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Plastics Business Summer 2014

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Benchmarking Conference Slated for Indianapolis

Driving the Recovery at Bhar, Inc. Hiring Military Veterans Sales Management Strategies

Official Publication of Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors


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Plastics Business

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Contents

conference

8

profile

focus

10

38

features profile Bhar, Inc.: Driving its Own Recovery ................................................... 10 solutions Plastics Bonding Design Considerations for Processors ..................... 15 strategies Sales Management: Growing with an Eye on “Fit” .............................. 26 Goal Setting Tactics: You’ve Gotta Define Success Before You Can Design It ... 32 industry Trends in Compensation and Operational Practices for Plastic Processors ..... 34 view from 30 The View from 30 Feet: Lockout/Tagout ............................................... 37

departments director’s letter ..................6 association .......................21 product ............................22 advertisers .......................46

focus Why Military Veterans are Ideal for Careers in Manufacturing ............ 38 MAPP Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference ............................8

plasticsbusinessmag.com

Cover Photo: Indianapolis skyline by Rich Clark

4 | plastics business • summer 2014


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director’s letter

How do you do that? I have a tendency to ask people questions about anything and everything in both professional and personal settings. I really like learning new things and am not afraid of asking a question if it has the potential to solve an issue or a challenge. While attending a dinner party with my wife the other night, the usual segregation of husbands and wives occurred: husbands congregated around the fire pit, while the wives settled inside around the kitchen table. As we talked about recent sporting events, shared local news and traded work stories, I broke the traditional conversation cycle: I asked if anyone had a technique to keep business suits from getting wrinkled while packed in a suitcase. This question, centered on a seemingly insignificant topic, sparked an incredible exchange. I discovered that one individual actually obtains extra bags from the dry cleaner and wraps his suits and pants into the bags before packing; another avoids packing his suits altogether and simply carries a garment bag; and another uses hot water in his hotel shower to steam the wrinkles from his clothes. These may not seem like lifechanging impacts, but will save me from time spent with the hotel ironing board! Most recently, I’ve begun asking business acquaintances about how they continually improve their skills to become better business professionals and leaders. One executive explained that he sets aside 30 minutes before the start of each work day to read books recommended by other business leaders. As a result of this exchange, I’m now reading a book entitled Start with No. The book’s core concept is that an understanding of the difference between the words “need” and “want” can impact the sales process. As author Jim Camp explains, a person only needs air, water, food and shelter; everything else falls to the “wants” list. Fear of rejection is a sign of neediness, according to Camp. Hence, a person only can be rejected in the sales process if they “need” the sale; it’s hard to be rejected for simply wanting something. Not “needing” anything from the prospect during the sales call removes the fear of being rejected from the sales professional and the emotion that goes along with it. Another business leader explained that he deliberately arrives to work before the staff in order to listen to podcasts and view recorded webinars. While doing this, he uses two computer screens, viewing webinars on one and answering emails on the other. Because of this engagement, I now use time outside of the normal workday to become better educated on business trends and tactics.

There is great power in asking questions. Being inquisitive often leads to new ideas used to solve problems, improve efficiencies and unlock breakthrough potential. Since I can’t help myself, let me ask one question of those reading this article: “When is the next time you will have the opportunity to engage with other industry professionals to ask ‘how do you do that’?” If you have trouble finding the answer, simply block time on your calendar now for MAPP’s Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference, taking place in Indianapolis on October 16 and 17. I guarantee you that no matter the question, there will be plenty of people with answers. The only thing you have to do is ask!

Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors, Inc. (MAPP) 7321 Shadeland Station Way, Suite 285 Indianapolis, IN 46256 phone 317.913.2440 • fax 317.913.2445 www.mappinc.com MAPP Board of Directors President Mike Walter, MET Plastics, Inc. 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 Norm Forest, Dymotek Molding Technologies Kelly Goodsel, Viking Plastics Matt Groleau, RJG, Inc. Bob Holbrook, Viking Plastics Ed Holland, M. Holland Company James Krause, Microplastics, Inc. Bob MacIntosh, Nicolet Plastics, Inc. Glenn Nowak, IQMS John Passanisi, PRD, Inc. Eric Paules, Crescent Industries Missy Rogers, Noble Plastics, Inc. Scott Titzer, Infinity CleanRoom Solutions Rick Walters, DeKalb Molded Plastics Roger Williams, Royer Corp.

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 Melissa DeDonder

Art Director Eric J. Carter

Troy Nix, Executive Director

6 | plastics business • summer 2014

Circulation Manager Brenda Schell


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October 16–17, 2014 Indianapolis, Indiana

The Industry's Only TRUE Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference Early bird registration EXTENDED to August 20 for Plastics Business readers. This year's theme – LEADERSHIP UNLEASHED – is designed to inspire, motivate and educate processors on how to improve the positive influence they have on the people around them. Becoming better is not something that just happens. Good leaders continually work to make themselves better, and the 2014 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference will allow plastics leaders to do just that! JACK DALY Daly is one of the most sought-after public speakers on the topics of sales, sales management, customer loyalty and personal motivation. As the only returning keynote speaker in the 14-year history of the Benchmarking Conference event, Daly will deliver his newest material on how organizations can improve their sales penetration substantially with current customers. Attendees will be motivated to take action as Daly has an incredible way of positively influencing those who are open-minded and ready to implement new concepts and innovative methods of improvement. JEFF MENGEL Mengel specializes in working with clients in the plastics industry, including injection molders, mold builders and related services. He has 30 years of experience in operational and strategic planning, inventory control, scheduling, forecasting and costing, as well as tax planning and financial statement preparation. Annually, he leads the Plante & Moran Plastics Industry Team’s North American Survey of the Plastics Industry – a benchmarking survey and statistical analysis of the plastics industry. This NAPIS Report will be presented at the conference, and a copy will be given to each attendee.

DAVID NELSON Nelson is a master trainer for Vital Smarts in Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability, Influencer Training and Change Anything Training. He has a unique ability to help teams implement crucial skills for increased communication, production efficiency and collaboration. Nelson’s energetic training approach keeps participants active and motivated to practice the skills they learn. LAURIE HARBOUR With over 25 years of experience in benchmarking, performing operational assessments and leading strategic planning sessions for companies across the globe, Harbour works closely with small- to medium-sized automotive suppliers, manufacturing companies, polymer processors and their supply chains to ultimately increase the health of their businesses. Harbour will deliver both strategic and tactical information about trends in production and best-in-class practices used by industry leaders. Her strategic transformation process has been used by members across the United States to achieve sustainable improvements, ultimately mitigating risk and improving long-term profitability.

