Benchmarking Conference



WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11                             

1-5 PM Pre-Con Sessions

5:30 PM                Registration

5:30 PM                Industry Welcome Reception      



7:00 AM                 Registration Opens

7:00 AM                 Breakfast

8:00 AM                 Troy Nix Welcome

Why do business professionals share stories about their success and failures, and why are many drawn to these stories? There is truth to the old adage: History repeats itself, and the most successful company owners take it to heart. During this presentation, Troy Nix will share lessons he has learned over two decades as a business leader. Some stories shared, like the power of working harder than anyone else, will serve as a reaffirmation of what is already known. Others, like the power of a customer’s perception, will cause attendees to dig deep and reflect on their own situation. Designed to strike chords deep within, the ultimate goal of this engagement is for every audience member to leave with one new idea to implement or challenge one existing paradigm.

8:30 AM                 Standout Leadership – Lead Like You Mean It

                             Connie Podesta, Business, and Motivational Speaker

Accountability and ownership to increase performance is a powerful tool. In a perfect world, all employees would be high-achieving, self-motivated, engaging team players who see the big picture and always strive to do their best to get the job done on time without complaining. Does that sound like the Twilight Zone? Bottom line: in the real world many employees simply ‘meet expectations,’ lack initiative, bring their personal lives to work, stress over every change and whine about having to work…on the job! “Enough!” says Human Behavior and Leadership Development Expert Connie Podesta, who has empowered thousands of leaders worldwide with the attitudes, mindsets and strategies necessary to create a team that’s willing, able and excited to get the job done the right way. With her signature blend of comedy and “tell-it-like-it-is” delivery, Podesta takes attendees inside the minds of their most difficult employees to turn negative attitudes into positive, entitlement into accountability, complacency into productivity, complaining into solutions and “that’s not my job” into ownership.


10:15 AM               Quick Fire Sessions Rapidly presented ideas that are working in real environments can be expected in these “TED TALKS®” – style presentations – short, powerful perspectives on topics being practiced by industry leaders in their own companies. Attendees will hear new concepts and challenging viewpoints on business methods successfully working in other organizations.

The Importance of Apprenticeships - Matt Poischbeg, Sea-Lect Plastics
As the vice president and general manager of Sea-Lect Plastics, Matt Poischbeg’s biggest challenge is finding skilled workers for its growing plastics injection molding company. Four years ago, Poischbeg was in dire need of a moldmaker. After several months of traditional methods of recruiting, which yielded zero applicants, he decided it was time to train his own. He enrolled one of Sea-Lect’s promising and committed employees in a five-year Tool & Die Maker apprenticeship program offered by AJAC (Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee). Working with AJAC has been extremely beneficial to Sea-Lect Plastics. Having been turned down by local community colleges, it was AJAC who saw the value in implementing additional training curriculum in the expanding advanced manufacturing sector. AJAC now offers a four-year Plastics Process Technician apprenticeship and Sea-Lect now has four workers enrolled in this program. Poishbeg will share with attendees how apprenticeship education can help to close the skills gap and how K-12 educators can prepare today’s students for successful careers through high school and beyond without a college degree.

What We’ve Got Here…Is Failure to Communicate, Sarah Perry, Falcon Plastics
Employee communication is recognized as one of the most important and challenging aspects of the workplace. According to a 2016 Gallup survey, 70 percent of US employees are not engaged at work. Better communication yields a more engaged workforce. During this presentation, attendees will learn how Falcon Plastics is using technology to communicate with its workforce of all ages, including the use of digital signage, social media, benefit enrollments, employee self-serve portals and SMS communications.

Strategic Selling, Glen Fish, Revere Plastics
Strategic selling is a unique sales system proven successful by America’s best companies. Making a sale has always involved an element of systematic planning, but strategic selling means more than rehearsing product information and timing the close. Strategic selling begins with understanding a company’s strategy, vision, and distinctiveness and then selecting high profile customers. The next step, logically, is anticipating each stage of the buying process, from analyzing the competition to identifying the influencers and decision-makers and learning the buyer’s political issues. In other words, there is a need for a comprehensive strategic profile and rigorous opportunity assessment process. Most importantly, strategic selling means strategizing from the customer’s point of view. Top achievers see strategic selling as a routine part of their work - not the last resort.

