Call to action: Share the ways you train and develop your best assets

As I step into my new role as president of the MAPP Board of Directors, it’s important to recognize Board Members, past and present, for their leadership and selfless pursuit of greatness for the Association. The Board Presidents I have worked with while serving on the Board have set a stellar example for me to follow – Tom Duffey (PCI), Matt Hlavin (Thogus Products), Kelly Goodsel (Viking Plastics) and Mike Walter (MET Plastics). The Association and Board have benefited from their contributions. Also, thank you to the MAPP Membership and Sponsors who make the Association stronger by helping member companies improve their businesses. Their sharing is the foundation of our organization.

This time of year, it’s natural to reflect on the past year and create resolutions for what might be done differently in 2016. As I think of our Association, I want to harness the power of 341 of the best molders in the world to focus on issues crippling our industry, and one area we have the opportunity to improve is employee development and training.

Unfortunately, today’s job applicants are not prepared to help our businesses. Schools have cut spending or eliminated funding for Skilled Trades Programs, and companies have done the same to compete in a global marketplace. It’s sad, but I can count on two hands the number of certified mold-building apprentice programs in my home state of New York.

I believe, through the power of MAPP and our 341 members, we can find and prepare the best possible people for our businesses by sharing our mutual knowledge and experiences. How do you handle employee development and training? What are your best practices in these areas?

In early March, you will receive an email communication from MAPP asking you to share your approaches to developing your employees and building their skills through training – whether formal or informal. All feedback will reside on the MAPP website, allowing every MAPP Member company to read through the submissions, unfiltered to find ideas, that can be utilized to make improvements in their own programs. Contact information also will be available for further discussion and sharing between members.

When you receive the email, please take a moment to share at least one thing that works well within your organization, and then review the submissions from other companies. My hope is this results in at least three improvement ideas that can be implemented in your facility. We can unleash new energy in our businesses through effective employee training and development programs, and I believe this is a New Year’s resolution we should all keep in 2016.

I wish the MAPP family a Happy New Year full of health and success for your families and your businesses. I’m excited to see what we can accomplish together.

MAPP Manufactures Information to Help Members Compete

Many outside of the MAPP organization do not fully realize that MAPP is in the business of production; it just so happens that its products are information-based. Like the members it serves, MAPP continually works to produce information to help staff-level executives improve their own operations. The keynote studies completed on an annual basis include MAPP’s State of the Industry Report, the Machine Rate Report for Injection Molders, the Wage and Salary Report and, working in conjunction with Plante & Moran, the North American Plastics Industry Study, MAPP edition. In addition to these reports, MAPP also conducts a variety of needs-based surveys to meet the needs of changing business conditions.

  • MAPP State of the Industry Report Available Now: The MAPP State of the Industry Report now is available on the MAPP website. This report addressed over 30 economic indicator questions including, but not limited to, sales forecasts, production backlog, quoting hit rates, material and production tooling trends and more. Participants receive the report at no cost, and the report also is available for purchase on the MAPP website.
  • Attendance Policies and Procedures Study: Members of MAPP’s human resource peer networking group have commissioned a benchmarking study on current attendance policies and procedures in plastics manufacturing companies. Although this study is a compilation of attendance policies used by other members (minus company-specific details), it helps HR professionals better understand opportunities to improve their own policies.

MAPP Plant Tour Event: STIHL, Inc.

Thursday, April 28 • Virginia Beach, Virginia

Purpose: MAPP’s plant tour events are designed to provide members with new ideas and paradigm-shifting information about the way operations are managed in their own businesses. MAPP Board of Directors President Ben Harp explained, “When business leaders are able to see a process outside of their own, it serves as an immediate benchmark. I’ve seen other MAPP Member facilities on these tour events and asked myself the proverbial, ‘why aren’t we doing it this way?’ question.” MAPP’s proprietary facilitation engagement process creates an experiential learning environment for all attendees.

Topics of Focus: STIHL Inc. is strongly committed to quality people, products and processes. Two plants on the company’s Virginia Beach campus run 89 injection molding machines, including more than 20 with RJG’s eDart units. These units are run by 22 Master Molder I and eight Master Molder II technicians, all of whom were trained together. In STIHL’s polymers plant, technicians injection mold, blow mold, weld and assemble everything from engine housings to decorative shrouds. These plastic parts then are supplied to the on-site assembly line or exported to other STIHL Group plants.

Benefits of Attending: STIHL’s MAPP Members will have the opportunity to explore production operations and better understand how STIHL’s management team successfully maintains a strong culture of engagement, innovation, continuous improvement and process excellence in its operations. Spots are filling quickly. To register, visit

MAPP Welcomes RTi as a New Sponsor

Resin is the most critical cost component in a processor’s business – ranging from 45 to 85 percent of the total cost of business. A network that spans the globe and 20 billion pounds of transactional benchmarks gives RTi the ability to bring knowledge and transparency to its clients, creating a clear vision regarding the resin markets. Each of RTi’s resin experts has more than 25 years of experience in the plastics industry selling, processing or buying resin. RTi resin experts dedicate 100 percent of their time to analyzing critical market drivers from the well head through the manufactured finished product, using its vast network. Market drivers such as feedstocks, exports, pricing benchmarks, supplier actions, producer inventory levels and operating rates all have an impact on the price of resin. Most processors feel volume dictates the price paid, which is not correct! Using real-time market knowledge to create strategies and actions will dictate the price processors pay for the resins they purchase.

MAPP Forms Quick Mold Change Consortium

Driven by an active regional membership base located in southern Indiana, MAPP formed a consortium designed to improve mold change time. According to Executive Director Troy Nix, “When the ability to deliver product on-time to customers becomes more difficult because less machine time is available, then every second counts in the changeover process.”

Representatives of MAPP’s 15-company consortium met in late January to view video footage of an actual mold change conducted by one of the consortium members and then supplied a comprehensive critique. It is the goal that all members positively benefit from involvement in the consortium by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their own mold change process.

2016 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference

Mark the calendar now for a one-of-a-kind event to be held Oct. 13-14, 2016, at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana. The 2016 conference is the most popular business conference in the US plastics industry. This year’s theme, Perseverance – The Secret of All Success, will not only serve as the backdrop, but help to inspire and motivate those who attend. Details and registration are coming soon to

MAPP Welcomes New Members

  • Sapona Plastics LLC, Asheboro, North Carolina
  • Advantage Plastic Products, Concord, New Hampshire
  • Molex, Inc., Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Hayward Industries, Clemmons, North Carolina

MAPP Welcomes a New Sponsor: Mathelin Bay

Nearly 100 percent of plastics processors say they buy resins and additives well. Mathelin Bay has helped over 90 percent of plastics consulting clients buy even better and recover what they have been losing – with no upfront cost of obligation.

  • Reduce resin, color concentrate and performance additives costs (supply chain and technical consulting)
  • Increase recycled usage and green product sales
  • Manage resin pricing volatility
  • Pick the right materials and manage margin pressures
  • Evaluate plastics companies for middle-market, private equity investors

Visit for a cost reduction program exclusively for MAPP members.