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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2014 5:00 ........Industry Welcome Reception

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2014 8:00 ........Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference Kick-Off 8:05 ........Why Leadership-Driven Companies Have the Best Margins (Troy Nix) 8:30 ........Being the Exception: Creating the Competitive Sustainable Advantage (Jack Daly) 10:00 ......Peer-to-Peer Engagement and Technology Introductions

REGISTER MAPP MEMBERS: $595 Before August 20 / $695 After August 20 NON-MAPP MEMBERS: $895 Before August 20 / $995 After August 20 GROUPS OF 4 OR MORE: $495 Before August 20 / $595 After August 20 (per attendee)

10:30 ......Industry Engagement Sessions A – Manufacturing Practices that Matter B – Data and Trends for Best-In-Class Plastics Processors C – Additive Manufacturing and its Impact on Profits D – Impacting Insurance Costs with Proven Wellness Plans E – Cyber Crime is at Your Door Step F – Plastics Executive Strategies for Dealing with OSHA 11:15.......What the Future Holds for Manufacturing and Decisions Executives Must Make (Dr. Chris Kuehl) 12:15 ......Lunch 1:30 ........Round Table Discussion by Functional Area • Human Resources • Operations • ERP / Information Technology • Presidents and Owners • Sales and Marketing 2:30 ........Peer-to-Peer Engagement and Technology Introductions

DR. CHRIS KUEHL Known for information-packed and data-driven presentations, blending humor with detailed forecasts of economic trends, Dr. Kuehl will entertain and inform all audience members on how political, economic and social forces will impact manufacturing businesses. TROY HAZARD Hazard is a serial entrepreneur who has founded eleven businesses over two decades and has consulted with countless successful companies over the last 25 years. It’s this exact experience that gives him such great value as a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP). Hazard’s lessons from the edge provide attendees with potent and refined tools to apply to their own businesses. He is the host of two national network business television shows in Australia and currently has his own TV talk show in the U.S., “Gettin’ Down 2 Business,” which airs in 35 million homes each week. He also is co-host on “The Big Biz Show” on the CBS Talk Radio Network and is author of the book Future-Proofing Your Business – real life strategies to prepare your business for tomorrow, today.

3:00 ........Macro Trends that Will Impact Polymer Manufacturing 3:50 ........How Great Leaders Use the Power of Influence and Win! (David Nelson) 5:00 ........Reception / Exhibitor Interactions

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2014 8:00 ........Speakers Bureau A – Technology for the Production Floor B – Trends and Methodologies to Protect Business Operations C – Next Generation Design – How Simulation Impacts Production D – Enriching Your Business for the Next Transition 9:00 ........Change in the Education Paradigm – a Student-Run Enterprise 9:45 ........Industry Ignite Sessions 1) Cyber Crime 2) Steps to Changing Culture 3) How I Continually Improve My Knowledge Base 4) Advantages of Using Learning Management Systems 10:30 ......The Domino Effect of Service and Servant Leadership (Troy Hazard) 11:45.......Conference Close -- SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE --


profile

Bhar, Inc.:

Driving its Own Recovery

I

n July 2009, Fort Wayne, IN, had lost 8,900 manufacturing jobs in its metropolitan area to the recession. Bhar, Inc. was one of many local companies headed into trouble, and the company’s leadership team knew it. The injection molder was heavily invested in the automotive market, and it had only one primary client. Sales dropped from $20 million annually to just $10 million. It was time to make some changes. The management team implemented budgetary cuts. Then, it made some more. It took a hard look at its capabilities and assessed the markets. The team developed an aggressive marketing plan, hired an expert to implement it and went to work. Today, the company’s annual sales are projected to be the highest in its 38-year history.

Honoring the past, pushing toward the future Bhar, Inc. was founded in 1976 by Norm and Urmila Bhargava. Norm was a professor at a local university with a Ph.D. in economics from the Wharton School of Business and, prior to starting Bhar, had no experience in plastics processing. However, the family possessed an entrepreneurial spirit and saw opportunity in the plastics industry.

by Dianna Brodine “Very bright people built this company from nothing,” explained Richard Kelly,

chief executive officer. “The Bhargava family started this company with General Motors as one of their first customers, and that laid the foundation for everything that has followed.” Kelly has been with the company for 25 years, after starting his career as a CPA. Bhar, Inc. was one of his first accounts, and Kelly now is one of several long-term employees who comprise the management team that owns the company. “The current ownership team has a long history of experience and employment within the industry and the company,” explained Kelly. “After the severe downturn in the economy in the years 2009 and 2010, the management team had a high confidence level that the company and the automotive industry were in a prime position for a recovery, so the management team jumped at the opportunity to purchase the company from the Bhargava family in 2011.” Already heavily involved in the day-to-day operation of the facility and with minority ownership positions in the company, the transition to controlling ownership wasn’t a

10 | plastics business • summer 2014


profile Left: The Bhar, Inc. management team includes Richard Kelly, Jeremy Buechner, Melissa Smith and Jeff Baker.

difficult one. “We already had come through two tough years, making hard decisions to position the company in a way that allowed it to thrive,” said Kelly. “There wasn’t much of a transition to be made when the ownership change was announced.”

This year the future is looking bright, but in 2009, the company’s sales had decreased 50 percent due to the economic downturn. “Bhar was in survival mode,” Kelly said. “We quickly made many tough decisions in an effort to right-size the company, minimize the losses and stop the negative cash flow.”

Understanding the market challenges Ninety percent of Bhar’s injection molding business is in the automotive industry, both as a Tier 1 and Tier 2 supplier for the automotive and heavy truck markets. The company produces a variety of cosmetic and non-cosmetic parts found on vehicles manufactured by Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, among others. These parts include automotive headlamp housings and lenses, door panel components, wheel liners, engine covers, sound management components and HVAC shielding. Bhar’s capabilities include press capacity from 200 to 3,000 tons, and the facility is equipped with two cranes. Robotic part picking is available on most presses, and the company produces approximately 10 million parts each year.

Bhar currently has 127 employees and an additional 23 contract employees in its temporary-to-hire program. Roughly 30 percent of molded parts require secondary assembly, including heat sealing and sonic welding. The company recently has purchased and installed three new 385T electric molding cells to manufacture a product line for a new customer. This equipment purchase expands Bhar’s capabilities outside of the current product focus and provides for further growth opportunities. Bhar is TS16949-certified, putting the company in a select group of certified companies across North America. The TS process includes many levels of training and quality confirmation, and quality of product and consistency of process are a continual focus at Bhar. “The key to Bhar’s success in meeting quality standards is that the production department is ultimately responsible for and takes ownership of the quality of the parts produced,” explained Kelly. “The role of the quality department is to establish and clearly communicate the quality criteria, then perform audits based on that criteria. Maintaining a clear line of responsibility and communication between the production department and the department has been a challenge that has been met through non-stop focus by the leaders of those departments.”

Driving its own recovery This year the future is looking bright, but in 2009, the company’s sales had decreased 50 percent due to the economic downturn.

“In 2009, the entire world was focused on the bankruptcy of a major automotive OEM,” explained Melissa Smith, president. “We, of course, were very concerned because the OEM was our primary customer. Once the company went into Chapter 11, we knew all production would be stopped, so we quickly sat down and started looking at what would happen when our sales went away.” “Bhar was in survival mode,” Kelly said. “We quickly made many tough decisions in an effort to right-size the company, minimize the losses and stop the negative cash flow.” First up was a reduction in overhead and labor costs. Bhar reduced its inventory significantly, eliminated its offsite warehousing and began evaluating every purchase order. “We looked at every dime we were spending, going over each account to try to reduce our variable costs. We were small enough that we could react quickly,” Kelly explained, “but that didn’t make the decisions any easier.” The hardest decisions involved labor changes. “We had good people and good friends that we had to let go because we were no longer a $20 million sales company,” said Kelly. “That was the most difficult thing, but it was necessary. Within a couple of months of the downturn in 2009, the management team knew we had to do something to survive. Bhar, Inc. couldn’t continue losing money.” Although it was a difficult time for Bhar, the recession started a string of positive events for the company, thanks primarily to the development of a market strategy that is leading the company to its most profitable year yet. “When sales decrease by 50 percent, it frees up quite a bit of press capacity,” laughed Kelly. “Our strategy was to stay positive, cut costs, implement a sales and marketing plan and be there when the economy and page 12 u the automotive industry rebounded.”

