Plastics Pipeline

Guest Blogger – Shawn Scott

Posted by Brenda Eubank on Tue. March 20, 2018

Team 1 Plastics is pleased to periodically feature Guest Bloggers to share their perspectives of the plastics industry on Plastics Pipeline. We thank today’s Guest Blogger, Shawn Scott of D & L Tooling, one of Team 1’s high-quality mold suppliers.

Shawn Scott.jpg“Trust is a huge factor with all working relationships,” said Shawn Scott, Co-Owner of D & L Tooling in a recent interview. He added that sometimes a relationship goes a step farther and has “Trust with Confidence” – the ability to be completely up-front and honest with each other and know that each person (or company) has the other’s best interest in mind. That is how Scott described his company’s relationship with Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry. “I believe we mutually trust one another -- 100%.”

Founded in 1977 by Don Carpenter and Lynn Scott, D & L Tooling is a “world-class tool shop, specializing in plastic injection molds in the automotive, agricultural, electronics, and furniture industries.” Over its 18-year history with Team 1 Plastics, D & L has supplied Team 1 with nearly 150 plastic injection molds.

“This long-term working relationship has allowed us to have an excellent understanding of Team 1’s needs and expectations,” Scott said. “We realize that not only is it important for us to provide top quality tools and service to customers like Team 1, we also need to provide them with support that they can pass on to their customers.”

“We are always thinking about potential longevity challenges and production concerns for our customers and will communicate these concerns if we see anything that may become an issue.” Scott believes that it is D & L’s attention to detail and its continuous “looking out for our customers’ best interest that makes us unique.”

D & L Tooling is also constantly looking for ways to utilize new technologies. Scott, who joined the company in 1994, works primarily in its CNC (Computer Numerical Control) and CAD / CAM (Computer-Aided Design / Computer-Aided Manufacturing) departments. He has seen many changes in technology during his career and loves the challenges that these changes create. “Technology is always improving. Finding ways to automate, while still maintaining the same quality and craftsmanship, can sometimes be a challenge. But challenges motivate us.”

He shared an example of how D & L Tooling helped Team 1 solve one particular challenge it had with a mold for a lens part. “The mold itself was simple enough, but the lens’ specifications were an obstacle. Team 1’s customer insisted that the only way to build the mold cavities was by using a five- axis machining center.” Scott said that at the time, five- axis machining centers were not common – most mold suppliers did not have them. And the machine time on a five-axis machining center was incredibly expensive. D & L suggested an alternative way of machining, and after a sample test for proof, convinced Team 1 that the alternate way would produce as good or better results. “To the best of my knowledge,” Scott said, “the project was a success for Team 1 and its customer with no issues.”

Scott believes that the “Trust with Confidence” relationship between D & L Tooling and Team 1 Plastics has greatly benefited both companies and added that “It’s been a pleasure working with Team 1 Plastics for 18 years, and we look forward to working with them for another 18 years and beyond.”

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, Guest Blogger, quality supplier, Shawn Scott, D & L Tooling

Spin That Wheel

Posted by Brenda Eubank on Tue. February 20, 2018

Do you agree with thisPrize Wheel.jpg statement? Every employee appreciates the validation of a job well done.

How about this one? By rewarding your employees for a job well done, you can boost the morale within your work environment.

And this one? A happy employee tends to be a more productive team player.

All three statements are true, aren’t they? So, how are you rewarding your employees? How are you boosting their morale? What tools are you using to keep your employees happy?

One tool that Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry, uses is a Prize Wheel. And they are not alone. According to prizewheels2go.com in its article, American Companies are Spinning Prize Wheels to Win Back Employee Morale, Prize wheels are “… popping up in offices around the nation.”

A reason for their popularity? HRDirect.com suggests that a prize wheel is “…perfect for celebrating shared success and reaching team goals.” You can “…use it to bring life to employee birthdays and anniversaries, company parties and much more. It’s a great way to get everyone motivated, involved and excited about improving performance and reaching higher!”

Team 1 Plastics invested in a prize wheel several years ago as a way to encourage attendance at its monthly Open Book meetings. Susan Muma, Controller for Team 1 Plastics said, “We were looking for ways to improve the attendance at our Team meetings. I saw an advertisement for a prize wheel and asked Team 1’s owners if we could buy one of these and try it for a while.” The owners agreed, and the prize wheel has “become an integral part of Team 1’s culture.”