How A Success Coach Changed Our Business, Diane Hiles, Anderson Technologies
Employees face many challenges, often which begin in their personal life. In many cases, these personal challenges are not known by coworkers, but they can dramatically affect an employee’s performance, attitude, and engagement at work. Anderson Technologies’ management team decided they wanted to offer non-intrusive, support, guidance and counseling to all employees. Anderson Technologies rolled out its “Success Coach” program in 2015, an onsite employee assistance program. Since its inception, it has had a tremendous impact on employee engagement within the organization. Hear from Diane Hiles from Anderson Technologies as she discusses the impact this program has had on the company’s team.



11:30 AM               Today's Innovation Panel Presented by Harbour Results Featuring Innovation Award winners: Intertech Plastics, Makuta Technics, Microplastics Inc. and Wisconsin Plastics 

Each day, MAPP members are creating new ideas and processes to implement in their operations, making them more efficient, competitive and launching them into the new age of manufacturing. These innovations come in all sizes, small and large, and come from every level of an organization. In this increasingly competitive industry, manufacturers that want to succeed no longer have the option to stay stagnant, but must be on a constant search for leading-edge solutions to their organization’s and to their customers’ challenges. To share and celebrate these innovations, MAPP’s annual Innovation Award recognizes those member companies who are doing what it takes to get and stay ahead. During this panel-style session, Laurie Harbour, Harbour Results, will speak with this year’s Innovation Award Winners on their cutting-edge solutions, processes, and implementation of automation deployment in their facilities to overcome their organizations’ challenges and improve their operations.

 11:50 AM          Manufacturing Excellence Awards Presented by Purdue MEP 

Brought to the industry by MAPP and Purdue MEP, the Manufacturing Excellence Awards were created to showcase best-in-class plastics processors throughout the state of Indiana. Applicants underwent a rigorous three-step process including a self-evaluation, an in-depth and comprehensive questionnaire and a one-day, in-person and on-site assessment. These assessments evaluated all areas of the organization including customers/markets, sales, human resources, suppliers, scheduling, inventory, IT systems, quality, maintenance, environment, capacity and continuous improvement. From these comprehensive assessments, the Indiana Manufacturing Excellence Awards were selected. Carroll Thomas will provide an overview of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Network and its relationship with US plastics manufacturers. Thomas will provide examples of how the partnership helps manufacturers become more profitable and grow.

12:00 PM               Networking Lunch:

Take a break from the educational sessions to catch up with peers and meet new Benchmarking Conference attendees during this traditional networking lunch. (No ticket needed.) 


                             Lunch and Learn: 

The only complaint Connie Podesta, the morning Keynote speaker, receives is that people wish they had more one-on-one time with her. So with that in mind, conference programming has been designed to make sure attendees do not walk away wanting more! Join Connie Podesta for a lunchtime deep dive where she will answer any burning questions attendees might have on a number of topics including how to increase sales, increase revenue, increase employee engagement and increase the quality of life both at home and at work. Attendees will not want to miss this amazing opportunity to hear from a woman who has changed the way thousands of leaders think and act when it comes to ROI that will blow the competition away. This is a ticket-only event.



1:00 PM                  GAME CHANGERS

These sessions are designed to provide attendees with the opportunity to increase their knowledge on a variety of industry/work-related topics. During these Game Changer Sessions (or Breakout Sessions), industry executives and leading experts will be on hand to share information and data while facilitating discussions, cross-talk and question and answer sessions. Conference attendees will attend two 45-minute sessions.

                              Presentations will include:

Manufacturing 4.0, Jeff Mengel & Tim Erdmann, Plante Moran

Manufacturing 4.0 creates what has been called a “smart factory.” Within the modular structured smart factories, systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralized decisions. Several companies successfully implementing components of 4.0 have participated in the North American Plastics Industry Study (NAPIS). In this session, the impressive results of these companies will be explored, along with the design principles of Manufacturing 4.0 and its anticipated impact on the custom molding industry.


Capitalizing on a Dynamic Industry- Essential Factors to Future Success, Laurie Harbour, Harbour Results, Inc

Although the plastics industry is maintaining strong demand, processors are experiencing an evolving business landscape based on changing customer needs and demands. There are a number of factors including forecasts, schedules and terms and conditions, which are putting the pinch on companies and impacting profit margins. Laurie Harbour, president, and CEO, Harbour Results, Inc., will utilize manufacturing data and analytics to lay out the opportunities and challenges being driven by this changing dynamic. Additionally, she will share numerous best practices that plastics processors can utilize today to manage the challenges, maintain and improve performance and drive profitability.