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 11


profile t page 11 Prior to 2009, Bhar, Inc. was at nearly full capacity and heavily involved with only one customer. The Bhargava family had limited interest in expanding the building or its equipment, so an aggressive growth strategy hadn’t been developed. “When our sales dropped so quickly, it gave us the opportunity to find new customers to fill our press capacity, and we could grow very quickly without adding capital expenditures,” Kelly said.

Ninety percent of Bhar’s injection molding business is in the automotive industry as a Tier 1 and Tier 2 supplier.

The first step was hiring a business development manager, Jeff Baker, in 2010. “Jeff worked hard to get our name out into the marketplace,” Kelly explained. “He optimized our website

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activity and developed a database of contacts and potential new customers. We set goals on how much business we wanted to quote, how many customer visits we wanted to secure in the next year and how much future business we thought we could be awarded.” Smith agreed that Baker’s expertise was a significant addition to the company. “We knew we needed to diversify because we depended too much on one customer relationship,” she said. “We needed someone who had automotive relationships already in place because we saw the tremendous growth potential in the Tier 2 sales market. Plus, we already were structured for automotive. Jeff came in with a very lengthy list of prospective clients.” At a higher level, the management team developed a detailed business plan with job descriptions, goals and objectives. The entire work force was put on notice that a company-wide reinvention was taking place. “We needed everyone to know that – while times were tough – we had a high confidence level that we were going to come through this stronger and better,” said Kelly. Smith added, “We had full plant meetings where we met with each shift. We couldn’t make any guarantees, but we told them we believed in where we were going and that we would be successful. There was not one single person who did not sacrifice to make sure we could get through the situation, and I can’t stress enough how much of a difference that made to our recovery.” Bhar, Inc. was successful in surviving the downturn due to its strong management team and its commitment to react quickly even when making difficult decisions. After five years


profile

of “reinvention”, the company’s financial statements and cash position are strong once again. More importantly, much of the risk that was present in 2008 has been eliminated simply because the customer base is more diversified. “When capacity was available, we took a careful look at other industries, and that yielded molding work with industrial sump pump pits, Adirondack chairs and children’s battery-operated vehicles. Automotive, however, remains our primary focus, and we’ve been able to diversify within the automotive industry to where we’re working with nearly all of the major automotive companies,” said Kelly. Kelly is effusive when talking about the difference Jeff Baker made in Bhar’s recovery. Now a stockholder, Baker continues to lead the company’s efforts to get its name out to potential customers. “In 2009, we had the equipment, the building and the experience in molding, but we didn’t have experience in sales and marketing,” Kelly said. “Getting Jeff on board was the difference maker for us because we couldn’t wait for our phone to ring.”

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Continuing on the right road Thanks to the efforts of the past five years, the management team at Bhar, Inc. has a clear understanding of true cost, and detailed metrics are in place to measure and evaluate areas for improvement and growth. Now, it’s time to reassess again with a new plan for the future. The company has been reinvented, sales levels have been rebuilt and the equipment is running near peak capacity. After a deep breath, where does Bhar go from here? page 14 u

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profile t page 13 “Obviously, we’ll stay cautious, because we’ve learned some tough lessons,” explained Kelly. “But, we also know we need to keep growing. Ultimately, we will look for the right opportunities, and it seems those are coming from automotive.” Many of the opportunities are coming as automotive companies push the vehicle customization that consumers are demanding. “There has been a change in the mentality,” said Smith. “Just a few years ago, the theme was communization and costs were cut by offering fewer options. Now, the customers want a proliferation of options.” The dynamic environment fits well with the culture at Bhar, Inc., and the operations team, led by Jeremy Buechner, is skilled at responding and embracing changes. “We have the skill sets and the attitudes that are needed to react quickly,” Smith expanded. “This is the world we live in right now.” The company also has learned the importance of having the right customers. “In the last three to four years, customer and supplier relationships are more positive,” said Kelly. “We want to help our customers be successful and they, in turn, have

recognized the value of working in a partnership rather than as adversaries. Open communication leads to a win/win situation for everyone, and that’s part of our culture.” As part of its strategic planning, Bhar looks carefully at new prospects to be sure there is a fit culturally. “We interview them just as they are interviewing us,” he said. “The industry is very dynamic, and successful partnerships require a very close working relationship.” With 2014’s annual sales predicted to outpace every other year, Richard Kelly can afford to take a step back and appreciate all that the company has accomplished. “We’re proud of it, frankly. We put a detailed plan together, met weekly, reviewed the goals and objections, asked if we were on track and just kept plugging away,” he said. “And, it worked! The company is in a good place, and we’re getting to the point where we’ll need to expand the building and make investments in capital equipment.” With a dedicated management team in place and the lessons of the past to guide it, there’s little doubt that Bhar, Inc. will continue to lead the Fort Wayne, IN, manufacturing community in its recovery. n

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solutions

Plastics Bonding Design Considerations for Processors Today’s production world constantly is looking to streamline production and create more reliable assemblies with faster and easier methods. Adhesives successfully have been used to displace solvent welding in the plastics industry. The most common bonding applications using plastics range from delicate medical components to heavy industrial equipment. Adhesives are being recognized in the production market to help diminish the cost and time accompanying the usage of traditional mechanical fasteners and welding to provide structural reliability to assemblies. As with any material, mechanical fasteners tend to weaken the structure of the material at the mating surface due to the need to perforate the material with holes. The intermittent nature of the clamping pressure also is known to concentrate the loads acting on a joint in the area of one or a few fasteners. Adhesive bonding of plastics in general commonly is recognized as the ideal method.

Design considerations When bonded appropriately, the design and bond configuration can result in substrate failure of an assembly prior to an adhesive bond joint failure. There are five main types of forces that can be applied to joints: tensile, shear, compressive, peel and cleavage. Tensile force is the force applied to a bonded joint when pulling the assembly apart perpendicularly to the bond line and adjoining substrate. Many perform well when page 16 u

by Andrew Scott, Henkel Corporation

Andrew Scott is a medical market application engineer for Henkel Corporation. For more information, contact him at 860.571.2668, email Andrew.Scott@henkel.com or visit www.henkel.us.com.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 15


solutions t page 15 tested in the tension plane. Shear force is the force applied when substrates in a bonded joint are pulled parallel from one another along a plane. Compression is the optimal force to place on an adhesively bonded assembly. Compressive force is the force applied to an assembly when the bonded substrates are pushed together perpendicularly by an outside force. Peel and Cleavage forces are similar to each other and are the least desirable forces to apply to any bonded assembly. Peel and cleavage forces are applied to the leading edge of an assembly. These forces apply an uneven distribution of stress to the edge of the bonded materials. Once the adhesive begins to pull apart along the leading edge, the fractures being created in the adhesive begin to spread through the bond line.

