective management system quickly can reduce purchasing costs, alleviate inventory bloat and help to accurately assign all costs to the appropriate project. In addition, as Nowak explained, an inventory management system also can push a company to the front when being evaluated by potential customers. “Inventory control and inventory traceability are financial advantages and competitive advantages,” he said. “If you can track the consumables at the facility, you can keep your inventory levels under control. But, if you can trace the use of that inventory, your ability to do that can win business over other companies that can’t provide that level of quality management.” n


outlook

Engaging in 5S Since the 1990s, lean manufacturing has gained a foothold in companies across the US. This methodology provides companies with a means to deliver quality products on time and at least cost. There are several lean manufacturing initiatives, but one of the first business models that companies typically introduce is called 5S – a system designed to reduce waste and optimize productivity through maintaining an orderly workplace. It involves five pillars, which are Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. In the daily work of a company, routines that maintain organization and orderliness are essential to a smooth and efficient flow of activities, a US Environmental Protection Agency fact sheet notes. Benefits to companies that utilize the 5S methodology include raising quality, lowering costs, promoting safety, building customer confidence, increasing factory up-time and lowering repair cost. Two Manufacturers Association of Plastics Processors (MAPP)-member companies shared with Plastics Business what they’ve done to go beyond 5S and engage their employees to make their respective businesses better. Ironwood Plastics, Inc. sets clear goals For 35 years, Ironwood Plastics has provided full tooling and engineering capabilities to complement the injection molding service that comprises the majority of the company’s work. Ironwood Plastics is known for its expertise and quality in insert molding, continuous molding and over molding. The company has two divisions, located in Ironwood, Michigan, and Two Rivers, Wisconsin – the latter of which opened in 1987. Both divisions currently are experiencing growth and expanding into second facilities. Lynn Caruso-Stueck, director of operations, said Ironwood implemented 5S in 2009. “It has helped us by reducing waste and allowing us to increase productivity by maintaining an orderly workplace,” she said. The process of incorporating 5S into the workplace began with communication and training, “so our workforce was ready to embrace the change once it was set in motion.” Employees needed to know exactly why the changes were taking place, she added. “This got people excited about becoming part of the teams that were utilized for the different stages of 5S implementation. All employees were asked and encouraged to participate in some way.” Setting clear goals and expectations helped. “We did this by defining a clear vision, identifying our main objectives (acquiring new projects and customers that support profitable growth; launching only new projects that are production-ready; running and shipping only good parts; and eliminating non-value-added-time and waste everywhere it exists) and identifying a group of guiding principles that set the expectations for all employees,” she said, noting those guiding principles were respect, trust, excellence, communication and teamwork. “We then encouraged and empowered employees to become actively involved in attaining the goals by creating continuous improvement projects at multiple levels throughout the organization.” page 40 u

sort set in order shine standardize sustain sort set in order shine standardize sustain by Jen Clark

sort set in order shine standardize sustain www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 39


outlook t page 39 PMC SMART Solutions utilizes bonus system Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, PMC SMART Solutions has locations in Shelbyville, Indiana, and Detroit, Michigan, with affiliated operations in Guanajuato, Mexico, and Wiesau, Germany. Since 1929, it has pioneered new, innovative technologies to meet customers’ growing needs for precision plastic components in the automotive, commercial electronic device and medical device industries. Shelly Carter, human resources manager, said her company has been utilizing 5S for at least eight years. “It drives continuous improvement,” she said. “The (work) environment will become more predictable, the employees will begin to own the processes, your culture will change in a positive way and the workplace will become a safer environment for everyone. If done correctly, you will become more profitable due to having less waste.” One way that PMC engaged its employees was through a Continuous Improvement Bonus (CIB) Program. “It was one of the most effective ways to engage our hourly staff members to strive to meet and exceed our stakeholders’ expectations,” she said. “The program has six metrics that are measured monthly

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.

