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Auto Suppliers Managing Labor and Capacity to Meet Production Needs


A consistent theme in the automotive market for the last couple of years has been concerns about the supply chain being able to manage labor and capacity constraints to meet current and projected production schedules.

An article Labor, Capacity Constraints Remain Concerns for Auto Suppliers written by Joe Boomgaard managing editor of expresses the expectations of future growth in the automotive industry.  With a projected increase of 3.0 percent in production volumes this year, concerns about capacity constraints and the supply of labor continue to be key issues for the remaining year. 

Production in North American light vehicles is projected to be over 16.7 million this year, an increase from the previous year and continues a rising trend over the last several years. In addition, the frenetic pace of vehicle launch activity means new part numbers and all the ramp-up and product validation that comes with these new parts adds to the concerns about the supply base keeping up.

To meet this increasing demand automotive suppliers are looking to add hourly and salaried staff, invest in new plants and equipment while also looking at alternative schedules. The key for automotive suppliers, like Team 1 Plastics, is to have excellent communications with their customers on current and future demand while also developing robust internal capacity planning tools for both equipment and people. Thus, they can project when to add equipment or people so that they are fully capable and ready to handle this additional sales volume. 

Talent Will Play a Key Role in the Plastics Industry


Craig Carrel and Jeff Mengel discuss the key role talent will play in the Plastics Industry. Jeff believes that it will be a defining aspect of successful companies and critical to drive productivity.

To hire talent, especially outside of key engineering rich geographic areas, will continue to be dfficult. This is because of the lack of mobility due to how difficult it is to to sell your house in certain areas. He believes the best long-term solution is to develop your own talent in-house. 

 Jeff outlines four keys to finding the best talent for your company.

  1. Identify the person with the best fit for your company. In particular, they need to be a team player and be able to work with many different people

  2. Clearly define your position needs and requirements.

  3. Invest in education. This is not only outside colleges and universities but alot can be done with on-the-job training.

  4. Allow them the space to play. You want them to be able to be creative which will lead to innovation and break through technologies/processes.

Watch the video:

Plastics Industry Resin Pricing Trends


Craig Carrel and Jeff Mengel discuss the resin pricing trends in the Plastics Industry. Jeff guarantees resin pricing will change and believes that over the long term it will go up. Resin production in the U.S. is not growing with most of the growth overseas. Resin pricing has averaged 13% per year increases over the last ten years. Plastic processors need to develop flexibility with their customers to be able to work together to manage these costs. Since the recession processors and customers are working closer together on resin pricing to make sure it works for both parties.

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Challenges & Threats to The Plastics Industry


Craig Carrel and Jeff Mengel discuss some of the challenges and threats that the Plastics Industry is facing today. Jeff talks about three major threats.

  1. Globalization: China has added 40,000 presses/year for the last 10 years while the U.S. has only added 2,000 presses/year. Will continue to be a threat even with their rising wages.

  2. Resin Costs: Resin will continue to be a major issues for plastic processors and all companies should have a resin management process to stay on top of resin price changes

  3. Talent: Hard to find high quality talent. Lack of mobility has limited people's movement to and from companies. Will change as housing market improves. Need to make sure you are taking care of your current employees.

Watch the video:


The State Of The Plastics Industry


Craig Carrel and Jeff Mengel discuss the state of the plastics industry today. Prior to the recession in 2008-09 productivity as measured by value add/employee had been increasing at least 3%/year while press utilization had been falling. There were approximately 110,000 machines in use ten years ago and now it has dropped to 90,000. The plastic industry experienced about a 12% failure rate during the recession and utilization dropped to under 35% on a 24/7 basis. During the recession no one was buying any new machines and over 80% of the presses in use today are older than 10 years. The good news is that utilization has increased for the last two years to 40% as volumes have increased. Still not optimum but moving in the right direction.

Watch the video:

Team 1 Interviews Jeff Mengel: Plastics Expert


Craig Carrel recently interviewed Jeff Mengel, a partner at the Plante & Moran Accounting Firm and head of their Plastics Industry Team. He has been responsible for conducting the North American Plastics Industry Study annually since 1995 that benchmarks performance metrics of successful and struggling plastics companies. This benchmarking study has become the plastics industry standard. In addition, Jeff also is involved in strategic planning and market intellegience for plastic firms.

He also discusses the changes he has seen in the plastics industry over the last twenty years. In particular, how it remains a fragmented industry with the average plastic company sales around $15.0 million. The overall number of plastic companies has shrunk from 12,000 to 6,000 currently.

To meet Jeff Mengel and hear his comments on the changes in the plastics industry watch the video.

Jase Bolger's Vision for Michigan's Future


Craig Carrel, President of Team 1 Plastics, and Jase Bolger, Speaker of the House of Representatives in Michigan, discuss in their final video interview Jase's vision for Michigan's future. He would like to see Michigan leading the nation in jobs and production with a strong and healthy economy and communities. To accomplish this vision he wants to continue to focus on spending, tax and regulatory reforms while prioritizing education, public safety and infrastructure.  

We would like to thank Jase Bolger for taking time from his busy schedule to do these videos for our blog. We hope you found them interesting and informative. Do you have any feedback on any of our videos with Jase Bolger or suggestions for improvement?

Watch the video:

Partnering to Develop Skilled Workers in Advanced Manufacturing


Craig Carrel, President of Team 1 Plastics, and Jase Bolger, Speaker of the House of Representatives in Michigan, discuss how the state needs to partner with business and community colleges to develop the skilled workers needed in advance manufacturing. We need to change the perspective of manufacturing and encourage the unemployed and young people to go and get the new skills needed to fill these jobs. Do you have any ideas on how this critical need can be met in the future?

Watch the video:

How State Government Can Continue to Improve The Business Environment in Michigan


Craig Carrel, President of Team 1 Plastics, and Jase Bolger, Speaker of the House of Representatives in Michigan, discuss the role of the state government to continue to improve the business climate in Michigan. He believes that state government needs to play a supportive role to create a positive business environment for all businesses to prosper. A key area of focus in the future will be on regulatory reform and making state government more effecient just like how the private sector has done over the last several years. Do you have any suggestions for how the state government can support and improve the business environment?

Watch the video:

Michigan State Legislature Accomplishments


Craig Carrel, President of Team 1 Plastics, and Jase Bolger, Speaker of the House of Representatives in Michigan, discuss some of the recent accomplishments from the Michigan legislature since Jase has been Speaker of the House. Highlights include job creation and personal income increases. They have tried to set up a business environment that does not favor any one industry and let the market decide which sectors will grow and prosper. Do you have any accomplishments that should be highlighted?

Watch the video:

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