Improve bonding through surface preparation Surface preparation and pretreatment methods have been accepted to allow adhesives to bond well to plastics, such as polyolefins which are commonly labeled as difficult-to-bond. There are five common types of surface preparation to improve bond capabilities: abrasion, acid etching, flame treatment, corona treatment and plasma. Abrasion is a process of mechanically roughening the surface of a material to enlarge the surface area at the bond line. A surface cleaning should be performed after the abrasion to remove any debris from the process. Acid etching is an effective method of increasing surface area in a manner similar to abrasion. Acid etching can be hazardous due to the chemicals required to perform the process, and it also can be time consuming. page 18 u

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solutions t page 16

Manufacturers that dedicate significant up-front time to research and select the proper adhesive for an application will save significant time and expense later in manufacturing and reliability. Flame treatment is the process of passing a flame over the surface of a plastic. This process causes oxidation on the surface, which improves chemical functionality of the surface, as well as the surface energy. This process presents concerns when dealing with thermoplastic substrates. Although the flame may only briefly pass over the surface, there is a possibility of warping the substrate.

Corona treatment is an electrical discharge that forms oxygenated functional groups for improving surface energy. A corona application is accomplished by applying a source of high-voltage, high-frequency over the parts or passing the parts over the electrode. Plasma, which is the ionizing of a particular gas, commonly is used to increase the surface energy of small complex surfaces which are difficult to abrade or evenly accept flame treatment.

Available adhesive technologies Currently, there are a multitude of adhesives available, which fall into six families that most commonly are used in manufacturing environments. Each of these families offers a unique combination of performance and processing benefits. Manufacturers that dedicate significant up-front time to research and select the proper adhesive for an application will save significant time and expense later in manufacturing and reliability. Choosing which type of adhesive is appropriate for a manufacturing system depends on the materials being bonded, joint design and the projected end-use conditions of the assembly.

Epoxy adhesives Epoxies are one- or two-part structural adhesives that bond very well to a wide variety of substrates, have excellent toughness and offer superior environmental resistance. The major disadvantage of epoxies is that they tend to cure much slower than other adhesive families, with typical fixture times between five minutes and two hours. Slow cure also may be beneficial though in a situation where it takes extended time to join parts after adhesive application or if parts need to be repositioned after being mated. Cyanoacrylates Cyanoacrylates (or instant adhesives) are a versatile singlecomponent, quick-fixturing, room-temperature curing adhesive. They commonly are used to bond elastomeric substrates to metal or plastic and for bonding/sealing plastic components together. These adhesives achieve fixture strength in just seconds and full strength within 24 hours, making them ideally suited for high-speed production. Cyanoacrylates do have some limitations. In particular, cyanoacrylates bond to skin rapidly, have limited gap filling and curing capabilities, have poor polar solvent-resistance (isopropanol, acetone, methylene chloride) and exhibit poor long-term durability on glass substrates.

18 | plastics business • summer 2014


solutions

Many cyanoacrylates contain rubber toughening agents that enhance peel and impact strengths of cyanoacrylates on bonded assemblies.

Hybrid cyanoacrylates The patented hybrid two-part cyanoacrylates are two-component, room-temperature curing adhesives, which provide excellent adhesion to a wide variety of substrates. The Hybrid technology combines the benefits of cyanoacrylates and epoxy adhesives. Unlike epoxies, the hybrid formulation allows for a typical fixture time between 60 and 90 seconds. Two-part cyanoacrylate adhesive systems only are available in dual cartridges with a disposable mix nozzle. One side of the cartridge contains the cyanoacrylate monomer resin and the other side of the cartridge contains a proprietary catalyst that promotes the cure of the adhesive. Since the two-part cyanoacrylates are not limited to a moisture cure, the adhesive is capable of large gap filling and curing, unlike the traditional one-part cyanoacrylate adhesives. The Hybrid technology provides better bonding performance on acidic surfaces and in low-humidity curing environments.

Methyl methacrylate adhesives Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) adhesives are two-component products consisting of a resin and hardener combination. MMAs cure at room temperature when the resin and hardener are mixed at the correct ratio. MMA systems can develop strength in as little as two minutes and have outstanding environmental and impact resistance, which make them well-suited for weld replacement or structural bonding of both plastics and metals. MMAs have the ability to cut through a variety of surface contaminations and provide reliable bonds.

Elastomeric adhesives When bonding dissimilar substrates like glass to metal, the best option to ensure a robust assembly is silicone technology. Silicones are flexible, rubber-like materials that cure at room temperature, exhibit excellent resistance to heat and moisture and bond a variety of substrates. The flexibility of silicones over a broad temperature range makes them an ideal stress absorber. Today, there are UV/visible light cure, dual UV/ moisture cure, heat cure and extremely fast two-part silicone technologies to tribute the older RTV chemistry. When a silicone is not an option due to the contamination concerns of a paint line, silane modified polymers (SMP) can be substituted. SMPs offer high strength and elongation while having the ability to be painted. The trade-off to using a SMP is the reduced temperature resistance when compared to silicones.

UV-cure acrylic adhesives One-part, solvent-free UV-curable acrylics offer performance benefits comparable to epoxies. While early UV-curable acrylic adhesives relied on high doses of ultraviolet energy, advances in the technology allow for dual cure (UV and visible light) or only visible light energy to cure the adhesive. Due to the cured acrylic adhesives being thermoset plastics, they offer superior thermal, chemical and environmental resistance. As cure is on demand, light cure acrylics offer extended open times for positioning and repositioning of parts. These adhesives provide high strength bonds to a variety of substrates and are available in ranging degrees of flexibility, from soft elastomers to glass plastics. All this, coupled with cure times of only two to 60 seconds, makes UV-curable acrylics an attractive manufacturing option. Adhesives and the technology that has developed over the years have provided cost and time savings, offered reduced waste and allowed for the building of better assemblies. Adhesives have helped to eliminate the need for screws, clips and welding of assemblies. When an adhesive is properly selected, it can provide years of predictable reliability on an assembly. n

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 19


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2014 Wage and Salary Report Now Available MAPP is pleased to announce the 2014 Wage and Salary Report now is available for purchase at www.mappinc.com. This report consists of a comprehensive analysis of well over 50 different job classifications from plastics manufacturing companies that serve a variety of end-use markets. This report has been compiled from data provided by plastics manufacturers across the country and is one of very few reports of its kind completely devoted to the polymer manufacturing industry. For a preview of data points and analysis from the survey, see the article on page 34. Webinar: Supervisors as ES&H Leaders Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 2:00 p.m. EST Safety starts on the front line. Supervisors play an important role in making sure their team is working efficiently and safely. This webinar will review the safety responsibilities of the supervisor, provide an overview of the skills a supervisor should possess in order to be an effective safety supervisor and review the importance of the supervisor when it comes to safety. The webinar also will offer suggestions on activities that managers and supervisors can use to positively influence the safety program, as well as production and quality. To register for this webinar, visit the Calendar page on www.mappinc.com.

MAPP Welcomes New Sponsors MAPP would like to welcome two new Sponsors for 2014 – Synventive Molding Systems and Arburg. Synventive Molding Solutions is a designer and manufacturer of hot runner systems and components with manufacturing facilities in the US, Europe and China, as well as sales offices and agents in more than 25 countries. Arburg is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-end injection molding machines for plastics processing. Ensuring success in injection molding production is part of Arburg’s day-to-day business. Arburg also manufactures the world’s first 3D printer, which prints in any material.