and paid to employees on a quarterly basis. The metrics are: Parts Per Million (PPM), Internal Parts Per Million (IPPM), On Time Delivery (OTD), 5S, Labor Efficiency (LE) and Continuous Improvement (CI).” “Eligible hourly employees receive a quarterly CIB based on meeting five of the six metrics,” Carter explained. Each metric has a goal that must be met each month to receive the full or partial value. The funds are distributed among the employees who have met attendance, quality and efficiency standards. “Usually, a little over 90 percent of the hourly employees are eligible each quarter to receive bonuses,” she said. “We hold CI (the final metric) until year end to pay a larger bonus.” “Change is foreign” Creating a work culture and environment that focuses on employee engagement benefits the individual as well as the business, but it isn’t always easy. “Change is foreign,” Carter said. “Change generally is not embraced. A strategy that we’ve adopted is to involve the team from the change-planning phase. This helps the implementation to be much more successful. Realistically, not everyone jumps on board, but most people are okay with change as long as they have a ‘voice’ in the process.” Engaging employees in this effort is a key to the 5S methodology’s success. Employee engagement also can be a predictor of company success. “Employee involvement is critical to our success as a company,” Caruso-Stueck said. “The involvement increases ownership and commitment, helps us retain the best employees and creates an environment in which people choose to be motivated and contributing.” Carter agreed. “Employee involvement is the key to our longterm success,” she said. “We believe that old saying: ‘If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we always got.’ We challenge our employees to continually look for smarter, faster, better, safer and more efficient ways of doing things. We constantly strive to move forward. We have (created) employee committees for safety, scrap, continuous improvement implementation, etc.” Ironwood Plastics created an environment where all employees were encouraged to contribute their skills, talents and ideas to a continuous process of improvement and innovation. “Employees are encouraged to identify gaps in ideal conditions and empowered to work toward improving those gaps,” CarusoStueck explained. “Changes are communicated through monthly plant meetings, monthly team meetings and individual monthly/ quarterly performance agreements.”

frigel.com

40 | plastics business • spring 2015

page 42 u


outlook t page 40 Measuring employee satisfaction Engaging employees through 5S isn’t the only way to drive plant improvements. Companies that engage their employees find their workforce is more productive, drive higher levels of profitability, are more customer-focused and have employees who are less likely to jump ship, according to research by Gallup and other organizations. Programs that specifically address skill development and career advancement have been shown to have a dramatic impact on employee engagement, as well as retention of critical talent. At Ironwood, Caruso-Stueck said employee satisfaction is formally measured through an annual quality of work life survey that focuses on communication, teamwork, pay and benefits, training and education, leadership and supervision, opportunity, interpersonal relationships, working conditions and recognition. In addition, “performance reviews and performance agreements are utilized with all employees,” she said. “These tools are used with the employee to identify growth and skill development opportunities.” PMC SMART Solutions doesn’t have a formal method to measure employee satisfaction, but rather utilizes quarterly plant-wide communication meetings, wellness challenges/ programs, educational programs and community outreach to gauge employee involvement. Carter said through communication, “the employees understand how they make a difference, how what they do daily affects business – good or bad. They understand material variance, labor variance and scrap dollars. They understand each day if they met standard, and if their shift made money or was in the ‘red.’ They care, and they have a pride in their work.” Health and wellness initiatives at PMC include wellness challenges, such as walking, “Biggest Loser” and stretching bands. “We also have various lunch-and-learn sessions, and we provide fruit and granola bars,” Carter added. But, the key to future growth for the company is its educational initiatives. “We have partnered with Ivy Tech to offer programs locally in Robotics Technology, Maintenance Technology and Tooling Technology,” she said. “We have multiple trainers on staff offering a variety of training from quality to leadership. What we can’t provide in-house we will outsource because we believe our staff makes the difference.” As for community outreach, Carter has taken on a large role in this arena. “PMC is a mid-sized company with limited resources,” she said. “Part of my role in human resources has been to develop PMC into an employer of choice in our area and create programs that will be sustainable.” She has done this by sitting in on meetings with economic development

