The American Mold Builder Issue 3 2021

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ISSUE 3 2021

AMBA HONORS INDUSTRY LEADERS Remote Mold Validation Pressure Building in Washington Creating Quality Marketing Content


“UniLifters from Progressive are our go-to-method for undercut release.” Andy Baker, Byrne Tool + Design

maximum performance and longevity Successful mold builders know that their growth ahead depends on the performance of the tools they’ve shipped. That’s why Andy Baker and his team at Byrne Tool + Design specify Progressive’s UniLifter® for molds requiring undercut release: “We’ve tried others like the “ball-in-channel” approach but experienced binding and breaking. Our default is UniLifters, as it’s easy to use, reliable, and has provided exceptional performance over the years with no issues.”


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ISSUE 3 2021

AMBA HONORS INDUSTRY LEADERS Remote Mold Validation Pressure Building in Washington Creating Quality Marketing Content


8 AWARDS AMBA Mold Builder of the Year AMBA Tooling Trailblazer of the Year Speak Out .................................................. 6

VIEW FROM 30 The Nuts and Bolts of Remote Mold Sampling and Validation

Product ..................................................... 22

Association .............................................. 38

14 ADVOCACY China Tariffs Remain with Pressure Building in Washington

Industry .................................................... 42 Calendar ................................................... 46 Ad Index ................................................... 46

The AMBA Tooling Trailblazer and Mold Builder of the Year Awards were presented at AMBA Conference 2021. Cover photo courtesy of Creative Technology Corp. 4


the american MOLD BUILDER | Issue 3 2021


AMBA CONFERENCE 2021 A Look Back at the Connections Made and Content Shared

24 STRATEGIES Five Places to be on the Lookout for Fraud

AMERICAN MOLD BUILDERS ASSOCIATION 7321 Shadeland Station Way, #285 Indianapolis, IN 46256 P: 317.436.3102 • F: 317.913.2445 •


32 TALENT Emerging Leaders Address Decision Making and Leadership 35 SOLUTIONS Creating and Distributing Quality Marketing Content 40 PREVIEW Amerimold Returns to Rosemont 44 BENCHMARKING An Honest Assessment of the CRM Software Utilized in the Manufacturing Industry



Troy Nix, Executive Director Kym Conis, Managing Director Susan Denzio, Business Manager Rachael Pfenninger, Director of Strategic Execution

Advising Editor: Kym Conis Advertising/Sales: Susan Denzio PUBLISHED BY:

2150 SW Westport Dr., Suite #101 Topeka, KS 66614 P: 785.271.5801

Managing Editor: Dianna Brodine Asst. Editors: Nicole Mitchell, Cienna Sorell Art Director: Becky Arensdorf Graphic Designer: Hailey Mann Opinions expressed in this publication may or may not reflect the views of the Association and do not necessarily represent official positions or policies of the Association or its members. |



s I’m writing this letter on a nice summer day in August, I hope you, your families and your A employees are doing well and staying healthy. Whoa, what a difference a year can make – we once again are able to enjoy the things we love to do in the summertime (I went to a Foo Fighters Concert on Friday night). I Hope your shop is filled with work, and the only challenge you have is how to get all the work done on time!

JIM SPERBER AMBA President Master Tool & Mold

In June, we had our first face-to-face meeting at the AMBA annual conference in Grand Rapids, and what an awesome experience (I’ve never seen so many grown men hug each other!). The speakers were very insightful and provided great content. The peer-to-peer roundtable discussions and networking opportunities provided incredible value, as always. Thanks to the AMBA conference team members for their awesome job in making this conference happen.

I’d like to mention just a few of the highlights. Ray Coombs from Westminster Tool was awarded the 2021 AMBA Mold Builder of the Year and Wepco Plastics was awarded the 2021 Tooling Trailblazer of the Year. Both recipients were very deserving of the awards and are true leaders in our industry. A big thanks goes out to Progressive Components for sponsoring these awards. AMBA also thanked outgoing board members for their service: Greg Eidenberger, Paragon D&E; Justin McPhee, Mold Craft (A Westfall Technik Company) and Mike Mullholand, Freeman Company. Additionally, Eric Karaman, Michiana Global Mold, was welcomed to the AMBA board of directors (see page 39 for more details). On a side note, we are always looking for people that want to get more involved in the AMBA; please let us know if you are interested in contributing as a board member. As a business owner, I can tell you I derive great value from the connections I have made with fellow board members. I hope to see everyone at next year’s AMBA Conference 2022, May 11-13, in Itasca (Chicago), Illinois. Over the next few months, AMBA offers several opportunities to connect, including in-person plant tour workshops at Century Die, Fremont, Ohio, (September 14) and Legacy Precision Molds, Grandville, Michigan (November 11), virtual roundtable discussions every few weeks and a virtual Lean Workshop for the Emerging Leaders network (November 16). I hope you can take advantage of some of these opportunities to improve your operations and develop your workforce. Once again, I would like to remind you to fill out the surveys that are sent to you. The reports generated from these surveys not only provide valuable data to benchmark your operation and stay current on industry trends, but they also provide feedback on what content we should be sharing in our webinars. As always, if you’re running into a problem or an issue that you can’t resolve, please contact the AMBA. I’m sure we can steer you in the right direction. I am looking forward to seeing you all at the Century Die plant tour workshop. Until then, take care, stay safe and healthy, God Bless all of you and God Bless American mold builders. “We are Stronger Together.” n



National President Jim Sperber, Master Tool & Mold

Secretary and Legal Counsel Alan Rothenbuecher, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP

Immediate Past-President Toby Bral, MSI Mold Builders

Treasurer Tom Barr, TK Mold & Engineering

Vice President Don Dumoulin, Precise Tooling Solutions


the american MOLD BUILDER | Issue 3 2021

David Bowers II, JMMS, Inc.

Charles Daniels, Wepco Plastics Mike Devereux, Wipfli/Mueller Prost Dan Glass, Strohwig Industries Eric Karaman, Michiana Global Mold Chad LaMance, United Tool & Mold Andy Peterson, Industrial Molds Group Kenny Skar, Vincent Tool Tyler VanRee, Legacy Precision Molds

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WEPCO PLASTICS NAMED TOOLING TRAILBLAZER OF THE YEAR By Jewlissa Frickey, writer, The American Mold Builder

he AMBA Tooling Trailblazer of the Year Award was Tmember established to recognize the accomplishments of an AMBA company that have resulted in a notable impact in

the area of education. This year, the recipient of the award was Wepco Plastics in Middlefield, Connecticut. “Receiving this award reinforces that the work that we’re doing is valuable and necessary,” said Charles Daniels, chief financial officer at Wepco Plastics, Inc. In the state of Connecticut, Wepco Plastics has been a strong vocal advocate for workforce development, apprenticeships and exposing children as early as grade school to manufacturing and STEAM-related career paths. Through participation in collaboratives with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, volunteering on local manufacturing group boards, helping to found pre-apprenticeship programs in local schools or offering STEAM-related activities to children in the state of Connecticut, becoming spokespeople for manufacturing and quality jobs has become a part of Wepco’s daily culture.


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“As a member of our community, it is critical that we play a role in ensuring everyone has access to quality education,” said Daniels. “As an employer, it is our responsibility to work with schools and education providers to offer support and feedback. If we don’t focus on the workforce of today and tomorrow, we can’t expect anyone else to.” In the past year, Wepco Plastics pivoted to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) to employ new team members during COVID-19 and meet the State of Connecticut’s urgent need, acquired a new 3D printing value stream and hired an Industry 4.0 engineer. Combined, these instances exemplify how Wepco seeks to meet, and exceed, the needs of its customers and its community. Manufacturing PPE provided a unique way to thrive during the pandemic, while also providing much needed jobs and protection for its local community. “I’m hopeful that an award like this will help encourage other companies to step up and play a larger role in their areas,” Daniels said. “It reinforces that the work we are doing is valuable and necessary.”

Caption: Amanda Wiriya, manufacturing support manager for Wepco Plastics, accepted the AMBA Tooling Trailblazer Award from award sponsors Don Starkey and Glenn Starkey, Progressive Components.

It’s not always as simple as an email, however. For companies that want to become more involved in their community, the first step is calling. “The easiest way is to find a school that’s closest to you – more than likely, your employees have family that attends, helping you network from the start,” Daniels said. “The initial phone call may not go far because the schools may not know what they need; that’s our job. It’s not always an easy adventure, but it only takes one school to set the pace for others to follow.” Taking the step toward educational involvement is beneficial for both the students and manufacturers. “If we as manufacturers sit back and wait for schools to bring us the students we want for the workforce, it doesn’t do us any good,” said Daniels. “By having that involvement, we can develop programs to better fit our needs so students can learn more about what we do and if it’s something they want to pursue.”

depending on need. Over the last five to six years, Wepco has made inroads at local schools through advisory boards; tours; career days; providing equipment, materials and curriculums; internships; hiring graduating students and externships with teachers. One way to ensure students are learning the most relevant and prominent information is by teaching the teachers. With the externships, teachers have an opportunity to work for Wepco and bring the experiences back to the classrooms. “Externships are usually over summer vacation, but Connecticut even managed to have teachers get time off during the school year to spend a day working with us,” said Daniels. Wepco Plastics encourages all companies that are able to get involved with AMBA. “It provides a wonderful opportunity to network with our peers, access to a variety of resources and an opportunity to have an impact on our industry,” said Daniels. “I really appreciate that AMBA recognizes the importance of this type of work that we’re doing, and it’s one of the reasons we love being a part of it – because they focus on things like this that other trade organizations may not recognize.” n

