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.

pentaflex-affilations-strengthen-companies

Affiliations Strengthen a Company

The organizations a company chooses to affiliate with says a lot about the leadership, vision, and direction of the organization. At Pentaflex, we have strategically grown our partnerships with various organizations across the country to connect with other manufacturers, stay up to date on the latest in our industry, and create the most opportunities for our team members to provide the highest level of service to our customers. 

Through the past few unpredictable months, the associations listed below have been invaluable to Pentaflex and other member companies in navigating our work environments and how we move forward in these unprecedented times. It is times like these that truly show the measure of an organization, and each of these have proven themselves to be solid and sustainable resources for Pentaflex and other member companies.

Learn more about our affiliations below:

 

Precision Metalforming Association

Website: https://www.pma.org/home/

Mission: Our mission is to shape the environment of the metalforming industry, leading innovative member companies toward superior competitiveness and profitability.

About the Organization: PMA was founded in 1913 when a handful of metal stamping companies saw the need to combine their efforts and work together for the betterment of the industry as a whole. Today, members of the PMA help one another by offering education, networking, and other opportunities for companies to plan and save accordingly.

 

By visiting their website, you can see the many different educational opportunities that PMA offers to their members and non-members. They are also a thought leader in advocating for manufacturers at the state and federal level.

 

National Association of Manufacturers

Website: https://www.nam.org/

Mission: Our work is centered around four values that make our industry strong and America exceptional: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.

About the Organization: NAM was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1895 to support the men and women of America working in manufacturing. Since that time, NAM has continued their efforts in combining forces with companies across the states to create efficient and stable opportunities and policies. According to their website, “Today, the NAM is still innovating and disrupting an ever-changing national landscape in order to build our industry, create progress and advance the values that make our nation exceptional: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.”

 

The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association

Website: https://www.ohiomfg.com/

Mission: To protect and grow Ohio manufacturing.

About the Organization: The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association exists to help connect manufacturers in our state, share opportunities, and protect our manufacturing jobs and resources. Through receiving their funding directly from the companies that are a part of the organization, the organization ensures that our voices are heard. They are also a fantastic resource for Ohio manufacturers to stay up to date on all the latest procedures and policies.

 

Dayton Regional Manufacturers Association

Website: https://www.daytonrma.org/

Mission: Dayton Regional Manufacturers Association (DRMA) is the voice of manufacturing in the Greater Dayton Region.  We promote business success through peer-to-peer connectivity, career awareness, advocacy, education, economic development, and sharing best practices.

About the Organization: DRMA comprises nearly 200 manufacturers and 150 suppliers in Dayton, Ohio and the surrounding areas. Through connecting these manufacturers, we are able to join conversations about innovation, policies, and procedures that take Ohio manufacturing to the next level for our customers. By bringing together a diverse group of industries and company sizes, we are able to brainstorm and collaborate for the betterment of our companies and our communities.

 

Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

Website: https://www.greaterspringfield.com/

Mission: The mission of The Chamber of Greater Springfield is to advance important economic and workforce development opportunities, to promote ideas that will make our region more progressive, and to help our members grow by connecting them with each other and the broader community.

About the Organization: The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce does an excellent job connecting and collaborating with the companies, organizations, and communities that make up our city. Through various events, initiatives, and dedication to see our city grow and thrive, our chamber will do whatever it takes to create a strong and innovative future for Springfield. 

 

Heavy Duty Manufacturing Association

Website: https://www.hdma.org/

Mission: Heavy Duty Manufacturing Association (HDMA)’s mission is to advance the commercial vehicle supplier industry and the business interests of our members.

About the Organization: Through bringing a diverse range of suppliers and manufacturers together into the same room, HDMA is able to foster innovative conversations to move our industries forward into the future of manufacturing. According to their website, “HDMA serves its 220+ commercial vehicle component-supplier members through government and industry advocacy, timely news and information, market research and analysis, promotion of the North American manufacturer/supplier industry and facilitating industry networking through a range of events, peer councils and services.”

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?