42 | plastics business • spring 2015

Companies that engage their employees find their workforce is more productive, drive higher levels of profitability, are more customerfocused and have employees who are less likely to jump ship. committees, local educational programs, the mayor’s office and “anywhere else I could to find people who would listen to the needs of business,” she said. Carter also became part of a growing local education network through which she and other members advocate for programs that will provide the skills and knowledge potential employees should have to be hired at their companies. “The skills gap in America is real, but we can change it one community at a time,” she said. Both Ironwood and PMC SMART Solutions took the 5S methodology and made it their own. Beyond standardizing their workflow and creating a safer work environment, the companies have increased productivity and reduced manufacturing costs. “These improvements have allowed us to pass along savings to our customers and improve both employee and customer satisfaction,” Caruso-Stueck said. Added Carter: “We just completed our TS16969 audit, and the lead auditor commented on our 5S system. He said he could walk up to any work station and find everything in the same order, color coded, charted and organized; the plant was clean, presses neatly aligned and equipment organized as well. This is the same every day – not just on audit or customer visit day!” n


focus

SALE

S

E C I V SER

Structuring Sales and Customer Service Teams by Jen Clark

Sales and customer service teams are a big part of the equation when it comes to bringing in new revenue and maintaining existing clients. But, structuring a sales and customer service staff – especially when evaluating the choice between an internal and external sales force – largely is dependent on finding what works best for the individual company. Two MAPP-member companies shared their experiences in creating a working sales structure and merging the customer service function to provide a seamless experience for the customer. Team 1 Plastics, Albion, Michigan, has adjusted its sales structure from a system where an owner was the primary sales contact to one where an internal sales representative is responsible for bringing in new business. The company has used external sales reps in the past, but Craig Carrel, president, noted it was with limited success. “We are an automotive molder, and the sales process is such a long one that it can take years to develop a customer and get that first job,” he said. It is a process “that doesn’t usually work for most outside sales reps. In addition to the long sales cycle time, an external rep also begins to have less value as the customer begins to work directly with our company over time.” Microplastics, Inc., in St. Charles, Illinois, used to employ external sales representatives almost exclusively, said Jim Krause, vice president of engineering, but that changed when the economy soured. Through attrition, the custom injection molding company began to evolve the structure of its sales staff. “Over the course of two to three years,” he said, “we started to focus more on smaller numbers of outside salespeople, combined with a small number of inside salespeople.”

44 | plastics business • spring 2015


While both companies – injection molders focused primarily on the automotive industry – have different structures for their sales departments, project management and customer service is a group effort. Team 1 has a dedicated, full-time salesperson who works closely with a customer service team. Microplastics uses a mix of internal and external sales representatives, along with a project management team. “We don’t have a customer service department per se,” Krause said. “We feel that everyone is in customer service.” Part-time sales, part-time executive, part-time growth Team 1 Plastics specializes in precision switch componentry and light pipes and lenses, along with power train and engine components. Carrel and Gary Grigowski co-own the company, which started in business in 1987. Carrel used to be heavily involved in sales. “Sales always had been my main focus,” he said, “and, I was the only sales guy.” It wasn’t until Carrel heard Jack Daly speak at the Manufacturers Association of Plastics Processors (MAPP) Annual Benchmarking Conference that the precision injection molding company restructured its sales force. Daly, the author of “Hyper Sales Growth” and a sales trainer and sales coaching expert, noted three sins that can limit company growth. Among them is when the CEO or owner wears the hat of the sales manager. “That was one of the things Jack Daly talked about,” Carrel said. “He didn’t recommend that approach and thought it was a dumb idea for the owner or president to be a sales guy. Now that we have transitioned away from that approach, I’d agree.”