Synthetic Rubber Market Conditions:  Is the worst behind us or yet to come?, Bill Hyde, Olefins and Elastomers | Chemicals 

In recent months synthetic rubber markets have seen extreme price volatility driven primarily by feedstock cost trends in Asia. The markets have since settled down; however, the threat of the turmoil recurring is real. In this presentation, Hyde will explore the causes of the recent volatility with an eye toward understanding the conditions that could cause it to repeat in the future.


Preparing for the Next Economic Down-Turn, Dr. Andreas Reger, Ecoclean, Inc. 

They say history repeats itself, so take this chance to learn!  This presentation will highlight findings of a study done by Dr. Andreas Reger of Ecoclean, in conjunction with Plante Moran, on strategies employed during the last recession.  Specifically, this study tested whether the turnaround strategies employed by small- and medium-sized plastics processing companies during the financial crisis of 2007-2009 had a significant impact on the companies’ financial performance. In addition, the study tested whether company size and financial strength affected the success of their turnaround strategies. Attend this session to learn from the past to be prepared for the future. 


Present and Future of 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing, Ed Graham, ProtoCAM

This session will offer insight into 3D printing, from its origins through present day and future technologies. Graham also will discuss how global manufacturing has transitioned and how it will be impacted by 3D technology.


Google Analytics 101 How Your Website's Data Can Lead to More Revenue, Cody Sharp, SharpGuys Webdesign

Would it be beneficial for a company to know the demographics, location, and number of people interested in buying its products? Most companies would agree that this data is essential, and might even pay a marketing company lots of money to research that information for them. What many companies don’t realize is that this information can be collected easily for free on their website and can be analyzed and turned into actionable business decisions. During Sharp’s presentation, he will discuss how to implement Google Analytics and some of the real-world benefits it can provide to companies.


Strategic CyberSecurity in Today's World, Kathleen Guider, Federal Bureau of Investigation 

In 2013, the FBI discovered an emerging financial cyber-threat called business email compromise (BEC). Since then, organized crime groups have targeted large and small companies in every US state and more than 100 countries around the world. From non-profits and well-known corporations to churches and school systems, losses are in the billions of dollars and climbing. The FBI is working with the United States Secret Service in an effort to combat this problem. Learn what can be done to protect a business from becoming a victim.

OEE –A Gold Standard in Manufacturing, Vern Nightenhelser, PMC Smart Solutions

OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) is the gold standard for measuring manufacturing productivity. Simply put – it identifies the percentage of manufacturing time that is truly productive. An OEE score of 100% means only good parts are being manufactured to the plant standards with no stop time. In the language of OEE, that means 100% quality (only good parts), 100% performance (to the plant standards) and 100% availability (no stop time). Measuring OEE is a manufacturing best practice. By measuring OEE and the underlying losses, companies will gain important insights on how to systematically improve their manufacturing processes. OEE is the single best metric for identifying losses, benchmarking progress and improving the productivity of manufacturing equipment (i.e., eliminating waste). In short, OEE can simplify life! Learn from this member about how implementing OEE has changed his team members’ lives for the better!

Successfully Complying with IATF 16949, Scott Walton, COO, Harbour Results, Inc.

Many plastics processors are facing a challenge – complying with the new ISO 9001: 2015 and IATF 16949 Global Industry Standards before September 2018. Making the transition can be difficult while maintaining day-to-day operations. From strategic planning to risk-based thinking to selecting the right auditor, there are many factors that need to be addressed. This session will highlight the key changes for both process and strategy that companies will need to implement, as well as some best practices for successfully completing the transition to the new standard without interrupting current business.

Attitude-Based Safety, CEO and Founder, Fred Rine, FDRsafety

FDRsafety’s Safety Culture training program has been presented to more than 500,000 workers and managers, at companies of all sizes, in a wide variety of industries - and it gets results! In a world where safety is addressed in a “how to” be safe manner, it is time to address the “why.” FDRsafety’s Attitude-Based Safety Culture training leads employees on a journey of self-reflection and realizations on why safety matters – resulting in a better appreciation for and practice of workplace safety.