Wepco’s involvement in its community school programs varies

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Since 2013, Coombs has prioritized a focus on addressing the skills gap, directing 100% of all capital investment into the development of people through training and personal development. This included the adoption of lean principles, the creation of an internal digital training academy and the enhancement of company metrics, with an emphasis on emotional intelligence. Westminster Tool purchased a second facility to host classrooms, an employee gym and storage, all while providing extra room for future growth. The company continued its growth, advancing from 25 to 37 employees. This forward movement was made possible by the firm determination of Coombs, whose vision was to set a foundation for success and continued prosperity. The equipment evolution at Westminster Tool started in 2018, with goals in mind such as increasing capacity and allowing growth when it came to the needs of customers. In 2020, the company invested 10% of revenue in updating, replacing and expanding equipment across the shop. This included an Ultimaker desktop 3D printer, which allowed engineers to print a replica of a final molded part for quick and cost-effective testing. This process reduced manufacturing time and helped the company exceed customer expectations. Equipment investments contributed to employee advancement, too.

t the 2021 AMBA Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, A Raymond Coombs Jr., founder and president of Westminster Tool, was named AMBA Mold Builder of the Year. A leader

“Crosstraining always has been a major part of our culture here, but we’ve gotten busier over time – and that’s a good thing,” Coombs said. “These new machines not only let us keep spindles running, but they’ve been a game changer for training, giving our team more access to new technology for learning purposes.” During the height of the pandemic, Westminster Tool was able to utilize the 3D printer to design and prototype ear protectors used to relieve the stress of masks on users’ ears. Then the company manufactured a 2-cavity mold used to mass produce 10,000 ear protectors that were donated to local healthcare facilities, nursing homes and other local institutions in need.

CONTINUOUS INVESTMENT Ray Coombs founded Westminster Tool in the basement of his home in Connecticut in 1997. He got started in the mold building

COMMUNITY OUTREACH A long-time advocate for manufacturing education, Coombs and the Westminster Tool team have worked hard and committed significant resources to bettering his community through job shadowing, Westminster Tool’s Learn While

By Cienna Sorell, writer, The American Mold Builder

within his own company, in his community and in the industry, Coombs has earned the respect and admiration of his peers.


field when he was just 22, and after only two years, the company expanded into its first full-scale facility. In its new home in Plainfield, Connecticut, Westminster Tool made the jump to 16 employees and advanced from building tool components to complete plastic injection molds. At the company’s current location in Plainfield, the addition of a technology center for inhouse validation, tool sampling and low-volume part production delivers a complete mold building experience for customers.

the american MOLD BUILDER | Issue 3 2021

You Earn sponsorship, his collaboration with the local Makerspace program and his work with the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA). At Westminster Tool, potential employees do not necessarily need experience in manufacturing to be successful. The company works with local schools to help spread interest and increase awareness about manufacturing jobs, and students are brought in for job shadowing opportunities to see what certain positions within a production facility may consist of from day to day. This helps with education in the community surrounding the benefits of a career in manufacturing, as well as letting kids who are about to make career decisions see that there are opportunities for growth and employment right in their area. Westminster Tool also offers a yearly sponsorship opportunity called Learn While You Earn. The candidates must enroll fulltime in the local community college’s Advanced Manufacturing Program, which is a full-year certificate program that teaches manufacturing skills to people new to the industry. While enrolled, students are provided with a part-time job at Westminster Tool. If the candidate successfully completes the program, the student receives full tuition reimbursement and the opportunity for full-time employment at Westminster Tool. At the local elementary school, Coombs funds a Makerspace program to help students experience hands-on, critical problem solving in an alternative-style classroom environment. Westminster Tool has donated $12,000 to the program, and is involved in events, meeting the students and parents, and watching the progress of their projects. The goal of this program is to spark intrest at a young age and aid the community in understanding that a career in manufacturing or another similar industry can be extremely rewarding.

takes part in FLiP: Future Leaders in Plastics, as well as Women in Manufacturing. In February of 2021, Coombs spoke during the AMBA Meet the Mentor Series where he touched on leadership through ownership and shared personal experiences and stories of his own personal journey through the moldmaking industry. “I am an advocate for embracing adversity, as it makes you who you are,” said Coombs. Coombs worked tirelessly over the years to secure $20 million in funding for the first-ever Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative in Connecticut, a program dedicated to educating, training and placing graduates who are entirely new to the manufacturing industry. Working alongside the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA) and Eastern Workforce Investment Board (EWIB), Coombs helped to develop the curriculum and several pipeline programs for those interested in careers ranging from machine operation to plastics. A CELEBRATED YEAR Coombs’ family has played a huge part in the business – a necessity for a busy business owner who also wanted to be close to his children as they grew up. Since the pandemic began, his children have moved back home, and he has taken great pleasure in the opportunity to work alongside them as adults. Those adults are now taking on critical roles at Westminster Tool. Coombs said, “It was very important to me that my dream didn’t become my children’s burden.” As such, it’s been an honor for him to see his children take as much pride in the business as he does, and he takes joy in knowing his kids want to play a part in the future of the business that he built.

To continue this important work throughout the pandemic, Westminster Tool had to work around the lack of open houses, company tours, workshops and job fairs. Westminster Tool launched a virtual company tour event and career overview campaign that used live video to showcase several of the meaningful career pathways the company has to offer. Coombs said, “We’re well known for our community outreach, but like a lot of companies, we’ve had to improvise and change the way we connect with people.”

Ray Coombs considers the AMBA Mold Builder of the Year award to be one of the most prestigious honors in his profession, and he was visibly emotional when he received the award, sponsored by Progressive Components, at a reception during the June conference event. The recognition from his peers clearly meant the world. He said, “You can own a business and do the right thing. Too many people step on top of one another to get to the top, but you can be a good human being to get there.”

INDUSTRY INVOLVEMENT Coombs joined AMBA in 2001 and is a former AMBA vice president and board member. His company also was the 2017 recipient of the Tooling Trailblazer award. Coombs served as one of the founding members of the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA) and remains an active member today as vice president of the board. Westminster Tool

Ray Coombs’ love for moldmaking, his dedication to the mold building community and his belief in local outreach are just some of the many driving forces behind the success of Westminster Tool. Congratulations to Ray Coombs Jr. – a well-deserving recipient of the 2021 AMBA Mold Builder of the Year Award. n |


THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF REMOTE MOLD SAMPLING AND VALIDATION By Nicole Mitchell, writer, The American Mold Builder

required an abundance of changes and CteamsOVID-19 improvements to be made in 2020. In order to keep internal and external customers healthy, companies such as

Accede Mold & Tool Co. – a leader in mold solutions for medical, consumer, military and industrial companies – were required to find new ways to share information. Typical inperson activities, such as mold sampling and validation, needed creative solutions. RECOGNIZING THE PROBLEM Accede, Rochester, New York, had nearly $20 million in sales in 2019, which required in-house visits and mold qualifications weekly. However, the company closed its employee business travel and limited in-house visitors starting in March 2020, placing the company at “ground zero.” Face-to-face meetings were no longer appropriate to have unless deemed essential by Accede management, such as machine or equipment installations, maintenance or repairs. Thus, sampling team members were required to show products via video chat or web conferencing. For Accede, it took more than one attempt, but now the company hosts multiple mold qualification reviews seamlessly. TRIAL AND ERROR The first attempts at virtual mold sampling and validation meetings for Accede were not effective. One-on-one video calls via smartphone were the only option at the time (even though Apple has since created a group FaceTime option), and these calls had poor video quality due to internet connection, camera quality and stability. This restricted the ability to share opinions and ideas, creating a lack of insight from everyone working on a project. Out of necessity during the pandemic, video sharing sites quickly gained in popularity and availability, so the company


the american MOLD BUILDER | Issue 3 2021

had other options. Platforms tested by the company included Vimeo and OSS Studio Software. Vimeo is an online video sharing platform similar to YouTube; however, there is a cost of service (ranging from $7 to $75 monthly) in order to broadcast videos. Stephen Robinson, program engineer and IT management, estimated that there is a lag time of 40 seconds during each livestreamed video call, which delayed accurate interaction between the client and mold sampling members. Comparatively, OSS Studio Software is a professional production software and does not offer livestreaming. However, it easily can be tailored to everyone’s needs through its video editing capabilities. It’s free with a large community of users and has sponsors including YouTube, Twitch and Facebook, all of which have their own streaming and video-sharing capabilities. Today, Accede uses a blend of different applications for the best outcome: OSS for video creation, Zoom for collaboration (the company also trialed GoToMeeting and Microsoft Teams) and Vimeo for archival storage of prior mold trials – although Robinson says that archives soon will be switched over to YouTube. TOOLS FOR SUCCESS One of the biggest tips Robinson and others suggested for virtual meetings is to choose the options that allow each molding team to effectively collaborate with clients. One way to do so is by using an injection molding machine for sampling that allows for remote operational capabilities. This gives customers the ability to change the process on their own from their location by giving them the capability to control the machine. There are different tools that Robinson suggests that ensure an effective virtual meeting, which he coined, “the nuts and bolts

