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MAPP Board Member Profile: Wendy Wloszek

 

Plastics Business

Editor's note: MAPPís Board of Directors encourages plastics processors to utilize the knowledge contained within the MAPP network. To familiarize readers with the Board, members will be profiled by Plastics Business ENews.


SUBMITTED

Wendy Wloszek can be reached at 330.425.7374 x16 or wendyw@ipmold.com.

Current Board Members

Former Board Members

Wendy Wloszek, president
Industrial Mold & Machine, Twinsburg, Ohio

MAPP Member Since: 2008

# of Employees: 37

# of Presses: N/A

Industries served: Commercial products, telecommunications, toys, lawn and garden

 

How did plastics become your career?

I attended college with the intention of becoming a teacher, but I did my student teaching and hated it. My dad owned Industrial Mold & Machine at the time, so I went through a state apprenticeship program for engineering and then joined the company. I become a manager, then leader of the management team, then head of operations and now Iím president. It wasnít my intention to have a career in plastics, but it became what I do for a living and I love it. As a female, I didnít even think ďIím going to run my dadís companyĒ. Itís not what women did. Now, I know that Iím lucky to have found something that engages me. Mold building has been struggling, and itís ripe for a reinvention. I enjoy figuring out how to make this business viable and sustainable over the long term.

Describe your company.

We make high tolerance molds for injection molding and blow molding. The company has a heavy focus on the use of technology, and by that, I don't mean manufacturing technology. I'm talking about process technology and information technology. We have a wiki where we store data that is critical to everyday workflows, including a wiki page for each job that we have in the shop. We can access that with any of the 16 iPads that we have in our work areas. Operators can access work dispatch reports from the iPads, and they also can click through to the next job. We're working on getting blue prints and sheets loaded onto a page.

Our challenge, as moldmakers, is to reduce lead times, so Industrial Mold & Machine leverages technology to gain as much lead time as possible for our customers. The mold making industry has seen so much attrition during the economic downturn and, combined with the surge in orders, weíre finding that the industry as a whole is swamped. As a result, lead times are increasing and thereís a risk that molders will begin to look to offshore sources if we canít build their molds quickly.

In what areas are you willing to share your experiences with MAPP Member companies?

Obviously, all sort of tooling questions are right up my alley. Beyond that, Iím really comfortable with the use of technology and Iím happy to talk about how weíre using technology within our company to benefit both the customer and our employees. Keying off that, Iíd love to talk to other molders about finding and engaging the next generation workforce.

We have three apprentices and weíve designed a completely new program designed to engage them in every aspect of the business. We donít want our apprentices learning by standing next to an operator. Weíve done that and theyíve left. Instead, we have a six month training program for our apprentices that provides two weeks of training in twelve different areas of the company, including scheduling, IT and assembly. Each part of the company is a tool that we use to get our product made. How those tools are used is subjective, as long as people realize how connected each department is to the others, so we want our apprentices to see the whole picture. With exposure to each of the 12 areas within the company, the apprentices provide a fresh look at our processes, so we give them a project and ask them to present solutions to some of the issues weíre experiencing. Training used to be a long, laborious progression that gave apprentices very little control or responsibility. These new employees donít want to wait that long, so weíve adjusted the way we train. Their first week on the job, the apprentices got an iPad and a project that was all their own. They love it.