News

Team 1 Plastics Obtains Certification; Passes VDA Audit

Posted on Tue. April 17, 2018

IATF Certification 2018Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry, is pleased to announce that it has obtained IATF 16949:2016 certification (click on this link for a copy of the certificate) and that it recently passed a customer’s VDA audit with a score of 96%. This is the highest score that the company has ever received on a VDA audit.

The VDA audit was conducted by Team 1’s customer, Novem, a company based in Vorbach, Germany. Novem is, according to its website, “a world leader in high quality trim elements and decorative function elements for car interiors.”

Developed by VDA (Verband der Automobilindustrie), an interest group of the German automobile manufacturers and component suppliers, a VDA 6.3 audit is a “standard for evaluating and improving controls in a manufacturing organization’s processes,” according to industryforum.co, “Compliance to VDA 6.3 is mandated by some vehicle makers and encouraged by others.”

Dave Sanford, Quality Manager for Team 1 Plastics, said that he believes the improvement in the company’s VDA score is a direct result of corrective actions that have been implemented by Team 1 after previous VDA and TS16949 audits.

Team 1 Plastics has been certified to the ISO/TS 16949:2009 standard since 2013. The IATF (International Automotive Task Force) 16949:2016 certification has replaced the ISO/TS 16949:2009 as the international automobile industry’s required standard. After October 1, 2017, audits could no longer be conducted to the ISO/TS 16949:2009 standard.

According to nqa.com, the IATF 16949 certification “emphasizes the development of a process-oriented Quality Management System (QMS) that provides for:

  • continual improvement,
  • defect prevention, and
  • reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain.”

For Sanford, the most significant change from ISO/TS to IATF certification was implementing risk-based thinking and risk management to the company’s QMS. He said, “The risk portion of IATF is mentioned throughout the standard – not within just one section – and is aimed at detecting problems before they exist. The intent behind this is to address the issues the automotive industry has been faced with, and continues to be faced with, in areas of product and process safety.”

Sanford also said that IATF has 21 mandatory procedures while the ISO/TS only had seven. “With the 14 additional procedures, the VDA and IATF audits are very similar now.”

Sanford concluded, “There was a great deal of time and work invested to upgrade to the new IATF certification, and, as a company, we are proud of our achievement.”

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, quality, Dave Sanford, VGA Audit, IATF Certification

Profile of Team Member - Greg Wood

Posted on Tue. April 10, 2018

WoodGTeam 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry, believes that “Building an exceptional company is the result of building exceptional teams with exceptional people.” Team 1 has been and continues to be a successful company because of exceptional people – its Team Members. Today continues a series of articles profiling Team 1 Plastics’ Team Members. Each month, you’ll be introduced to one of these exceptional Team Members, including Greg Wood.

Name: Gregory Wood

Position: Truck Driver

Date of Hire: 1/30/12

Other Positions Held / Length of Each: Production Assistant – 2 years; Quality – 1 year; Material Handler/Warehouse – 2 years

Favorite Story / Memory during Time Working at Team 1: Each summer, Team 1 Plastics hosts a party for its Team Members and their families. The Summer Party in 2017 is Greg’s favorite memory of his time working at Team 1. His two grandkids, ages seven and nine at the time, attended the party with him. Greg said that they all had a wonderful time. “The kids got to have their faces painted, they played games and played on the bounce house. And, we got to eat.” Laughing, Greg added, “I always like to eat!”

How has Team 1 helped your Personal and/or Professional Development? Greg said Team 1 has helped him develop good computer skills through on-the-job training. He said that when he began working at Team 1, “I really didn’t know much about operating a computer.” He realized that developing computer skills would be a requirement for him to be able to advance through the company. Now, operating a computer is part of his every day work routine as the company’s truck driver. Greg said, “I have to pull up the shipping orders and find out what exactly I’m picking up and what I’m dropping off.”