of remote mold sampling.” For him, this includes a “decently powerful” laptop or computer, a cam link video capture adapter, a camera, USB microscopes, tripods, studio lighting and noisecancelling headsets. Production environments can be messy and loud, so stabilizing material is required. Robinson has tried a variety of these items throughout the last year but has finally found his top preferences. The staff at Accede currently use a Dell 17” laptop with a mid-level graphics card and 16GB ram. A Canon EOS M200 camera with a 15-45mm lens is used to record action in the mold, and an Elgato Cam Link 4k device connects the camera to the laptop and enables video streaming. A USB microscope allows close-ups of mold and machine areas, and tripods, mounts and studio lights minimize vibration and add necessary illumination since production environment lighting isn’t ideal for videography. REMOTE MOLD VALIDATION MEETING FORMAT The order of remote mold validations looks slightly different than in-person appointments, and there are four different stages to each appointment. First is the planning stage. Accede coordinates the date and time with the customer and learns the objectives of the project. Next, an invitation to the virtual Zoom meeting is sent to each participant, including Accede’s team. Before the meeting begins, Accede prepares by setting the mold into the correct injection molding machine or the customer’s press. Once the mold is at the proper temperature, the meeting can begin. The process is tested and shown to the customers via video conference, and adjustments are made as the customer requests. After the sample is finished and removed from the press, the mold tear down process begins. Accede allows the customer to view this while on the call and give directions for checks, just as the company would if the customer was onsite for the appointment. The meeting is recorded through Zoom and uploaded securely to Vimeo or YouTube, requiring a password to view. The customer is given this password and can view the video as needed and on demand. Lastly, Accede also archives each remote mold validation to a separate program folder, should something happen to the footage on the third-party website. CONTINUING PAST COVID-19 In general, customers have reported positive feedback in terms of virtual mold sampling and validation. Virtual meetings are a time saver, eliminating much of the “waiting around” that can occur during in-person mold trials. Specific changes can be requested, made and then reviewed a day later without waiting onsite for these changes to be made. Another positive

factor is that customers no longer have to purchase tickets and reservations to travel to Accede. Now they can work in the comfort of their own home or office. Similar benefits exist for the mold building business that hosts the validation – and savings exist in eliminating the entertainment costs that are associated with the sales process when a customer is in the facility. The owner and president of Accede Mold & Tool Co., Roger Fox, added, “Virtual samples are the most effective and efficient way to keep the focus on the mold and ensure performance and excellence.” While hosting a virtual mold sampling conference is different than in-person meetings that are hosted onsite, it offers something new that may continue past COVID-19. “The Nuts and Bolts of Remote Mold Sampling and Validation” was presented by Stephen Robinson and Camille Sackett, Accede Mold & Tool Co., Inc., at the AMBA Conference 2021. For more information and access to recorded sessions for conference attendees, visit n

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s the November 2020 election neared, word spread A throughout Washington, D.C. international trade circles that China preferred then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden

win the White House over President Donald Trump hoping for more stability in relations. Fast forward eight months and the word spreading throughout those same trade circles is that China is concerned about the progress now President Biden is making uniting overseas allies against Beijing. The Washington rumor mill is as old as this city itself; but when looking at the current situation, the facts are clear – tariffs on China remain in place today as they did under the previous administration. The American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) and manufacturers from around the country fought to reinstate 25% tariffs on imported Chinese plastic injection molds, which today are among those 7,000 tariff lines still in place. The Biden administration, in its first six months in office through July, held only two senior-level meetings with Chinese counterparts, with little progress made and even less direct discussion on lifting the tariffs. For importers, their frustration over that lack of progress is growing evident by their efforts on Capitol Hill recently. Dozens of groups are actively lobbying the Biden administration to lift the tariffs on Chinese imports or at the very least restart an exclusion process allowing importers to request a waiver from the 25% or 10% tariffs on that product. Going further, they are working to secure language in pending supply chain legislation to automatically extend expired exclusions, including the one on plastic injection molds, thereby lifting the 25% tariffs through December 2022. The AMBA and its allies on Capitol Hill, particularly House Democrats, are rejecting efforts to unilaterally extend expired tariffs without allowing domestic industries to respond on whether they have the capability to manufacture in the US the imported product. The pressure is clearly building on both sides with 40 Senators and 102 US Representatives sending a


the american MOLD BUILDER | Issue 3 2021

letter to President Biden to reopen the exclusion process for these Section 301 China tariffs. Many in Washington do expect the US Trade Representative (USTR) to restart an exclusion process at some point, exactly when remains unclear. However, if USTR does open the online portal allowing importers to request an exclusion from the tariffs, sources do indicate that the Biden administration will put its own imprint on a process created by the previous administration. Reviewing a July 2021 Government Accountability Office report on USTR’s internal procedures for making tariffs exclusion and extension decisions help provide some insight into the process itself. The non-partisan government report found that from 2018 to 2020, US importers submitted roughly 53,000 exclusion requests to USTR for specific products covered by the tariffs, of which 46,000 USTR denied. Of those 87% rejected, 69% failed to show that tariffs caused them severe economic harm and another 23% did not demonstrate that the product was only available from China. When first granted the exclusion for the plastic injection mold tariffs, importers stated a lack of availability, and the Trump administration subsequently granted the requested exclusion, which accounted for one of the roughly 7,000 tariff exclusions granted. After a significant lobbying campaign, AMBA worked to reinstate the 25% tariffs, which remain in effect today. The exclusions saved importers $14 billion in tariffs over the past several years, according to the report. The GAO also “found inconsistencies in the case files we reviewed, particularly in areas where USTR did not have written procedures to explain its process.” It also stated that “USTR lacks reasonable assurance that it consistently followed its processes” without appropriately documenting the roles and responsibilities of reviewers. Supporters of lifting the tariffs and critics of the exclusion process will point to the 86-page report to lift the restrictions page 16








































page 14

on imports and make changes to how USTR reviews requests to avoid paying the tariffs on Chinese imports, including molds and dies. While many importers understand the political realities in Washington, D.C., and see lifting all tariffs unilaterally and immediately as highly unlikely, they continue to pressure the Biden administration to take some form of action. Sources indicate that the USTR is still conducting a review of the tariff exclusion process and trade policy towards China in general. President Biden on the campaign trail stated that he would reach out to allies in Europe, Japan, India and Australia to develop a multilateral approach to Chinese trade, human rights abuses and military expansion. He remains committed to that strategy, despite some resistance from the European Union over restricting financial services and some goods trade with China, as its consumer class continues to grow. Leaders in the Group of 20 (G20) largest industrialized nations will meet in late October and the administration hopes to increase pressure on China heading into those meetings. Time is running short to complete the “top to bottom” review of China policy the USTR said it hopes to finalize prior to the

All these negotiations place a lot on the plate of US officials as they manage tariffs against the very national security allies that they hope to persuade in a quest to check China’s rise. end of the year - especially with the G20 serving as a midway point that includes Beijing. For those looking for action on China and tariffs, many are closely following whether USTR might make an announcement at least reopening a tariff process by the end of September. In related tariff news, the Biden administration also continues to maintain the 25% tariffs on imported steel and 10% on aluminum from global sources, including allies in Europe, Japan and elsewhere. The White House is committing to reaching a solution on the steel and aluminum tariffs with the EU by November 1, 2021. However, sources indicate that a solution in the eyes of USTR is not simply terminating the tariffs, but possibly replacing them with some other form of protection for the US steel and aluminum industries. All these negotiations place a lot on the plate of US officials as they manage tariffs against the very national security allies that they hope to persuade in a quest to check China’s rise. USTR is known by Washington insiders as one of the leanest and efficient government agencies, only having roughly 200 employees. Many of those senior officials come from Capitol Hill or have long backgrounds working in the nation’s capital on trade issues and are no stranger to concerns over China and the steel and aluminum tariff wars.


For now, the Biden trade team continues the policy of the previous administration by maintaining tariffs on China despite the strong lobbying efforts by US importers to lift the protections for US manufacturers. Regardless of whether China preferred Trump or Biden win the White House, the immediate result remains the same – the tariffs continue. n Omar Nashashibi is a Founding Partner at The Franklin Partnership, LLC, a bipartisan government relations and lobbying firm retained by the American Mold Builders Association in Washington, D.C.


the american MOLD BUILDER | Issue 3 2021

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All photos courtesy of Creative Technology Corp.

AMBA CONFERENCE 2021: A LOOK BACK AT THE CONNECTIONS MADE AND CONTENT SHARED After more than a year apart, AMBA Conference 2021 was the venue for the reunion of the mold building industry. Held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from June 22 to 24, the event theme was Connections Reimagined!, and what better name than that for a group as tight-knit as American mold builders? Attendees traveled from 14 different states, with more than 150 tool builders and suppliers to the industry in person and prepared to share their experiences and lessons from the past year. Each had been reminded by the distancing required by the pandemic of the importance of networking and learning more from their fellow colleagues and competitors within the manufacturing industry. Connections Reimagined!


Connections Reimagined!


the american MOLD BUILDER | Issue 3 2021

Troy Nix


What’s your culture going to look like in the next crisis? Are you going to live through it?” 2020 proved itself difficult with its endless bad news that required businesses to adapt to a world that had gone virtual. Troy Nix, AMBA executive director, kicked the conference off by poking fun at the endless Zoom calls while wearing gym shorts, a button-down shirt and a blazer in peak pandemic work-from-home fashion. While the presentation started off comedic, Nix spoke from the heart and shared information about working from home – and the impacts on his own staff that he almost missed. Virtual working has allowed people to connect closer in unexpected ways, and it has created new methods and processes of doing things. But operating in times of crisis without consistent face-to-face check ins can impact culture in negative ways – and quickly. In fact, Nix shared that non-thriving business cultures are 10 times more likely to be negatively impacted by crisis than thriving cultures, according to an OC Tanner 2021 Culture Study. Nix said, “Unhurried moments in times of crisis allow relationships to be generated and knowledge to be gained.” He encouraged attendees to step back from the chaos to see what they are missing in the middle of the whirlwind.

Phil Van Hooser


Knowledge only comes if you’re curious.”

