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Going Green

September 26, 2016

Improvements in technology have not just improved the machines we work with, they also have improved the efficiency of the building we work out of.  Over the last few years, at Mid-West Screw Products we have taken the steps to “Go Green” and convert our facility to a productive and more cost-efficient one.  While this was a big project, there were many incentives and grants available to us to make it worthwhile.

ceiling lamps with diode lighting in a modern warehouse

To improve and update our facility, we took advantage of a variety of different grants that were available.  The city, county, state and trade associations and organizations all offer different grants that helped us to be able to afford to pay for the changes necessary to go green.  Once we made these changes and upgrades, we 100% saw the cost savings coming back to us immediately.  By using these grants we were able to make green upgrades at 50 cents on the dollar sometimes.  Without these grants, making these changes would not have been possible for us, but the benefits since we have gone green have been great for us.

Using utilities and lighting grants that are available to us, we were able to install all new lighting and low powered ballasts.  These new LED lights and fluorescent lights allowed us to reduce our energy costs significantly.  We were also able to install a foam roof material with a white reflective coating that reflects the heat tremendously and makes the plant much cooler.  This has allowed us to enhance our work productivity as we no longer have to send people home because it became too hot in the work place. In our office and quality control room, we now use a centrally controlled air conditioning system that keeps the temperature even and uniform in each room.  We have also replaced all of our old windows with energy efficient windows that prevents us from losing hot and cold air depending on the season.  Easy fixes, like installing exhaust fans to draw in fresh air and remove the hot air near the ceiling was significant. We installed energy efficient laminates in our sky light windows to improve the R rating insulation factor. All of these changes have led to big cost savings for us.

Without taking advantage of the green grants that are available to us, we would not have been able to make these enhancements to our facility. In our next blog we will explore some of the other grants that are available and the benefits that are just sitting there waiting to be taken advantage of by companies like Mid-West and yours.

Language Should Not Be a Safety Barrier

September 9, 2016

When it comes to running a successful business, one thing that should not be forgotten in the profit driven world is the safety of all the business’s employees.  This is especially important in the manufacturing and machining industries where employees can face many hazards on the shop floor.  At Mid-West Screw Products we take the safety of all our employees very seriously, and have implemented rules and procedures to cut down and eliminate workplace accidents.

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Having our facility located in Chicago, Illinois, we have a diverse workforce, with many employees who are bi-lingual and who do not speak English as their first language.  When it comes to the safety of our employees we believe that language should not be a safety barrier.  To meet this language challenge, we have taken the step of putting all of our various safety policies and procedures into multiple languages.  We have created signs that are hung from the ceiling with our safety procedures written in English, Spanish and Polish so that all of our workers can understand them.  To make sure they are all accurate we had people who are bilingual write them.  Since safety is so important, we wanted to make sure that language barriers could not be used as an excuse on why proper rules and protocols were not followed.  On these signs we include safety procedures and ISO procedures to make sure all our employees were able to be aware of all policies.

Besides safety signs, at Mid-West Screw Products we also follow OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) regulations that determine what safety items we must have on hand for our employees.  These include first aid kits, and information on who to call and where to go in care of a medical emergency.  We want our employees to enjoy coming to work, and to feel safe while they are in our facility.  By making all these procedures available to everyone, no matter what language they speak, we are making a safer place for all our workers.

Veterans-Top Workforce Candidates

June 15, 2016

In today’s world it can be hard to find good, quality, responsible employees to hire in machine shops and manufacturing plants.  Many people don’t realize a viable long-term career is available for them in these industries.  Hiring managers often have to think out of the box to find people who would be good employees for them.  In our blog last month we discussed the need for more qualified workers.  This month we want to talk about the group that is often overlooked when it comes to hiring and that is our great veterans, who served our country so well.

Veterans Day Soldier Saluting

Veterans of the armed forces coming home from active duty many times do not know what they are going to do when they transition back to everyday life.  They have spent years in the service where their everyday life was planned and organized for them.  In the armed forces they have learned skills that made them successful in the military, to me it is obvious in how they can transfer to a better life after the military.  Many times they do not have college degrees, which may be necessary for working in an office job, and that can put them at a disadvantage.  At Mid-West Screw we believe these skills they have developed could be easily transferred over to working in the machining industry and at machine shops, making them great candidates for employment.

