Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) can be an effective strategy for companies looking for cost savings and a more stable supply chain. In this post, we will outline the benefits of VMI as well as the services that CGR Products provides with these programs.
What is VMI?
VMI is a program where the supplier manages your inventory for you. These programs helped make some of the largest retailers the giants they are today. After seeing these successes, manufacturing caught on as a way to move toward lean practices and to become a demand-driven supply chain.
With traditional purchasing and stocking methods, sales are predicted and inventory is ordered based on the forecast. This method comes with risks of buying too much or too little. In the event of too little inventory, a risk may be present if the supplier cannot meet the higher than expected demand and lost sales may occur. Too much inventory will tie up money and can cause warehousing (cashflow) issues.
With VMI, the goal is for the customer to only buy what they are moving. Using VMI requires a very close relationship between the customer and the supplier. Using technology to maintain constant contact between both parties, the customer can purchase in smaller batches and avoid emergency orders. Using this data allows both parties to work off of much more accurate forecasts.
CGR Products & VMI
CGR Products has been providing VMI services to our customers for many years. Based on great relationships and communications with our customers, we keep properly maintained inventories based on actual usages and forecasts. Our VMI programs give us more control so we can manage raw materials and be more efficient.
CGR Products can offer many different configurations of VMI. Working with our customers to find the VMI system that works best for them is the key.
One common aspect of the program is a bin system that is serviced by our own delivery driver. Highlights of this system are:
Bins are set up at the customers’ location where they are physically needed.
The driver counts the inventory on hand.
Determines the appropriate re-order quantity based on recent usage and predetermined stocking levels.
Enters the quantity consumed and the quantity to be re-ordered.
Electronically scans the provided barcode label on each bin to assure accurate capturing of the item details.
Orders are electronically transmitted directly into CGR’s manufacturing system via our proprietary inventory technology.
On the next visit, stock is rotated, new stock is scanned into inventory, and the bins are refilled to the acceptable level.
VMI runs on a revolving weekly schedule, with deliveries occurring once per week or multiple times per week depending on customer requirements.
Other Programs CGR Products currently works with include EDI and Portals. CGR Products works directly within customer portals to maintain inventory and execute orders. Orders are electronically placed directly into our manufacturing system from the portal. These types of systems allow for more accurate order fulfillment with fewer errors and often include electronic shipping notices, invoicing, and payments.
With an effective VMI system, the benefits are shared for both parties. Some of these benefits include:
Ensuring the necessary parts are ready and available when needed.
Smaller orders allowing for lower inventory costs.
Better inventory turnover rate.
Reduced administrative costs.
More stable supply chain.
Close communications and partnerships between customers and suppliers.
Posted by Chuck Keeley on | Comments Off on Running an Effective Meeting
Do you want your credibility to skyrocket? Learn how to run great meetings!
I was recently attending a social gathering and a gentleman that served on a committee where I was the chair over 10 plus years ago came up to me and introduced me to his wife as the guy who ran the best meetings he has ever participated in. He went on to tell her that he was quite sure that I ran a solid business simply because of the way I ran the committee meetings. It was a pretty funny and interesting interaction especially because I did not know him that well and I certainly did not and don’t know him well enough for him to know whether our business is solid or not. The point is that he drew that conclusion simply because of how I ran meetings.
With most jobs you go about your normal daily functions by yourself or with small informal interactions with your peers. Formally scheduled meetings are relatively infrequent and the ones you personally organize are even more infrequent. In any group setting regardless of whether it is work-related or not, the people involved are always forming opinions of everyone else. A meeting is no different. It is a human instinct when you are in a group setting to assess everyone else and form judgments of the other people. It comes from our survival instinct. People need to know if anyone in the group poses a threat to their safety. Now, let’s consider a meeting scenario. All participants will be analyzed by all the other participants. It stands to reason that if you are the organizer of a meeting, you are probably going to be assessed at least as much as anyone else and probably more. This gives you the chance to enhance your credibility, and in turn, you have the chance to hurt it.
The funny thing is that it is not hard to run an efficient, organized, and productive meeting. Let’s dig into some simple guidelines that, if followed, can make you look like an all-star.