According to Robert Clothier, Human Resource Manager at Team 1 Plastics, “The prize wheel is a unique way to increase participation, engagement, and attendance in our monthly open-book meetings where we share company financials. The meeting is voluntary, but we use it as a way to reward those who attend.”

Clothier explained how the prize wheel is used. “At the end of the open-book meetings, we randomly choose two team members who receive a spin after answering a Team 1 related question, such as explain the tuition reimbursement policy, or what are the four parts of the Championship Dream?, or who is our largest customer?”

The prizes on Team 1’s prize wheel have changed over the year. “Many years ago,” Clothier said, “the prizes were gift cards to local restaurants or stores. In 2016, we added a $100/8-hour PTO (paid time off) wedge to replace the $30 prize. Also in 2016, we added a birthday spin to the monthly meetings so that everybody with a birthday in that month gets a chance to spin.”

And the $100/8-hour PTO prize [winner chooses either $100 cash or 8 hours PTO] is the most coveted prize on the wheel according to every Team Member who participated in a brief survey about the prize wheel. The survey also revealed that the most common prizes won are between $5 and $20 cash.

How do the Team Members feel about the prize wheel? Sandy Bunker, Customer Service Assistant said, “It is awesome that Team 1 lets everyone that is a Team member get a Birthday Spin. You also get other opportunities to spin the wheel during monthly meeting upon guessing the right number and answering a question about Team 1.”

Kiera Carter, Human Resources Assistant, shared her feelings. “I personally think the prize wheel is like the icing on the cake during team meetings. Being able to know where we stand financially as a company is something that is unheard of and something that most companies keep very private. Team 1 shares all of that information so everyone has the opportunity to see how we excelled for the month or even when we lose for the month. Then you get a chance to spin the prize wheel if it’s your birthday month, and even if it isn’t your birthday month, you get a chance to spin and win up $100 bucks! It’s fantastic!

Of course, who doesn’t like to win a prize? Prizewheels2go.com also suggests that a prize wheel is a part of American culture. “Not only does the spinning wheel with bright color evoke a feeling of winning chances but the clicking sound associated with the wheel in action is a noise that is part of American culture. Wheel of Fortune is as much a part of our culture as apple pie, Chevrolet and Jeopardy!”

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, open book management, Culture, Postive Work Environment, Kiera Carter, Robert Clothier, Susan Muma, Sandy Bunker, Prize Wheel

Guest Blogger – I.H. Lee

Posted by Brenda Eubank on Tue. December 19, 2017

IH Lee.jpgRelationships greatly impact your company. This is a truth that I.H. Lee, President and Owner of Beom Jin Company of Seoul, Korea, has learned and experienced. In a recent interview, Mr. Lee shared how his relationship with the three original owners of Team 1 Plastics has positively impacted him and his business.

Mr. Lee was introduced to Team 1’s original owners, Craig Carrel, Gary Grigowski, and Jim Capo, when they all worked at Celeanese in the 1980s. At the time, Mr. Lee, whose job was in marketing, was stationed in Korea. He was sent to the United States for several months for molding trials and applications training. It was during this time that he became acquainted with Carrel, Grigowski, and Capo, and a friendship was formed. Mr. Lee said that after work hours, the four of them would “mingle together and enjoy talking, drinking, and eating.”

Then, in the late 1980s, Carrel, Grigowski, and Capo left Celeanese and started Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry. About the same time, Mr. Lee also left Celeanese and started his company, Beom Jin Company, in Korea, a mold-making business and engineering plastics exporting.

Beom Jin was selling molds, and Team 1 Plastics needed molds for its injection molding presses. And, a strong relationship had already been formed between the two company’s owners. It made good business sense that the two companies would form a business partnership.

And, the partnership has lasted for more than 25 years and has been beneficial for both companies. Beom Jin is a quality supplier for Team 1 Plastics, having provided more than 200 molds for Team 1 Plastics and working with them to solve many challenges.

