A Statement from Pentaflex Inc. Regarding Covid-19

To our Team, Customers, and Community:

The Pentaflex Leadership team would like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support and collaboration as we do everything we can to safely and effectively keep our manufacturing floor operational during this time. Below, we will share what we are doing as a response, and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly

What We Are Doing for Our Team

While we still have work to complete for our customers, we will be giving our employees the opportunity to come to our facility to work while maintaining the safety protocol put in place by our state government.

For any of our employees who have experienced a shift in their home life due to the situation (for example, child care), we have set up internal relief options for these employees to receive the support they need while having the ability to be present for their loved ones.

All of our employees know that we understand this is a situation that is changing rapidly, and if they have any questions or concerns, the leadership team is available to them to find solutions and answer their questions. 

We also have informed our employees about state and federal relief programs available to them depending on their needs.

What We Are Doing for Our Customers

As a manufacturer, we will continue to perform essential production for our customers for as long as we are safely allowed to do so.

We recognize that our customers’ needs are changing daily, and we are ready to react as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Our sales team is also available to converse with anyone who has currently experienced an upset in their supply chain. If your company cannot acquire the parts you need due to another manufacturer’s temporary closure, we have the resources and the experience to perform short runs for you in this time so that you can continue production.

Community Resources

For anyone in the Springfield or Clark County area in need of assistance, here are a few local organizations that can offer support and education during this time:

Next Steps

Please regularly check our social media channels along with our website for updates as this situation continues to develop. 

How to Plan for 2020

It’s that time of year that everyone dreads. On top of your normal work and the holidays, it is time to finalize your planning for the next year. If you and your team are like most other teams, you have a lot of great ideas for the upcoming year, but you are struggling to organize them or even what all you should cover in your planning sessions.

We have compiled three lists of relevant questions that you can utilize with your team to make sure that 2020 is your best year yet. The three areas we cover are Reviewing 2019, Reviewing Customer Care, and Reviewing Your Leads Process.

List #1: Review 2019

In Review 2019, you will have the opportunity to gather meaningful information from every single one of your teammates. We recommend sending this to each and every name on your payroll either in an email or a Google Form. A Google Form will make sure that the information is secure and organized. If you’re not sure how to get started with that, check out this guide. 

The information you learn from your team in Review 2019 will help you recognize the accomplishments of your team along with getting ahead of any red flags.

List #2: Review Customer Care

In Review Customer Care, you will be able to quantify how well your customer service is doing. Much like the first list, you will be able to pinpoint if there are any glaring communication issues while you will also be able to reward your team’s successes. 

Since our customers are one of our top priorities, we take listening to and solving your problems very seriously. By knowing your response times, you can ensure you, your team, and your customers value a timely response.

List #3: Review Leads Process

If you happen to partner with a marketing agency, it might be worth asking to schedule some consultation time on this one so that they can help you better understand your various channels. The most successful leads processes will be ones created in partnership with your marketing team and your sales team. 

This will help you realize which channels are the most effective, which ones could use some improvement, and which ones you should still have a presence in, but will not necessarily every be huge lead sources.

This list of questions will also help you realize if you are missing out on any channels or opportunities.

Happy Planning!

We have included the lists below for you to read through and utilize with your team. If you would like to hear about how Pentaflex is preparing for 2020, please contact us through our form or call us at 937-325-5551.

Review 2019

  • Send out a questionnaire to the entire team asking for feedback
    • What went well this year?
    • What could have gone better?
    • What is the number one area that you believe needs improvement in 2020? What are your ideas for that improvement?
    • What is one experience where you believe we ‘wowed’ our customers this year?
    • What is one skill you improved on in 2019 that you believe had a direct benefit on the company?
    • What is one skill you would like to improve in 2020 and why?

Review Customer Care

  • Find out on average how long it took your team to respond to a customer correspondence (either by phone or email)
  • Find out on average how long it took your team to resolve a customer issue (either by phone or email)
  • Are these averages that you believe can be improved?
    • Set goals for 2020

Review Leads Process

  • What channel was the most successful at garnering new leads this year?
    • Social media, website, referral, email campaign, cold calling, trade shows, etc.
    • How can you capitalize on this channel in 2020?
    • Are there any characteristics of the most successful channel that you can also try using in other less successful channels?
  • What channels did you not fully take advantage of this year?
    • What are two new channels that you will try to use in 2020?
  • How successful was your CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) system this year?
    • When was the last time you cleaned your contact list?
    • Are you using this list to send worthwhile information to your customers throughout the year about special promotions and when it is time to reorder?

But What Does it Mean for Me? China & Tariffs

If you have left your house or used the internet in the last 18 months, then you are at least aware of the trade war between the United States and China. We are also guessing you have probably also heard a lot of opinions, and possibly very little facts. 

At Pentaflex, we understand that being aware of today’s economic climate will assist us in continually improving for our employees, our community, and our customers. While we might not have all the answers to the current situation, we want to ensure that you always have the information you need to make an educated decision for your organization and your customers.