According to Keynote Speaker Phil Van Hooser, there are seven traits of effective leaders – seven traits that every leader must have in order to be successful. Leaders must be knowledgeable, engaging, hardworking, decisive, caring, a good listener and honest. Van Hooser reminded attendees that people want to be engaged by those who are leading them. Employees want to feel a part of what is happening at their companies, and they want to follow a leader who creates a plan, communicates that plan so employees can apply it and then executes the plan so that employees know their leader is someone who does what he or she says they will do. It’s one of the first steps in building trust. Those who follow these characteristics and incorporate them into their daily activities are proven to be some of the most effective leaders in the industry. |


Laurie Harbour


You don’t have time to not do marketing – you need to brand your business now. You don’t get new business overnight.” Laurie Harbour, president of Harbour Results, mentored attendees as they shared the internal issues that they face in their businesses while also providing data and exploring top manufacturers’ success in the marketplace. Harbour addressed the biggest elephant in any room these days – labor – by encouraging mold builders to hire human resources employees and marketing professionals, as well as the operational and engineering staff they need. According to Harbour’s data, 50% of businesses in the tooling industry have human resources professionals, while only 35% have both marketing and human resources. These individuals help build brands that will stick, company messages that will entice new employees, and hire and train the best team possible.


the american MOLD BUILDER | Issue 3 2021

Ross Bernstein


If you’re not really, truly, authentically passionate about what you do, then you might need to think about what you do.” Football season is just beginning, which means super fans, face paint, stadium hot dogs and tailgating are close behind. What exactly does this have to do with business? In the closing keynote, Ross Bernstein shared how champions in sports aren’t all that different from those in business. After interviewing more than 1,000 professional athletes and coaches, Bernstein concluded that professional athletes and businesspeople share similar characteristics when it comes to making decisions on the field of play. In order to become – and remain – successful, peak performers must stay positive during stressful times, learn to adapt and know how to skillfully come out on the other side when the competition is fierce.

PEER-TO-PEER EXCHANGES When the industry comes together, the industry gets stronger. Peer exchanges happened throughout the event – at networking receptions, throughout the supplier trade fair exhibits and over breakfast. The event also featured Peer-to-Peer Roundtable Discussions where attendees were encouraged to discuss topics that are unique to their job functions with others in those same job functions. Industry suppliers jumped into those conversations, too, offering the valuable perspectives of those who see a variety of facilities and operation setups.

John Guzik


The Franklin Partnership is AMBA’s lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., and John Guzik – a founding partner – provided an update on trade, tariffs and taxes, as well as their impact on the industry. Guzik also shared his perspective on the Biden administration’s desire to pass legislation in a nonpartisan way, particularly in regard to the infrastructure bill that has now passed the Senate and has been sent to the House, and the opposition the administration likely would run into on both sides of the aisle. The overall message was that mold builders need to be engaged and aware of what’s happening at the federal level.

The growth of peer-to-peer networks continues beyond the conference event. AMBA members are encouraged to join frequent webinars where these exchanges allow leaders within mold building companies to find new ideas, expand their professional networks and explore new methods of improvement. Visit to find peer networking opportunities for Owners/Presidents/CEOs, Operations, Sales and Marketing, and Workforce Development. n

BREAKOUT SESSIONS Conference sessions led by members of the mold building community showed the true power of the AMBA network. Leaders in manufacturing facilities shared their experiences and best practices in ISO certification, remote mold validation, additive manufacturing applications in tooling, workflow management, tactical marketing plans and supply chain risks.

Miss the Conference? AMBA members can purchase session recordings (free for attendees) along with an event recap. For details, email |


1 [1] NEW S SERIES HOT RUNNER SYSTEM FOR SMALL INJECTION-MOLDED PARTS Oerlikon HRSflow, San Polo di Piave, Italy, is soon to release the new small hot runner systems of the S series with a low space requirement in the mold for small-format technical components. The new S series can be equipped with screwedin or non-screwed-in (face-to-face) nozzles. The design allows a compact mold structure with a minimum nozzle pitch of 37 mm. In the valve gate version, the S series is combined with a compact cylinder 62 mm high; in the version with adjustable needle position, with a 70 mm high cylinder. The S series is suitable for low shot weights, multi-cavity molds and thin-walled components. For more information, visit PROGRESSIVE COMPONENTS RELEASES NEW NOZZLE TIP Progressive Components, Wauconda, Illinois, has released a new nozzle tip design engineered to eliminated mold-damaging strings, reduce cycle time, prevent leakage and improve molded part quality. The new design features heat sinking fins made to decrease solidification time; a tapered bore with a large radius, a textured front face to improve the seal, a smaller contact area, lower tip mass and an engraved orifice size to improve setup times. Other new items include the offset slugging wrench and the nozzle caddie. For more information, visit [2] HEIDENHAIN’S MULTI-DOF ENCODERS DO MORE FOR METROLOGY DESIGNS HEIDENHAIN, Schaumburg, Illinois, offers machine manufacturers a new way to implement metrology designs to obtain multiple measurements simultaneously and facilitate correcting deviations on the fly with the release of new MULTI Degrees-of-Freedom (MULTI-DOF) encoders. Conventional encoders offer one degree of motion, while these three new encoders do more to serve the demanding requirements of machines in the semiconductor and electronics industry, among others. They include the new LIP 6031 Dplus, the GAP 1081 and the MKV 1/9x30. For more information, visit [3] MEUSBURGER HAS COMPRESSION SPRINGS WIZARD Meusburger, Wolfurt, Austria, offers an extensive range of springs specified for every situation. To make the design 22

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process as simple as possible, Meusburger created a wizard for selecting the right system compression spring with just a few clicks, and then the configurable data is available for download. The following parameters can be entered to help the customer select the most efficient spring for their use: service life, number of springs, installation length preloaded, initial force at preload, stroke, spring force in end position or outside diameter. For more information, visit CGTECH OFFERS VERICUT VERSION 9.2 CGTech, headquartered in Irvine, California, announces the latest release of VERICUT Software, Version 9.2. The software operates independently but can be integrated with leading CAM systems. Substantial speed with VERICUT 9.2 increases collision checking and overall performance, along with a New 3DLive™ interface, improved cutting tool support and reporting enhancements. Programs can be optimized by setting target Chip Thickness and any combination of Force limits, including Maximum Force, Maximum Power and Maximum Tool Deflection. For more information, visit HASCO PROVIDES DRILLER THERMAL INSULATING SHEETS HASCO, headquartered in Lüdenscheid, Germany, announces its new thermal insulating sheets that prevent uncontrolled heat dissipation into the machine clamping plates from heated injection molds and compression molding tools. These sheets are provided as standard with pre-drilled holes for guide pillars, clamp plate screws, centering flange and fixing holes, and they are available in three different versions: Z12010/… for overhanging in the lateral direction, Z12012/… for overhanging in the longitudinal direction and Z12015/… for flush clamping plates. Energy savings of up to 50% can be achieved as its purpose is heat insulation. For more information, visit DME RELEASES EZ-LATCH LOCK DME, Madison Heights, Michigan, announced the release of a new external latch lock that provides customers longlasting, more reliable functionality for plate sequencing. It has developed the DME EZ-LATCH External Latch Lock, which features a novel design, simple installation and can be an alternative to more expensive hydraulic cylinders used for sequencing plates. For more information, visit n


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By Christina Solomon, CPA/CVV, CFE, CGMA and Michael J. Devereux II, CPA, CMP, Wipfli/Mueller Prost

takes on many forms, resulting in substantial financial Fcanraud losses and exposing your company to undue risk. Fraud be perpetrated by internal sources – those employees,

managers and even owners who are implicitly trusted, yet this group historically has caused losses exceeding a median loss of $240,000 per instance of fraud because they are able to circumvent or override existing controls that are in place. Your business also can be targeted by external sources, which may include your suppliers, customers or contractors looking primarily to overcharge for materials or services that may not have been provided, were provided but improperly billed or do not otherwise meet specifications. Furthermore, your employees also may be unwittingly put your business’s confidential information and reputation at risk, by falling victim to attacks by cyber criminals. Because of the varied ways, reasons and opportunities for fraud, a good defense is your best strategy to deter and identify fraud within your company. In this article, we explore five areas to be on the lookout for fraud in your company. 1. THE SHOP FLOOR Your shop employees can commit fraud in many ways, but the greatest opportunity often exists with timekeeping matters and the theft of physical and intangible assets. Timekeeping fraud occurs when an employee mischaracterizes the hours they worked or took as paid leave. Strong internal controls regarding clocking in/out, and supervisory review and approval of leave requests are important to control any potential misuse or abuse by your employees. Brainstorming ways employees can work together to cover for each other, or collude, will help identify weakness in the process that should be strengthened. Automating processes so that key tasks can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of controls that are implemented, along with periodic testing, can ensure that those controls are operating as intended. Your shop’s physical assets are at risk of theft or misuse by your employees. Commonly, one or more employees may identify that certain raw or finished goods can be taken without notice and sold to third parties on various social media marketplaces. While physical controls, such as surveillance cameras, are an important element to deter and detect, strong inventory


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controls are even better. There are two main types of inventory controls. The first is to control the physical movement and access to inventoriable assets, which commonly includes designated locations by inventory type, barcoding and restricted physical access to products with high-dollar value, fungible or at greatest risk of theft. The other type of inventory controls relates to performing cycle counts, periodic inventories and using data analytics to identify unusual trends in the purchasing, usage or scrap of inventoriable goods. Theft of mold builders’ intangible assets can occur just as easily. This can range from the theft and sale of the company’s pricing model to the use of the company’s design software licenses to perform services “on the side.” Internal controls can be developed that can deter the use of these assets. 2. THE ACCOUNTING OFFICE The accounting office is a hot spot for fraud in any industry, and fraud risks are compounded when one or two trusted employees are responsible for sensitive jobs. The danger is even greater, when these same employees have administrative access and password control to manipulate the accounting system, as well as control over financial reports. Over 14% of fraud committed by employees occurs within the accounting department, with a median loss of over $200,000 per instance. Fraud perpetrated by your company’s accounting department can be very complicated and well-concealed, but most often it is hiding in plain sight. The following are common fraud schemes affecting the manufacturing industry and simple strategies to help you identify and deter them. Ghost Employees. An employee with the control to create a new employee in the payroll system, record and submit payroll, and make changes to the payroll master file easily can create a false employee, increase amounts or fail to terminate an employee. Direct deposit or mailing information easily can be updated. While it is a best practice to segregate the duties outlined above, it may not be practical to do so. If this is the case, having another person reconcile the payroll registers between pay periods and/ or reviewed against a simple list of verified employees would be advised. In addition, “change” reports, which summarize the additions/deletions/changes for the pay period, can be a quick and efficient internal control – just be certain that the designated reviewer can run the report on his/her own or that page 26