Mr. Lee shared a story about one specific challenge. Team 1 had contracted with Beom Jin to make a mold for a small part. Things were progressing nicely until the timeline for delivery was changed. The part was needed by Team 1’s customer much sooner than originally scheduled. Team 1 requested that the mold part be rushed overnight and hand carried to the United States. Mr. Lee said that the mold makers worked overnight to finish the mold part, but he still needed to find someone to hand carry the mold to the U.S. This was a challenge because, at that time, very few people in Korea could speak English. Mr. Lee found a friend who “could speak English better than most” and he agreed to accompany the metal part to the U.S. The metal mold part was delivered in time, and Team 1 was able to produce the plastic parts for its customer.

As with every business, Beom Jin has its challenges. Mr. Lee said that the increase of Korean labor costs has made it difficult to obtain orders. Korean-made molds are not cost competitive with molds built in other parts of the world, especially China. Beom Jin continues to get orders for high quality steel-time molds, but many plastic parts makers, including Team 1 Plastics, are sometimes choosing to purchase less expensive molds.

But, even with the challenges, Mr. Lee acknowledges that he is “very happy” with the relationship with Team 1. He stated that “close cooperation, best faith, and mutual trust could keep the long-term benefits.” And, he considers the owners “my best of friends. It was really fortunate for me in meeting the three guys over there.”

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, Craig Carrel, Gary Grigowski, Jim Capo, partnership, I.H. Lee, quality supplier

MAPP Business Assessment Valuable Tool for Team 1 Plastics

Posted by Brenda Eubank on Tue. November 21, 2017

Business Assessment.jpg

As we approach the end of the year, it’s a perfect time to take stock of your company. How are you doing? Is your business achieving its goals? Is your business growing and prospering? Have you reached a revenue plateau that you just can’t seem to get past? Do you spend a lot of time on problems that keep returning? What do you need to focus on next?

A tool that can help you answer these questions is a Business Assessment. According to First Beacon Business Advisory Group’s website, “A business assessment is an objective look at your business designed to provide you with a clear picture of:

  • Where your business is today
  • What will help you get to where you want to be tomorrow
  • What might hinder or impede your progress, and
  • What specific actions can be taken to address all these issues.”

Those are exactly the questions that Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry, sought to answer when it took advantage of the Business Assessment that MAPP (Manufacturers Association of Plastics Processors) offers to its members. Through MAPP, Team 1 contracted with Harbour Results, Inc. (HRI) for a two-day Business Assessment, which according to HRI’s website, “takes an up-close look at a company’s entire operation to identify specific areas of strength and potential gaps.”

Craig Carrel, President and Co-owner of Team 1 Plastics, explained the process of signing up. “It is pretty simple to sign up for the Business Assessment, and it is available to any MAPP member. It costs $4,500 plus travel expenses and two days of time for most of the management team.” He added that there is some preparation work that a company needs to do prior to the on-site assessment. “HRI sends out a data request a few weeks prior to the assessment. That preparation work does require several hours of time for each department to collect and report its data.”

Next comes the on-site assessment. “Harbour Results brings in a team of three or four people that spend the first day talking and reviewing the company’s functional departments,” Carrel said. In Team 1’s case, that was nine departments. He continued, “The HRI team then spends the evening together reviewing the information collected and preparing the follow-up questions they will ask on the morning of the second day. By the afternoon of the second day, they have wrapped up their data collection and review and put together a final assessment report. The report is then presented to management and gives both recommendations for improvement to the overall company and to the specific departments reviewed.”

This was the second time that Team 1 Plastics has taken advantage of MAPP’s Business Assessment through HRI. Carrel said, “Our first MAPP assessment was done in May 2010. It was a critical first step in our strategic planning process and development of our company’s goals. As we reviewed the company’s progress since 2010, we found that many of the items identified in the first assessment had been accomplished. Now, seven years later, we felt that it was time to have another assessment done.”

Team 1 Plastics’ score after the 2017 assessment was in the “top quartile of all MAPP assessments.” Carrel said, “This score was not surprising and was about where I thought it would be. We have seen significant progress since our 2010 assessment. The 2017 assessment is of a much different company. The main takeaway was that we have room for improvement and that we can work to make Team 1 a stronger company in the future.”

He noted that HRI’s three main recommendations for Team 1 Plastics focused on these areas:

  • Continued development of the Leadership Team
  • Utilize data to continue to drive improvement in company performance
  • Develop a strategic sales plan

After the assessment, the management of Team 1 Plastics met together and assigned tasks and people responsible for these three main recommendations. And progress is being made. Carrel said, “The managers met together to suggest company improvement areas, and we are in the final stages of implementing them. In addition, the sales team developed and presented its strategic sales plan to the company in September. We will be using it to drive activity to achieve our long-term sales growth targets.”