Carrel said. “He has brought in new customers to fuel some of our growth, and we have grown with existing customers, too.” Biondo works remotely from his home near Detroit, Michigan, which is where the company’s customer base is located. He works closely with Team 1’s on-site customer service team, which includes a manager, Michele Warner, and an assistant, Sandy Bunker. At the beginning of a new client relationship, Biondo plays both sales and customer service roles. “Dave is out looking for customers, begins developing those relationships and gets the work in,” Carrel said. “He is the key contact and coordinates projects to make sure we are meeting all of the customer’s requirements – especially in that first job or two. As we get more established and more work comes in from the customer, the relationship begins to transition to our customer service team.” Carrell said the transition is different for every customer. “There is no hard-and-fast date for when an account moves from sales to customer service,” he explained. “As we continue to develop new projects, win new work and grow the size of our business, there’s page 46 u

Plastics Industry Expertise >> >> >>

Mergers & Acquisitions Capital Raising Strategic Advisory

Select Sell Side Advisor Transactions

A 2013 Sales and Management Study for the plastics processing industry conducted by MAPP found that companies utilized a variety of sales tactics, including inside and outside sales representatives. The study also revealed that over 20 percent of the companies under $5 million in annual sales utilize the company owner or president as the sales arm, but less than one percent of companies over $5 million in sales assign the primary sales responsibility to the company owner or president. The statistic indicated that more company leaders understand that functioning as part-time sales executives is ineffective and that a dedicated, full-time sales force is a solid strategy for diversifying and growing sales. In addition to being pulled in too many different directions, executives who pull double duty through leading the company and managing sales, according to Daly, essentially are growing their business only part-time. Team 1 hired Dave Biondo as its sales development manager in the summer of 2010. Since then, sales are up and the company has experienced tremendous growth. “Making this change really has moved us forward,”

Michael D. Benson mbenson@srr.com +1.248.432.1229 David M. Evatz devatz@srr.com +1.312.752.3328 SRR.com

SRR is a trade name for Stout Risius Ross, Inc. and Stout Risius Ross Advisors, LLC, a FINRA registered broker-dealer and SIPC member firm.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 45


focus t page 45 a natural transition. Our customer service team is coordinating the communication around orders, shipments and quality issues, so they become the focal point for the customer.” The transition as an account moves from sales to customer service still is a work-in-progress, Carrel said. “Our goal is to do that as smoothly as possible,” he said. “We want it to be completely seamless to our customer.”

to be addressed. Sometimes, the account manager plays a larger role, especially if it is a pricing, costing or contractual issue.” The sales department at Microplastics is structured with a sales manager, account managers, a sales quotation coordinator and a quote group, which includes people from sales and engineering. “All the areas work closely together to find the opportunities, plan and coordinate efficient ways to manufacture a part and propose the most cost-effective solutions for the customer,” Krause said.

A mix of internal and external sales reps Microplastics, Inc. found a balance between internal and external sales representatives works best for it. “When our company first He said a unique aspect of the quote group is that it takes a opened, we were using outside representatives exclusively. I holistic look at potential projects and tries to go beyond simply think both can work well,” the price of raw materials and Krause said. “We just feel the what manufacturing costs will In addition to being pulled in too best balance we can achieve be to make a new part. “When many different directions, executives is through maintaining a we get engineering involved smaller number of both inside in our quote meetings, we are who pull double duty through leading and outside people. We want looking not only at how are the company and managing sales people who are focused, we going to make the part, but trained to understand what we is it feasible, how will tooling essentially are growing their business do and what we have to offer, be laid out, what changes only part-time. and understand the extended might be needed, how the sales cycle.” ergonomics of a production cell will work and the number At one time, Microplastics had 30-40 outside sales of people and process steps needed to manufacture the part,” he representatives. The extended sales cycles proved problematic, said. “We put a lot more emphasis on the early stages that way.” though. “We found that we burned through a lot of people who would come on board, but never really developed,” he said. Keys to success “They either weren’t providing what we were looking for or their Regardless of the type of sales force a company employs, Krause frustration levels grew with what can be long sales cycles. It can and Carrel agreed communication is paramount for success. take six months to two years sometimes from when you start talking about a program to it becoming reality, especially in the “It is a very important aspect,” Krause said. “We make sure any customer communication is copied between the account manager automotive world.” and the project manager. One person might be coordinating the Now, both internal and external sales staff focus on certain activity, but keeps everyone else in the loop, so they know what accounts, he explained. They are called account managers and is going on. Also, our sales staff uses CRM software (Sales have “a targeted account focus – more so than just geographical Force) pretty extensively. It is a good communication tool for boundaries,” he said. “We’ve had a little more success going that our account managers and quotation coordinator.” route.” Carrel added: “Communication is crucial. Sales and customer The sales representative is the front line of contact with the service really have to work closely together. Both of those groups customer – especially in the early stages, Krause said. “They are are our ‘face’ to the customer and work together to respond to the main go-to person when we are identifying new customers, the customer. Since we are focused on customer service and trying to identify opportunities and making proposals. After we are customer service excellence, that means they have to be able to awarded the business, we have an extensive project management coordinate amongst themselves very closely. Obviously, it’s not system. We assign a project manager to that program, and the just customer service and sales. We have to be able to coordinate project manager then becomes the front line of communication for internally with engineering, logistics and production teams, all general aspects of the program. The account manager still stays too.” Echoing Krause, Carrel said, “The reality is everyone is in involved through the life of the program, but is more of a secondary customer service.” n contact as the program progresses. It really depends on what needs

