Four Takeaways from Our Exclusive Benchmarking Survey

On top of the list: Be a data wonk.

Our cover story in this issue reports on the results of our latest World Class Processors benchmarking study, our second in what will be an annual research project. The intention of the survey is to shine a light on best practices in the industry at a time when more and more processors are competing globally for business.

In reading Senior Editor Tony Deligio’s report, which starts on p. 32, a few things jumped out:

Metrics matter: Paul Koster is CEO of full-service injection molder Selmax Corp., Selinsgrove, Pa. Selmax was among the 25 members of our 2016 group of World Class Processors. On the subject of collecting, disseminating, and using data in a tactical way, Koster puts it succinctly: “We share performance metrics, because what gets measured gets achieved.”

Be transparent with employees: Mossberg Industries Inc., Garrett, Ind., makes spools and reels using injection molding and extrusion. Performance metrics like on-time delivery, as well as customer concerns, are posted monthly in the shop breakroom and are also reviewed in the company’s monthly plant meetings, notes James S. Khorshid, president of the company. “We share these items with everyone so they can give direct input if anyone has an idea to improve a process,” Khorshid says. Adds Missy Rogers, president of custom injection molder Noble Plastics Inc., Grand Coteau, La., “We display metrics and hold regular meetings to review goals and measures, because communication is key to success.”

Reward stellar performance with cash: 83% of the World Class Processors offered a bonus, while only 69% of total survey respondents did. Selmax links operational performance and pay via its “Results Based Incentive (RBI).” This molder posts machine run time, reject rates, and production cycle times daily. RBIs can be earned for every day that the team achieves the targets established for those metrics. “Every employee that works that day earns the incentive,” Koster says, with the RBIs paid out on a quarterly basis. Besides the “carrot,” there is also one “stick”: “If we have a significant safety incident or customer complaint, part or all of the incentive is lost,” Koster says.

Focus on technology and training: Custom molder CNR Group LLC (s.com), Jackson, Wis., has 10 machines, all are all-electric and most are less than five years old. For those 10 machines, CNR has 11 full-time employees, says Bob Albrecht, company president, with two of those being certified molding technicians, applying scientific molding principles and robust process development.

Tony’s article lays out the methodology we used to determine the cream of the crop—11 metrics covering operations, business performance, and human resources. Those measures included everything from scrap and on-time delivery rates to employee turnover and sales growth. We generated a tremendous amount of data in the process. Tony’s report includes selected data, but only survey participants get the complete data set.

When you finish reading the article, I hope one of your takeaways is, “We’re doing all this stuff. Why aren’t we mentioned?” Well, first, you have to respond to the survey. Second, you have to make the cut for World Class status. And third, you have to agree to divulge your company’s identity—which is not required to participate in the survey, but only if you want to be recognized by name in print.

For this year’s report, 22 out of the 25 processors identified as World Class elected to make themselves known (21 did last year). To my way to thinking, it should be 25 out of 25. Wouldn’t that “World-Class Processor” designation be a useful credential when your customers put projects out to bid? Wouldn’t it be a good thing even to put such a designation on your own website?

Get involved in the next survey by emailing Tony at tdeligio@ptonline.com