Hiring managers are always looking for people who have the skills and ability to be successful in their organization.  Veterans are a group that has the characteristics these managers are looking for.  These traits include the ability to follow orders and directions, the willingness to take on tasks; is extremely capable to work under pressure and the mindset of the importance of doing a good job.  They are used to working in a team environment to complete tasks and goals, and understand the need to go the extra mile to make sure their work is done at the highest level of acceptance.

Here at Mid-West Screw we want to hire veterans to come work for us.  We are thankful for all they have done for us and think they would be an asset to our company.  They will make our company better, and we think the manufacturing and machining industry, as a whole, should be looking at veterans as prime candidates to fill their employment needs.  Please contact us if you are a veteran, of the armed forces, looking for a job or career, we would love to speak with you.

New Technology Changing the Manufacturing Industry

May 18, 2016

Manufacturing and machine shops are the backbone of the American economy.  These industries produce the products the country needs and wants.  Over the years, many companies moved their manufacturing operations overseas due to the rising costs of manufacturing products in the United States.  Recently though, manmid west 1y technological advancements have been made that are making the manufacturing process cheaper, and allowing for companies to bring their operations back to America.

The new equipment that is being installed by manufacturing and machine shop companies helps to save costs and expenses for the long term, as new people will not have to be hired to perform the work these machines do.  These new modular robotics can be put in front of machines and will robotically load or unload them.  A big advantage of them is that they are not permanently set in their spots, and can be moved around the shop floor providing more versatility.  In the past these robotics were dedicated to a specific machine, but now they can be moved or changed to fit different machines on the shop floor.

For inspection purposes these new robotics have camera sight vision.  This special optical vision can look at the shape of a part and immediately check all of the dimensions.  This is important for quality control as multiple inspections can be done very quickly to provide inspection statistics to the customer.  In the past it used to take a long time with a human inspecting each part by hand, and measuring the specs of the part to make a report for the customer.  This new technology speeds up the process and can post the information from its software, directly into spreadsheets that can be sent to the customer.  It also takes the frustration out of the same common mistakes occurring on an ongoing basis.  If the camera finds a bad part, in an advanced application if so desired, it will kick it off the conveyor into the scrap bin without slowing down the overall inspection process at all. Other wise in the smaller Job shops the QC Department just has to load and unload the parts seconds apart to achieve their report.

The new camera robotics that are available are now feasible and affordable for manufactures and average machine shops.  It is an investment for smaller operations that will pay off long-term dividends.  At Mid-West Screw Products we see that this is the way of the future, and are ready to be at the front of this movement that will bring manufacturing back to the USA and help business be profitable and successful for our next 70 years to come.

The Manufacturing Industry – An Industry looking for Qualified Workers

April 27, 2016

The manufacturing industry is a driving force for the world’s economy.  It relies on machinery and qualified workers who can operate the various types of machinery to produce needed products.  While the machinery does most of the work, trained workers are necessary to operate, program and set up, the machines safely and efficiently.   Finding trained workers in 2016 is a challenge though, as many people do not realize that working in the manufacturing industry, operating machinery such as CNC machines is an option to their future and success.

Engineer banner flat set

The lack of people who have the ability to work on CNC machining and to operate these machines is one of the greatest challenges the manufacturing industry currently faces.  While many people like working on cars and build models as either a hobby or a choice, they don’t realize that there is a whole industry out there where they could have a career, if they wanted.  People think that there only option to be successful, professionally and financially, is to get a desk job in an office.  With the right guidance and education though, they could put the skills they already have working on cars and building models,  and understanding how to use a desktop computer, and transfer these skills to a job in the manufacturing industry getting acquainted with CNC equipment.  This is why STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is so important because it will help people gain the skills they need, or already have, to be successful in the manufacturing industry.

In the past children did the same job that their parents/fathers did before them.  This was what was expected of them, but now the business landscape has changed. The job market and job opportunities are different than they were during the baby boomer era.  Here at Mid-West Screw Products we are always looking for hard working people to help us achieve our goal of making sure our customers always receive uncompromised perfection in all their machined parts.  We want people to know there is a whole industry looking for people to work hard using their skills on these machines. They might already have the beginning skills necessary to be successful without even know it.