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the report is generated by the payroll provider, if applicable, and sent directly by them to the reviewer. AP Ghost Vendors. Like ghost employee schemes, ghost vendors are a common problem for manufacturers. An employee who has control over both the creation of a vendor in the payables file and the payment of invoices can create a vendor or edit an existing one, receive fake invoices for common goods or services, approve the invoice and pay the bill. To the extent duties cannot be segregated easily, regular scrutiny of your vendor master list – including the frequency and amount paid during the period(s) under review – is a strong mitigating control. In addition, regular maintenance of your vendor file will decrease fraud risks by ensuring that unused vendors are deactivated, active vendors are not duplicative and that active vendors have full and complete contact information. Other Disbursement Schemes. An employee who has access to check stock or online banking tools often has the access to commit fraud against your company if the need, opportunity and rationalization for the misconduct exist. Such misconduct may include making checks payable to cash or him/herself directly, the payment of personal expenses using online banking tools or

misrepresenting the payee or amount on a “blank” check they may present for signature. As mentioned earlier, these schemes are not cleverly concealed and, as are result, often are detected with a careful review of the monthly bank statement, including the check and deposit images. 3. THE SALES OFFICE Your sales staff, given their role and relationship with your company’s customers, puts your organization at risk of fraud stemming from that relationship. These frauds commonly are referred to as corruption schemes and may include kickbacks or conflicts of interest. While close relationships between your sales staff and your customers and clients are important, recognizing red flags that may indicate an unusually close relationship, such as taking on responsibilities outside of their normal job duties or excess possessiveness regarding the contract, are important to deter misconduct. Commission schemes often inflate the sales amount, quantity or the rate of commission. Aside from behavior red flags that may be present, a manufacturing company may identify anomalies with its accounts receivables and related discounts/ write-offs, customer information irregularities or complaints, and inconsistencies with the employees’ performance and compensation when compared over time or to their peers. An employee expense reimbursement scheme involves an improper claim for the reimbursement of expenses. A good employee reimbursement system should include prior approval for large expenditures and enforcement of submission of receipts as proof of purchase. Generally, expense reimbursement forms are treated as an administrative task and rarely are the forms – and the required receipts – reviewed with the appropriate care to identify mistakes, much less deceit. Using automated expense reporting tools or detailed spreadsheet-based templates can allow for advanced data analysis to help your company identify anomalies and inconsistencies. 4. THE SUPPLY CHAIN Fraud risks within your supply chain are present and put your shop at unnecessary financial and reputational risk. Billing Fraud. Billing fraud results when a supplier submits multiple invoices for work that was only incurred once or issues false or inflated invoices. Strong controls over the purchasing cycle – including vendor selection, inventory tracking and diligent three-way matching controls to ensure that discrepancies between purchase orders, packing slips and invoices are identified, investigated and sufficiently resolved before payments are due – strengthen your shop’s internal controls and mitigates the risk of fraud loss from billing discrepancies, whether incidental or intentional.


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Misrepresentation of Goods. Fraud involving the misrepresentation of goods occurs when a supplier knowingly misconstrues the products sold or offered. For example, a supplier may knowingly deliver products that fail to meet the contract specifications. This misrepresentation, even if not fraudulent, puts your company at risk for reputational harm and can cause the loss of established or new business, customers and relationships. Ensuring that your contracts have a “right to audit” clause can be an effective tool, if enforced, to identify misrepresentation issues, billing discrepancies or other contractual breeches. Corruption. The employees responsible for the purchasing of goods used in the manufacturing process can collude with vendors to exploit your company. This can take the form of bribes and kickbacks and can come in various forms (e.g. gifts, money, favors, etc.). As a result, your shop may overpay for goods, accept inferior quality products, create a conflict-of-interest or simply create a supply chain that is not properly diversified. Identifying behavioral red flags and having strong purchasing controls, including periodic request from bids, coupled with data analytics will help you identify and mitigate risks associated with supply chain corruption schemes.

5. YOUR EMPLOYEE’S INBOX Email has become an essential means of doing business; however, the expectations it sets regarding the immediacy of responses allows cybercriminals to exploit your employees, ultimately leading to the comprise of your company’s most sensitive data. This data can be held for ransom; to gain access to financial and personally identifiable information of your employees, vendors customers necessary to commit identity theft fraud; or can be used to gain illegal access to your company’s propriety processes or intellectual property. The stakes are high, with significant economic losses and exposing your shop to debilitating reputational risks. Cybercriminals use different ways to breach your systems and social engineering techniques to cause your employees to take inappropriate actions. Phishing and other email compromise schemes today are masterful – they look legitimate, are personalized and are carefully worded to create a sense of legitimacy by the sender and create a sense of urgency by the recipient. It has been estimated that up to 90% of successful breaches involve a phishing scheme. page 30

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The best defense strategy to this type of fraud is first acknowledging that it can happen to your company. Your company is not “too small” to be targeted – you have information that is valuable, and your firewalls and information technology controls are not likely to prevent all attacks. Increasing employee training on cyber fraud, particularly phishing schemes, is just as important as instituting password requirements and keeping firewalls and email filters up to date. This training also should include strong practices regarding verifying information before taking action. This could include developing protocols for secondary authorization of wire transfers and verifying instructions with the sender by using contact information in your records, not those listed in the body of the email. In addition, protecting your company with cyber insurance, developing a proactive incident response plan and testing to ensure information technology controls are in place and functioning as intended are excellent strategies to mitigate your risks and exposure from cyber fraud. CALL TO ACTION The five places to look for fraud addressed in this article provide your mold building company a good starting place to identify where your fraud risks are and develop strategies to mitigate

them. At a minimum, this risk assessment should: •

• • • •

Solicit feedback regarding key risks across levels of management and departments. These risks should consider both fraud that can occur by your employees and fraud that can be initiated outside of the company. Prioritize risks that are likely to occur and, if so, cause significant losses. Consider the importance of a fraud hotline and data analysis to identify and deter fraudulent activities. Train your employees on risks they may observe or encounter and ensure they understand their role in reporting potential fraudulent behavior. Consider the prevalence of fraud from external sources, including but not limited to attacks by cyber criminals. n

Michael J. Devereux II, CPA, CMP, is a partner and director of Manufacturing, Distribution & Plastics Industry Services for Wipfli/Mueller Prost. Devereux’s primary focus is on tax incentives and succession planning for the manufacturing sector. He regularly speaks at manufacturing conferences around the country on tax issues facing the manufacturing sector. For more information, visit

THEY GAVE THEIR ALL. LET’S GIVE SOME BACK. The iWarriors mission is to honor severely injured soldiers from all branches of the Armed Forces by providing personalized tablets and technology to aid in their rehabilitation and recovery. Support is from the American Mold Builders Association, MoldMaking Technology, and suppliers.

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the american MOLD BUILDER | Issue 3 2021

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EMERGING LEADERS ADDRESS DECISION MAKING AND LEADERSHIP By Rachael Pfenninger, Director of Strategic Execution, AMBA n June 22, 2021, members of AMBA’s Emerging Leaders O Network met in person for the first time in more than 18 months at AMBA Conference 2021’s pre-conference session.

Facilitated by keynote speaker Phil Van Hooser, Phil Van Hooser Associates, this session investigated the intricacies of decision making for up-and-coming leaders in mold manufacturing and the role those decisions play in their development as organizational leaders. The three-hour session included three programming segments, including an exploration of common attitudes exhibited by emerging leaders in professional development settings, the five “bases” necessary for thoughtful and effective decision making and an all-group discussion of leadership scenarios presented by attendees that reviewed the application of various decisionmaking principles. Through the application of Van Hooser’s principles, attendees realized that, although many decisions often are driven by emotion and snap judgement, the best leaders treat workplace decision making as a methodical process that can be studied, practiced and improved upon. Additionally, attendees learned that the process of improvement is not unique to their own experiences. In many instances, the all-group discussion provided reflection, perspective and opportunities for improvement, as well as the affirmation that decisions considered carefully can impact the business’ bottom


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line, have a reverberating impact on relationships with peers and management and positively drive one’s leadership path. “Phil was a great presenter,” said Curtis Phillips, Freeman Company. “When a scenario I submitted was discussed by the group, it was validating to see how others would have responded and the value that was placed on doing something to preserve that situation. Overall, the Emerging Leaders event was a great experience. I really felt like I gained valuable knowledge and skills that I would have missed out on if I had not attended.” A long-time mentor, Van Hooser is passionate about setting the next generation up for success. This encompasses not just providing guidance, but also cultivating the necessary mentality that emerging professionals must have to fully benefit from their learning opportunities. “The art of leadership and successful decision making requires an understanding of foundational principles, an acceptance of established parameters and the will to follow through to the end in order to make the best decisions possible,” explained Van Hooser. “Admittedly, this can be uncomfortable. But with discomfort comes expected growth.” AMBA’s Emerging Leaders have another opportunity to continue their leadership journey through upcoming programming on lean manufacturing principles. Learn more at Hear more from Phil Van Hooser and subscribe to his newsletter at



During the AMBA Conference 2021 Pre-Conference session, Phil Van Hooser outlined five key “bases” needed for effective decision making.