Favorite Aspect of Working at Team 1: Greg likes that Team 1 Plastics is a small company, and that everybody knows each other. He said that it has a family atmosphere and joked that one of the former Team Members, Sanaa Al Shamari, used to call herself his “work wife. I have my wife at home, but she was my work wife.” He added, “There are a few places closer to home where I could make a few dollars more an hour, but it doesn’t have this atmosphere.”

Greg also appreciates that Team 1 was willing to take a chance on him. He said, “My past has not always been perfect. When I came to work at Team 1, they were willing to look past the bad marks that I had in my life history and still give me the opportunity to go to work.”

What do you want to share about your life outside of Team 1? “I’m interested in anything with a motor on it. I love motor sports. Snowmobiles, I guess, would have to be my favorite,” although Greg admitted that he currently he doesn’t have a snowmobile. But that doesn’t lessen his affection for them. “I love snowmobiles. I just want to get on and go. I love to go fast.” As mentioned earlier, Greg is married. He has a daughter and a son plus the two grandchildren who live with him.

Piece of Advice and/or Encouragement for Future Team 1 Team Members: A piece of advice that Greg says he gives out a lot is this: “If you have goals and dreams, aspirations or anything that you want to accomplish, do it. Otherwise, before you know it, 20 years have gone by, and you’ll say, ‘Wow, what happened to that time?’” Greg said that 30 years ago, he wanted to learn to play the piano. “I put it off and put off, and now I’m 55 years old, and I still don’t how to play it.”

Random Question: Do you avoid stepping on sidewalk cracks? “No,” Greg replied. “I’m not superstitious at all. I will cross the path of a black cat. I will walk under a ladder. And, I’ve broken many mirrors – although not on purpose.”

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, Team Member Profile, Greg Wood

Team 1 Plastics Awarded 2018 Best Places to Work

Posted on Tue. April 3, 2018

Best Places to Work Logo 2018Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry, was recently named Best Places to Work in the Plastics Industry for 2018. This is the fourth time in five years in which Team 1 has been honored with this award.

According to Plastics News, the Best Places to Work program is designed to identify, recognize, and honor the best employers in the plastics industry. To be considered for participation, companies had to fulfill eligibility requirements, including being in business for at least one year, having a minimum of 15 employees, and deriving at least 50% of revenue from plastics-related operations.

Plastics News honored all the winners and revealed the final rankings in a ceremony in March 2018. Receiving the award for Team 1 Plastics was Craig Carrel, President and co-owner of the company.

Each winning company was also featured in the March 26, 2018, edition of Plastics News. From the article featuring Team 1 Plastics, entitled, Team 1 Plastics cultivates festive, generous environment, “It's a fun, celebratory atmosphere at Albion, Mich.-based Team 1 Plastics Inc. The injection molder, with nearly 70 employees, holds several company parties during the year.”

Carrel responded, “The thing we've learned in 30 years is it's all about the people … We want to maintain the culture and the focus on the people and the value that we place on everyone."

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, Best Places to Work, Craig Carrel, award

Team 1 Plastics Plays Role in Downtown Albion Revitalization

Posted on Tue. March 27, 2018

Courtyard by Marriott Hotel.jpgThe downtown of Albion, Michigan, is a success story of revitalization. If you haven’t visited downtown Albion in a while, you may be surprised at the changes that have occurred, including the recent opening of its hotel, Courtyard® by Marriott. Downtown Albion has both established and new businesses, restored historic landmarks, public spaces, and a vitality that is exciting and enthusiastic.

Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry, is thrilled to have had a part of the efforts and investment of the revitalization of downtown Albion. In a recent interview, Craig Carrel, President and Co-owner of Team 1, talked about the role that the company has had in the revitalization efforts.

“We have always been active in Albion projects,” Carrel said, “but the first downtown Albion revitalization project that we participated in was the Bohm Theatre restoration.” According to its website, interest in restoring the historic Bohm Theater began in 2010 with the incorporation of Friends of the Bohm Theatre. Team 1 Plastics was one of the first companies to make a major donation early in the project.

