January 2020 Peer Networking Takeaways

To kick off the new year, MAPP members engaged in three different Peer Networking webinars. These are one-hour phone calls that bring together individuals in similar job functions to discuss the challenges they are facing and hear best practices and solutions from there peers. January's Peer Networking topics included engineering, human resources and senior leaders. Join the next round of Peer Networking by registering the MAPP event page. Below are some of the highlights and takeaways from this month's discussion.

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Engineering Peer Networking
  • How are others in the industry adapting to tight tolerances and qualifying jobs with critical dimensions?
    • One company says that with 3D scanning, you can scan boxes to get standard deviations faster. Another company tries to request opening up tolerance with customers sometimes, but it doesn’t always work and you have to use your best judgment. One company has recently used Sigmasoft software, and DOE functionality, to look at processability, then when it is predicted to be stable, that’s how we cut the tool.
  • What software is used for quoting/tracking RFQ process, RFQ lead time reductions? If so, what indicators did you use and how did you reduce the lead time? 
    • One company has two different build requests when they go for a quote and track it on the business development side. The target is 2-4 days, and they use Salesforce. Another company has 1-2 weeks lead times for both domestic and international due to the complexity of parts. They trach using excel and other internal systems.
  • What does the handoff to production look like for you? How accurate do you try to get your cycle time estimate to be?
    • On cycle times, one company has +/- 25%, and when they hand it off, they make sure the production team can do runs on their own before leaving it. Another company uses mold flow to get a good start before handing off to the engineering manager, lots of tools are sampled before they come to the shop. A third company got Moldex 3D, you can export process simulation right into an RJG E-dart, cycle time is critical, within 2 or 3 seconds.
  • How often should molding issues not experienced during lengthy validations show up in production?
    • A medical molder has challenges after validations, so they share inspection data from nominal high and low challenges in order to show them and the customer what parts may look like compared to material with viscosity change.
    • A different company says “we have robust trials, try to mimic viscosity change, if you try to assume the machine will be exact same every time. Make sure you have the same feed type. We didn’t lock down until we noticed changes. Especially if it is a medical customer.” A third company uses RJG to get to a D3 process and doesn’t have to worry about viscosity shifts.
  •  For processing issues, how are responsibilities typically handled between the production floor (processors) and the engineering team?
    • ​​​​​​​When we run multiple simulations, when we go to the mold shop we run the E-dart process, when we get the tool, we put it exactly on the same E-dart system so no one can touch it. Usually, if we had problems it is because someone on the floor adjusted it.
    • Another company created a defects library of common fixes and causes, and expect techs to correct things as needed. This way engineering is not the first line of defense, if it is not in the library, they can go get the engineers.

Human Resources Peer Networking
  • What percentage of medical/dental/vision is paid by employees? What do companies spend on benefits per employee?
    • One company pays 25% of employee-only plans. $1 a week for children, more for family. 100% for vision.
    • Another company pays 75% of premiums for employees and dependents, helps set up an HSA, pays 50% of dental, nothing for vision, and 100% of a $25K life insurance policy.
    • A third company pays for a medical plan by monthly lump sums that varies for employee-only vs spouse and children plans, nothing for dental and vision, and the organization revises every year.
  • How are organizations scheduling computer-based training for production workers?  Are employees given time weekly, monthly, etc?
    • ​​​​​​​One company uses Paulson (a MAPP sponsor) and focuses on a different topic each month. They leave the scheduling of training up to the shift managers and creates an annual schedule so all of the managers know the focus each month.
    • Another company uses a payroll system (Paycomm) as a learning management system. Their employees can go on their phone and use an app for training, signing docs, etc. They also have terminals at the facility and encourage the employees to do this training during work, having the shift manager schedule time. 
  • Does anyone have great ideas for new employee orientation?
    • Several companies are incorporating videos, including custom-made videos, either using someone in-house to film or having a local company help create the videos.
    • One company uses a sort of buddy system where the new employee is with someone throughout the day but broken into various steps so they can interact with different people.
  • Is anyone separating personal development plans for performance reviews? If so what are some best practices?
    • One organization reports that they help generate 3-5 year development plans based on the goals of the individual. For example, they have a new hire with a marketing background, who is not currently helping in the marketing department, but they generated a development plan to allow him to eventually move into that function.
    • They realized they had some people that were operators for 10+ years, and they wanted to create a way for these long-term employees to continuously grow and benefit. From this, they started creating personal development plans based on their goals instead of just performance reviews or bonuses.
    • Another company sets up one-on-ones with managers to establish goals and a plan to get there. They meet regularly with their manager to keep them on track with what they are trying to acheive. Some need more coaching or training, and each situation is unique and addressed differently based on the individual.
    • A third company has structured its performance reviews to include making a plan for improvement that includes a training matrix. They asked them what areas they do well in and where they need to improve. From there, we encourage and setup specific training or coaching and create a path for that person. 