Here are the facts about the last year and a half for this economic situation…

  • In July of 2018, the US imposed a 25% tariff on various goods entering the country from China. 
  • Since then, there have been three other installations of tariffs on Chinese products.
  • In response, the Chinese government has placed their own tariffs on American goods ranging in percentages.
  • In December of 2018, both countries agreed to meet and discuss finding a solution to the trade disagreements. Any raises in tariffs were paused during this time.
  • In May, the United States installed a 25% increase on about 200 billion of Chinese goods.
  • China responded in June with a 25% increase on about 60 billion of US goods.
  • As of late August, Mr. Trump has proposed new plans that would increase the current taxation on Chinese goods from 25% to 30%.
  • China has responded by saying they will retaliate if these proposals do in fact go into effect in September and December.

Is there an End in Sight?

According to Mr. Trump’s statements at the G7 Summit in France, the only way these disagreements with China will end is if Beijing is willing to bend to his requests. Both sides have continued to go back and forth on their statements throughout the following weeks. But, it appears as though both sides are preferring an end to this trade war soon. 

What does this mean for manufacturing?

While the beginning of these taxations began with a small amount of goods, as of this past May, almost all imports from China are on the list. Depending on negotiations in the next month, that list could include even more. 

These continued tariffs could encourage manufacturers to source either from a different country or from the US. However, there would inevitably be a lull in the acquisition of said goods while teams reroute their supply chains. 

What can you do?

The best step you can take for your customers and your company moving forward is to stay up-to-date with the changes. In today’s world of manufacturing, the survivors are the adapters. The second step is to keep an open dialogue between your suppliers and your customers with changing goods availability and pricing. Be sure everyone is on the same page, and do not make hasty decisions based off one statement you hear or read. 

We are here to help

Our team monitors the global trade situation regularly to minimize the potential impacts to our customers due to increased raw material costs. Would you like to speak to a Pentaflex representative about how we are keeping our customers our top priority?   Give us a call at 937-325-5551.

Sources

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45899310

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-49471713

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-48196495

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/25/kudlow-does-not-expect-china-to-retaliate-against-trumps-latest-tariffs.html

https://www.ecomcrew.com/trumps-china-tariffs/

manufacturing jobs

The Future of the Manufacturing Workforce

State of the Workforce

A never-ending conversation in the manufacturing world over the past few years has been the demand for quality employees in the rapidly changing world of the fourth industrial revolution. Almost every single manufacturer in various specialties is starving for employees, but can’t seem to fill the positions. 

In fact, in a study performed by Deloitte in 2018, they predict that our industry is facing a potential shortage of 2.4 million workers in the next decade. 

But why is this? It’s not as if the US population is declining (or plans to decline) anytime soon. 

The Forecast

The Deloitte report points to three different reasons behind why they believe this trend will occur in the next decade:

  1. Shifting skill sets due to new technology
  2. Misperceptions of manufacturing jobs
  3. Retirement of baby boomers

While these three reasons do pose a threat to the current status quo, there are ways for us manufacturers to address all three with just a little bit of brainstorming and collaboration.

Shifting Skill Sets Due to New Technology

As we continue to research and evolve, new technology and machinery will continue to make its way onto the shop floor. This means that our team will be left with less repetitive jobs, and more positions that require problem solving, collaboration, and innovation. 

But this shift cannot happen overnight. In order to stay loyal to our teams who have stayed loyal to us, it is our job to find pathways to efficiency that include their abilities and currently underutilized skill sets. 

Instead of seeing new technology as “replacements,” view this tech as “enhancements” to your workforce. Identify team members that show an interest in the new technology and how it can improve their position. 

You will find yourself being able to realign your team to sit in the right seats, instead of just throwing in the towel and feeling like you have to start from scratch with a new row of candidates.

Misperceptions of Manufacturing Jobs

As manufacturing leadership, this is an area we have complete control over the narrative we choose to tell. We need to be out in our communities, in our schools, and in our government sharing that manufacturing is no longer the position of the 1900’s. 

Through teamwork, innovation, and encouragement, a position in manufacturing is a place to grow. And, it is a place to stretch your knowledge and influence our world for a better tomorrow.

If you don’t currently have a dedicated partner to help you share your story, find a local marketing or PR firm to help you spread the word about the real opportunities with your company.

Attend the local high school’s career fairs – take a few team members from the floor and have them share their real experiences about why they chose you.

Get involved in the local technical school. Sit on their boards, volunteer in their classrooms, hire their students as interns for the summer, and ask what they need to better prepare your employees of tomorrow. 

Volunteer in your community through various nonprofits and government entities. Share with your community the opportunities, jobs, and livelihoods that your organization’s presence provide to the area. 

It won’t be easy, but you will need to start somewhere. Sit down with your leadership and determine where the highest priorities lie – and just start there. Create a detailed plan with numerical measurables and a realistic timelines. 