Investing in revitalization of downtown fits with Team 1 Plastics’ goal to be a Positive Community Member, one of the tenets of the company’s Championship Dream. And the city of Albion, with its business incubator and revolving loan fund, has been a key partner of Team 1 since the company’s beginnings. Carrel said, “The City has continued to support us through good times and bad, and we want to make sure that we are giving back to the community that has given us so much.”

Team 1 also believes that the strength of its team is highly dependent on the health of its local community -- where the team members live. “If we want to have exceptional people available to join our team and to make Team 1 successful in the future, we need to have a strong Albion,” Carrel said. For Team 1 Plastics, the decision to invest in downtown Albion’s revitalization was an easy one.

The Bohm Theatre reopened in September 2013 upon completion of the restoration project. Support for the theatre has been so consistent that in January 2017, the theatre added a second screen.

But this was just the beginning, and more was to be done. Carrel said that Team 1 was invited to a meeting of key Albion stakeholders to discuss strategies to continue the revitalization of downtown. Looking at other communities’ experiences in revitalization, the decision was made to purchase several downtown properties and to package them for a key anchor project that the City could use to leverage other businesses to settle in the downtown area.

Carrel said, “Once again, we were one of the early donors with other key stakeholders: Albion College, Caster Concepts, Haas Trucking, and Decker Manufacturing. We were able to purchase many downtown properties, and through Albion College’s connections, secure the building of the Courtyard® by Marriott. This is a huge investment by a major hotel chain.”

Carrel also mentioned the major investment that Albion College made with the restoration of a downtown building, now called the Ludington Center. According to the College’s website, “the Ludington Center is a collaborative community space for Albion College and the business and civic endeavors of the City of Albion. More specifically, it is for college programming, professional events, business events, education and economic development-related programming.” In fact, Team 1 used the Ludington Center for its 30th anniversary celebration meal in April 2017.

And the strategy is working. “With these high profile anchor properties,” Carrel said, “a new brewery, a bakery, and other businesses are locating in downtown.”

Even with all these successes, more work remains. Carrel said that the revitalization focus has now expanded to include the downtown neighborhoods and is “looking for ways to continue this significant momentum so that in the next few years, we can look back and see that this was just the beginning of even more progress.”

One example of continuing this positive momentum was the kickoff of the State of Michigan’s Rising Tide initiative in Albion on March 9, 2018, which included a visit to Albion by Michigan’s Governor, Rick Snyder. Carrel said, “This kickoff meeting had the broadest representation of the Albion community that I can remember in a long time.” He added, “If we can continue to work together with such a diverse group of stakeholders, Albion will see significant growth for all its citizens.”

“Since the Bohm Theatre restoration, the downtown has been on an upswing, and more investment has been done in the past few years than in all of the previous 25 years combined.” Carrel concluded, “We are pleased that Team 1 has played a small role in the downtown Albion revitalization. It is a team effort and has involved many people and groups coming together for the betterment of Albion.”

Topics: Championship Dream, Team 1 Plastics, City of Albion

Team 1 Plastics Receives Supplier Award for Third Consecutive Year

Posted on Tue. March 13, 2018

YF Supplier Award 2017 edited2.jpgTeam 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry, was recently honored by its customer, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI), as a supplier who has excelled in performance. This is the third consecutive year in which Team 1 Plastics received a Supplier Excellence award from YFAI.

YFAI held its Americas Supplier Performance Awards Ceremony at its technical center in Holland, Michigan, in February 2018. According to the company’s press release, “The Supplier Performance Awards honor the company's top suppliers for their outstanding track record in the areas of quality, cost, logistics, development, technology and service.” During the awards ceremony, Team 1 Plastics received the Distinguished Supplier award.

"We are honored to recognize our top suppliers and their teams, for their hard work and dedication," said Jim Bos, Vice President, Global Procurement, for YFAI. "Their commitment enables us to better supply our customers with products that meet and exceed expectations."