For every job, position or responsibility, there are tools to support its successful completion. To make effective decisions, leaders must recognize what these necessary tools are, how to access them and how to employ these tools most effectively.



With any decision to be made, there are rules which must be understood and followed. These rules come in two forms: written (i.e., laws and regulations, policies and procedures) and unwritten (norms, operating procedures, past precedent). Effective decisionmakers must be personally familiar with both to make well-formed and well-ordered decisions.



Positioning means being in the right place BEFORE it is necessary to make a solid decision. Many otherwise well-intentioned decisionmakers allow themselves to be drawn out of position unnecessarily, thus obscuring their ability to see, hear and understand what is needed to make a well-informed decision.



Masterful timing requires not only knowing WHAT to do (or not do) but also WHEN to do it. Making a decision too early (before all pertinent information has been received and processed) or, conversely, delaying a decision too long (while others wait expectantly for the decision) are equally ill-advised.



The key to successful decision making (and successful decision makers) is the demonstrated ability to employ the first four tools effectively, then exhibiting the courage and commitment to follow through on (decide, communicate, execute) the decision. n

Please note: All of the information contained here is the intellectual property of Phil Van Hooser and Van Hooser Associates, Inc. To contact Phil Van Hooser regarding leadership training and/or opportunities for your team, visit |


REGISTER TODAY! SEPTEMBER 21-23, 2021 Donald E. Stephens Convention Center Rosemont, Illinois

FEATURING: CO-LOCATIONS Plastics professionals from the Molding Conference and Extrusion Event will enjoy free access to Amerimold’s show floor— which means greater opportunities for networking and finding business solutions.

EDUCATION A free series of “Engineer, Build, Maintain” Amerimold Tech Talks for attendees searching for solutions and strategies to their daily challenges.

EXHIBIT HALL Over 150 exhibitors representing every step in the mold manufacturing process, from design to first shot.

NETWORKING The premiere networking event for the moldmaking industry.



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A M E R I M O L D E X P O . C O M 2021

CREATING AND DISTRIBUTING QUALITY MARKETING CONTENT By Shelly Otenbaker, president, WayPoint Marketing Communications

As in many industries, the B2B sales and marketing landscape has significantly changed in the last 12 months for manufacturing. Many of the tools and techniques traditionally used to find and convert leads simply are not available or possible now. But one tool – content marketing – has proven to deliver resounding success. WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING? Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. In other words, in content marketing you are providing relevant information that helps customers solve issues and problems rather than selling your solutions. WHY IS CONTENT MARKETING IMPORTANT? Content marketing is important because it answers your audience’s questions and delivers value – sometimes before they even know to ask the question. It helps establish your company as a leader and expert in your specific line of work. Other benefits include: • • • • •

Establishing trust and building relationships with your audience Generating leads and creating interest Improving conversions from leads to customers Increasing online visibility – social media and SEO Positioning your company as an authority in the marketplace

WHAT MAKES GOOD CONTENT? Content can come in many forms – video, blog, image,

infographic or podcast – almost any form of written, visual or spoken words. The key factor is that it adds value, is meaningful to your target audiences and is shared consistently. A “one and done” approach won’t cut it. Following are examples of content that every company can create and distribute. Case Studies Case studies are a simple tool that walks a prospect through an example of how your company has helped solve a customer’s problem. Effective case studies are concise and contain four key areas: •

Customer Profile – A one or two sentence introduction of the customer. This can include the company’s name or, if this is not possible, a general description of the company (e.g., a leading manufacturer of blue widgets). Introduce the Challenge – What was the situation or problem(s) the customer faced? Focus on the main challenge as well as the customer’s key pain points. Don’t go overboard or overcomplicate it with in-depth details or technicalities. Spotlight Your Solution – How were you able to specifically address the challenge(s)? Provide specifics about your company’s approach in assessing and implementing the solution. Describe how your differentiators, processes, experience, etc., solved the challenge. Quantifiable Results – How did the client determine the project was successful? Include any and all metrics that demonstrate how the project achieved its expectations. Also, a nice “extra” would be a quote or testimonial from the client discussing the project, the work, the results, etc. page 36 |


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“How To” Article A great foundation for a how-to article is to answer a question potential customers may have. Step into their shoes and walk through the customer journey. What questions do they have and what do they need to know to choose your company? Some examples:

Gather a few industry experts that you work with – materials providers, software providers, mold builders that don’t compete with you – and host a roundtable Q&A. Each participant can invite contacts from their target audiences, and you can moderate a discussion focused on key issues/trends facing the industry. This can be done live or pre-recorded using Zoom.

WHAT ABOUT DISTRIBUTION? Now that content has been created, you need to get it out there for people to see. Here are some ways to do that:

• • •

What are five characteristics of a great mold building partner? Quality 101 – How to build the best quality mold? How does technology improve mold build efficiency and mold quality? What are the benefits of investing in the right mold building partner?

Once the questions have been identified, start working on the answer – that’s the body of the article. Talk with the subject matter experts, collect data, identify helpful resources and share examples. Don’t forget – the focus isn’t about your shop or capabilities; it’s answering the question. A short sentence or paragraph can be included at the end about contacting your company for more information or help in addressing their specific needs, but this is not a “sales” article.

Case studies are a simple tool that walks a prospect through an example of how your company has helped solve a customer’s problem. Effective case studies are concise and contain four key areas. Video Q&A I know video seems a little scary and expensive, but today there are a ton of inexpensive tools that make it easy. All you need is a smartphone, a gimbal/stabilizer and free editing software. Still sound overwhelming? Record a virtual discussion on Zoom (also free). Once you are armed with tools, focus on the topic of the video. What adds value to the target audiences? Use the questions from the how-to article. Can you collaborate with a supplier or partner? Maybe a fellow AMBA member! Did you recently invest in new equipment or technology? Consider a short video interview discussing the benefits – improved efficiency, shortened lead time, addresses challenges of building large molds or micro molds – with the equipment manufacturer or technology provider. 36

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• • • •

• •

Post it on your website. If you have a blog, there you go. If not, look to the website’s News or About Us pages. Share it on social media channels (LinkedIn, YouTube). Don’t have an online presence? Consider having one – it really is a valuable marketing tool. Email to current customers. It can be a mass mailing – but be sure it’s relevant to everyone receiving it – or something provided as you have contact with customers. Email to a leads list. It doesn’t matter where a prospect is in the sales cycle, providing valuable, relevant content always is a good thing. And don’t forget to include past or idle customers. Provide to partners/suppliers for distribution and offer to do that same for them if they have valuable content to share. Share internally with your team. It will not only be something they can share with their contacts but may arm them with new or different information about your company and capabilities. Send to an industry publication. They may not publish it but by sharing it they learn more about you and may reach out in the future when they need an expert.

The time has come – time to think about your content marketing strategy. What six pieces of content can you create, and where will you use them? Once those have been identified, you are ready to start creating content. I can’t wait to see what you create – be sure to share it with me. n Shelly Otenbaker, president of Waypoint Marketing Communications, has nearly 20 years of marketing communications experience. Passionate about driving results, she takes a strategic approach to partnering with clients to determine what differentiates them from the competitor, developing impactful messages and determining the right tools to deliver those messages to key audiences. If you have questions about content marketing, email or sign up for the Waypoint Communications marketing newsletter – Porthole – at

Fa l l 2 0 2 1

Q u a r t e r ly U p d a t e U P D A T E

amba tackles NEW WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES Alongside its membership and a recently created task force, AMBA has elevated efforts to advance new workforce development ini�a�ves that will address industry challenges head on.

▪ Workforce Development-focused Plant Tour Workshop ▪ Emerging Leaders "Meet the Mentor" Series (virtual) ▪ Next-Gen Recruitment, Training and Reten�on Playbook ▪ Lean Workshop for Emerging Leaders Mold manufacturers and industry professionals get a first-hand look at the student-run machine shop at Cardinal Manufacturing (Strum, WI).














impact your workforce today!


Get involved and help move the dial on American manufacturing!

lean workshop for emerging leaders



Get the competitive advantage for your company. AMBA.ORG | INFO@AMBA.ORG | 317.436.3102 |







5 [1] REGISTRATION OPEN FOR FIRST 2021 IN-PERSON PLANT TOUR WORKSHOP Registration now is open for AMBA’s first in-person plant tour workshop of 2021. On September 14, 2021, at Century Die Company in Fremont, Ohio, attendees will get an inside look at how a strategic focus on process, efficiency and team accountability has helped the company remain competitive and attract talent in a cost-driven marketplace. In addition to an an inside look at Century Die’s successful blow mold manufacturing operation – including a new 5-axis machining cell with automation and a fully staffed, high-quality finishing department – attendees will see how the company has used creative tactics and relationship-building to strategically tackle workforce development and help develop the company’s next-generation workforce. The tour will include a tour of the Century Die blow manufacturing facility, lunch and facilitated roundtable discussion, a networking dinner the night before and an optional short turn of the Rutherford B. Hayes historic grounds via a Clydesdale-drawn wagon. Cost $169/member. Register at FINAL MEET THE MENTOR SESSION ANNOUNCED: LEADING THROUGH LEAN Join mentors Jon Kantola, Robbjack, and Ben Lampron, Metro Mold & Design, on October 7, 2021, as they walk attendees through how the application of lean principles and maintenance of a lean mentality encourages emerging professionals to contribute within their organization, generate businessimpacting ideas and develop critical leadership traits that allow them to rise to the top. 38

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During this conversation, Kantola and Lampron will share the following: • Examples of manufacturing activities and principles that drive organizations’ emerging leadership • Characteristics in leadership that are driven and developed by the lean mentality • How mentoring and training with a lean emphasis can drive employee empowerment and concrete ROI • The process efficiencies and disciplined attitudes that drive team trust and individual accountability. Member cost: $29. Register at This is a members-only event. [2] ALLIANCE CHARITY GOLF OUTING SCHEDULED TO FOLLOW AMERIMOLD On Friday, Sept. 24, Alliance Specialties and Laser Sales will host its annual charity golf outing at the Countryside Golf Course in Mundelein, IL. The event will follow Amerimold, Sept. 21-23 Rosemont, IL. The Alliance Charity Golf Outing raises funds to provide resources and funding to different branches of the U.S. military and is planned in partnership with iWarriors, which assists severely injured members of all branches of the Armed Forces by providing them with personalized tablets to aid in their return, recovery and reintegration. For details and to register, visit https://shop.alliancelasersales. com/pages/golf2020. CONNECT WITH AMBA MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONALS DURING OCTOBER ROUNDTABLES Hone in on business challenges in a peer-driven environment at AMBA’s next set of roundtable discussions. On October 12, sales and marketing professionals will meet to discuss new technologies and opportunities in the sales and marketing process, while on October 20, managers, supervisors and department heads will discuss business strategies and challenges specific to their functional roles. To register for either roundtable discussion, visit AMBA roundtable discussions are membersonly events and are included with membership.