First, and by far, the most important part of any meeting happens before it even starts. From an importance standpoint, 75 percent of the success of a meeting depends on the pre-meeting preparation. Send an agenda well in advance of the meeting with the following information: the time, start and finish, the place, the invitees, the objective, all necessary information, and who is responsible for what. If there is any necessary information needed by any of the participants to prepare for the meeting, make sure they get it in plenty of time to fully digest it. Let everyone know they need to have read and understood all the pre-meeting information because you will not read it over in the meeting. I can’t stress this enough. So many people expect to be “babysat” if they are not the meeting organizer. Don’t let that happen, they have a responsibility to be prepared as a participant as well. I have seen too many meetings drag on because you must review information that should have been read and understood before the meeting ever started.
Stay on Time
Next comes the meeting. Always start on time. If anyone comes in late don’t backtrack to catch them up. It wastes everyone else’s time and they will realize that in the future they better be on time for your meetings. I have said before to a late participant that “their time must be more important than anyone else’s”. I say it jokingly, but it definitely gets the point across. At the start of the meeting outline the objective(s) of the meeting. Then start through the agenda. Make sure everyone participates and is given the opportunity to contribute. That said, make sure you keep the meeting on task. We all know how much time can be wasted on topics that have nothing to do with the original objective(s). It is critical to refocus the group if the meeting heads off course. If there are topics that come up that need to be addressed but are not part of this agenda, assign an action item to that topic to be addressed at another time. Occasionally, as the meeting organizer, you must use your judgment to decide how far to let a topic “wander”. Sometimes straying a bit off topic can be very beneficial and allow the group to discover a new idea or concept. That judgment is the art of running a meeting, but be careful, that can quickly be the downfall of a meeting.
Finally, make sure you end the meeting on time. People’s schedules are tight, and they appreciate it when you get them out when you said you would. If there are topics that were not covered, schedule another meeting to complete those topics. When a meeting is set to end at a certain time, people subconsciously prepare themselves mentally for that time. If you go past, you lose them. At the end of a meeting always summarize the progress made toward the objective(s) and assign actions items to people including expected completion dates. Thank your team and adjourn.
After the Meeting
The final part of any meeting is the aftermath. Send out meeting notes that include the objective(s), any notes on progress toward the objective(s), and the assigned action items with a due date. These notes need to be sent in a timely manner after the completion of the meeting. I would suggest no more than 24 hours. Put tasks in your personal task list to follow up on the assigned action items on the due date if they have not been completed. Doing this holds everyone accountable.
Running great meetings will increase your personal credibility and make the organization better. Who knows, maybe one day someone will come up to you at a social gathering and introduce you to their wife or husband by telling them how well you run a meeting. Good luck and I look forward to participating in your next meeting.
Posted by Alan Johnson on | Comments Off on Heat Sealed 3M™ Thinsulate™
CGR Products has been supplying various types of 3M™ Thinsulate™ materials to the automotive market for more than 10 years. The 3M™ Thinsulate™ NVH material (noise, vibration, and harshness) is used in a variety of applications across many different industries and provides a wide variety of sound absorption and dampening properties.
The Advantages of 3M™ Thinsulate™
3M™ Thinsulate™ NVH Material provides a reliable acoustic solution for various automotive applications. 3M™ Thinsulate™ is engineered to provide high-performance sound absorption. Specific products are engineered to assist in the creation of lower profile products and reduce mass in the automobile while also reducing noise around the vehicle. 3M™ Thinsulate™ is water repellent to absorb minimal moisture; thus, no need for an additional waterproof layer. It is also resistant to mildew growth, eliminating the risk of unintended odors.
Heat Sealing Thinsulate™
CGR Products supplies custom cut 3M™ Thinsulate™ to the automotive industry utilizing a heat seal around the perimeter of the part. Some of the benefits of a heat seal include:
Preventing contaminants into the part. If your part is located in an area prone to dust, dirt or any other foreign contaminants, a heat seal is an ideal way to keep much of the substance out of the part.
CGR can supply custom cut Thinsulate™ in a variety of ways, such as individual parts stacked in a box, or perforated on a roll. If a heat seal is used, the parts will retain their shape and remain stable dimensionally.
Visually Appealing. If you have a die cut part that is visible, you may be interested in a heat sealed edge. This type of edge will provide a more finished look as opposed to an open, fibrous part.