Senior Leaders Peer Networking
  • What are people doing for reporting/analytics from sales groups?  Does the senior leader analyze and compile, someone in sales? Internal sales director and an account manager. Do those within the process do the analytics?
    • One company has a sales director, 2X account managers, customer-facing engineers and a marketing analyst. These individuals are responsible for tracking the health of the pipeline every quarter.
    • Another company has one "hunter", one "farmer", and one sales engineer. They use Vive for marketing, and track total quotes by customer, the amount quoted and amount won. The review of these KPIs are part of the monthly operations review. The VP of sales is responsible for compiling, tracking and sharing this with the management team during these meetings.
    • A third company has a sales manager and a few reps that track performance. The general manager reviews sales performance data every month. The company uses gain sharing so all employees are aware of the sales performance.
    • A fourth company reviews actual run rates using Tableau software from multiple software platforms.
  • What best practices are being used for Supervisor training? We do 2 shutdowns per year for maintenance. We dedicate a day to supervisor training. 1 session per quarter on Saturdays for 4-hours. 
    • ​​​​​​​One company reports that they have monthly focused lunch and learns. Each session is focused around a key leadership skill, emotional intelligence or a company core value. For instance, they recently conducted a lunch and learn session on trust and holding people accountable. They run two shifts, so they ask that the second shift come in early to engage in the training as well. The true supervisor training is conducted during an off-site, using outside experts. They have been able to utilize some government grants to help fund the training.
    • Another president reports they have weekly supervisor meetings with all shifts. Mid-level management has all gone through servant leadership training. Two books they have used and given to help supervisors include QBQ and Flipping the Switch. These meetings are conducted on Monday afternoon at 3:00pm and all supervisors in the organization are present.
    • Another CEO reports that they used Management Resource Associates (local consulting firm) and they engage in one day of training each week for five weeks. They focus on Servant Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, and recommends everyone review the 1 Minute Manager Book.
  • Succession Planning for Key Positions - how to be effective in a small organization.  Some positions are not backed up creating some voids in case the bus hits.
    • ​​​​​​​ One company uses the training being supplied through Dale Carnegie to help people think about the bigger picture.
    • Another company uses lateral planning, training managers in different responsibilities. For instance, their director of sales is being trained across the different disciplines. He may be asked to breakdown the finances of a program to help him develop skills around financial decision making.
    • A third company works with each employee on their personal development plans and identifies skills their people may have in case they need to fill a voice. They engaged with MBS when they were in a time crunch.
  • How much time is a CEO devoting to sales and marketing?
    • The amount of time reported varies from less than 10 percent to 75 percent. Below are the reported answers:
      • 50-75% of time.
      • Less than 10%
      • 20% in marketing –10% on coaching sales team.
      • Need to spend more. Less than 10% now.
      • (Jack Daly Reference) 10-15%
      • 20% with respect to all the sales related responsibilities. Work on our cadence, escalation and decision making, extension of relationships.
      • 35% on Sales and Marketing 40% M&A, 20% Ops, 5% goofing off.
      • 40% of time

Peer Networking occurs every 6-8 weeks. Find the next round of Peer Networking Calls on the MAPP event page. There is no cost for MAPP members to attend.