[3] AMBA WELCOMES NEW BOARD MEMBER ERIC KARAMAN Eric Karaman is COO of Michiana Global Mold, Mishawaka, Indiana, and also holds executive-level positions in various other entities. His career began at USX - US Steel Division, where his work in business planning and sales led him to future opportunities, including developing an expanded skill set in mergers, acquisitions and capitol investing. Karaman’s passion for the manufacturing industry drives his desire to participate on the AMBA Board of Directors. “I am highly committed to the success of the domestic moldmaking industry,” stated Karaman. “It is my desire to see the American moldmaking industry regain its prominence in the world ranks with devotion to new technology and renewed interest from the next generation of moldmakers.” [4] AMBA TACKLES CRITICAL ISSUES WITH 3RD QUARTER BENCHMARKING As mold manufacturers face increasingly competitive conditions, it’s more important than ever to benchmark internal operations and service strategies against peers and the industry at large. With this in mind, AMBA has published the 2021 Shop Rate Report, which details the average charge rates specific to services in engineering, moldmaking and specialty services. The report also includes aggregated data regarding current vs. anticipated capacities, company demographics and sales information. AMBA’s benchmarking team also has launched an effort to address another critical issue facing US mold manufacturers – the attraction, onboarding and retention of next-generation employees. Through the end of September, mold builders will be able to submit their best practices, strategies and training documents for inclusion in AMBA’s next playbook, Best Practices in Attracting and Retaining Next-Generation Employees.

To participate in AMBA’s Best Practices playbook, visit To purchase a copy of the 2021 Shop Rate Report and see all other available AMBA reports, visit [5] AMBA EMERGING LEADERS NETWORK OPENS LEAN SERIES TO ALL AMBA MEMBERS Workforce development is about more than developing emerging leadership; it also includes the continuing education of current management and senior leaders. For that reason, AMBA’s Emerging Leaders Network again is offering a lean manufacturing-focused series, but now is opening it up to all AMBA members – not just 40-and-under professionals. During this event, attendees will have the opportunity to dive deeply into a core lean principle alongside peers in facilitated training sessions. Functional area groups will participate in facilitated peer networking and all-group discussion, as well as practical application of series materials. More details are available at NEW MEMBER Foreman Tool and Mold 3850 Swenson Ave., St. Charles, IL 60174 Main Contact: Michelle Shaw, HR Manager Email: | Phone: 630.377.6389 Foreman Tool and Mold is a family-owned and -operated company specializing in custom injection mold manufacturing and molding since 1984. Experience, knowledge, cutting-edge technology, extraordinary customer service and an unyielding commitment to excellence make Foreman Tool and Mold the best choice for its customers’ next project. n |


AMERIMOLD RETURNS TO ROSEMONT By Cienna Sorell, writer, The American Mold Builder

merimold is back this year at the Donald E. Stephens A Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. The previously two-day exhibition now has expanded to three days to increase the amount of runtime for the exhibitors and attendees. From Tuesday, September 21 through Thursday, September 23, those involved in the North American moldmaking industry will trade ideas, increase their own knowledge and create new collaborations.

The show schedule begins Tuesday, September 21, with registration opening at 7:30 am and closing at 5:00 pm. Registration will be conducting during this time period on September 22 and 23 as well. The exhibit floor will be open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, with exhibit floor hours ending at 3:00 pm on Thursday. This year, Amerimold will be co-located with the Extrusion Conference and the Molding Conference, and all attendees of those conferences will have access to the Amerimold show floor. This will present the opportunity for discussions on the latest developments in molding alongside technical and business issues common to all types of extrusion. Amerimold 2021 will put the entire lifecycle of the mold on display, from the latest technology developments and mold building processes to the equipment, materials, tooling and management techniques that make a shop successful. With more than 100 exhibitors expected, moldbuilders, molders, engineers, designers and technicians can explore equipment 40

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and supply offerings to decrease downtime and increase productivity. Education is a cornerstone of the event, and this year’s Amerimold features the free Tech Talk educational series, inbooth technology demonstrations and a one-of-a-kind sourcing component that connects OEMs with tier suppliers. With the focus on designing, building and maintaining molds, topics to be addressed include: • Accessing Data Faster with Visual Search • Applying 3D Printing to Mold Venting • Shorten Maintenance with DLC Coatings on Mold Components • A Look at Intelligent Hot Runners and Adaptive Tooling • Guidelines for Servo-Controlled Mold Functions • Using Automation to Connect Mold Engineering and Manufacturing • Exploring AM Materials for Tooling • And much more Show management is working closely with the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont Exposition Services and the City of Rosemont to ensure the event is hosted in compliance with CDC & EPA recommendations for attendee safety. Guidelines are subject to change, but currently do not include required masking. Following is a list of AMBA members and partners exhibiting this year at Amerimold. For more information, visit



Alliance Specialties.................................................................... 453 American Mold Builders Association................................. 640 B.A. Die Mold Inc....................................................................... 121 Bales Metal Surface Solutions................................................ 125 Braillon Magnetic Systems...................................................... 529 CAM-TOOL by CGS North America................................. 215 Cimatron....................................................................................... 646 Concept Molds, Inc................................................................... 339 Custom Mold & Design........................................................... 706 DME Company................................................................ 419, M-911 DMS................................................................................................ 735 Duro-Chrome Industries........................................................ 220 EROWA......................................................................................... 315 GROB Systems, Inc................................................................... 715 HASCO......................................................................................... 546 HEIDENHAIN Corp................................................................ 447 INCOE Corp............................................................................... 211 International Mold Steel Inc.................................................. 116 Mastip Inc..................................................................................... 119 Meusburger US Inc.................................................................... 224 MGS Mfg. Group, Inc............................................................... 724 Michiana Global Mold/Accu-Mold...................................... 340 Minco Tool & Mold, Inc.......................................................... 320 Mold-Tech-Inc............................................................................ 634 Oerlikon HRSflow..................................................................... 515



Omego Tool Inc.......................................................................... 221 PCS Company............................................................................. 306 Plastic Engineering & Technical Services Inc. (P.E.T.S.) 241 Precise Tooling Solutions........................................................ 346 Prodigy Mold & Tool................................................................ 123 Progressive Components.................................................... .107, 255 RER Software, Inc...................................................................... 337 SelfLube......................................................................................... 335 Slide Products, Inc..................................................................... 534 St. Paul Engraving...................................................................... 519 Superior Die Set.......................................................................... 613 Swiss Steel USA, Inc.................................................................. 310 Synventive..................................................................................... 331 TST Tooling Software Technology, LLC........................... 407 UNISIG Deep Hole Drilling Systems.................................. 425 Vincent Tool Technologies Corp......................................... 427 Wepco Plastics............................................................................ 642 Westfall Technik......................................................................... 539 Westminster Tools..................................................................... 217 Wisconsin Engraving Company........................................... 347 X-Cell Tool & Mold, Inc.......................................................... 524 n |



[1] EMUGE-FRANKEN AND GROB ANNOUNCE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP EMUGE-FRANKEN USA, West Boylston, Massachusetts, and GROB Systems, Inc. announced August 9 that the two industry-leading companies have formed a strategic partnership. Commencing the new partnership, a GROB G350T 5-Axis Universal Mill-Turn Machining Center was installed in the EMUGE-FRANKEN technology center—a new manufacturing, research and development facility for North American manufacturers, designed to be a resource for applying cutting tool application strategies. To reinforce the new partnership, a GROB application engineer is located and available onsite at EMUGE-FRANKEN to work together with the company’s engineers to develop turnkey 5-axis solutions, perform customer application test cuts, conduct machining demonstrations and more. For more information, visit [2] STEFAN STEENSTRUP APPOINTED PRESIDENT OF SECO Seco Tools, Fagersta, Sweden, appoints Stefan Steenstrup as president and CEO as of October 1, 2021, succeeding Fredrik Vejgården who decided to leave Seco to start his own business. Steenstrup has been working for Sandvik for more than 20 years, most recently serving as President of Dormer Pramet since 2017. Prior to that, he held various positions at Sandvik Machining Solutionssuch as global sales director, business development manager and product service manager. Steenstrup’s extensive experience and solid understanding of the machine tooling industry with a strong customer focus creates an excellent foundation to continue the growth of the Seco business internationally. For more information, visit [3] OKUMA AMERICA WELCOMES PDQ WORKHOLDING & TOOLING Okuma America Corporation, Charlotte, North Carolina, has welcomed PDQ Workholding & Tooling to the Partners in THINC network. PDQ designs and manufactures custom 42