Keep in mind that for most die cut Thinsulate™ parts, the heat seal is not needed. However, if there are OEM requirements or if you are looking at exterior parts, a sealed part may be what you are looking for.
Consider CGR Products when you are developing sound and vibration dampening. With over 140,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space and over 100 top-quality machines, CGR serves a diverse range of clients, including those in the automotive industry. To learn more about our capabilities within this field, download our automotive application guide, or visit our Sample Gallery to view a portfolio encompassing all the industries we serve.
Posted by Chuck Keeley on | Comments Off on Making a Decision
Over my career, I have had the opportunity to experience many decisions being made, a nice way to say I’m getting old. I have seen good ones and bad ones and I have made good ones and bad ones. Ultimately, over 90% of the value any person is to any organization is directly related to their decision-making ability. Any decision is, at its core, a risk assessment. You must assess two or more potential directions and then choose the best one. There are always pros and cons to those directions. Making a decision may seem easy enough, but there are many skills and factors that are part of that process.
There are several personal skills necessary for good decision making. By far the most important quality and the one that is the hardest to find in people is having the emotional strength to do it. The biggest issue I have seen that holds most people back in their respective career is having the emotional strength to shoulder the responsibility for a decision as the risk increases. In other words, as the emotional or financial risks increase many people shy away from making a decision. It is one thing to decide whether to go left or right at a stop sign, it is completely different to decide if a person is in the right job or if you should spend a million dollars with no guarantee of success and 100 people’s income is affected by that decision. So many people either don’t want that burden or the stress of that burden is too much for them to handle.
Having the ability to understand all the information involved in a decision is another skill that is necessary to make good decisions. Information comes in many forms. For example, there is empirical data, concepts, emotions, and situational considerations to name a few. Typically, people have their strengths and weaknesses depending on the type of information that they are assessing. I do not understand quantum physics and for me to understand it, I would have to spend so much time learning it that it would not be worthwhile. To put yourself in the best situation to make good decisions you should honestly assess yourself and seek input when you are dealing with information that is difficult for you. One of the best businessmen I know has a tough time understanding the emotional impacts his decisions have on his team. He knows that about himself and does a tremendous job seeking input from other people that understand those impacts better than he does. From a big picture perspective directing your career so you are dealing with information that you know well helps you be a more effective decision maker. However, no matter what career field you chose, you should always continue to learn and improve on your strengths and weaknesses, so you can make more effective decisions.
Once you understand the information, you need to be able to filter the information. If you struggle to filter what is important to the decision at hand, that information is useless. In almost every scenario, regardless of how risky the decision, there are 2 or 3 main factors that will determine the outcome of that decision. Too many times people are overwhelmed with the amount of data they must synthesize. You must be able to identify the most important factors and eliminate everything else. The inability to weed out all the noise will paralyze a person’s ability to decide.
Another criterion for effective decision making is being able to decide in a productive time frame. If it takes you 5 years to make a decision, you will not make many of them over your lifetime. There is an efficient period to make any decision. The riskier the decision, the longer it usually takes, but there is a limit. You have heard the term “paralysis of analysis”. Time is money and taking too much time to make decisions costs money. On the other side of the coin, you can make decisions too fast. In that case, you do not give yourself enough time to consider all the options. Sometimes people are so focused on getting another item off their “To do” list that the driving force to make the decision is that instead of the driving force being to make a good decision.
Culture & Personalities
There are also decision-making considerations that have nothing to do with you. They are external. Things like the culture of the organization that you are working in, the constituents that are judging your decisions, and the process.
Every organization has a culture that is unique. No matter what decision-making skills you have, you must consider the culture of that organization for your decisions to succeed. Some organizations will not accept a decision if it is made too quickly. Others look at the speed of a decision as being the most critical factor for success. If you work at a fire station, quick decisions are very important, while quick decisions in a pharmaceutical company are not. Be aware of the decision-making culture in your environment to give your decisions the best chance for success and in turn giving your career the best chance to progress.