Scott England, Sr. Commodity Manager, Interior Plastics, for YFAI, said, “Team 1 Plastics consistently responds quickly, provides exceptional quality, and drives continuous improvement on quality and delivery. The company works hard to build a long-lasting customer/supplier relationship with us. Above and beyond all of that, it makes a difference in its community and provides a strong positive influence in the lives of its team members and their families. Congratulations, Team 1 Plastics, on receiving the Distinguished Supplier Award. It is much deserved!”

Representing Team 1 Plastics at the Award ceremony were Craig Carrel, President and Dave Biondo, Sales Development Manager. Carrel commented, “It is a great honor to be selected as a top supplier for the third consecutive year by one of our stellar customers, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors. Thanks to our great Team Members who made this possible.”

Last year, Team 1 Plastics was also the recipient of the Distinguished Supplier Award. The previous year, the company received the Bronze Performance Award.

According to its website, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI) is the "world leader in automotive interiors, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors is redefining the way people relax, work and play inside their vehicles."

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, Craig Carrel, Supplier Award, Dave Biondo, quality supplier

Profile of Team Member - Sandy Bunker

Posted on Tue. March 6, 2018

Sandy Bunker.jpgTeam 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry, believes that “Building an exceptional company is the result of building exceptional teams with exceptional people.” Team 1 has been and continues to be a successful company because of exceptional people – its Team Members. Today continues a series of articles profiling Team 1 Plastics’ Team Members. Each month, you’ll be introduced to one of these exceptional Team Members, including Sandy Bunker.

Name: Sandy Bunker

Position: Customer Service Assistant

Date of Hire: 1/23/12

Other Positions Held / Length of Each: Assembly Assistant – 18 months, Assembly Captain Assistant – 18 months

Favorite Story / Memory during Time Working at Team 1: Sandy said that her favorite memory was the day that Team 1 Plastics hosted both a Customer and Community Open House. The customers visited and toured Team 1 during the work day. Then that evening, the community was invited in for a presentation and tour of Team 1. Sandy’s role that day was to greet Team 1’s guests. “That day was a lot of fun!” She said that she really enjoyed seeing everyone, especially the Team Member’s families, as they came in and toured Team 1, seeing – sometimes for the first time – the plant or office where their loved one worked. “What made it fun was seeing how it affected people. They were enjoying seeing what everybody does at Team 1.”

How has Team 1 helped your Personal and/or Professional Development? Working at Team 1, Sandy said, has “… given me more confidence in myself to achieve what I want to do. I have more confidence to stand up for myself and in making decisions.” Then, she shared an example. A customer had submitted a rush order the night before – after Sandy had left for the day. When she saw the order in the morning, she immediately decided what needed to be done and how to do it to get the order fulfilled and shipped. Sandy communicated with other Team Members about the need to expedite the shipment, and the parts were soon on their way to the customer. “Before working at Team 1, I wouldn’t have been as efficient in accomplishing that task.”

Favorite Aspect of Working at Team 1: Sandy’s favorite aspect of working at Team 1 is the interaction she has with the customers and the sense of accomplishment that she gets in helping them. “I get to interact with customers through the phone, the internet, and email, and I feel useful and helpful.” And, Sandy added that she enjoys hearing the positive feedback from the customers about Team 1’s customer service through the annual survey that the company sends to each customer. “When the customers say things, like ‘They’re good to us,’ or ‘They stay on top of things,’ it’s just a good feeling.”

What do you want to share about your life outside of Team 1? Sandy has three children – two daughters and a son – and three grandsons. She enjoys going camping with her family and taking her girls to plays. Musicals are usually the genre of choice because her youngest daughter has performed in several musicals, including the community theater’s performance of Shrek, The Musical at Jackson College last year.

Piece of Advice and/or Encouragement for Future Team 1 Team Members: Sandy’s advice is two-fold: “Work hard” and “There are always opportunities to advance at Team 1.” And Sandy has followed her own advice. When she was working as the Assembly Captain Assistant, the opening for the Customer Service Assistant position came up. She saw the opportunity and said, “‘I can do that,’ and I applied for it, and I got it!”