Retirement of Baby Boomers

Now, this is one we can’t really directly influence. Unfortunately, our legacy employees will eventually have to leave us. But, if we are adamant in our influence of the first two trends, this will not be a hindrance in the productivity and ability of our facilities.

We’re Ready…Are You?

We encourage you to start planning today for the manufacturing world of tomorrow. And this isn’t something we’re just preaching about – we are actively living it! One way we have found to help change perceptions about a career in manufacturing is by participating in National Manufacturing Day every October by inviting middle schoolers to the shop to see the possibilities for themselves. 

Curious about how else Pentaflex is preparing for continued shifts in our industry for our customers and our team? 

Give us a call at 937-325-5551 or email us at sales@pentaflex.com to talk more.

 

Sources

https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES3000000001

https://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/manufacturers-skills-in-demand/

https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/industry/manufacturing/manufacturing-skills-gap-study.html

https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=kf7tgg1uo9ude_&met_y=population&idim=country:US&hl=en&dl=en

the fourth industrial revolution cover image

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

At Pentaflex, we consider it a top priority to be at the forefront of all industry shifts for the sake of our clients, our team, our community, and our industry. In this post, we will explain Industry 4.0, the influence on manufacturing, and what you can do to stay at the top of your game.

A Little History Lesson

Industry 4.0 is the Fourth (but not the last) Industrial Revolution. The first revolution was the introduction of steam and water into the manufacturing world. Next came electricity and assembly lines. These first two industrial revolutions did in fact change history as we know it. But both of these revolutions also took a considerable amount of time for everyone to grasp and implement fully into their processes. That is why you will see almost one hundred years between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd revolutions.

Industry timeline

We saw Industry 3.0 hit center stage at the tail end of the 60’s. This is where computers start to impact machinery and processes in everyday manufacturing. Manufacturers saw the benefit and continued to improve the software. This resulted in speeding up assemblies, cutting back on overall costs, and creating a safer working environment for manufacturing teams.

One of the biggest positive consequences of the third revolution was speed. Everything could be done faster. This also meant we found problems faster, fixed them faster, and improved them faster. Because of this, we saw the fourth revolution hit almost half as fast as its predecessors.  

What is Industry 4.0?

As we move into 2019, we are now rapidly seeing the full adaptation of Industry 4.0 – only 50 years after the third industrial revolution. Essentially, this revolution is the more advanced & sophisticated version of 3.0. This revolution we are seeing computers have the ability to receive more data, interpret said data, implement their findings into their current processes, and then share that data with other computers. Regular terms for this time include cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and cognitive computing1. We will discuss all these topics and more in later blog posts.

The modern world originally coined the term “Industry 4.0” back in 2015, but has been in regular use since early 2018. This is by far the most exciting adaptation to manufacturing for companies and consumers alike – and is also the fastest.

How ‘Smart’ Are You?

In the coming months and years, we will gradually see the demand for ‘smart’ facilities increase. Supply chains will continually search for the most advanced and fullproof systems.

What will really set apart manufacturing teams will be the ones that have learned to harvest the data, interpret, and improve their processes for the betterment of their teams, their customers, and the end-users.

What Can You Do?

The first step we recommend is learning more about Industry 4.0 and how it will directly influence your industry. Learn which components the team is already modifying in your processes and which ones are being overlooked. By staying up to date on where your industry is at, you ensure that you are always at the top of the conversation and ready to contribute to the next big shift.

We have linked a few sources at the bottom of this blog post to continue your education.

The second step is to ask the leadership in your company how they are embracing this new shift in manufacturing. How is the team preparing to update systems, streamline processes, and keep customers in the loop about these progressive changes?

Be sure to ask more than once as plans and processes will continually improve as the technology does. Ask if there are ways for you to get involved and to help further the implementations along.

The third step is to contact your current manufacturers in your supply chain. Ask them what they are doing to embrace the fourth Industrial Revolution. Every organization should be able to give you a straightforward, honest and excited answer.

Have You Called Pentaflex?

Our team is ready and excited to discuss these changes to our industry for our customers and our team. Give us a call at 937-325-5551, fill out our short contact form, or email us at sales@pentaflex.com to hear how we are staying at the cutting edge for you.

 

Sources

1http://info.microsoft.com/rs/157-GQE-382/images/EN-US-CNTNT-Report-2019-Manufacturing-Trends.pdf

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/is-your-business-model-fit-for-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/

https://www.oliverwyman.com/our-expertise/insights/2018/feb/agriculture-4-0–the-future-of-farming-technology.html

Dallas-Servo-Feed

New Capital Investments at Pentaflex

Here at Pentaflex we recognize the need to continuously invest in our facility and equipment in order to provide our customers with the very best quality product.  Recently we installed this new state of the art Dallas Servo Feedline on our 880 ton Aida press. This new feedline will handle material as thin as .030, and as thick as .312. It can accommodate a maximum coil width of 48”.  By investing in this new servo feedline we will be able to fully maximize the performance capabilities of 880 ton Aida press. Please contact our sales team if you have an application that you would like for us to review on this, or any of our other servo press lines.