Plastics and Rubber Manufacturing

Arm your business to operate profitably no matter what the industry demands.
Plastics manufacturers and rubber products makers face pressure to produce with higher quality, efficiency, on-time delivery, pricing, and cost control. Ever-growing customer demand and global competition forces plastic and rubber parts and products manufacturers to increase flexibility and profitability.

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Toward Zero helps you meet industry pressures and performance improvement objectives head on , so that your business can grow profits.

Plastics and rubber manufacturing are intensely complex markets:

  • Volatile raw material availability and costs
  • Growing customer demand for quantity and variety
  • Thin margins
  • Pressure for higher quality and value-added services accelerating
  • Fierce competition, locally and globally
  • Customer price sensitivity
  • Always-increasing customer requirements and complexity

Modern processes, techniques, and technologies can help your organization win despite the pressure.

As you look for new opportunities to grow revenue and maintain healthy margins, digitally-powered initiatives like operational excellence, continuous improvement, and Lean keep your business strong. Even if the organization is eager for modernization, it might not know where to get started or how to make the gains sustainable.

Overcome complex pressures common for plastics manufacturing and rubber manufacturing.

Toward Zero helps you set priorities for processes, culture, and technology so you can overcome the complex pressures and obstacles so common in plastics and rubber manufacturing today:

  • Ensure your business is flexible and profitable while delivering on customer service
  • Get high-quality products to your customers on time and without compromising operational efficiency or margins
  • Uncover and act on performance opportunities and ensure gains are sustainable
  • Use continuous improvement, metrics, and analytics on the shop floor and in business processes to achieve operational efficiency
  • Establish processes and systems to capture and apply tribal knowledge from retiring workforce
  • Help you choose the right technologies to serve the business while attracting younger, digitally savvy workers
  • Recommend the right mix of technologies so you ensure customer service, increase flexibility, and grow margins
  • Juggle complex and operations along with fast-changing order variations
  • Reduce waste in production and processes
  • Reduce downtime, increase OEE, and achieve optimal production scheduling
  • Achieve regulatory compliance and meet industry standards without eroding operational performance or margins
  • Eliminate data gaps across legacy “vintage” machines

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Services and solutions that fit your business today and meet your needs as they evolve.

Every plastics or rubber manufacturing company has a unique mix of operating environment, industry concerns, and customer requirements. Toward Zero helps you increase revenue and profitability in a way that’s right for your business.

Injection molding, thermal forming, extrusion, materials manufacturing, and tool and die manufacturing have vastly different processes, pressures, resources, and capabilities. What they all have in common is the desire to use operations as a way to improve the bottom line. However, the path to operations performance is unique for every single organization.

CNC Machining

Smaller but more complex and varied lot sizes, demand for greater precision, and quality pressures, make running a CNC operation more challenging than ever before. These factors may mean intricate engineering and re-engineering of parts, process variation for alternate materials, and premature tool wear or failure. The result can be bottlenecks and a less-than-efficient operation that affects on-time delivery, overtime, re-work and other operational metrics. High-precision contract manufacturing means that plastics companies with CNC machining processes don't have the luxury of time to dial up performance during job runs.  Instead, they must focus on establishing a repeatable general process so they can quickly and efficiently switch between contract jobs.

Injection Molding, Thermal Forming, and Blow Molding

Injection molding, thermal forming, and blow molding companies operate across a wide variety of industries: packaging, consumer products, electronics, automotive, aerospace, building and construction, and others.  Depending on which sector your organization serves, you may have strict quality and compliance requirements, product demand pressures, or both.  Your goal is to maximize every efficiency and quality opportunity to manufacture and deliver highest quality products as quickly as possible.

Extrusion

Tight margins drive extrusion manufacturers to increase productivity, reduce cost, improve performance and maximize profit.  Uptime, waste, yield, and raw materials optimization are what matter most.  By aligning processes, equipment, and culture they can optimize performance and sustain improvement gains.

Materials Manufacturing

The wide variety of uses of plastics as a preferred material for parts and products across construction, automotive, packaging, and consumer products means that resin manufacturers must satisfy a vast variety of requirements.  Material variation can affect end-product quality, defects, and production errors.  Your production processes have a significant impact on quality, and can affect acceptance of entire lots of product.  Materials manufacturers that want to meet timing and quality requirements rely on operational performance initiatives to stay ahead of the competition.