Random Question: What is the most essential household appliance? Without hesitation, Sandy replied, “My washing machine! You’ve got to have clean clothes!” She explained her answer. “You can get an electric frying pan, and you can get coolers for refrigeration.” Then, she added, “You can do laundry in the bathtub because I’ve done it before, but it’s not fun! And, I’ve done my fair share of laundry at the laundromat. It’s not fun!” Therefore, the washing machine is the most essential appliance. And the second one? “It would have to be my coffeepot!”

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, Team Member Profile, Sandy Bunker

Team 1 Plastics Announces Changes to Advisory Board

Posted on Tue. February 27, 2018

Changes have recently been made to the Advisory Board of Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry. Darrel J. Reece has retired from the board, and two new members have been added, David (Dave) Donnay and Susan (Susie) Muma.

Darrel Reece.jpgReece, who joined Team 1’s Advisory Board in 2010, is the former President of Android Industries. His practical knowledge and experience as an owner of an automotive supplier has enabled him to share actual “been there / done that” learning experiences to which Team 1’s co-owners, Craig Carrel and Gary Grigowski have been able to relate.

One such experience that Reece has had as a company owner is to plan and implement an exit strategy – something that Carrel and Grigowski are beginning to work on. Reece shared this advice, “Backing out is a process, not an event. It needs to be planned, discussed with the various players involved, then implemented in small steps that are taken, evaluated, modified, and, as necessary, re-taken. Once a step is working, move on to the next one.”

Reece said a book that helped him through his “backing out” process was The Flight of the Buffalo: Soaring to Excellence and Learning to Let Employees Lead by James Belasco and Ralph Stayer (former CEO of Johnsonville Sausage). He added, “I think the focus should not be on each of you [owners] backing out, but rather on you developing people that increasingly push you out, as you are no longer required to do daily tasks.”

Reece summed up his time on Team 1’s Advisory Board in one word, “Unusual.” He explained, “I cannot think of another meeting or group in which I’ve participated where the participants were open, transparent, and didn’t have a hidden agenda.” He said that the owners “were brutally honest in presenting information, whether good or bad. They truly sought help and wisdom from the Advisory Board members, and they both valued our opinions and experiences. Team 1 is a well-run, very successful business and great place to work, and I am personally proud to be associated with Team 1.”

Advisory Board - New Members.jpgDonnay joins Team 1 Plastics’ Advisory Board with 35 years of experience in the automotive industry. He is currently Vice President of Information Technology and Business Systems at Android Industries and was recommended to Team 1 by Reece. Donnay said, “I am new to the Advisory Board role and felt honored when Darrel approached me to consider functioning in this role as his replacement.” Donnay said that he has a “strong factory-floor mindset” and that he is able to “develop unique solutions to problems.” And, he has first-hand experience of the “transition of a privately-owned company to new owners and the unintended impact on the organization.”

Muma is donning a new hat with Team 1 Plastics. Having worked for the company for nearly 20 years, Muma retired at the beginning of 2018 from her position as the company’s Controller. “I understand the financial side of the company inside and out,” Muma said. And, she expects that knowledge will be invaluable when items are introduced or discussed at the Board meetings. “My knowledge of the company’s finances will help me to know the capabilities and limitations and how they could financially affect the company.” She added, “It is exciting to be a part of Team 1 from this very different perspective. I have been involved with the financial side of what it takes. Now, I hope to lend a hand in other areas as well.”

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, Craig Carrel, Gary Grigowski, Advisory Board

Profile of Team Member - Carlos Cisneros

Posted on Tue. February 13, 2018

Carlos Cisernos.jpgTeam 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry, believes that “Building an exceptional company is the result of building exceptional teams with exceptional people.” Team 1 has been and continues to be a successful company because of exceptional people – its Team Members. Today continues a series of articles profiling Team 1 Plastics’ Team Members. Each month, you’ll be introduced to one of these exceptional Team Members, including Carlos Cisneros.

