Summer 2021 Pentaflex Intern Spotlight: Adam Brackman

We are pleased to introduce Pentaflex’s 2021 Summer Intern, Adam Brackman. Adam will be a senior at Wright State University in the fall and is pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on a manufacturing track. Through his education, Adam has gained much knowledge about AutoCAD, SolidWorks and other computer based design applications.

We wanted Adam to have a real world experience on the shop floor this summer. Adam has been working in the quality department learning how the parts he will design will be checked when they are in production. He is also assisting us in reviewing work instructions in advance of our upcoming IATF audit in August. Adam is enjoying his time at Pentaflex gaining a better understanding of how a part goes from design on a computer to production in a press.

We sat down with Adam to learn a little more about him and his experience at Pentaflex:

When did you start working at Pentaflex Inc.?

I started my internship with Pentaflex at the beginning of June 2021.

Why did you decide to work at Pentaflex Inc.?

I was looking for a summer manufacturing internship to get experience in the field and Pentaflex was offering one.

What is your favorite part about working at Pentaflex Inc.?

My favorite part about working at Pentaflex would be having the ability to gain hands-on experience and learn a variety of things in the manufacturing field.

What is your favorite memory so far from working at Pentaflex Inc.?

So far, my favorite memory would be the tour of Pentaflex that happened after my interview. It was interesting to see all the machines and the general idea of how the parts are made.

What is something you have learned more about since working here?

Since I didn’t have a lot of experience in manufacturing, I have learned a lot with how the presses and all the other components come together to create parts and the processes involved.

What is one thing you would still like to learn more about?

I would still like to learn some more about the beginning stages of a brand new part, from the design and creation of the die to the testing and production of the part.

If someone is thinking about a career in manufacturing, what advice would you give them?

For someone thinking about a career in manufacturing, I would suggest getting involved and giving it a try. Be open to getting your hands dirty and learn as much as you can.

The Future of Manufacturing

Adam is a great example of the next generation taking initiative to learn and grow into what will be the future of our industry. We are thankful for his hard work and dedication to learn as much as possible this summer, and wish him the best of luck at his senior year!

Team Member Spotlight: Debbie Smith, Senior Accounting Clerk

With over 40 years of experience in manufacturing, one of the key components that sets Pentaflex Inc. apart from the rest is our people. Today, we would like to introduce you to Debbie Smith, who is a part of our accounting department at Pentaflex Inc. Debbie started with Pentaflex in 1996 as a receptionist and is now our Senior Accounting Clerk.

We sat down with Debbie and asked her a few questions about her role at Pentaflex, what she would still like to learn more about in her role, and her advice for students who are interested in a career in manufacturing.

When did you start working at Pentaflex, Inc.?

April 8, 1996

Why did you decide to work at Pentaflex, Inc.?

After working for a local printing company for eleven years, I decided it was time to get a job with benefits to take care of my family.

Please share more about what a normal day looks like for you at Pentaflex, Inc.:

My day consists of processing invoices to our customers and from our suppliers along with managing the office.

What is your favorite part about working at Pentaflex, Inc.?

My favorite part is creating memories with my work family.

What is your favorite memory so far from working at Pentaflex, Inc.?

The Open House from a few years ago was one of my favorite memories, being able to meet everyone’s families.

What is one thing you’ve learned more about since working here?

The fact that Pentaflex does not judge anyone from their past and is willing to give you a chance to prove yourself.

What is one thing you would still like to learn more about?

Taxes!

If someone is thinking about a career in manufacturing, what advice would you give them?

Working in a manufacturing company offers numerous opportunities to grow within the company – I’m a witness!

Building the Future Together

Debbie is celebrating 25 years of being a part of the Pentaflex team this year! We are so thankful for her presence on our team and her dedication over the past 25 years, and are looking forward to the years to come! Pentaflex Inc. knows that our strength and determination comes from our team. We are thankful everyday for the men and women that allow us to provide the highest quality product and service to our customers.

Interested in getting to know the rest of the Pentaflex team? Give us a call to discuss your next project.