Tool and Die Manufacturing

Despite inexpensive and efficient processes, tool and die companies face complex challenges in today’s market. Digitalization, rapidly retiring workforce, shifting market and customer requirements, and heavy utility consumption are common concerns among tool and die manufacturing companies. Add in raw materials price pressures and tool and die companies are eager to capitalize on modernization and operations performance improvements.

Meet the Toward Zero Plastics and Rubber Manufacturing Experts

Steve Smith

Steve Smith

Senior Vice President

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Steve Smith

Steve Smith

Senior Vice President

» BIO AND CONTACT

As a business process optimization and change management executive, Steve Smith has excelled in both corporate leadership and consulting roles within multiple industries, including food and beverage, medical device, pharmaceutical and aerospace industries. Since 2016, Steve has served Toward Zero as Senior Vice President, driving significant and sustainable increases in operational efficiencies and productivity. Especially skilled at building buy-in and support for process improvement and change initiatives, Steve creates a team atmosphere that engages all stakeholders.

Pat Hatem

Pat Hatem

Vice President, Advisory Services

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Pat Hatem

Pat Hatem

Vice President, Advisory Services

» BIO AND CONTACT

For over 30 years, Pat Hatem has been a change agent helping companies apply continuous improvement.  Throughout her career, she has inspired and motivated teams to align culture, processes, and technology, and achieve business results through operational excellence.  Her particular expertise spans business process, supply chain, strategy, MOM/MES, ERP, and quality, and she has deep manufacturing experience in consumer goods, chemical, and plastics.

Pat has held strategic and leadership roles in operations, supply chain, purchasing, strategy, process improvement, project management, process engineering, research and development, and environmental for prominent industrial organizations that span CarbonLite, Bemis Manufacturing, Diversey (formerly a division of SC Johnson), SC Johnson, The Dial Corporation, Abbott Laboratories, and Olin Corporation.  Pat is a Six Sigma Black Belt and a Lean Leader; she earned a BS Cum Laude in chemical engineering from Missouri University of Science & Technology.

Kim Burndred

Kim Burndred

Director of Machine Connectivity

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Kim Burndred

Kim Burndred

Director of Machine Connectivity

» BIO AND CONTACT

Kim Burndred has nearly 40 years' experience in the industrial sector specializing in manufacturing systems and related engineering. Currently, he is the Director of Machine Connectivity with Toward Zero. In that role, he collaborates with industrial companies to conduct machine audits, determine machine "connectability," assess machine connection states, and capture all relevant machine information throughout the plant and enterprise. Through these efforts, he helps the manufacturing enterprise establish the data backbone for MES, Smart Manufacturing, Industry 4.0, IIoT, and other manufacturing systems and technologies. Prior to Toward Zero, Kim was a Senior Business Consultant with FORCAM US, where he served as an expert in manufacturing productivity and manufacturing execution systems (MES) implementation, integration, rollout, training, and adoption. Before his time with FORCAM, Kim dedicated more than three decades of his career to systems engineering, developing performance and automation solutions for manufacturing organizations. Kim spent his early career as a Manufacturing Manager with ABB, where he was responsible for all operations activities throughout a production facility, including production, engineering, and procurement. Kim's engineering passions don't stop at the end of the workday; he and his wife are passionate about advancing high school students' knowledge and capabilities in robotics and automation. To that end, in 2017 they founded Starship Robotics, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to mentoring teens in robotics competitions.

Explore more for metals manufacturing and fabricated metal products:

Which OEE solution is right for your company?

OEE isn’t dead – in fact, it’s one of many important stepping stones toward Industry 4.0 and digitalization.

Even if your company has older equipment, you can put an OEE system to work for your business.  We can help you connect and feed an OEE system:

  • Connect older machines and equipment for monitoring and analytics
  • Make data and analytics intuitive and accessible to all the right people when they need it most
  • Help your skilled labor to focus on production, not technology
  • Evaluate production and business processes to determine the value of investments

Use our self-assessment questionnaire to capture your requirements, and we’ll provide you a list of up to five OEE software vendors that are right for your unique situation. It’s a fast, easy way to narrow down which solutions might be right for you.

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