Just like organizations have different cultures, people have different behavior types. Very few decisions are made that do not impact other people, the people you report to, your peers, the people that report to you, family members, friends, basically your constituents. The success of your decisions will be directly influenced by the people impacted. You must consider your constituents as a direction is chosen. How will they react? What actions will they take? How will this affect them emotionally? Your constituents will judge your decisions and your long-term success will depend on those judgments.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “there is a right way and a wrong way to do something?” That is true in the decision-making process as well. Your decision-making process can make or break your decisions. As I explained above, organizations have a culture and people have different behavior types. If those entities inherently respect the process you use to make a decision, your decisions will be more successful and your value to the organization will increase.
Finally, don’t spend time regretting or gloating over a past decision. That is not productive, but assessing a decision with the intent to learn is. Set a realistic assessment time in the future and do a postmortem review to evaluate how the decision was made, was the outcome good or bad, should you continue in the chosen direction, and what would you have done differently if you had to do it again. The intent is not to beat yourself up or pat yourself on the back. At the time a direction is chosen, do everything you can to make the chosen direction work. Every bad decision I have made has helped me make better decisions in the future. Bad decisions are opportunities to learn and if that is your mindset, you will get better at decision making, and in turn, help advance your career. At the end of the day (my kids love it when I use that phrase) you must understand the information, filter out what is critical to the decision, assess the risk, and understand your constituency. There are tools you can use to improve your decision-making abilities, but for now, work on one thing; developing the internal fortitude necessary to shoulder the responsibility of making a decision and then “JUST MAKE THE DECISION” Good luck.
For more than 50 years, CGR Products has been a leading supplier of reliable, high-quality products. To read more from CGR Products, visit our Blogs page or feel free to click around on our website.
Posted by Mike Burris on | Comments Off on UL Materials | Closed Cell Sponge Rubber
Many users of sponge rubber products for sealing are unaware that UL guidelines dictate that when adhesive is applied to sponge rubber the chemistry has been changed. Essentially, this creates a new product which must pass specific tests to be added to a list of approved UL materials.
To help solve this issue, CGR Products has three UL listed closed cell sponge and adhesive combinations that are listed to UL JMLU2 standards and are suitable for UL50E applications.
In this guide, we will break down our three combinations to help you identify the best solution for your application.
8002/702P is considered our “high-end” combination utilizing greater temperature ratings and high-performance adhesive. 8002 sponge is pure EPDM sponge. It has 2A2 ASTM designation with a density of 9 +/-2. The 702P adhesive is a heavy mass 7mil (liner side) double coated acrylic tape.
5031/9824 is considered our “mid-grade”. 5031 sponge is a blend of EPDM/CR/SBR. It has 2A1 ASTM designation with a density of 6 +/-2. The 9824 adhesive is 3mil (liner side) high strength double coated acrylic tape.
DK1111/9816 is considered our “general purpose” combination and also utilizes a rubber based adhesive. DK1111 sponge is a blend of EPDM and Neoprene. It has 2C1 ASTM designation with a density of 5. The 9816 adhesive is 3.5mil (liner side) double coated high tack rubber-based tape.
UL Materials from CGR Products
These UL listed closed cell sponge with adhesive combinations are commonly used for sealing and gaskets in electrical enclosures, control panels, appliances, and many other applications. CGR Products offers lamination, slit to width, sheeting, and die cutting for all of your converting needs. Our UL listed Products are labeled and shipped with the Recognized Component Mark,
For a further in-depth look at our UL listed Products, download our latest eBook by clicking here.
Posted by Mike Burris on | Comments Off on Learn About CGR Products Laminating Services
At CGR Products, we laminate many different materials on a daily basis. We can laminate materials up to 84″ wide and as thin as .062″. Materials can range from closed cell foam to heavy fabrics. In this series, we will look at some common ways CGR Products offers laminating services.
Heat Platen Laminating
This type lamination involves a process where the adhesive roll rides over a heated platen. Heat is used to soften the adhesive which is typically called “Flow”. The heat of the platen is computer controlled and is critical to the speed of the process. The material being laminated is pulled through the machine via driven rollers and the adhesive is applied to the bottom side of the substrate. The bond of adhesive to the substrate is performed at the nip roller. Once bonded the materials can be rewound and supplied on a core.
Infrared laminating is similar to heat platen laminating other than the heat source. This process uses Infrared heat to help the adhesive flow before it is applied to the material. One benefit of infrared is the heat can be micro adjusted while in process which allows the operator to quickly find the optimum temperature to create the best bond. The infrared process is instant so the heat can be started and stopped within seconds saving valuable time and material.