Peer Networking Conversations: Benchmarking Your Business Do you have questions you wish you could ask peers in similar job areas? What if those questions could be answered from the comfort of your office? The power of the MAPP organization is at its highest when members are helping members. MAPP has peernetworking webinars every six weeks, with the next Peer Networking webinar taking place on August 22, 2014. These groups

consist of member professionals who work in common positions such as human resources, purchasing or operations. Register for the next Peer Networking opportunity at www.mappinc.com. n

MAPP Sponsor Spotlight: RJG, Inc. From training to a diverse line of hardware, software and sensors, RJG works with plastic injection molders to help them supply absolute quality parts to their customers. Helping molders build an overall strategy for productivity and process improvement is what RJG has been doing for over 25 years. RJG wants its molders to be the most soughtafter molders in the industry, so the company provides the tools to make that possible and backs it with the best support in the industry. RJG’s customers take comfort in knowing they won’t ship out any bad parts. And, the commitment doesn’t stop with the sale. RJG works with customers to design a solution and then keeps working with them throughout the implementation.

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product

Wittmann Battenfeld Machine Offers Efficient Precision The EcoPower 55300t from Wittmann Battenfeld, Inc., Torrington, CT, is an all-electric molding machine that combines efficiency with precision. The machine also offers accessibility through its open design at the top on the injection side and for the disposal of the parts at the bottom. The EcoPower is energy-efficient and has a compact, user-friendly design. It features a beltless dual-servo precision injection unit; a cleanroom-quality self-lubricating toggle clamp; platen movement via high-precision, low-friction linear guides; a kinetic energy recovery system; integrated servo-driven hydraulics for core pull; a B6 Windows XP-based control system; mold protection with enhanced sensitivity; and integrated peripheral equipment. For more information, call 860.496.9603 or visit www.wittmann-group.com.

RJG Releases Update to eDART Software RJG, Inc., Traverse City, MI, has released the latest updates to its eDart™ System software, a comprehensive process monitoring and control system for plastic injection molding applications. The software update includes added support for analog water flow and water temperature devices; the cycle values interface on the cycle graph now displays the actual value and template value on the bar graph; the ability to turn off a template once it has been selected; when using traditional reject sorting or failsafe sorting, warning alarms are treated as “good” cycle; a sensor list and summary page have been added to the end of the mold setup for verification; a shuttle table interface has been implemented; improved the velocity-to-pressure set point interface, making it easier to make set point changes while viewing the cycle graph; and implemented Valve Gate Control Software as an optional tool. To download the new software, visit www.rjginc.com.

SAS Automation Unveil New Technologies SAS Automation, a Xenia, OH-based robotic end-of-arm tooling and automation technology manufacturer, has released the newest addition of its line of pneumatic cutters and degating systems. The GCX5 fan gate cutter was designed to cut fan gates up to 2mm thick by 40mm long on soft plastics. The cutter’s design provides a large cutting force from a small input force. In addition, the company has introduced two new spring return gripper fingers – the GRF-35 and the GRF-90. These gripper fingers are fully compatible with SAS’s modular EOAT gripper system. The GRF-35 is designed specifically for difficult part-removal applications, featuring a finger claw that securely flips and reaches around parts. The GRF-90 gripper finger normally is backed-up with SAS’s ANS finger guide and is specially designed to flip and secure thin edges. For more information, call 855.396.6797 or visit www.SAS-Automation.com.

22 | plastics business • summer 2014


product

DENSO Software Allows 3D Simulation, Programming of Robots

Conair Technology Prevents Condensation

DENSO Robotics, Long Beach, CA, has introduced Enhanced Multirobot (EMU) simulation and offline programming software that serves as a master controller for robot project files imported from the company’s WINCAPS III application. With EMU, a user can simulate and program up to 16 DENSO robots in a single automation work cell. A 3D simulation feature enables layout of an entire automation work cell in a virtual environment. Users import CAD drawings in standard VRML and DirectX formats and input or change variables. Users also can verify reach, determine obstacle clearances, detect collisions, troubleshoot and debug programs, as well as determine cycle time. For more information, call 310.952.7502 or visit www.densorobotics.com/products/emu.

Plastics processors can prevent condensation on mold surfaces and related quality defects with a new mold-space dehumidification system from The Conair Group, Cranberry Township, PA. Conair MDA Series mold dryers deliver a flow of air that has been dried to a -10 degrees Celcius dew point. The dry air surrounding the mold prevents moisture from condensing out of warm, humid ambient air onto cool mold surfaces. The system is ideal for the molding of PET preforms and other products that require low-mold temperatures to maintain short cycle times. It is especially useful in non-air-conditioned plants where high temperatures and humidity levels – combined with cold steel surfaces – can result in condensation that can cause cosmetic and structural defects. Conair makes mold dehumidifiers in seven different sizes to produce dry air at maximum rates from 2351765cfm. For more information, call 724.584.5500 or visit www.conairgroup.com.

Frigel Introduces Closed PolyOne ColorMatrix Develops Loop Adiabatic Liquid Cooler Eco-Friendly Liquid Delivery System The new Ecodry 3DK closed loop liquid cooler from Frigel North America, East Dundee, IL, can be configured to match a manufacturer’s specific requirements, delivering higher energy- and water-savings, environmental benefits and other advantages. Ecodry 3DK also can be configured to occupy a 30-percent smaller footprint than the Ecodry model it replaces. As an alternative to conventional process cooling, Ecodry 3DK is the primary component of an integrated, closed-loop intelligent cooling system that provides clean water at the right temperature to industrial processes year round. The modular system, which is housed outside a customer’s facility, is the closed-loop system’s central cooler. It uses heat exchangers and an internationally patented adiabatic chamber to cool water circulated to it from process machines. The adiabatic chamber pre-cools ambient air on hotter days before it enters the unit’s heat exchanger compartment. Cooled water is then re-circulated to a facility’s process machines. For more information, call 847.540.0160 or visit www.frigel.com.

PolyOne ColorMatrix, Berea, OH, has launched the PlanetPak™ liquid delivery system, the latest in its line of eco-friendly packaging solutions. With a design that features a corrugated cardboard outer box, PlanetPak also includes a recyclable 5.5-gallon polyethylene inner liner. Easy to transport, handle and store, this packaging system improves material handling safety while efficiently delivering the high-quality colorant stored within it. The PlanetPak’s shape means that it can be placed edge-to-edge for more efficient use of space during transport and storage, unlike cylindrical drums and pails. For more information, call 866.765.9663 or visit www.polyone.com. n

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 23


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strategies

Sales Management: Growing with an Eye on “Fit” The lessons of the past decade still ring loudly for most manufacturers. Today’s growth in sales and production volume has been welcomed, but a healthy dose of suspicion comes along with it. No one wants to return to the days when machines sat idle, but filling the pipeline with the wrong type of work isn’t the answer either. As production opportunities ramp up, processors are asking questions first. Is it the right kind of growth? Is it the right kind of customer? Are there limitations to the volume that can be handled while still maintaining quality standards? Before sales staff expend the energy required to bring a prospect through the quoting process, they need a solid understanding of the types of business the company requires to be successful.