In addition, each individual department has reviewed its specific recommendations and has selected the top one to three items on which to focus. Carrel explained, “We cannot implement all of the recommendations right now. All this activity must fit into our daily job responsibilities, along with other strategic objectives we are working on. So, we try to focus on the recommendations that have the biggest potential for overall improvement.”

In evaluating the Business Assessment, Carrel said that “it is hard to have someone critique your company and identify weaknesses and areas for improvement. But, if you want to be world class and compete globally, it is critical for you to get an unbiased opinion from someone who is very knowledgeable and seen many similar operations.”

He highly recommends the MAPP Business Assessment. “The payback is significant if you take the time to analyze the recommendations and implement the ones that make the most sense for your operations. Our first assessment in 2010 helped drive us forward over the last seven years, and we expect the 2017 assessment will do the same.”

Topics: Harbour Results, MAPP, Team 1 Plastics, Craig Carrel, continuous improvement, Strategic Planning, Business Assessment

Do You Have a “Great” Supply Chain?

Posted by Brenda Eubank on Tue. November 7, 2017

Supply Chain.jpgEvery plastics company wants to be known for delivering quality product on time and within budget. Part of achieving that goal is how well your company can manage its supply chain.

In the article, What Makes a Great Plastics Supply Chain by Custom-Pak.com, the point is made that “A healthy supply chain is the circulatory system of a strong business. You rely on it as much as your body relies on your heart, and without it, the lifeblood of your company would cease flowing.” The article then lists several characteristics to a good supply chain, including Transparency, Transportation, and Systems Integration.

Transparency - “Strong supply chains sync many moving parts. Transparency is crucial to keep suppliers, manufacturers, and executives all on the same page.”

Marcus Battin agrees that transparency is a key to successfully managing a plastics supply chain. Battin is the Purchasing Manager/Planner for Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry. In a recent interview, he said that it’s vital to be in constant communication with Team 1’s plastics suppliers – currently numbering at 19 material suppliers and 15 component suppliers. “We need to know if they are experiencing any difficulties in supplying their products to us. When I know what their current challenges are, I can work with them and get a little more stock into Team 1’s inventory so we can avoid any interruptions to our production.”

Transportation - “Every stage of the plastics supply chain depends on transportation that functions smoothly. From the ship or train that delivers resins … to the truck that freights your finished product to your customers, a great supply chain runs on well-managed logistics.”

Battin said, “One of the greatest challenges in supply chain management is being up to date on natural disasters that can affect the distribution of materials. I have learned that it is important that you try and maintain a certain level of inventory so if there is a hurricane or fire that disrupts suppliers’ production or shipping, you can avoid any major delays to your production.”

Team 1 Plastics’ main material suppliers are located in Battle Creek, Michigan (only 25 miles from the Albion, Michigan company), Wyandotte, Michigan, Orlando, Florida, and Sugarland, Texas. Cross country transportation is pretty reliable for Team 1 Plastics.

Battin continued, “The recent hurricanes did not interfere with Team 1’s production because we continued to monitor when and where they might hit land. And, we communicated with our suppliers in the potentially affected areas to get in more stock before the hurricanes hit, anticipating that after the storms, there would be a delay before distribution was back up and running.”

Systems Integration“Great plastics supply chains integrate procurement, quality control, production, inventory, transportation, and warehousing to reduce redundancy and increase efficiency.”

Team 1 Plastics relies on both its proprietary Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, Promon, and the human aspect to manage its suppliers. Battin explained, “Promon tracks how much material is being used during a production run and deducts that amount from inventory records to maintain an accurate inventory level. When I run the Material Shortfall report, I can see what needs to be ordered and when to order the material, based on lead times.”

Team 1 Plastics’ ERP software works well for the company. It’s another company’s ERP system that is currently causing the largest challenge for Team 1 in managing its supply chain. Team 1, like many other plastics companies, continues to struggle with the reliability of product from Sabic, a company that is, according to its website, “a global leader in diversified chemicals headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,” with its U.S. headquarters in Houston, Texas.