As a company, we realize that there are thousands of veterans who have learned skills in the military. When they return home they look for a future in society. Some wondering where they fit. As an owner I see in a veteran a very well rounded person who has the discipline to carry out the requirements for what is needed to be done and does it. Not only will he or she do the request, but also they can be counted on, by their supervisor, to do that task extremely well.

If you’re a veteran and want to try a new beginning or continue on with the training the military started, then contact us and apply. One never knows where their future lies.

Visit our web site: http://www.M-WSP.Com

The Problems with ISO

April 4, 2016

Going back about 20 years, long before ISO became the norm, we were ISO qualified. Due to the prohibitively high cost we did not become certified right away. Instead we worked with a local University to educate us and help us meet the ISO standard. This in-house training took several years. For many years after our training we said we were ISO qualified, but as years went on and it became more prevalent in the industry, we decided to become officially certified. Luckily for us, the popularity of the certification dropped the cost and allowed us to proceed within our financial means.

Word Cloud Quality Management

Mid-West Screw is a vendor, so we work with a lot of larger corporations. Many of which became ISO certified after we did. We pride ourselves on being ISO, we know that from beginning to end, our classifications and system is up to the task. Many of the larger companies we work with are ISO certified, but not ISO qualified as we started. Yes, they have the certification, but they do not operate their plants like they should, nor as we do.

These corporations have demanded that we be ISO certified; yet do not adhere to the same principals. The ISO audits are meant to catch these failings and yet some companies go on unimpeded. While we follow ISO religiously, we are sometimes put up to a task by these companies that are not following the rules themselves. This puts us in an awkward position of either staying true to our principles or making our customers happy. The ISO standards, for each individual company, have some differences that are not applicable to the other company.

Many times customer may give us verbal orders, but as many are aware, verbal orders don’t fly at all when it comes to ISO. We need that purchase order, so everything is in line within our system. We will then find ourselves in hot water, if a verbal order is given we cannot record it. Then when the order doesn’t go out because we had no hard copy record, there is nothing in our system nor to ship. Without a purchase order, we can’t be sure we are doing the work correctly and efficiently. In essence there was no order.

It is up to the customer to know when they need to place a new order due to their own records for getting close to having low stock. We, then are looked at as the one to blame because someone on their end was not keeping up with their system. Our system should be able to run independently of our customers. But because their system is broken, and because they don’t take the ISO system seriously, we find it hard to keep our system as traceable and as accountable as they would like. However, we do, with a lot of good record keeping, all ISO driven at our end. One thing you have to remember, “Always be the better, if not, the best vender!” Babysitting, our customers, seams to be the norm today.

Please comment below if you are having a similar problem. We know this is not a unique problem and we want to hear from you!

Confusion in a changing Business Landscape

March 14, 2016

As the world changes, the way people do business is changing as well.  The way some people think something is or should be done is different than other people’s view.  This is the case with things like ISO, packaging and delivery, and the metal market.

At Mid-West Screw Products we are ISO certified.  There is a lot of discretion in what people think being ISO certified means.  We are certified to do things a certain way, which might be different than what your interpretation of that is.  We follow ISO faithfully, and will not take shortcuts to match what another company or person thinks ISO is.  Mid-West Screw strives to keep our customers happy, and we swill stay true to our ISO principles and ethics to do it.

Packaging is another area where there can be some confusion between companies.  There needs to be a lot of discussion today due to the one sidedness of contracts.  Small companies are dealing with big ones, and there can be confusion over customer contracts vs purchase orders.  The back of purchase orders have standard terms, which might not meet every situation and can lead to hidden costs and expenses that both sides were not clear on from the beginning.

The metal market is another area where there can be confusion over prices and terms.  Buyers see a price on the metal market (CROMX) and think that this price is what they / we are going to pay for that alloy. The Market is trading futures on various metals, for example copper ore. They leave out the additional charges such as fabrication when you put these two items together, the ore cost added to the fabrication / labor cost, metals we purchase, as in sheet, bar or coil, are the result of these two thing coming together. At this point we are still not at the price we will be paying from a mill or their distributer. There are also other margins from the companies as well, such as surcharges on shipping and trucking.  Hidden costs such as fuel surcharges, EPA surcharges and weight surcharges are not disclosed many times in the initial conversation and contract, which can lead to confusion down the line.

At Mid-West Screw Products we believe in uncompromised perfection in all of the machined parts we make.  Our goal has always been total customer service and satisfaction, and it will continue to be even as the business landscape changes.

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