46 | plastics business • spring 2015


This Wasn’t Supposed To Happen Attorney

Probate

Legacy

Death

Disability Federated Insurance is here for you before, during, and after a claim. It’s Our Business to Protect Yours®

Heirs

Damage Will

Cancer

Visit www.federatedinsurance.com to find a representative near you.

*Not licensed in the states of NH, NJ, and VT. © 2015 Federated Mutual Insurance Company

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 47


management

Nurturing the Work Environment by Scott Hunter

Only 30 percent of Americans are satisfied with their jobs. According to the latest Gallup poll, 70 percent are either “checked out” or “actively disengaged.” According to the same poll, Gallup estimates that workers who are actively disengaged cost the US as much as $550 billion in economic activity yearly. And, poor communication in the workplace is a leading cause of job dissatisfaction. If everyone would like to work in a thriving, enlivening and nurturing environment, why is it that almost no one loves being at work? Why is it that most of us simply acquiesce when confronted by the drudgery and suffering that, according to seemingly every statistical measure, characterizes life within many companies? Why is it that given the possibility of real fulfillment and satisfaction, we tolerate the gossip, petty jealousy, personal undermining and adversarial communication that seem to pervade many offices, assured of the inevitability of this condition? Is this condition inevitable? Are we destined to an environment where the most we have to look forward to is Friday afternoon? Not at all. There are specific steps that can be taken to begin to reclaim some of the enthusiasm, some of the air of celebration and some of the fundamental respect for individual human dignity that is apparent within flourishing business organizations or on championship teams: Don’t take it personally Given the dysfunctional communication strategies demonstrated by most adults, repressed anger and upset are frequently brewing just beneath the surface within many individuals. Their angry and offensive outbursts have little or nothing to do with any occurrence in the present moment. Some unresolved upset from the past has simply been triggered and bursts forth in an inappropriate manner.

1

Under such circumstances does it make sense to take another’s outburst personally? Logically, the answer is no. Taking someone else’s anger personally is insane because it simply never is a personal phenomenon. This is not to say, however, that it is easy to remain calm in the face of another person’s anger, recognizing that it is not personal. It is never easy, but armed with this insight you can begin to develop an ability to stand firmly in the face of another’s upset without taking it as a personal attack.

2

Listen with compassion Life is a difficult and challenging enterprise for everyone, and this fundamental truth goes largely unrecognized.

48 | plastics business • spring 2015

Given this knowledge, rather than reacting to someone’s anger or upset, it is possible for you to deeply appreciate his or her feelings and experience. Rather than reacting to someone’s anger or upset, it is useful and necessary for you to demonstrate empathy. Remember, there but for the grace of God go I.

3

Just hear the communication In order to lessen tension within the workplace, it is necessary to provide a safe environment for open, honest communication. Get people to talk about what is going on with them, to describe their present experience, and then just listen. Don’t respond. Don’t offer advice. Don’t try to console. Just listen with compassion and understanding. In the vast number of cases, quiet and attentive listening will allow the upset to disappear. Give up the need to be right For most human beings, the necessity to be right, the unconscious desire to win is all important. This drive is expressed with employees, coworkers and even with family. Individuals are reduced to objects, and friends and family are sacrificed simply to preserve an egocentric point of view. We would rather be right, would rather win the argument than coexist happily, but being right and being happy are mutually exclusive.