According to Plastics News’ article, “Sabic to close Huntersville Office in 2018,” Sabic’s “customers for months have been reporting shipments that were late or incomplete or that were of the wrong material.” The article cited that Sabic has been having struggles “… with resin deliveries since installing a new enterprise resource planning computer system in October 2016. Market sources have told Plastics News that they were seeing delays for shipments of PC, PC/ABS, polybutylene terephthalate and related compounds made by Sabic.”

Battin said, “Sabic’s inability to deliver product efficiently has affected Team 1 by pushing out our orders and creating interesting communication between ourselves and the supplier.”

It’s been over a year since Sabic installed the ERP system. According to the Plastics News article, Sabic’s spokesperson, Susan LeBourdais said that the company has made “substantial progress” and continues “ … to pursue post-implementation actions that will take us to industry-class fulfillment levels.”

“Substantial progress,” is debatable in Team 1 Plastics’ perspective. Battin said, “As of now, there has not been any improvement from Sabic.”

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, Plastics News, supply, ERP, communication, Marcus Battin

Survey says … What does the Survey Say? And how Important is it to your Company?

Posted by Brenda Eubank on Tue. September 12, 2017

Survey.jpg“Customer satisfaction measurement is one of the most overlooked yet important tools that management has,” wrote Roger F. Jones in his ebook, Strategic Management for the Plastics Industry: Dealing with Globalization and Sustainability. He continued, “Unless you know what your customers think of your company, you are effectively navigating by dead reckoning.” He suggests that you survey your customers to find out what they are thinking about your company, products, and services.

Ian Linton of the Houston Chronicle agrees. In his article, “Benefits of a Customer Satisfaction Survey,” Linton wrote, “Customer satisfaction surveys are a valuable tool for small businesses, helping you gain a better understanding of your customers' requirements and concerns so that you improve your products and your standards of service in line with customers' needs. By monitoring customer satisfaction and responding to problems, you can improve customer loyalty and protect revenue and profitability.”

One company that agrees with this advice is Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry. According to the company’s Customer Service Manager, Kari Masternak, “Surveys are a key indicator of how well we service our customer -- a vital role within Team 1 Plastics. At Team 1 Plastics, we strive for Customer Service Excellence.” Masternak said that the company routinely conducts surveys of their customers. Those surveys allow them to “… identify problems within the company that might create an unsatisfied feeling from our customers. It also allows us to measure our customer’s loyalty, our progression through the years, and to verify that processes we’ve implemented in the past have worked to increase the customer’s satisfaction.”

“Feedback from customers and contacts offers a wealth of information you can use to improve your customer service, pinpoint small issues before they become big problems, and even gather suggestions for new products or services,” wrote Megan Totka of business.com in her article, “The Best and Worst Times to Survey Your Customers: What You Need To Know.“ However, she cautioned, “When you're surveying customers, timing is everything. The key to gathering useful data is asking the right questions – at the right time.”

And, of course, you don’t want to annoy your customer. Jones wrote, “Mailing out bland survey forms to customers is not an acceptable or reliable way to learn how your customers view your company. In fact, such surveys are as likely to irritate your customers as they are to obtain genuine expressions of their concerns.” He suggests that a company “… conduct formal benchmarking studies by questionnaires and telephone interviews. These latter studies are best done through outside, neutral parties, for example, consultants or market research firms, who have the necessary experience in conducting such surveys in a nonintrusive way.”

Masternak agrees. That’s why Team 1 Plastics’ utilizes several different surveys as well as different survey methods. The company uses Survey Monkey for most of its customer surveys and limits the length and topic of the surveys to one single subject. And, the company has utilized an outside vendor, VIVE, LLC, in the past to help them conduct customer phone surveys. In addition, Team 1 offers its customers the option to remain anonymous, which Masternak said makes some customers more comfortable in responding.

These are the types of customer surveys used by Team 1 Plastics:

  • Customer Satisfaction Survey – annual survey to every customer
  • PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) – given to a customer at the time that PPAP approval has been finalized
  • SOP (Start of Production) – given to a customer shortly after a new part has gone into full production
  • Customer Phone Survey – conducted in 2014 by VIVE, LLC; expecting to conduct another survey in 2018

The annual Customer Satisfaction Survey is sent to all of Team 1’s contacts in each customer’s company -- positions such as buyers, program management, and quality. Masternak said that the response rate is typically 10-20%. However, she said that “if we work with a contact on a day-to-day basis, they are normally willing to respond.”