by Dianna Brodine Understanding the growth strategy

“Strategic planning is based on an understanding of the need for a good strategy and the need to stay focused on that strategy,” said John Hoskins, director of sales and marketing for Schnipke Engraving Company. “Growth without a strategy isn’t really growth at all, and growth shouldn’t be haphazard. Your company’s actions in the field from a sales perspective need to be focused.” Hoskins explained that without a strategic direction, sales staff will be out in the field trying to perform a million tasks without doing any of them well. “Your company will fill its capacity with business that doesn’t make sense,” he said, “because the sales staff simply wants to bring work through the front door.” Begin with a hard look to determine core competencies, weaknesses (whether in equipment or skills), cost models and acceptable margins. Once you know everything page 28 u

26 | plastics business • summer 2014


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t page 26 about your own company that could lead to a successful outcome, assess the available markets. “It’s pretty simple to know which markets make sense once you understand your own capabilities,” said Hoskins. “Then you can look within the industries that do make sense to see where there are further divisions – smaller markets within the market.” Once a narrow market has been identified, the target can be drilled down even further to individual companies that might be a fit. If sales staff hasn’t been a part of this planning process, it’s crucial that the team members now understand how the assessment was done and, just as importantly, why it was done. Otherwise, the plant will be filling with undesirable work again in three, six or twelve months. “Understand your strengths and weaknesses, understand the markets you want to go into and have enough fortitude to actually follow the plan,” Hoskins explained. “You have to know how to say no.”

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

Finding the right prospects Once the strengths and goals of the organization are understood, it’s time to find prospects that fit. Whether “fit” is defined by a certain sales or production figure that can be met on an annual basis, a shared region or a shared corporate culture – or a combination of those factors and many others – new projects and customers must be assessed prior to the quoting process. “It’s so important to match the customer and prospect to the company,” said Bob Holbrook, vice president of sales, Viking Plastics. “There are two full-time salespeople at Viking, and the company has 19 manufacturers’ representatives. With so many sales representatives spread over a wide geographic area, we had to develop a standard list of questions that guaranteed we had the information needed to know if the program qualified for what we wanted to bring onto the production floor.” Viking Plastics President Kelly Goodsel and Holbrook worked together to develop both a list of filters for initial compatibility assessments and a more detailed questionnaire to help sales personnel in the quoting process. When qualifying prospects, Viking begins with a list of 14 filters. These criteria include companies that are using resins that are compatible with Viking’s current equipment, are located in a territory covered by a Viking sales associate and have the potential to meet a minimum amount of business per year. Once the filters have been reviewed, a prospecting phase begins that provides information Viking needs in order to ensure its capabilities meet the customer’s needs – and

28 | plastics business • summer 2014


strategies

vice versa. Is the customer looking for shoot-and-ship or is value-add required? Who are the current suppliers? Is early involvement encouraged? Why is the customer looking for a new supplier? “Viking has been blessed,” explained Holbrook. “We’ve had a lot of opportunities, so we’re trying to cull them to make sure we’re not just quoting everything. We will turn opportunities away that don’t match with our business plan.” “There needs to be a litmus test,” agreed Hoskins. “Is it from an industry we want to be in? Is the company on our top 20 list of prospects? Does the part fall within a component size that we’ve defined? Does the part fit the criteria that fall within our core competencies? If you fill up all of your capacity with things that don’t make sense, you have to add capacity to meet the things you want to do,” Hoskins said.

Keep the focus “A strategy isn’t worth anything if you’re not going to follow it,” reminded Hoskins. “Your people have to understand the strategy, and you have to keep them focused.”

To that end, Viking Plastics held a sales meeting in May. “Viking has made a lot of improvements and investments in the plant,” said Holbrook, “so we provided a full day of plant tours and sessions that reviewed our capabilities for all of our representatives. We wanted to be sure everyone was trained and refreshed on what the filters are and why the filters are in place. Now, there are no surprises. Before, the guys would present an opportunity that maybe wasn’t a great match, but now we have a system of checks and balances.” At Schnipke Engraving Company, the management team puts together clearly stated goals for the sales staff and then shows them how to get there. “We don’t belabor our people with numbers and data. Instead, we provide a list of our target customers – we define the top 20 players for them,” said Hoskins. It’s also important to ensure the sales staff has a clear idea of what activities are expected in order to achieve the target. Directions such as ‘work a 40-hour work week’ and ‘call on prospects’ don’t provide enough guidance when the sales staff actually is page 30 u

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www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 29


strategies t page 29

Whether “fit” is defined by a certain sales or production figure that can be met on an annual basis, a shared region or a shared corporate culture – or a combination of those factors and many others – new projects and customers must be assessed prior to the quoting process. expected to call on a certain number of clients/prospects in person each month, make a defined number of phone calls or quote a specific dollar amount of work. If the sales staff doesn’t have a defined goal, the goal will never be met.

In addition, when selecting a sales person, select someone who makes sense for the strategy. “Some markets are transactional, so you need a transactional sales person,” said Hoskins. “In our business, I want the top 25 or 50 customers, so we’re developing a sales staff that understands what it takes to play at that high level.” In the end, however, it’s the strategy that sets the tone and determines if the right business is coming through the door. “The temptation to do a quick production run of ‘easy business’ won’t subside, but that one step away from the strategic focus could lead to a slippery slide of problems,” said Hoskins. “In any really successful company, the person running the ship has an unfaltering vision and strategy, but the sales force is the face of the company. To get the deal done, they need an understanding of who we are, where we’re going and how we’re going to get there.” n page 32 u

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strategies t page 30

MAPP ConferenCe SPeAker

Goal Setting Tactics: You’ve Gotta Define Success Before You Can Design It by Jack Daly

1. Identify “where you are” – the baseline. You can’t begin moving in the right direction until you knows where you are at the present. An effective analogy is to imagine wanting to travel coast to coast. If you didn’t know which coast you were starting from, the journey could be a long and wet one as you started out with just a destination in mind. As well, knowing where you are helps you determine what will be necessary for you to get to the destination. 2. Identify “where you want to be” – your end state goal. Putting this in writing is a must; otherwise, it’s a dream, not a goal. Dreams don’t often come true, but goals in writing do. We call this “backward thinking” – determining the end zone and charting back to the present. It’s how you organize your view of the future that determines what the future is. 3. I’ve heard a number of folks employ the acronym SMART effectively. The “S” is for Specific. The key is to break down each of our goals into bite-sized chunks that will lead to getting the goal accomplished. One of my goals is to run a marathon (yea, 26.2 miles) in each of the 50 states. I have further broken this down to four marathons per year, and then I went on to identify the specific four marathon events I would run this year. Specificity! 4. Next is “M”easureable. Inspect what you expect, with a minimum of a monthly review of results compared to plan. Some of the key candidates here for a sales professional include phone calls (inbound/outbound), personal visits, presentations, proposals, orders taken, etc. 5.

“A”ttainable is next on the list. Challenging, yes, but reachable – otherwise we risk the goals being demotivating. This is what I call the “reality test.” If you are the 10th-ranked salesperson in the company, it’s probably not an attainable goal to be #1, at least not in a one-year time frame!