Team Member Spotlight: Mark McClain, Controller

With over 40 years of experience in manufacturing, one of the key components that sets Pentaflex Inc. apart from the rest is our people. Today, we would like to introduce you to Mark McClain, who is the Controller for Pentaflex, Inc. Mark started with Pentaflex 25 years ago as a junior accountant.

We sat down with Mark and asked him a few questions about his role at Pentaflex, what he would still like to learn more about in his role, and his advice for students who are interested in a career in manufacturing.

When did you start working at Pentaflex, Inc.?

April 29, 1996

Please share what a normal day looks like for you at Pentaflex, Inc.:

Verify banking transactions and reporting prior day’s activities to the bank. I also handle special reporting and closing transactions at the month’s end. My position also includes several other day to day costing functions.

What is your favorite part about working at Pentaflex, Inc.?

The people. The management team expects a fair work day but they also encourage family and time off. Very rarely have I felt great pressure to meet a deadline. More pressure was put on by myself than by management.

What is your favorite memory so far from working at Pentaflex, Inc.?

Various team building exercises at Mother Stewart’s or at the Blue Jacket Hockey Game. (Next will be my retirement party) What is one thing you’ve learned more about since working here? EDI Transaction Sets.

What is one thing you would still like to learn more about?

Bank NACHA files.

If someone is thinking about a career in manufacturing, what advice would you give them?

Be patient and listen to your boss. Expose yourself to the manufacturing environment. You will always learn something from the people on the floor that you did not realize.

Building the Future Together

Mark is celebrating 25 years at Pentaflex this year! We are thankful for his years of service and dedication to our team and our customers. Pentaflex Inc. knows that our strength and determination comes from our team. We are thankful everyday for the men and women that allow us to provide the highest quality product and service to our customers.

Interested in getting to know the rest of the Pentaflex team? Give us a call to discuss your next project.

Team Member Spotlight: Donnie Craig

With over 40 years of experience in manufacturing, one of the key components that sets Pentaflex Inc. apart from the rest is our people.

Today, we would like to introduce you to Donnie Craig, who is a part of our assembly team at Pentaflex Inc. We sat down with Donnie and asked him a few questions about his role at Pentaflex, what he would still like to learn more about in his role, and his advice for students who are interested in a career in manufacturing.

 

Q: When did you start working at Pentaflex Inc.?

A: I joined the team at Pentaflex Inc. on September 30, 1999.

 

Q: Why did you decide to work at Pentaflex Inc.?

A: I’m a creative person, and I like having the opportunity to work with my hands. To me, working at Pentaflex is just like a large art department. I’ve had the opportunity to create parts for thousands of different products over the years.

 

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Pentaflex Inc.?

A: I enjoy training new team members, helping them feel welcome and a part of our team.

 

Q: What is your favorite memory so far from working at Pentaflex Inc.?

A: When a fellow team member and I were chosen to give a tour of Pentaflex Inc. to students who were interested in a career in manufacturing.

 

Q: What is something you have learned more about since working here?

A: The design process of production, assembly, and shipping.

 

Q:What is one thing you would still like to learn more about?

A: I would like to learn how to use a welder and a plasma cutter to broaden my skill sets for the team and our customers.

 

Q: If someone is thinking about a career in manufacturing, what advice would you give them?

A: It would be wise to be patient, focused, and physically fit.

 

Building the Future Together

Pentaflex Inc. knows that our strength and determination comes from our team. We are thankful everyday for the men and women that allow us to provide the highest quality product and service to our customers. Interested in getting to know the rest of the Pentaflex team? Give us a call to discuss your next project.

Steel Shortage in the U.S. & Pentaflex Inc.’s Response

The current steel shortage in the United States is not a new situation to anyone in a supply chain that requires the iron alloy needed for countless production processes. With the plant closures of summer 2020 and COVID-19 outbreaks finally catching up to production schedules, it is almost impossible for suppliers to stay current.

And according to a research article from The Fabricator, we most likely have yet to see the peak of the inflated prices.

Image via https://www.thefabricator.com/thefabricator/blog/metalsmaterials/steel-prices-reach-levels-not-seen-since-2008

So while the current steel shortage is here with us for at least the first half of the year and will most likely bleed into Q3, we at Pentaflex Inc. refuse to sit back and wait for it all to be over. For our customers, our employees, and our community, we will continue to persevere through these difficult times. We sat down with Pentaflex Inc. President, Ross McGregor, to learn more about what Pentaflex is actively doing to mitigate the impact of this current crisis.