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cutting tools and hydraulically actuated machining center fixtures for machine shops all over the world. Partners in THINC is a collaborative network of 40+ companies that service the metal-cutting and manufacturing industries. In addition, the company announced the promotion of Mike Vassil to vice president of operations. Vassil will be responsible for all operational departments within the organization, including procurement/planning, contract administration, production, facilities, Quick Shop, warehousing and material handling. For more information, visit [4] OPEN MIND TECHNOLOGIES USA CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF CAM SOFTWARE SUCCESS IN NORTH AMERICA OPEN MIND Technologies USA, Inc., Needham, Massachusetts, the North American subsidiary of OPEN MIND Technologies AG, is celebrating its 25th anniversary of CAM software achievements this year. OPEN MIND is the developer of the hyperMILL® software suite, a CAD/CAM solution. OPEN MIND developed the world’s first CAD/CAM system utilizing an automatic multi-axis simultaneous machining strategy for mold and die and introduced many CAM software techniques including strategies for conical barrel cutters, auto-indexing and 5-axis helical drilling. OPEN MIND’s hyperMILL® software offers connectivity to CAD systems, feature and macro technology, tool management systems, automation, simulation, probing and more. The company provides integration with additive manufacturing processes and supporting Industry 4.0 initiatives. For more information visit [5] RESHORING INITIATIVE® 2020 DATA REPORT The Reshoring Initiative, of Sarasota, Florida, released its 2020 Date Report, which contains data on US reshoring and foreign direct investment companies that have shifted production or sourcing from offshore to the United States. Reshoring will continue to be key to US manufacturing and economic recovery in 2021 and beyond due to the increase of jobs that it has proved to bring. Reshoring and foreign direct investment job announcements for 2020 were over 160,500.It is anticipated


that for the year 2021 reshoring and foreign direct investment job announcements are going to be near 200,000. For more information visit [6] MUELLER PROST JOINS FORCES WITH WIPFLI LLP Mueller Prost, Saint Louis, Missouri, joins forces with Wipfli LLP. With Mueller Prost having served more than 4,300 clients across the United States and Wipfli LLP being a top 20 accounting firm, Mueller Prost hopes to amplify its vision of bringing solutions to midsized entrepreneurs and business owners with its joining to Wipfli. The two teams hope to capitalize on service synergies including health care reimbursement and specialty tax services, while also deepening their industry specialization with complimentary niche industry concentrations. For more information, visit [7] MEUSBURGER GUARANTEES CONTINUOUS DELIVERY AVAILABILITY The current sharp increase of raw material prices is causing uncertainty for many companies. The dramatic rise in costs is due to the increasing demand for steel, which has resulted in a global steel shortage. Thanks to its extensive stocks of standard parts and plates, Meusburger, Austria, can ensure continuous availability to customers, and since the company relies on in-house production of plates, it can continue to guarantee reliable supply in the future. For more information, visit ZEITFRACHT ACQUIRES SAUTER FEINMECHANIK Zeitfracht Group, heaterquartered in Berlin, Germany, has acquired SAUTER Feinmechanik, a system supplier of machine tools located in Metzingen, Germany. SAUTER is the world market leader for tool turret technology as well as one of the leading companies in the areas of tool and workpiece carrier systems. It currently employs around 240 people and, in addition to its operational focus in Europe, SAUTER also has subsidiaries in the United States, Hungary and Taiwan. Zeitfracht Group will support the Metzingen-based company



with its expertise specifically in digitalization, and it also will benefit from the expertise of the mechanical engineering component manufacturer. For more information, visit HARBOUR RESULTS PARTNERS WITH AUTOFORECAST SOLUTIONS FOR HARBOUR IQ Harbour Results, Inc., Southfield, Michigan, a consulting firm for manufacturers, has partnered with automotive forecasting expert AutoForecast Solutions to improve the Harbour IQ intelligence tool and provide membership additional automotive industry forecasts, data and insight. Harbour IQ is a global source for performance benchmarking, trends and financial and operational data for the manufacturing industry. Partners and clients have access to relevant data and information and more. For more information, visit MOLDERS CHOICE PRODUCTS NOW PART OF PCS COMPANY PCS Company, Fraser, Michigan, announced the expansion of its own Molding Solutions product line by integrating the vast and quality line of Molders Choice products effective July 23, 2021. This expansion will allow PCS to better serve its customers with higher quality and competitively priced products that help reduce costs and improve profitability. In addition, to support its commitment to the North American injection molding community, Ken Berger owner of Molders Choice will be joining PCS Company to help drive the growth of the Molding Solutions product portfolio. For more information, visit n |



iscovering and establishing new customer relationships can Dgrowth be complicated, but they are a prerequisite for attaining sales and sustainability. In addition to all the complexities

involved in managing a business, developing healthy relationships is one of the most significant challenges. The more information executives and sales professionals have about their customers, the stronger the manufacturing operations’ connections will be with them. The implementation of CRM (customer relationship management) software can help centralize, optimize and streamline communication with existing and new customers. In today’s competitive business market, it is essential to recognize and utilize competitive advantages whenever possible. Every organization is dependent on successful networking and relationship management, which is why many executives have chosen to incorporate CRM software within their operations. Customer relationship management is the combination of organizational communication standards, processes and policies that are considered when communicating with clients. CRM empowers organizations to obtain additional information about the people they are trying to sell to and discover exactly how to satisfy their specific needs, which endorses sales growth, brand awareness and customer retention. Dimitri Akhrin, president at CRMDialer and IRIS CRM, recently wrote an article for in which he emphasized the importance of flexibility and feature diversity in CRM software. Flexibility is significant because the needs of a business can change as the organization grows, and the inevitable challenges executives confront in the market can be volatile and often unpredictable (as seen over the past year). Akhrin wrote, “A CRM that can scale and change as you demand it to is an important asset that can play a key role in the growth of your business.”


the american MOLD BUILDER | Issue 3 2021

There is an abundance of CRM applications used by executives in the market for managing both existing and prospective customer relationships, but how can one determine which software programs would be the most effective? The American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) produced a benchmarking report that evaluated the most commonly used CRM software in manufacturing. The statistics in this report represent almost 200 executives serving over 13 different market segments.

Chart 1

CRM SOFTWARE OVERVIEW Executives who utilize a formal CRM system most often incorporate Salesforce, HubSpot or Pipedrive, which are cloudbased software companies that concentrate on customer service and relationship management, sales, marketing, analytics and application development. When executives were requested to evaluate the level of overall satisfaction in their CRM software, HubSpot was rated highest, as 92% of its surveyed users rated it as good or excellent; Salesforce was second, as a little more than three-fourths of represented consumers provided a good to excellent rating. Mackenzie Roche, associate editor, and Brandi Johnson, contributor, with U.S. News 360 Reviews, ranked HubSpot as the second-best free CRM software of 2021. AMBA found that 52% of the surveyed executives did not use formal CRM software. Alternatively, they implemented business software with a different primary purpose (e.g., DELMIAworks and Microsoft Excel) to fulfill their organizational CRM requirements. Some executives used

a combination of document management and storage applications, email, accounting software and manufacturing systems. The most common enterprise resource planning (ERP) and manufacturing execution system (MES) used as a CRM tool among those surveyed is DELMIAworks (IQMS), which primarily is devoted to providing real-time production monitoring, quality control, supply chain management and customer relationship management. CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE FEATURES The AMBA 2021 Customer Relationship Management Systems Report evaluated the effectiveness and efficiency of each software based on 13 distinctive features. The most consistent qualities that executives demand from their CRM software include customer database, customer targeting, online case management, email utilities and lead generation. HubSpot led in all 13 categories minus automation and online case management. Salesforce was positioned as the highest in online case management and placed second or third in nine of 13 features. Pipedrive was regarded as the highest in automation and email utilities and was rated second or third in seven of the 13 categories. Participating executives were requested to identify the three most integral features of their CRM system. The three primary features demanded in an effective CRM software include a customer database, the ability to target customers and lead generation. This section of the report allows readers to identify which applications will satisfy the CRM needs within their organization. As one might expect, DELMIAworks (IQMS) and Microsoft Excel had the most significant diversity of features utilized by executives, as they are not intended to be used as CRM software programs but are used to satisfy that need in many manufacturing companies. HubSpot and Salesforce had the same number of primary features, and Pipedrive had the lowest level of diversity based on what executives considered as primary features among the most used CRM systems. The AMBA 2021 Customer Relationship Management Systems Report evaluates the manufacturing standards for CRM software on numerous features, including notable details on prospecting, lead generation, customer relationship management, database utilization, analytics, automation, investment and ease of implementation. n AMBA’s comprehensive report can be accessed online at

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SEPTEMBER Amerimold, September 21-23, Rosemont, Illinois, Century Die Co. Plant Tour Workshop, September 14, Fremont, Ohio, OCTOBER AMBA Emerging Leaders Meet the Mentor Series: Leaning into Leadership, October 7,

Webinar: Transportation, Taxes and Trade: The Latest from Washington, D.C., October 14, Business Strategies - Management Roundtable Discussion, October 20, NOVEMBER Legacy Precision Molds Plant Tour Workshop, November 11, Grandville, MI,

Sales and Marketing Strategies – Roundtable Discussion, October 12,

Alliance Specialties and Laser AMBA amerimold Boride Engineered Cam 33 Crystallume, a Division of RobbJack Cover Dynamic Surface Back Cover Federated HASCO America, HEIDENHAIN 7 INCOE 30 17 PCS Plastic Engineering & Technical Services, Progressive Inside Front Cover Regal Components.................................................................................................www. 3 Superior Die Set Ultra Polishing, Vincent 16 Wisconsin Engraving Co. Inc./


the american MOLD BUILDER | Issue 3 2021

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