Name: Carlos Cisneros

Position: Quality Technician 1

Date of Hire: 9/25/2011

Other Positions Held / Length of Each: Production Assistant - 1 Year, Quality Auditor - 3 years

Favorite Story / Memory during Time Working at Team 1: Carlos said that his favorite story was from his first year at working at Team 1 Plastics. He was on his way to work and had stopped at a local gas station. While he was there, he realized that his dog had gotten out because he saw the dog walking down the street. Carlos said, “I told the person that I was riding with, ‘Hey, I’ll get another ride to work. I have to get my dog.’ I had to run from the gas station all the way to Albion College to catch him and take him back home. By the time I got to work, I was mad because I was late, and I don’t like to be late.” Carlos continued, “I happened to be telling Shelley [Lewis] what happened when she looked down at my pants, and I had slobber from my dog all over them. The expression on her face was priceless! We ended up laughing about it for the rest of the day.”

How has Team 1 helped your Personal and/or Professional Development? Carlos said that Team 1 has provided him with both classroom and on-the-job training which has enhanced his computer skills and knowledge of working with different types of lab equipment. He has attended classes at MMTC (Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center) in Plymouth, Michigan, taking courses that directly relate to his work in the Quality Department. Carlos added that he is scheduled to attend additional training later in 2018.

Favorite Aspect of Working at Team 1: “I really do enjoy everybody that I work with, and I enjoy my job.” Carlos also enjoys the work environment at Team 1. “We seem to be a big family.” He mentioned the winter party and the picnics that Team 1 provides for the Team Members, and he mentioned how personable the owners are. “Team 1 is one of the better places that I’ve worked in.”

What do you want to share about your life outside of Team 1? Carlos said that what people might not know about him is that he is a “big dog lover.” (His dog is a pit bull.) He enjoys being at home and watching television in his free time. He also enjoys regularly volunteering for several charities: Relay for Life, Cares, and Red Ribbon in Battle Creek which donates all proceeds to finding a cure for HIV/Aids.

Piece of Advice and/or Encouragement for Future Team 1 Team Members: Carlos’ piece of advice is one that he has often shares with new Team Members when they ask him, “What’s it like to work at Team 1?” He will tell them, “If you show up to work every day and put your best foot forward with a positive attitude, you can go far in this company.” He said that he has noticed that one of the main problems that gets people into trouble is attendance – they just don’t show up to work. “Show up to work, and do your job, and you’re going to be fine.”

Random Question: If you could be an Olympic athlete, in what sport would you compete? Carlos replied, “Boxing.” Although he has never boxed, Carlos did admit that he has participated in some street fighting. “Boxing is a sport that I like to watch. I’m not going to play football. I’m not going to do golf – it’s boring. I’m not going to run track. Boxing is a contact sport so I think that would be more suitable for me.”

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, Team Member Profile, Carlos Cisneros

Department Profile - Customer Service

Posted on Tue. February 6, 2018

Customer Service.jpgTeam 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry, believes that “Building an exceptional company is the result of building exceptional teams with exceptional people.” Today begins a series of articles profiling Team 1 Plastics’ teams – its Departments. Meet the Customer Service Department.

Name of Department: Customer Service

Team 1 Plastics’ Customer Service Department consists of two Team Members: Kari Masternak and Sandy Bunker, who describe themselves as “liaisons” for Team 1’s customers. “We are the voice of the customer at Team 1. Our main focus is to serve the customer’s needs,” and they love it when customers respond with testimonials such as: “Extraordinary customer service!”

How does your Department support Team 1’s Customers: Kari and Sandy believe that “Team 1 puts the customer first.” Using good communications skills and tools such as email, phones, texts, and customer portals, Kari and Sandy strive to meet all of their customers’ needs. Every customer has access to Kari’s cell phone. “Our customers are able to contact me 24/7. You have to be available all the time. We try to operate in non-crisis mode by providing the customer’s needs prior to it becoming a crisis.” But, even with the best planning, customers sometime experience crisis. “No customer request is too outrageous or too small. We strive to meet those needs -- even the outrageous ones, we still do our best. We are able to meet most urgent expedited requests within the day because we are centrally located among our core customers. If not within the day, we are able to find freight options where we can handle most next day turnaround.”