With the shortage of steel in the U.S., how is Pentaflex Inc. preparing their customers and employees if they cannot get a hold of the material needed for customers?

RM: Over years of reliable and quality products, the Pentaflex Inc. team has built strong and trustworthy relationships with our customers. Our best action moving forward will be to keep the customer engaged and aware of any shortage that might impact their production schedules. In some cases, we have even found that the customer has resources to help us locate steel on the spot market.

What is the current average waiting time for a customer to receive their order?

RM: At seventeen inventory turns per month, Pentaflex customers are receiving their orders as soon as they are processed and are ready to ship. Due to the steel shortages, we have seen the need to work with customers’ to adjust production schedules, but in these situations we work closely with the customer to prioritize their critical needs.

How is Pentaflex Inc. strategizing for the rest of 2021 given this current situation?

RM: We know the current disruption in the domestic steel market will not last forever. We continue to plan for the future knowing that raw material will begin to be more available yet this year. This is a temporary condition that has been brought on by the pandemic and the decisions that the domestic steel industry made last year. Nobody thought the recovery would start as soon, or be as strong as it has been.

Is there anything in particular that you would like to say to Pentaflex Inc. customers?

RM: In this current environment communication is critical. We will keep you apprised of the steel supply situation daily. Sometimes the news we share may not be what you want to hear, but we will always make sure you know exactly what the situation is so you can plan accordingly.

If you have any questions or concerns about the current steel shortage or about a specific project, please call us directly at 937-325-5551.

An End of the Year Statement from President of Pentaflex Inc., Ross McGregor

2020 In Review

As we close in on the end of 2020, many will be glad to put this year behind them. While we expected the cyclical downturn in the trucking industry and the Presidential election, nobody foresaw the arrival of Covid-19 and the impact it would have on every aspect of our personal and professional lives.

The Pentaflex team has reacted to the “new normal” in the era of Covid and overall have been able to operate with little disruption. Perhaps more than any other in the forty-eight-year history of our company have our employees pulled together to weather the storm, stabilize the organization and poise ourselves for growth in a single year.

While our sales revenue has been negatively impacted, that was to be expected with a 30% decline in our major industry, the heavy truck and trailer market. Pentaflex has been through these cyclical downturns before, so we know how to “batten down the hatches”and ride out the downturn.

Looking Ahead

In addition, Pentaflex has used this opportunity to re-focus our employees and make sure they have the necessary skills to be ready for the eventual return of the market. By concentrating on the basics with our production associates, we are helping them increase their competency in all aspects of the operations here at Pentaflex.

It is our goal to have empowered employees who know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. We feel that a person operates at their best when they have the knowledge and the ability to use that knowledge in performing their work.

In the new year, Pentaflex will make modest investments in capital expenditures to assist our employees to be as productive as possible. We are asking our associates to take charge and do what they know they need to do. It is our responsibility to make sure they have the tools to accomplish their jobs safely and efficiently.

2021 is showing promise of a recovering market and potential new opportunities in agricultural products, consumer packaging and our traditional heavy vehicle markets. Pentaflex is prepared to say goodbye to 2020 and welcome the new opportunities that 2021 will bring.

Pentaflex Inc. Leadership Team Member Interview: Jim Zerkle

With over 40 years of experience in manufacturing, one of the key components that sets Pentaflex Inc. apart from the rest is our people. Today, we would like to introduce you to Jim Zerkle, Vice President of Operations at Pentaflex Inc. We sat down with Jim and asked him a few questions about his role at Pentaflex, what leadership means to him, and where he sees manufacturing going in the years to come.

 

Q: As VP of Operations at Pentaflex Inc., what are your primary focuses?

A: My primary focus is to create a culture around effort and accuracy. These 2 items alone will drive OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) and throughput along with the already established safety culture.

 

Q: What first interested you about a career in manufacturing?