32 | plastics business • summer 2014

6. “R” is for Realistic, and often this comes down to time frames. Time blocking and scheduling are the keys to effective implementation. Scheduling your activities is essential to goal attainment. 7. “T” is for Trackable, which underscores the necessity for the activities necessary to accomplishing the goal to be something which can be tracked and reported. For many years, I have effectively used the simple calendar, in which I record daily activities related to each of my goal action items. I then summarize monthly and compare month-to-month results, as well as year-to-year performance on applicable items. 8. Too many in business think of goals in terms of only business. Broaden your thinking to personal/life quality goals. I once heard Dennis Waitley put this so well, saying, “Most people spend more time planning Christmas and holidays than they do planning their life.” Make your goals multi-dimensional. 9. Accountability. This is where you turn the heat up on yourself. Share your goals with people you respect and care about, and establish a system to review your performance with them to garner feedback. This review process should be, at minimum, quarterly. I make it a regular practice of giving my goals to my two adult children, my wife and my two business partners for each to review my progress quarterly. Talk about pressure! 10. Once the goals are in writing and a system in place to help get the results, identify a few goals that are 1) non-negotiable 2) most difficult and 3) most important. This will further emphasize your focus, and focus precedes success. n Jack Daly is a leader in the area of sales and sales management training. To find more, visit www.jackdaly.net. Daly also is the featured keynote speaker at the 2014 MAPP Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference in Indianapolis. Register today at www.mappinc.com.


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industry

Trends in Compensation and Operational Practices for Plastic Processors The Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP) has just released its latest report on compensation and benefit trends in plastics processing. Known as the most comprehensive study in the industry, MAPP’s 2014 report is one that has evolved over the last 11 years and remains the only report completely devoted to the plastics manufacturing sector. Today, the publication contains comprehensive analysis on over 50 different job classifications and represents data in excess of 14,500 hourly and salaried employees located in 32 states across America.

Compensation trends for staff level team The total median annual compensation for a grouping of nine staff level positions, including the following, provides a basis for trend data over the last seven years. 1) Engineering manager 2) General manager 3) Human resource manager 4) IT manager 5) Maintenance manager 6) Plant manager 7) Purchasing manager 8) Quality manager 9) Sales manager

by Troy Nix Considered the most common staff level positions held in any size of company,

the total combined payroll for these nine job functions has increased by 25.7

Accumulated payroll and benefit data in MAPP’s study was submitted by company owners, presidents, human resource directors and senior staff level professionals. Graph 1

34 | plastics business • summer 2014


industry

percent since 2007. Today, the combined median payroll of these nine job classifications is $730,881. That amount increases by approximately 3.7 percent on an annual basis.

Graph 1 represents the compensation trend for each of these individual job functions. Of the 53 job classifications tracked in the 2014 Wage and Compensation Study, over 70 percent contained wage/salary rate changes under five percent over the last 12 months. Job descriptions that experienced the largest adjustment in wages and salary over the last twelve months included CFOs, delivery drivers, machinists, marketing directors and TS/ISO coordinators.

Graph 2

Job titles experiencing negative growth or growth below inflationary rates in the last year include, but are not limited to, administrative assistant, general manager, plant manager, machine operator, mold setter and more. Negative growth in compensation partly is due to changes in the survey population and combined with actual employment changes at the company level. page 36 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 35


industry t page 35 Supervisor to employee ratio As companies look to gain any competitive edge possible, the innovation in capitalizing on machine utilization and employee capacity can be seen by examining slight changes in both shift structures and the supervision per employee ratio trends over the last five years. One evident trend focuses on the increased efficiency of the uses of supervision. Over the last five years, plastics processors have steadily increased the role of individual supervisors by expanding the number of employees each is responsible for managing. In 2009, nearly 52 percent of company executives reported a supervisor to employee ratio of 1:10. Today, only 38 percent of executives report using a supervisor to employee ratio of 1:10, representing a 14 percent decrease in the last five years. Now, the most common supervisor to employee ratio is 1:20, while nearly one in five plastics manufacturing company executives use a 1:30 or above supervisor to employee ratio, which nearly doubles that reported five years ago (Graph 2).

36 | plastics business • summer 2014

Operational shift structure Although one quarter of plastics manufacturing companies across the nation continue to use one- and two-shift operations, 62 percent of business leaders commonly use a three-shift operation over a five-day work week. Sixteen percent of the population using this three-shift, five-dayper-week operating strategy also uses a tactic to enhance their shift structure by providing weekend coverage in order to continue production on specific jobs. To successfully staff second shift operations, nearly one in three companies provide their employees with increased compensation ranging between $.26 to $.50 per hour, with 25 percent providing $.25 or less. The second shift premium rate has grown by over 20 percent over the last five years; however, third shift premium rates essentially have stayed the same, with 18 percent of respondents providing $.25 or less and 29 percent providing between $.26 to $.50 per hour. For more information on MAPP’s 2014 Wage and Salary Study, visit the Publications tab at www.mappinc.com. n


view from 30

The View from 30 Feet: Lockout/Tagout

by Jen Clark

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. Any manager whose company has ever been the target of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation knows the process can be pretty stressful. Most inspections are conducted without prior notice, but there are a few instances in which OSHA may give notice to the employer – normally less than 24 hours, however.

and put a lockout/tagout station right there. The door can’t slide closed, so the photo eye can’t be tripped and the machine can’t decide that it’s ready to run. It’s simple, it’s effective and it passed. It was a very logical sequence,” according to the member. In addition, OSHA required that the procedure and training for such be documented and kept on file for review.

Among its standards, OSHA mandates employers must take steps to prevent accidents associated with hazardous energy in the workplace. OSHA’s standard on the Control of Hazardous Energy, found in CFR 1910.147, commonly is referred to as lockout/tagout. It is meant to prevent the unexpected startup of machines and equipment – or release of stored energy – to prevent workplace injuries during service and maintenance operations. For the plastics industry, OSHA says this practice also should be performed on presses during mold changes and when clearing jams.

“Any time a plastic processor’s employee must clear a jam, perform maintenance or service powered equipment, they must follow lockout/tagout procedures,” said Dianne Grote Adams, MS, CIH, CSP, CPEA and president/CEO of Safex, who recently conducted a webinar on lockout/tagout for MAPP members. The procedure isn’t needed only “when the equipment is powered with a plug, and the plug can stay in visual line and (within) hands reach of the individual doing the work.”

During an inspection at a MAPP-member company, OSHA insisted that lockout/tagout be used during changeovers. However, as an industry, it doesn’t make sense to lock out the power when changing out a color or a mold because adjustments need to be made on the fly. The company reached out to the MAPP community for guidance on finding an alternative to a full shut-down – a satisfactory solution that would keep everyone safe.

OSHA requires companies to use appropriate equipment for lockout/tagout. The locks and tags only should be used for lockout/tagout; must be durable, standardized, substantial and identifiable; keys must not be shared; and multiple locks must be used if more than one person is working on an energy source. In addition, each person working on a piece of equipment must apply their own personal lock to the lockout device. Assuming a piece of equipment only has one electrical source is a mistake, Grote said, because equipment often has two or more electrical sources.

Adjustments were put in place that satisfied OSHA’s requirements. “The solution that we used was really simple,” explained the MAPP member. “The door used to get into a mold runs on a rail. What we did was drill a hole in the rail

Exceptions to the lockout/tagout rule, as noted by Safex, come during minor tool changes and adjustments during normal production, when work is routine, repetitive and integral for production and when alternate protective measures are used. n

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 37


focus

Why Military Veterans are Ideal for Careers in Manufacturing by Rodrigo Garcia, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs

For those of you who’ve seen the classic film The Graduate, you probably got a kick from the sage advice given to Dustin Hoffman’s character at the start of the movie... “Son, I just want to say one word to you: plastics.” As influential members of the plastics industry, I now want to say just one word to you: veterans.