Camouflage fabric laminated to closed cell sponge rubber
Hot Roll Laminating
Hot Roll lamination involves applying adhesive over a heated drum. The heated drum helps the adhesive flow just before being applied to the substrate. CGR Products hot roll laminator will handle materials up to 84″ wide. Our hot roll laminator is well suited for materials such as carpet and textiles. A common use for this machine is the process of glue web lamination. This process allows customers to reactivate the adhesive with heat when parts are ready to be installed.
For high volume die cutting applications, we utilize Rotary lamination. We commonly laminate materials up to 16″ wide such as 3M VHB, Copper foils, and Mylar. Depending on the complexity of the part, we can usually laminate and cut the part in one pass. This helps to reduce cost and increase responsiveness to your customer.
To learn more about our lamination capabilities, visit our laminating services page. Feel free to click around our website or visit our Sample Gallery to view a portfolio encompassing many of the industries we serve.
Posted by Mike Burris on | Comments Off on Material of the Month: Rogers Corporation PORON
Here at CGR, we stock a wide variety of specialty materials, from unique adhesive solutions and flexible rubbers to custom-engineered fibers. During our Material of the Month blog series, we’ve been showcasing some of our favorite, most popular materials, outlining their unique features and exploring common applications.
Adding adhesive to PORON® makes for great kiss cut applications. Other methods to note; if larger window frame gaskets can be dovetailed or foldout, this will allow a much greater utilization of material and substantially reduce cost.
Using PORON for Your Application
As flexible material specialists, the CGR team offers years of experience in converting PORON® into gaskets and components. Our in-house precision cutting services include rotary and flatbed die cutting, kiss cutting, slitting, splitting, knife cutting, and more.
PORON® 4 piece dovetailed gasket. This eliminates the center waste if this was cut as a 1 piece gasket.
Three dimensional tray made from multiple plies of PORON® to be used as a shock mount for heavy equipment touchscreen displays.
For more information about PORON®’s unique applications and fabrication possibilities, visit our PORON material page.
Posted by Mike Burris on | Comments Off on Three Capabilities You Might Not Have Known About CGR Products
Here at CGR Products, we use a variety of cutting and fabricating capabilities on a daily basis. However, we do some fabricating that might seem “out of the norm” from our core manufacturing. In this article we will highlight three things you might not have known about CGR Products capabilities.
Metal Fabrication Capabilities
All three CGR Products facilities have the ability to fabricate high volume metal parts. Each location has die cutting presses capable of cutting thinner gauge metals, typically in roll or sheet form. In addition, our Waukesha, WI plant has 2 abrasive waterjet machines capable of cutting many types of thicker metals. We produce specialty gaskets including head gaskets with fire rings, and metal encapsulated gaskets. Watch our video below of a high volume metal composite being die cut.
Displays and Lettering
CGR Products has the unique capability of fabricating foam lettering and displays in high volumes. These items can be plain, adhesive backed, or magnetic backed. We can cut foam up to 9.00″ thick in a variety of colors and densities. We work directly with the retail store design firms to meet their specific display goals. Examples of our work can be found in Grocery Stores and retail shops in the Southeast. Visit our Open and Closed Cell Foam Materials page for examples of the types of foams we work with.
CGR Products has the specialized capability of wide format foam perforation. Foam perforation is typically found as underlayment in sporting fields to allow for water drainage. Our perforation process can cut material up to 60″ wide and run roll to roll. Our unique process allows the slugs to be removed while cutting, saving time for the end user. Once perforated, the rolls are plastic wrapped and labeled. Rolls are typically shipped in truckload quantities ready for the end user to install.
With over 140,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space and over 100 top-quality machines, CGR serves a diverse range of clients. To learn more about our capabilities, click around our website or visit our Sample Gallery to view a portfolio encompassing many of the industries we serve.
Posted by Mike Burris on | Comments Off on Material of the Month: Closed Cell Sponge Rubber
Here at CGR, we stock a wide variety of specialty materials, from unique adhesive solutions and flexible rubbers to custom-engineered fibers. During our Material of the Month blog series, we’ve been showcasing some of our favorite, most popular materials, outlining their unique features and exploring common applications.