A: I feel that manufacturing offers so many opportunities in different areas including quality, operations and program management that guarantee you the chance to excel and learn the different processes that are needed to make products that are used every day.

 

Q: How long have you been a part of the Pentaflex Inc. team?

A: I joined the Pentaflex team in June of 2015.

 

Q: How long have you been in the manufacturing industry?

A: I started my manufacturing career in 1994 after doing a tour in our military.

 

Q: What is one piece of technology in the metalforming industry that excites you for the future?

A: The ability to be able to do quick die change overs in the press with heavy gage material dies to support higher throughput.

 

Q: What do you believe sets Pentaflex Inc. apart from the competition?

A: As a privately owned business, we are able to offer a higher respect and value for our individual employees. This allows us to give precedence to a healthy home life and work balance.

 

Q: What is the best piece of advice you ever received about leading a team?

A: Creating a culture that people want to be a part of. Also, don’t make a permanent decision based on a temporary situation.

 

Q: What would you say to a student who is interested in a career in manufacturing?

A: To ensure that they encompass all facets of manufacturing that is available to them. Learn to include the processing of the parts and also the different materials used including steel and plastics.

 

Q: How do you see your industry shifting in the coming years due to the implications of 2020 events?

A: Our industry is cyclical in nature, and I believe the industry will have a strong recovery as we journey through the current issues of 2020. I would like to see more of the next generation to consider the many opportunities that manufacturing has to offer in forms of a long lasting career.

 

Interested in getting to know the rest of the Pentaflex team? Give us a call to discuss your next project.

A New Chapter for Pentaflex, Inc.

The entire Pentaflex team is excited to announce that as of October 1, 2020, Ross McGregor will be succeeding David Arndt as President.

Leaving a Legacy

Mr. Arndt has served Pentaflex well since 2012, and will be moving onto a new chapter in his retirement. With over fifty-two years in the metal forming industry, we are thankful for his guidance and leadership over the past eight years. During his career, Mr. Arndt served as the Chairman of the Precision Metal forming Association (PMA) and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Heavy Duty Manufactures Association (HDMA). 

“Having announced my retirement, I am happy to support the management change installing Ross McGregor, son of the Pentaflex founder, to the President position.”  Mr. Arndt said, “It has been my honor and privilege to serve Pentaflex, our shareholders, and customers for the past 8 years.”

A New Chapter

Over the past thirty three years, Ross McGregor has worked in a variety of management positions at Pentaflex including purchasing, sales and production management. His most recent position at Pentaflex was as Vice President of Operations.  

He also serves as a member of the Company’ Board of Directors. In addition to his duties at Pentaflex, McGregor is active in numerous state and local organizations, charities and initiatives.

Mr. McGregor was also a State legislator in the Ohio House of Representatives for five terms before being term limited. 

Mr. McGregor stated, “I am excited to be named the next President of Pentaflex, Inc. and want to thank the Board for the confidence they have placed in me to lead the company.”

Additionally McGregor states, “The entire Pentaflex family would like to thank Dave for his capable leadership of the company over these past eight years.  Dave has represented Pentaflex exceptionally well with our customers, suppliers and our Industry.”

Vision for the Future

We sat down with Mr. McGregor and asked a few questions about his plans for Pentaflex as we move into a new era.

Q: What are you most excited about for Pentaflex’s future in 2021 and beyond?

As we adjust to the “new normal” as dictated by the pandemic, I am looking forward to leading our dynamic team of people as we continue to provide exceptional service to our long standing customers and pursue exciting new opportunities for our company. While the heavy truck market continues to be our primary industry, we are excited to branch out into emerging markets such as electric vehicles and solar power generation as new industries to serve.

Q: What do you believe are the most important qualities in a leader in the modern world?

I believe the qualities of good leadership are timeless. In my mind an effective leader needs to be present in time and place, while also being aware of their surrounding and future environments.  An effective leader should have a complete stock of their personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of their team, and utilize those strengths accordingly.  An effective leader needs to listen more than talk, but be decisive when called upon.

Q: How do you see manufacturing in the US shifting in the current economic climate?

I believe that automation will continue to play a greater role in manufacturing as the challenge to find dedicated employees continues.  Continuing education and training throughout the organization will be essential to compete in the modern industrial world.