4

Look for the best in people Attention on oneself caused by one’s own sense of insufficiency drives people into competition with one another and creates a bias toward critical, negative analysis of another in order to enhance one’s own social standing and appearance. We literally look for the worst in others in an attempt to conceal or dilute our own self-perceived shortcomings by comparison.

5

In order to counter this seemingly natural tendency, learn to look for and expect the best in all coworkers and become everyone else’s greatest fan. What is it about each individual that makes him or her a valuable contribution to the company? Who are these people really, and what are their best attributes and strengths? Acknowledge people Everyone craves positive attention, for most individuals live with a sense of insufficiency and of their own shortcomings. Look for opportunities to acknowledge coworkers. What positive impact are they making on the company? Acknowledge people for doing a good job, for making a deadline, for keeping their promises. Acknowledge them for their appearance, for the way they manage their workload or for the way they treat others. Always remember

6


to keep it authentic and sincere, and look for and find numerous opportunities to thank people for the many large and small contributions that they make to the company. Forgive others Given the unconscious desire to win at all costs and the necessity to be right, we tend to hold on to every injustice, every wrong, every resentment and every regret. What often goes unnoticed is that unforgiven resentments must always be suppressed, managed or controlled. They arise again and again whenever the person who is the object of the resentment comes into the room or is mentioned in conversation. What makes matters worse is that the suppressed anger also arises whenever any similar instance resembles a past transgression. Resentments divert attention, breed gossip and provoke physical illness.

7

For your own sanity, it is critically important to forgive others. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Forgiveness does not deny the inappropriate nature of another’s acts; it does not condone or tolerate future abuse, but in forgiveness, in giving up the resentment and the right to punish, you are left with serenity, freedom and peace of mind.

Communicate upsets Human beings live in the illusion that unexpressed anger, upset and disappointment will simply disappear over time. Nothing could be further from the truth. Like resentments, unexpressed upsets inevitably arise again and again. They divert your attention and sap energy. Moreover, unfulfilled expectations, thwarted intentions and undelivered communications – the stuff of which upsets are made – provide the evidence by which other individuals are tried and sentenced. Only communication can provide salvation for continued viable and productive relationships. n

8

Scott Hunter works with CEOs and senior management teams to create breakthrough outcomes and extraordinary performance by transforming the paradigm within which companies operate. He has created a 15-step program – called Unshackled Leadership – that causes people at the top to shift their perspective on the role of the leader and to redefine the culture of the organization so that everyone on the team is operating from a common understanding and a defined platform built on faith, trust, possibility and abundance. He can be reached at scott@UnshackledLeadership. com or by calling 949.388.3774.

A d v ance d P l a s tic s Educ ation & Tr aining

YOUR JOURNEY BEGINS HERE Introducing the

American Injection Molding Institute Your journey to a comprehensive understanding of plastics materials, part design, mold design and processing begins here. www.AIM.Institute or 1-866-344-9694