Sponge rubber is unique in that it can be crafted in both open and closed cell styles.
Open cell rubber permits flow; air, water, and chemicals can all pass through the open network of pockets when the rubber is not compressed.
Closed cell rubber, or expanded rubber, contains balloon-like cells filled with nitrogen gas, which block the flow of air, water, and chemicals at low pressures.
Benefits and Uses
Because of its consistent, solid structure, closed cell sponge rubber offers excellent sealing performance, providing acid, flame, and oil resistance.
This rubber also features the following unique attributes:
Reliable thermal and acoustic insulation
Tough sealing and weatherproofing capability
Armacell Monarch 3091 Sponge Rubber
A pure EPDM material, Armacell’s Monarch 3091 is an excellent example of a popular, low-density, high-performance closed cell sponge rubber. Manufactured with non-staining oils and antioxidants, Monarch 3091 offers fire, ozone, and elevated temperature resistance. It’s approved to meet the demanding requirements of automotive, industrial, and even military applications.
Sponge Rubber Applications and Industries
Sponge rubber’s versatility and reliable density allow for use in a wide range of applications, including:
Acoustic design and custom soundproofing
Lighting and electrical systems
Marine and weatherproofing projects
Power tools and generators
Closed-Cell Sponge Rubber at CGR
At CGR, we are capable of skiving or splitting raw material up to 56 inches wide and 10” thick; materials can be split down to 0.062” thick. On most materials, we can cut with standard RMA tolerances or better.
We bring years of experience and expertise in lamination, sheeting, die cutting, and slit-to-width services, and we’re proud to offer a vast inventory of closed cell sponge rubber to meet the unique needs of all our clients. To learn more about open cell sponge rubber or discuss how we can help with your next project, reach out to the team today.
Posted by Chuck Keeley on | Comments Off on Open Cell vs. Closed Cell Foam: What’s the Difference?
At CGR Products, we field a lot of questions about the differences between open and closed cell foam. To address these inquiries, we’ll be comparing the two types of foam and outlining the unique benefits and properties of each.
When deciding on a material for your specific project, it’s important to understand which kind of foam will best serve your application and meet your unique requirements. The benefits of each type of foam can differ depending on your specific industry, so it’s important to fully assess each option before moving forward.
Open Cell Foam
Open cell foam is a rubber-like product made by incorporating an inflating agent, such as sodium bicarbonate, into the rubber compound; this agent gives off a gas, which expands the rubber during vulcanization.
Foam is usually classified as “open cell” when more than half of its cells are open. Common open cell materials include reticulated foam, polyurethane foam, and open cell rubber.
Some open cell foam is unique in that it operates more like a spring, easily returning to its original state after compression thanks to the unrestricted air movement and chemical makeup. Soft and breathable, open cell foam is generally more flexible and can more easily conform to sealing applications than closed cell foam. Open cell foam can also be manufactured at both high and low densities. It is less durable than closed cell options, however.
Reticulated foam is usually classified by PPI (pores per inch). 10 PPI foam would have large cell structures and allow the most flow, while 80 PPI foam would have very small cells and be more restrictive.
Closed Cell Foam
Closed cell foam is defined as a cell totally enclosed by its walls and hence not interconnecting with other cells. Closed cell foam is usually made by subjecting a rubber compound to a gas, such as nitrogen, under high pressure. This type of foam may also be made by incorporating gas-forming materials into the compound.
Closed cell foam offers a wide variety of material and density options. EPDM, neoprene, EPDM/CR/SBR, and PVC/NBR are a few common types of closed cell foams, which can range in densities from 6 lb/ft3 (soft) to 19 lb/ft3 (hard).
This type of material is ideal for sealing as it effectively reduces liquid and gas flow. Closed cell foam is also ideal for industries in which liquid resistance is critical, such as marine, HVAC, and automotive.
CGR carries several types of open and closed cell materials, including neoprene, PVC/NBR, silicone, microcellular urethane foam (PORON®), and polyurethane foam, and we keep a wide variety in stock to reduce lead times. We can also convert foam materials as needed for your application and will work with your team to find a solution that works for your project, no matter how complex.
To learn more about foam materials and identify which type is right for your next project, download our comprehensive Chemical Compatibility Guide.