As always, Pentaflex will continue to be a reliable partner for our customers, or employees, and our community. If you would like to contact Pentaflex about your next project, please call us at 937-325-5551.

How to Lead Well in a Time of Uncertainty

It is probably safe to say that the last nine months have not been even remotely what we all expected for 2020. With an influx of information, conversations, and questions, it can seem near impossible to lead your team well through the turbulence that this year has been.

At Pentaflex, we understand that a strong company comes from the people within that company that move us forward each and every day to a better tomorrow. While we are far from perfect, our team practices as many recommended management styles to help lead our team through the normal days, and the unpredictable days as well. Here are three ways to manage your team well through a time of uncertainty.

Manage Your Own Stress Levels

There is an old parable about a man who notices that his friend has a splinter in his eye. He yells out to the friend, “Do you know you have a splinter in your eye?” and he tries to help him get it out. However, the man was so focused on the splinter in his friend’s eye that he failed to notice the stick in his own eye. This made it impossible for him to help his friend with the splinter until he first dealt with the stick in his own eye.

Managing in any season of life, but particularly during an extremely difficult period of time like 2020, can end up feeling a lot like the parable.

Leaders can be so focused on checking in on their team, making sure everyone is on task, and helping others, that they let their own personal and professional lives fall to the wayside.

On one end, this can be seen as an extremely admirable trait for a leader to possess: they are so focused on the team they are managing that they are willing to sacrifice their own needs.

But, this is not sustainable. We are all human, and eventually, even the most amazing leader must address the stick in their own eye, or they will not be able to help their team member with the splinter.

So, leaders: this is your wakeup call. Take five minutes and check your own eye for a stick. Ask yourself these questions, and then act on the answers:

  • Is there turbulence at home because you have been focusing too much on your job and have neglected a healthy work-life balance?
    • What is one thing you can do to start to even out the scales again?
  • Are you delegating to your team, or are you hoarding tasks that they are more than capable to accomplish?
    • What is one item on your list that you can give to a team member today?
  • Have you had any water today?
    • This last one might seem so simple, but can have a huge impact. You have to take the time to give yourself a break. Drinking plenty of water, eating lunch, and looking away from your screen for just five minutes each hour are very little ways that you can impact your overall health for the better.

Increase Communication Opportunities

Communication for a lot of teams in 2020 has shifted dramatically. You might find yourself emailing, video chatting, texting, or talking on the phone more than you ever thought possible. You might also find yourself extremely worn out from the daily asks from your team: “When will we be going back to the office?” “Are we bringing any team members back soon?” and “What will next year look like?” are all questions that almost every company has been asking in the last few months.

While it is not possible (or recommended) to bring every single team member into each conversation about the future plans for the company, creating a regularly scheduled update for team members is a great way to create a consistent opportunity for communication.

Try implementing a weekly email, text, or 15 minute huddle with your team each week updating them on the state of the company. Even if there is nothing to report, it is better for them to hear from you regularly than to be left hanging. This regularly scheduled time will also hopefully decrease the chances of you being blindsided in the hallway or over the phone with one of those big questions that you don’t know how to answer on the spot.

Before the meeting, give team members an opportunity to send in any questions or thoughts they might have beforehand so that you can read them over and be prepared to speak directly to your team’s concerns.

If you’re worried about forgetting to send out that email every Friday, try writing the email on Wednesday or Thursday, and then just schedule in advance to go out to the team on Friday morning.

By giving the opportunity for conversation, you will build up trust with your team, increase communication, and create more opportunities for problem solving and innovation.

Balance Pessimism and Optimism

This last recommendation will look different for each leader and their respective personalities. If you’ve been in the game awhile, you have probably experienced each of these types of managers:

  • The manager that only focuses on the positive opportunities and likes to keep things airy and cheerful OR
  • The manager that only focuses on the negative consequences and likes to always point out flaws or issues in the system.

During any time, but particularly in a time of uncertainty, it is paramount that you learn to balance your pessimistic and optimistic thinking patterns. As a manager, it is your responsibility to be as realistic with expectations and relaying information as possible.