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 49


advertisers

A-1 Tool Corporation...............................................................................................www.a1toolcorp.com...................................................................................................... 43 AIM (American Injection Molding Institute)...........................................................www.aim.institute........................................................................................................... 49 Amco Polymers.........................................................................................................www.amcopolymers.com............................................................................................... 11 ASACLEAN/Sun Plastech Inc.................................................................................www.asaclean.com...............................................................................Inside Front Cover B A Die Mold...........................................................................................................www.badiemold.com...................................................................................................... 43 Chase Plastics............................................................................................................www.chaseplastics.com.................................................................................................. 14 Conair........................................................................................................................www.conairgroup.com..................................................................................... Back Cover Federated Insurance..................................................................................................www.federatedinsurance.com......................................................................................... 47 Frigel.........................................................................................................................www.frigel.com.............................................................................................................. 40 Grainger....................................................................................................................www.grainger.com/autoreorder...................................................................................... 31 Harbour Results, Inc.................................................................................................www.harbourresults.com................................................................................................ 36 Ice Miller LLP...........................................................................................................www.icemiller.com......................................................................................................... 23 INCOE Corporation..................................................................................................www.incoe.com.............................................................................................................. 29 IQMS........................................................................................................................www.iqms.com................................................................................................................. 3 Ivanhoe Tool & Die Company, Inc...........................................................................www.ivanhoetool.com.................................................................................................... 43 Jade Group International...........................................................................................www.jademolds.com....................................................................................................... 38 M. Holland................................................................................................................www.mholland.com........................................................................................................ 47 MAPP (Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors)....................................www.mappinc.com......................................................................................................... 50 MBS (Molding Business Services)...........................................................................www.moldingbusiness.com............................................................................................ 19 Morristown & Erie Railway......................................................................................www.merail.com............................................................................................................. 35 Mueller Prost.............................................................................................................www.muellerprost.com................................................................................................... 30 Novatec.....................................................................................................................www.novatec.com............................................................................................................. 9 Novatec.....................................................................................................................www.novatec.com/prophecy..................................................................................... 26, 27 Omega Tool..............................................................................................................www.omega-tool.com..................................................................................................... 43 Paulson Training Programs, Inc................................................................................www.paulsontraining.com/training................................................................................. 13 PLAST-EX................................................................................................................www.PLAST-EX.org............................................................................ Inside Back Cover RJG, Inc....................................................................................................................www.rjginc.com/MAPP.................................................................................................. 25 Schnipke Precision Molding.....................................................................................www.schnipke.com........................................................................................................... 7 SIGMA Plastic Services, Inc....................................................................................www.3dsigma.com......................................................................................................... 37 SRR (Stout Risius Ross)...........................................................................................www.srr.com................................................................................................................... 45 Synventive Molding Solutions..................................................................................www.synventive.com...................................................................................................... 38 ToolingDocs .............................................................................................................www.toolingdocs.com/tour............................................................................................... 5 Ultra Purge/Moulds Plus International.....................................................................www.ultrapurge.com....................................................................................................... 41 VIVE – Marketing for Manufacturers......................................................................www.vive4mfg.com........................................................................................................ 24 Yushin America, Inc.................................................................................................www.yushinamerica.com................................................................................................ 21

! E T A ED H T 5 E 1 V 0 A 2 , S 3 2 2 2 N I , R S E I B L O O T P OC DIANA U? O IN Y ARE

? WHO GOING U ? O E Y S E O R A RP E U R P E WH IS YOUR T A H W

50 | plastics business • spring 2015


Molding the Future of Plastics

TOP TIER SUPPLIERS

MILLIONS

100+

OF IDEAS

SPEAKERS

45+

EDUCATION SESSIONS

June 16-18, 2015 Toronto Congress Centre | Toronto, Ontario

PLAST-EX has the answers you need today and the inspiration for tomorrow. Whether you’re looking for answers to to a current challenge or want to stay on top of latest trends, PLAST-EX is the event for you. With direct acces to knowledgeable suppliers, educational and networking opportunities, AND something no other expo has—access to five other related manufacturing events and features—you’ll find ideas and solutions around every corner.

Get your badge today!

PLAST-EX.org

CONNECT WITH YOUR COMMUNITY:

29853_CN_PLX15

Co-located with:


SHAPING THE FUTURE OF MEDICAL PLASTICS PROCESSING Introducing the new MedLine® range of plastics-processing auxiliaries specially designed for clean-room applications in medical, electronics, aerospace and other applications where cleanliness, precision, process validation and easy implementation are critical. Built for cleanliness. Compliant with key standards, to save you valuable time and get you up and running quicker with less complexity.

To watch a brief, informative video about Conair’s new MedLine® equipment, scan the QR code or visit http://www.conairgroup.com/medline.mp4.

1.800.654.6661 • 724.584.5500 • info@conairgroup.com • www.conairgroup.com

Profile for petersonpublications

Plastics Business - Spring 2015  

Plastics Business - Spring 2015