She added, “We had one customer express to us how pleased he was with Team 1. He said that he appreciated that we value his responses. He also relayed that he was honest with us on the survey because he knew that we would hear his concerns and take action. He added that a lot of customers send him surveys, but if he doesn’t feel the customer will value his opinion, he does not complete their surveys.”

Listening, Linton wrote, is one outcome of customer satisfaction surveys. “A satisfaction survey provides a channel for customers to express their views … Asking your customers for their views on your company’s products and performance indicates that you’re prepared to listen to customers and take account of their views.”

But, listening isn’t enough. You need to do something with the information your customer gives you. Linton wrote, “Analyzing the responses to a satisfaction survey highlights your company’s strengths and weaknesses from your customers’ perspective. Focus on areas of your business that achieve very low satisfaction scores and prioritize improvement programs so that you can remedy any serious problems in those areas.”

According to Masternak, the management team of Team 1 Plastics “discusses the responses to the surveys, celebrates its successes, and implements a plan to correct any identified issues. These are tracked through the Customer Service Department’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and monitored regularly.”

She added that Team 1 has “… recently implemented face to face meetings with customers who have given us adverse feedback. We take this time to meet with them to discuss their concerns and the steps that we have taken to help correct current issues and prevent future issues.” And that only increases the customer’s satisfaction and retention.

So, what does the Survey Say? And how Important is it to your Company? Totka concludes, “When you ask the right questions at the right time, you can use customer opinion to steer your company in the right direction.”

Topics: Customer Service Excellence, Team 1 Plastics, kari masternak, customer surveys

David Matthews Shares Georges Pernoud’s Perspective on Partnership with Team 1 Plastics

Posted by Brenda Eubank on Tue. July 25, 2017

David Matthews.jpgTeam 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the automotive industry, has a unique relationship with Georges Pernoud, a company which specializes in highly technical, innovatively engineered injection molds. David Matthews, North American Operations Manager for Georges Pernoud North America, recently shared his perspective on the partnership.

“What our partnership offers and provides is the mutual collaboration and development of specific projects. Team 1 provides a showcase and/or platform to run Pernoud’s tooling for prospective customers as well as a point of interest to attract prospective customers into Team 1. It’s a combination of a Pernoud tool and a Team 1 injection molding press – our high-tech tooling being used in production of automotive parts in an excellent plastic injection molding facility such as Team 1’s.”

Georges Pernoud logo.jpgEstablished in 1971 by the late Georges Pernoud, the company has constructed over 1500 molds for use in various plastic injection molding operations, primarily automotive. A family-owned business, headquartered in Oyonnax, France, Georges Pernoud, Le Groupe (GP) is owned and operated by Gilles and Phillipe Pernoud, sons of the late Georges Pernoud. Oyonnax and the surrounding area, known as the “Plastics Valley,” is located in the eastern part of France near the foothills of the Swiss Alps.

It was GP’s innovative processes, specifically, the Multitube® and Multi-Process molds (MPM), which attracted Matthews to the company. “What intrigued me most about this opportunity was the idea of introducing this ‘better way’ of injection molding for precision lightweight parts that you would find under the hood of an automobile today.” Matthews said that he wanted to be “part of the next evolution of manufacturing and injection molding.”

Pernoud Multi-tube.jpgHe explained that Pernoud’s Multitube® and MPM technology can solve challenging design problems by enabling multiple components to be redesigned as one piece and molded in one mold, eliminating many secondary operations, such as welding. This technology provides improved part design, better quality, a more technically sound and a lighter weight part. Multitube® and MPM processes can be applied to a multitude of plastic, under-hood engine parts such as air ducts, turbo ducts, water/coolant pipes and housings, manifolds, and air intake manifolds.

Georges Pernoud North America and Team 1 Plastics began their partnership around 2011. Matthews said that the partnership with Team 1 Plastics is the only partnership of its kind that GPNA is engaged with, at this time, in North America. “We collaborate through networking with each other. GPNA is available as a premier tool source for Team 1. We are committed to finding those opportunities that would be mutually beneficial for Team 1 and Georges Pernoud North America. It has the potential of being a very symbiotic relationship if every phase of an awarded program falls into place.”