How does your Department support Team 1: “Customer Service’s main focus is to serve the customers’ needs. We try to do it in the best interests of Team 1, and I think we achieve it daily,” Kari said. “We have to develop relationships with every department in order to get the needs met for the customer. We work very closely with Production, with Quality, with the Engineering Department, and Sales.” Communicating the customers’ needs with each of these departments is key for Sandy and Kari, and the departments respond willingly. “If we tell them a customer is going to need a shipment of these parts this week, they go above and beyond to get their needs met. They do a great job!”

Describe a typical work day in your Department. Each morning, Kari attends the daily Production meeting with representatives from several of Team 1’s Departments. The meeting serves as a communication tool for the plant – Kari can communicate customer needs. Others can give status updates on production, quality, and maintenance. “We map out the day -- what parts are needed to be produced, what parts need to be shipped, and any problems that arise.” Then, throughout the day, both Sandy and Kari are in constant communication with customers through email and phone calls. Sandy handles the day-to-day operations – things like order entries, shipping paperwork, and backorders while Kari manages any urgent requests or issues from customers. But, there really isn’t a “typical work day” in Customer Service. “You could have a very nice, relaxing day, or you could have a very hectic, overwhelming day.”

Share an example of a problem/challenge that your Department encountered and how you solved it. Recently, Team 1 had a customer who requested an increase to an order. Although this is a fairly normal request, the challenge was that production on this particular part was behind because Team 1 had been experiencing some issues with the tool that was causing quality concerns. Kari explained that she and Sandy “… worked with Production so that we could get the tool running, hoping that the part would run well. Then, we worked with our crew in our Warehouse and on our Production floor to arrange around-the-clock shipping to keep the customers’ plant lines up and working.” Working with the other departments at Team 1, Customer Service was able to fulfill the customers’ request.

What is One Noteworthy Accomplishment by your Department in the recent past? Customer Service has been instrumental in the reduction of Team 1’s expedited freight costs by 76% since 2016. Kari explained that before working for Team 1, she was employed in the freight industry and had many contacts. She used these contacts to find shipping companies that would offer good rates and great timing. Just as Customer Service needs to be attentive to the customers’ needs, Team 1 depends on these freight companies to be attentive to their needs. “We’ve developed good relationship with these vendors, and they will jump through hoops for me. We work very well together.”

What are the Current Goals for your Department? Goal number one for any Customer Service Department should be “Keep the Customer happy.” That is no exception for Kari and Sandy. Their other goals include ensuring that orders are fulfilled with little to no backorders, continuing to reduce expedited freight costs, continuing to improve on-time shipping (already up from an average of 80% in 2016 to an average of 93% in 2017), and continuing to perform at high level on the annual customer satisfaction survey. Each year, Team 1 Plastics polls its customers and asks them how they feel Team 1 is doing in customer service. In the most recent survey, Team 1’s Customer Service Excellence was rated “Highly Achieved” or “Achieved” by 100% of its customers.

In what does your Department take pride? Sandy and Kari agree that putting Team 1’s customers first and meeting their needs is something that they take great pride in accomplishing. They also pride themselves in ensuring that parts are available when needed, orders are fulfilled, and parts shipped on time. “Anybody that works in Customer Service knows that there is satisfaction in taking care of the customer. And when we’re able to meet their needs, it’s a good feeling.” They also take pride in having good communication skills.

Department’s Random Poll: How Long does it Take you to Think of a Brilliant Reply?

_ Straight away, I'm flash!
_ Five minutes later
_ Later that day
_ Weeks later after much pondering and brooding

Both Kari and Sandy responded, “Five minutes later.” Kari thinks that as customer service professionals, that’s a good thing. She said that she “likes to take a minute to think before responding to an email. I think you need to re-read it, you need to make sure you’re not missing anything and that you’re conveying the information needed.”