Human beings have the amazing ability to recognize a fraud from a mile away. So, if you try to spin information to be unrealistically optimistic, your team will know you are hiding something. On the other hand, if you only focus on the negative aspects of news, over time, your team will start to ignore the information, since they know they will only walk away from the conversation feeling defeated.

If you know you have the tendency to spin information either too positive or negative, try asking a fellow coworker to help you think through an announcement or team update before you share it with the team. Try to find a coworker who thinks opposite of you, so that you can help to balance each other out. For example, if you tend to lean to the glass half empty, try to find someone who regularly thinks the glass is half full.

At the end of the day, your goal should be to share information as straightforward as possible with your team. You can still be encouraging and uplifting, but be sure that it does not cloud the facts that you are trying to convey to your team.

While we are all experiencing an unprecedented time in 2020, we will get through this together if we learn to manage our stress, keep up communication, and keep a level head with ourselves and our team.

If you would like to speak more in-depth about the management styles practiced at Pentaflex that set our team up for success, contact us today.

Four Resources for Agriculture in 2020 and Beyond

Four Resources for Agriculture in 2020 and Beyond

It is no secret that the events of 2020 have drastically impacted every single industry – and agriculture is no exception. As companies and individuals have moved past the initial shock of changes, moving forward, it is important to still take advantage of various opportunities to connect with others in your industry and beyond. 

And since more than half of the agriculture operations in the U.S. are represented by small to medium-sized farms, it is essential that the agricultural community band together to learn, grow, and make it through these tough times.

Below, we have compiled four key resources for agricultural professionals to strengthen their Professional Relationships, Technology Education, Creativity, and Supply Chain.

Virtual Farm Science Review – Strengthening Your Professional Relationships

2020 FSR Banner_v1

https://fsr.osu.edu/

For almost 60 years, the annual Farm Science Review has brought together nearly 100,000 individuals from every facet of the agriculture industry. While this will be the first time in the event’s history that it will be held online, we are confident that the presentations and conversations will still be fruitful for the attendees. 

This free virtual event will take place from September 22 – 24 and will highlight industry expert interviews, COVID-19 safety protocol presentations, budding technology presentations, and more. 

The review is still being planned at this point, but attendees can check back to their website often to see the building lineup of educational opportunities.

You can learn more about virtually attending the review here.

Follow them on Facebook here.

 

Agriculture Technology Podcast – Strengthening Your Technology Education

blogpodcast_combine-tech_july20

https://www.rdoequipment.com/more/resources/podcasts

The Agriculture Technology Podcast is hosted by Tony Kramer with RDO Equipment. On this podcast, Tony regularly discusses technological advancements in the agriculture industry along with interviewing key thought leaders throughout different segments of the industry as well. Some topics of the podcast include advances in combine technology, various terrain advantages, irrigation, and more.

You can listen to the podcast on PodBean here.

You can watch and listen to the podcasts on YouTube here.

 

Millennial Farmer – Strengthening Your Creativity 

https://www.youtube.com/c/MNMillennialFarmer/featured

Zach Johnson is a 5th generation farmer from Minnesota. On his channel, he focuses on agriculture education for current farmers and the next generation, sharing what he has learned over the years, and exploring other farmers’ operations. This channel is a great resource for students that are interested in seeing more about the day-to-day operations of a small to mid-sized farmer in the U.S., or for other farmers who are interested in broadening their education and learning from their peers.

You can visit the Millennial Farmer’s website here.

You can visit the Millennial Farmer’s YouTube channel here.

 

Pentaflex, Inc. – Strengthening Your Supply Chain

http://pentaflex.com/

One of the most impactful results of the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing to light the fragility of many U.S. supply chains. Whether your organization was sourcing from other countries or from only one organization that unfortunately had to temporarily or permanently close their doors, many buyers are scrambling to find reliable and resourceful manufacturers to get them through these times. 

At Pentaflex, we have the flexibility, knowledge, and problem solving abilities to take on a wide range of metal component fabrication for the agricultural industry’s equipment needs. With our design for manufacturing and prototyping services, you can put your confidence in the Pentaflex team to work through any problem and find the best solution for your metal stamping components. 

If you are looking for reliability, contact us today to start the conversation.