Through this partnership, Matthews has learned that “networking, and whom you know and can connect with, can make all the difference when it comes down to prospects and future sales activity.” And speaking of future sales for the two companies, Matthews said, “It is my hope that (with a little luck and perseverance) we can mutually be sourced by the same Tier 1 supplier.”

Matthews summed up the partnership between the two companies as a “one-stop shop opportunity for a customer -- a Pernoud production tool in a Team 1 injection molding press -- molding parts for tomorrow’s automobiles. Two capable suppliers working together to provide the best product and service available to the customer.”

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, Guest Blogger, Georges Pernoud, partnership, David Matthews

How to Decide between Buying New or Used Injection Molding Equipment

Posted by Brenda Eubank on Tue. July 18, 2017

Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the automotive industry, is pleased to feature this Infographic produced by Premier Plastics Systems, Inc.. The blog is used by permission and does not constitute endorsement by Team 1 Plastics.

With the dramatic pace of today’s technological advances and innovation, entrepreneurs and business owners might assume that buying the latest and greatest equipment available is the best decision for the business. But that’s not always the case.

Deciding on New vs. Used Equipment
Investing in injection molding equipment is a different decision for every business. Purchasing new equipment is not always the best choice, especially when there are used machines that can be great options too. But, how can business owners know which one to get? When is it better to invest in new, leading edge equipment and when is it better to save investment money and opt for used, refurbished equipment?

Premier Plastics Infographic.png

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, injection molded plastics, Premier Plastics Systems

Team 1 Plastics Teams with Customer on Kaizen Event

Posted by Brenda Eubank on Tue. June 20, 2017

Kaizen.jpgContinuous improvement should be a goal of every company and organization. Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the automotive industry, is no exception. The company is so focused on continuous improvement that one of its 2017 Strategic Objectives is to host quality kaizen events during the year.

The term, "kaizen," is Japanese and literally means to “change” (kai) for the “better” (zen.) And, according to lean.ohio.gov’s Kaizen Event Survival Guide, a kaizen event will help a company or organization “change for the better” by “analyzing every part of a work process – then transforming it to be simpler, faster, better, and less costly.”

A kaizen event involves a cross-functional team and typically lasts three to five days and has two areas of focus:  continuous improvement and waste elimination, according to the article, “How to survive a kaizen event,” by Mike Thelen on reliableplant.com. Thelen then characterized a kaizen event:

  • A short burst of intense activity and effort (three to five days only)
  • Biased toward action over analysis to achieve improvements in a short time
  • Focused on defining activities, improving supplier/customer connections and achieving flow
  • Driven to resolving a specific problem or achieving a specific goal
  • Committed to a specific area or process (either plant or office)
  • Guided with daily reviews of progress
  • Managed to resolution

Team 1 Plastics hosted a four-day kaizen event in May 2017 in partnership with its customer MANN+HUMMEL. The event’s focus, according to Dave Sanford, Quality Manager for Team 1, was on Team 1’s “run at rate” process. Sanford described the “run at rate” process as “the last gate Team 1 uses to transfer a new part from New Product Launch to Mass Production.” He said that the process had some flaws and needed improvement.

For the event, Team 1 Plastics had eight team members involved. Representing MANN+HUMMEL were Matt Yoder and Melissa Wiessner. Sanford said that this was the first kaizen event in which Team 1 Plastics and MANN+HUMMEL had partnered, and it provided an outline, structure, and tools for future kaizen events at Team 1. Sanford said, “Matt and Mel were great teachers and leaders during this process. It was beneficial to learn from experienced people.”

“During the event, we reviewed the current ‘run at rate’ process from the beginning to the end, and we started to see where the flaws occur,” Sanford said. “There was open dialogue throughout the whole process, and everyone participated and offered suggestions.” And, Sanford said, the kaizen event wasn’t limited to the conference room. “We assigned tasks, broke out in groups, and went and made the changes right away. We didn’t have to wait days for tasks to be completed. We could get them done immediately which was very beneficial. Then, after the changes were made, we came back and rewrote the flowchart and the ‘run at rate’ process.”

And, Sanford said that the kaizen event was very successful, and results from the new “run at rate” process were realized immediately. “The first three ‘run at rate’ occurrences after the kaizen event all passed!” He added that Team 1 Plastics and its customers will benefit from the more robust process. “It will mean fewer trials, better problem solving, improved part quality, and better communication among our Team Members.”