Rodrigo Garcia is the acting director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA), board chairman for Student Veterans of America and a Marine Corps veteran. As acting director of IDVA, Garcia oversees a 1,300-person staff dedicated to serving those who have served. IDVA fulfills its mission of empowering veterans to thrive through its four Veterans’ Homes, its 80-plus Veteran Service Offices and its numerous special programs and initiatives. For more information, visit www.veterans.illinois.gov.

It’s well-established that plastics businesses – as well as many other manufacturers in America – are facing a major shortfall in available skilled workers, with a particular need for machine operators and engineers. Experts estimate that there are over 600,000 open advanced manufacturing jobs across America. In my beloved home state of Illinois (Go Bears!), manufacturers have over 30,000 jobs openings. While this is a complex issue that requires multiple approaches, more and more manufacturers are realizing that military veterans are a great choice for the indemand, high-skilled positions they have available.

A talent pool with advanced technical training This quote from General Electric (GE) sums it up quite well: “We don’t hire veterans because they’re veterans. We hire veterans because they’re qualified.”

38 | plastics business • summer 2014


focus

Most people recognize that veterans are accomplished in selfdiscipline and teamwork, but many overlook the fact that the US military spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to train each servicemember. As such, veterans have obtained formal training, hands-on instruction and performance evaluations by some of the world’s foremost technical experts – and a great deal of this training has straight-line application to manufacturing careers back home. The majority of servicemembers are cross-trained in multiple computer programs, and many receive advanced technical training that readily translates to professional positions in engineering, production, IT, maintenance and logistics, among many other specialties. Beyond technical skills, veterans are trained in various other important areas that are extremely valuable back at home. I want to highlight three. First, veterans are explicitly taught to be efficient under pressure. They understand tight schedules, limited resources and competing demands, and they know how to accomplish a task on time in spite of tremendous stress. Second, thanks to extensive training, veterans are keenly

aware of safety protocols both for themselves and the welfare of others, including attention to health and wellness issues. This can translate to protection of employees, property and materials, which reduces loss, reduces absenteeism and helps counter waste and inefficiency. And third, with experiences in the service and around the world, veterans often are aware of technical and international trends or developments potentially pertinent to your business and industry. They can bring the kind of global outlook and technological savvy that all enterprises need to grow.

Plentiful, easy-to-access resources to connect with veteran talent Across the nation, there are a multitude of resources and programs available to help employers identify, recruit, hire and support veteran talent. These efforts are supported by industry associations, government agencies and non-profits, all with the same underlying mission: to help veterans succeed in the workforce, and in doing so, help businesses and communities grow stronger. page 40 u

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I talk with employers all the time that are looking to hire veterans, but many confront a standard set of obstacles. For one, their human resources managers need help navigating the veteran talent pool, knowing where to look, discerning military terminology on resumes and – generally speaking – being able to recognize the innumerable benefits veterans can bring to their organization. There are various easy-to-access, no-cost HR training resources and toolkits available for employers. I’d like to spotlight two: • Hiring Our Heroes HR Training Webinars – Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) is a program of the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation spearheading a variety of innovative approaches to match veterans and military spouses with employers. HOH offers no-cost training webinars for hiring managers to obtain expert training on best practices for effective recruitment and retention of veterans and military spouses. For more information or to register for a webinar, visit www. hiringourheroes.org/webinars. • America’s Heroes at Work Veteran Toolkit – Created by the US Department of Labor, this toolkit specifically is designed to assist employers who want to include veterans in their recruitment and hiring initiatives. Featuring a straightforward six-step process, it pinpoints helpful tools and outlines key steps to take when designing a veterans hiring initiative. To access the free toolkit, visit www.americasheroesatwork.gov. Once your HR staff is ready to engage veteran talent, they may need help discovering where to post openings and actively target recruitment efforts. I have two suggestions: • Connect with your state’s labor/workforce development agency – Every state has Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVERs) that conduct outreach to employers and help hiring managers increase employment opportunities for veterans. Visit the following page to find LVERs in your area: www.dol.gov/vets/aboutvets/contacts/ main.htm#RegionalStateDirectory. • Hire 2 Hired (H2H) – H2H is a national database specific to veteran job seekers and employers looking to hire veteran talent. With H2H, employers get free, direct access to qualified

40 | plastics business • summer 2014

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focus t page 40 candidates who already have background checks and security clearances, which helps reduce recruiting and hiring costs. H2H uses innovative match-strength technology and allows employers to send customized online marketing materials and invitations-to-apply to select candidates. For more info, visit https://h2h.jobs/employers. The last piece of the puzzle concerns retention and support practices. Once your company has veterans on board, it’s smart to make an investment in professional development processes. This can include the creation of a corporate mentorship program or an employee affinity group for veterans. Regarding support practices, I’d highly encourage your company to reach out to the state department of veterans’ affairs to explore postemployment support services available through their agency or local non-profits.

Illinois Hires Heroes Consortium At this point, I have to make a pitch for a program we’ve launched in Illinois that brings together all the strategies noted

above into one clear-cut platform. It’s called the Illinois Hires Heroes Consortium (IHHC). In essence, IHHC is a program that helps teach companies how to recruit and maximize the potential of veteran employees. Here’s how it works: Companies join the Consortium at no-cost; they commit to recruitment, hiring and retention practices of their choosing; and state agency staff help them implement the practices. Ultimately, it puts companies on the cutting edge of veteran recruitment. For more info, visit www.illinoishiresheroes. com. If your company operates in Illinois, join now! If not, ask your state agency to explore such a set up.

Tax Credits A number of states, such as Illinois, provide targeted tax credits to employers that hire qualified veterans. Illinois offers the Veteran’s Tax Credit, through which Illinois employers can earn an income tax credit of up to $5,000 annually for hiring veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom. The credit is 20 percent of the total wages, paid up to $5,000, to every qualified page 45 u

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focus t page 43 veteran hired after July 1, 2012. Illinois employers also can earn an income tax credit of up to $1,200 annually for hiring veterans of Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom. The credit is 10 percent of the total wages paid to every qualified veteran hired after January 1, 2010. For more information, call the Illinois Department of Revenue’s business hotline at 217.524.4772. At the federal level, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) enabled employers to earn up to $9,600 for each eligible veteran hired before January 1, 2014, but at the current time, WOTC has not been extended.

Hiring Our Heroes Career Fairs A key component of the HOH program from the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation is connecting veterans, transitioning servicemembers and military spouses with employers at targeted hiring fairs. Since the program’s

launch in 2011, more than 24,000 veterans and military spouses have obtained jobs through HOH career fairs. To learn more about how your company can get involved, visit www.uschamberfoundation.org/hiring-our-heroes.

Increasing your bottom line We’re at a special moment in history where our nation can harness and benefit from the tremendous talent of our returning servicemembers. In the next five years, one million veterans are expected to leave the service and transition back home. What does that mean for employers? We have an opportunity to capitalize on an extremely well-trained, highly motivated pool of talented workers. As forwardlooking manufacturers have shown, when companies recognize the potential of veteran workers, the returns are substantial. It’s more than just worthy tribute to our men and women who’ve worn the uniform – it represents an investment that can advance your company’s bottom line and better position you for success in the long-run. n

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Plastics Business - Summer 2014  

Plastics Business - Summer 2014