Posted by Mike Burris on | Comments Off on Benefits of Using a Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) System
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 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 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 Robert Gende on | Comments Off on How Amorim Makes Cork Rubber
At Amorim Cork Composites — the world’s largest producer of cork and related materials — we’re committed to sustainability in everything we do: We recycle, reuse, and reinvent entirely natural and organic materials. Understanding the versatility and value of cork in numerous applications, we’re proud to supply companies worldwide with top-quality, reliable cork products.
The Versatility of Cork
Cork grows from the bark of the cork oak tree, which thrives in the hot, dry climates of Portugal, Spain, and North Africa. Cork oak trees are not harvested until they’ve reached 25 years of age. After the first harvest, the bark is removed about every nine years. These trees can live for over 200 years.
After the bark is harvested in sheets about 3 feet wide, 6 feet long, and 3 inches thick, it is cleaned to remove any impurities. Soon after, the cork is cut into strips and, most often, cored to create wine stoppers; this is the primary use of cork. In fact, over 15 billion stoppers are sold each year to the wine industry. The cork not used in the stopper industry is processed and used in various other applications, including construction, sealing, composites, home and office, and flooring.
In its natural state, cork is composed of many cells filled with air pockets, making it ideal for sealing applications. Cork compresses within itself with no side flow, creating a reliable seal impervious to most fluids. Classified as a post-industrial recycled material, cork has been used since the late 1800s for industrial sealing applications.
Cork Solutions at Amorim
At Amorim, we’re especially proud of our P46 cork material. Our most popular product, P46 features high density and low compressibility. It’s typically used in friction applications in which heat is generated by pressure, as well as clutch applications.
P46 is readily available in custom-cut sizes up to half an inch thick, with one or both sides sanded. To discuss how Amorim’s materials can help with your next project, contact us today.
How CGR Can Help
CGR Products has a long history of custom cutting and fabricating for a wide range of materials including cork and rubber. Our services include custom die cutting, waterjet cutting, kiss and knife cutting, and more. Visit our Resource Library for access to our many free guides, eBooks, and whitepapers, or check out our Case Studies to learn more about our full scale of materials and capabilities.
Posted by Chuck Keeley on | Comments Off on Using 3M Thinsulate to Manufacture Lighter, Quieter Cars
With mounting public concern over sustainability and increasingly strict fuel economy regulations, automakers worldwide are now focusing their efforts on lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. In fact, by 2025, automaker fleets in the United States and Europe will need to average more than 60 miles per gallon.
To meet these new guidelines, automakers must implement incremental improvements to reduce vehicle weight and improve efficiency. In this changing landscape, it’s imperative for automotive manufacturers to make use of lightweight, reliable materials.
At CGR Products, we’re proud to be an approved converter for 3M’s innovative Thinsulate material — an ideal option for acoustic automotive applications.
The Advantages of 3M Thinsulate in Automotive Applications
3M Thinsulate Acoustic Absorption Material provides a reliable acoustic solution for various automotive applications. Incorporating only a few square centimeters of the material into components during fabrication greatly improves sound insulation and allows for greater efficiency. The benefits of 3M Thinsulate for automotive applications include:
Quieter cars — Providing excellent acoustic absorption, especially for middle- to high-frequency ranges, 3M Thinsulate allows for overall quieter vehicle operation.
Lighter cars — Made of lightweight polyester and polypropylene non-woven fibers, 3M Thinsulate can be used to fabricate lightweight automotive components without sacrificing quality.
Easy bonding — This versatile material can be easily attached using ultrasonic welding, double-sided tape, or mechanical clips.
Resistance to moisture and mildew — Absorbing minimal moisture, 3M Thinsulate is water repellent and mold resistant, eliminating the risk of odor and obviating the need for additional waterproof layers.
Automotive manufacturers can use 3M Thinsulate in the fabrication of a wide range of car parts, including:
3M provides a variety of Thinsulate insulation materials to meet the unique needs of these specific applications. The 3M Thinsulate HT Series, for instance, is designed to withstand high-temperature environments, such as engine compartments, while the SM Series easily compresses for use in tight quarters, such as the vehicle cabin and luggage compartment.
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 CGR Products on | Comments Off on Case Studies Prove the Importance of Precision Converting
Introducing Real Examples of Customers’ Precision Cutting Solutions
The right material and the exact cut make all the difference. For tight-tolerance components like gaskets, pumps and seals, there is no room for error — and no detail is too minor.
For example, one of our customers, a large boat manufacturer, had overlooked the importance of the gasket adhesive used to seal to their fuel tank. Their selected adhesive did not seal well to the tank substrate, and the gasket began peeling off. When the customer approached us with the issue, we tested and evaluated the performance of a combination of adhesives and sponge that would resist moisture. We selected and converted a high-tack transfer adhesive that was robust and durable, with the addition of an HDPE film liner for added protection.
We’re no stranger to material issues like these — we’ve worked with a number of projects that had design and performance issues:
This project’s end user designed a gasket to be fitted with our customer’s molded plastic parts. The customer had particular needs and expectations in order to make the gasket work for the end product, but the design — over which they had no control — proved flawed in many ways.
Industry: Manufacturing; OEM Parts
Problem: Gasket design delivered with a series of production issues, including edge tolerances and material performance, that resulted in tearing, slow processing and high rejection rates
Solution: An altered manufacturing and delivery process, customized for the design’s needs
Extreme temperatures are a challenge in many industries — but they’re no match for custom CGR solutions. After a polar vortex took its toll on new fueling dispensers at stations throughout the northern United States and Canada, the manufacturer came to us to help stop the freezing.
Industry: Automotive; Gas and Oil
Problem: Failed insulation on fuel dispensers caused diesel exhaust fluid to freeze inside its pump, making it impossible to dispense
With over 100 pieces of specialized equipment and years of experience on projects like these, the CGR Team is dedicated to getting your job done. Visit the Case Studies page to find more on the projects above, as well as additional case studies.
Even the most challenging projects deserve straightforward, accessible solutions. CGR has delivered custom gaskets and seals with top-of-the-line solutions for over 50 years — but you don’t always have to take our word for it.