Page 41 - MetalForming June 2019
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 Metal Former Stays Strong With Aid
 living. Both of us attend roundtables with local and state politicians to discuss workforce challenges and we’re involved with Conexus Indiana, a company that accelerates, promotes and grows the state’s advanced manufacturing and logistics economy. We continue our part- nership with educational institutions at the high school and post-secondary level in developing curriculum that we feel necessary for filling the gap in the manufacturing environment.”
Beyond all that, in order to secure GLTAAC funding, companies have to be willing to document like crazy, says Susan. “The application process,” she explains, “required two to three weeks of intensive data mining by many of our team members and paperwork to show business lost to Mexico and dif- ficulty in finding labor to compete. Then, during the interview process with GLTAAC officials, together we identified our weaknesses and oppor- tunities for growth.” This led to the identification of the six previously men- tioned categories on which the funds were spent.
“We now have a structured operating philosophy aligned with department goals, the result of working with KSM Consulting, an Indianapolis-based firm,” says Todd. “It was time for another ‘pair of eyes’ to look at what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.” TAAF funding paid for 50 percent of KSM’s services.
“These efforts led to development of our A.C.T. (Associates—Customers —Tomorrow) operating system,” Todd continues, summarizing: “1. We can accomplish nothing without our valu- able associates as our goal is to succeed together. 2. We would not exist without our customers; we will strengthen our efforts to earn and keep their trust. 3. We must look to the future—tomor- row’s products, tomorrow’s technolo- gies, tomorrow’s manufacturing processes, tomorrow’s training.”
Further, lean manufacturing has taken hold at Mursix with its Gold Cell Concept of workcells, standardized tooling and a value-stream mapping system. “It wasn’t that we weren’t uti- lizing lean, we just weren’t using the
tool box correctly,” says Todd. “One standout accomplishment from these lean efforts, a 30-percent reduction in setup hours, is the result of standardi- zation of tooling, associate training, investment in capital equipment and a change in the culture that includes more interactive communications (for- mal and informal meetings) on the plant floor about these goals.
“We’ve stepped up our leadership- development, sales-process and employ- ee-training efforts,” Todd continues. “Our focus on employees is greater than ever because everything we do— identifying new markets, leadership development, lean, etc.—all of it impacts our employees.”
Looking Ahead
Having grown at a 4-percent-plus clip in 2018, Mursix’s strategic growth plan calls for double-digit growth in 2019.
“Growth will depend on market diversification and our ability to rec- ognize new opportunities not only in automotive,” says Todd, “but in fast- growing markets such as medical, where we’re seeing a lot of opportunity for parts destined for mobility-assist devices, such as electric scooters, and components for automotive inverters for hybrid and electric vehicles.”
Another important factor: the com- pany’s ability to offset lost business to Mexico and other global markets, says Todd, noting “continued investment in automated systems, robotics and PLC controls, allowing us to seize business that otherwise would go elsewhere.”
And, of course, let’s not forget the associates. Not only does Mursix rec- ognize the need for sound mind and morale through its improved training and communications efforts, it goes out of its way to ensure sound body as well, offering associates onsite access to a health and wellness coach, and a well-equipped onsite fitness center. An emphasis on wellness and healthy choices has resulted in a loss ratio that favors the company by $750,000. “The return on investment has paid off in our favor, with our insurance company locking in our rates and considering a
Mursix’s many awards recognize the company for its achievements in overall business, wellness and industry education.
potential refund based on our success,” says Todd.
Then there’s the happy-family/ happy-employee factor. Mursix not only offers tuition assistance to $2000, it offers the same in the form of two annual scholarships for children of employees, depending on the teen’s GPA, essay and how long the parent has worked for Mursix.
In addition to associate training and improved communications, the Mursix apprenticeship program, a 3-yr./6000- hr. commitment now in its third year, graduated its first apprentice in January and has three more that will graduate in 2021. All are described by Susan and Todd as ambitious high school gradu- ates who have worked elsewhere for one year or more and passed skills- assessments, including written essays to help assess their characters. Moving forward, the goal is to have at least one apprenticeship candidate added annu- ally to assist in filling the skills gap.
“One thing, though,” says Susan with a smile, “all of the apprentices so far are males. We’re working to change that.” MF
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