Topics: Customer Service Excellence, Team 1 Plastics, Department Profile

Profile of Team Member - Donn Briskie

Posted on Tue. January 30, 2018

Donn Briskie.jpgTeam 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry, believes that “Building an exceptional company is the result of building exceptional teams with exceptional people.” Team 1 has been and continues to be a successful company because of exceptional people – its Team Members. Today continues a series of articles profiling Team 1 Plastics’ Team Members. Each month, you’ll be introduced to one of these exceptional Team Members, including Donn Briskie.

Name:  Donn Briskie

Position: Sales Support Technician

Date of Hire: 9/12/2011

Other Positions Held / Length of Each: Engineering Technician II – 6 years

Favorite Story / Memory during Time Working at Team 1: In his position as Engineering Technician, Donn was an administrator for Team 1’s Express Maintenance database. The database keeps track of the customer-owned molds that are at Team 1 Plastics, either being used to produce parts or that are being stored in Team 1’s Warehouse. Donn said that his favorite memory from working at Team 1 was the recognition that he received from one of Team 1’s customers. Linda Carter from II Stanley told Craig Carrel, Team 1’s President and Co-Owner, how helpful Donn was in locating II Stanley’s molds at Team 1. Donn also assisted her in obtaining information about the molds and attaching asset tags to them.

How has Team 1 helped your Personal and/or Professional Development? “After my kidney transplant in 2009,” Donn said, “Team 1 Plastics was the first company to offer me a job.” He explained that after his transplant, he had been unemployed and on disability for two years. He added that it was an uncertainty whether he would ever be able to work again. However, “Gary [Grigowski] and Dave Seedorf took a little bit of an interest in me and gave me a job. Letting me try was a good thing because it’s worked out well. I’m not unemployed nor sitting around the house. I’m back to work, and I’m supporting myself and my wife. They gave me a chance to get back into the workforce and still be useful to the community.”

Favorite Aspect of Working at Team 1: “I like all the people that I work with. Travis [Castle] is always really helpful, and the consideration of others is amazing!” Because of Donn’s health issues, he has to be careful being around people. He is immunosuppressed, and a cold could easily make him very sick and, potentially, lead to death. “All the people I work with – Travis and all the guys in Maintenance –go out of their way to help keep me healthy. Travis goes way out of his way to make sure he keeps his distance when he’s not feeling well. I give them a lot of credit for that.”

What do you want to share about your life outside of Team 1? Donn is married, and he and his wife occasionally read books together. Donn mentioned that he really enjoyed Tom Bodett’s End of the Road series about living in Alaksa. “With his comedic style, it’s just really funny to read his take on life in Alaska and the way things work.” Donn is a past member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. During his membership, he “really enjoyed traveling around the state of Michigan and taking tours of other manufacturing facilities and networking with Engineers.”

Piece of Advice and/or Encouragement for Future Team 1 Team Members: “If you don’t enjoy your job, go find something else to do.” That’s the advice that Donn would give not only future Team 1 Team Members, but anybody. “If you’re apathetic, chances are you’re not going to be as helpful or get as much done as other people, and that draws other people down – especially if you hate your job and are unhappy about it. You might as well be happy, and if you’re not, look for something else.” And Donn follows his own advice. He said that when he started working at Team 1 Plastics, he told Dave Seedorf, “I’ve come here to play, and the first day you make me work, I quit.” Apparently, it’s been all play for the past six years, because Donn is still employed at Team 1.

Random Question: What is the Loveliest Place on the Planet? Although Donn has not traveled the entire world, he knows what place he likes the best. “I know a little hidden knoll at what was my grandfather’s place –now my brother’s place – it’s a mossy little knoll next to the creek underneath a highway overpass. It’s got just enough shaded area from the trees, yet has a spot where the sun shines in and it’s warm. It’s a great place to lay in the summer time and take a nap and listen to the water run.” Donn said that this lovely place, which has tons of good memories for him, is near Olivet, Michigan.

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, Team Member Profile, Donn Briskie