Sanford said that he appreciated the investment of MANN+HUMMEL in helping Team 1 improve its “run at rate” process. “Their assistance with this kaizen event demonstrates that MANN+HUMMEL doesn’t just talk about wanting to help its suppliers. The company invested the time to come to Team 1 Plastics and help us improve. It was a large investment of both their time and ours, and we’re thankful we could come together to make this happen.”

Topics: Team 1 Plastics, MANN+HUMMEL USA, Dave Sanford, continuous improvement, Kaizen

What Will Interiors in Autonomous Vehicles Be Like?

Posted by Brenda Eubank on Tue. June 13, 2017

Autonomous vehicles – they are the future of the automotive industry. We all know that. But what will the interior of an autonomous car look like? What features will it have? How will the passengers interact with it? The answers to these questions are what companies like Yanfeng Automotive Interiors are currently trying to figure out.

There are six levels of automation driving according to SAE International, ranging from Level O (No Automation – the human driver is in control of “all aspects of the dynamic driving task, even when enhanced by warning or intervention systems”) to Level 5 (Full Automation -- “the full-time performance by an automated driving system of all aspects of the dynamic driving task under all roadway and environmental conditions that can be managed by a human driver”).

In her recent article, “To Screen or Not to Screen: The Tricky Business of Designing Driverless Car Interiors,” for Motortrend.com, Alisa Priddle noted the state of autonomous cars in 2017. “Most vehicles are only Level 1 or 2 on the autonomous vehicle scale, meaning there are assistance systems but the driver is in control. The consensus is that by 2020, we’ll see Level 4, where the human is expendable and the car is making decisions such as changing lanes, speeding up, or braking in a controlled environment. Level 5, where the car does all the driving and there is no steering wheel or pedals, will be in play by 2030.”

That timing seems to be right on target. In August 2016, the Ford Motor Company announced that it intends “have a high-volume, fully autonomous SAE level 4-capable vehicle in commercial operation in 2021 in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service.” Level 4 is classified as High Automation. “Plans are to design it to operate without a steering wheel, gas or brake pedal, for use in commercial mobility services such as ride sharing and ride hailing within geo-fenced areas and be available in high volumes.“

So, what about the interiors of these cars?

The article, “How Will the Interior of Driverless Cars Look? Experts Weigh In,” on thezebra.com reminds us that “cars today are designed around the operation and safety needs of drivers, who need to look through the windshield, press accelerator and brake pedals, use a steering wheel and mirrors, and be able to control other functions like headlights, GPS, music, heat, and windows without moving or shifting their attention much. But when the driver is removed from the driving experience, a whole host of options open up for the interior makeup of a car.”

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, the world’s largest supplier of automotive interiors, agrees. Its concept of the future of the autonomous car interior, Experience in Motion 2017 (XiM17), was unveiled in January 2017, at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit and, according to its website, “features more than 25 innovations, offering new consumer experiences for future autonomous vehicles.” Johannes Roters, CEO of Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, said, "As the global leader in automotive interiors we are driving this transformation, redefining how people experience vehicle interiors. This also ensures a sustainable competitiveness in the market as we strive to integrate new, leading technologies and seek strategic partnerships that build on our existing and future products and competencies."

The following video developed by Yanfeng, demonstrates how the XiM17 becomes an interior living space for car passengers.

The XiM17 was also presented in March 2017 at YanFeng’s Americas Supplier Performance Awards ceremony in Holland, Michigan. Dave Biondo, Sales Development Manager for Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the automotive industry, was in attendance at the Supplier Performance Awards ceremony. Team 1 Plastics has been a supplier for YanFeng since the company’s inception in 2015. Biondo shared his perspective of Yanfeng’s interior living space concept. “Yanfeng Automotive Interiors’ vision for the vehicle of the future will create entirely new user experiences as Autonomous driving becomes a reality. It will free people up from driving and allow them to use the vehicle as living spaces for multiple purposes. The consumer will be able to reconfigure interior seating at the push of a button for work or leisure (you can sit back and stretch out or converse face to face).”

Topics: Future Opportunities In The Plastics Industry, Team 1 Plastics, Dave Biondo, Autonomous Vehicles