Co-Bot in the Workplace - Chris Harbert, ReThink Robotics 

Collaborative robots (also called co-bots) are designed to work alongside human workers, assisting them with a variety of tasks. Because co-bots are affordable, highly adaptable and almost plug-and-play, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are eager to adopt this technology, and some analysts expect this segment will see massive growth in the next few years. There are many reasons for the emergence of collaborative robots.Companies are using them because they can be placed alongside humans in small-spaced electronics assembly lines; they are affordable and easily trainable. In addition, they are flexible to handle short runs, as well as repetitive and boring jobs and ergonomically challenging tasks. During this breakout, the audience will learn about the latest advancements in this workplace-altering technology.

Workforce Development and the Importance of Apprenticeships Matt Poischbeg, Sea-Lect Plastics and Sarah Shea, TASUS 

Workforce development and the implementation of apprenticeships is more important now than ever. Many manufacturers say their biggest challenge is finding skilled workers for their growing organizations. Hear from two industry professionals, Matt Poischbeg of Sea-Lect Plastics and Sarah Shea of TASUS Corporation, on how their organizations have addressed this challenge. Through the creative and diligent use of internships, apprenticeships, local high school and colleges and other manufacturing professionals, these two organizations have been able to leverage young people in their operations. During this breakout, attendees will hear how these organizations developed, implemented and continue to expand their efforts. Learn how apprenticeships can help close the skills gaps!


BEST PRACTICES TO INCREASE THE VALUE OF YOUR BUSINESS - This three-part presentation is part of our inaugural President & Owners Track.

 i. Strategic Alternatives through an Owner’s Eyes

The satisfaction of succeeding as a business owner can be unparalleled. Achieving millions in sales by starting with an idea and a plan, weathering ups and downs and making major decisions, in many cases, has been solely up to the owner. Inevitably, there will come a time when change is necessary. One of the most important decisions owners face is how to address a major ownership transition in the business. Deciding which strategic alternative to choose can be daunting – not to mention navigating the process to completion. Fortunately, there are steps that can be made now to prepare the business, enable a smooth process and ensure the best possible result. Mike Benson, managing director at Stout, will facilitate a dynamic and insightful conversation with plastics business owners that have lived through the experience and survived to tell the tale. Panelist Include

• Thomas Duffey – Former President, Plastic Components Inc.
• Kelly Goodsel – President, Viking Plastics
• Jim Rikkers – Managing Director, Spell Capital
• Bob MacIntosh – President and CEO, Nicolet

ii. Mergers and Acquisitions- Creating Value - H. Alan Rothenbuecher, Benesch Attorneys at Law
Mergers and acquisitions have become a rite of passage, and most companies will go through a transaction at some point whether as an acquirer or acquiree. However, M&A transactions are far from straightforward, with reported success rates hovering around an uninspiring 50%. For anyone interested in inorganic growth, Rothenbuecher will share some best practices for creating value from both sides of the transaction to improve the odds of M&A success.

iii. Tax and Accounting Opportunities for Succession Planning and Exit Strategies Mike Devereaux, Mueller Prost

Every financial decision has tax implications. Tax planning and accounting issues will help company owners position their business for a successful transition or market exit. This presentation will explore the following topics:

• Improving after-tax proceeds related to the sale of the company
• Potential tax and accounting consequences of transactions
• Tax projections for planning and analysis
• How to value a business
• Merger and acquisition tax strategies


3:00 PM                 Quick Fire Sessions

The heart and soul of the annual Benchmarking Conference centers around people helping people, striving to become the best processors in the world and solve common problems without reinventing the wheel. These Ignite Sessions will feature industry peers openly sharing what they have done to improve their own businesses. Although not all solutions may directly fit, attendees are encouraged to think of the solutions that could be adapted to their own companies. Please remember, these industry executives have volunteered to share some of their own improvements to help their peers; this activity reinforces the association’s principles and values!

Perseverance - Mike Devereaux, Mueller Prost
During the 2016 Benchmarking Conference a powerful image, a gas tank, was shared with the audience. At that time, many may have thought, “That doesn’t affect me! I have several years before my gas tank is half full.” During this presentation, hear from one such individual for whom the last 12 months have taught him differently! That gas tank impacts everyone.

Life After Arc Flash - Scott Titzer, Infinity Molding and Assembly
After an Arc Flash Incident resulting in a minor injury and losing power for the entire plant for a full 24 hours, here is what one member, Infinity Molding and Assembly, learned about Arc Flash and the steps it took to reduce the risk of future incidents.

Fall Protection: Achieving Total Protection - Joe Clark, Bridgestone APM
By utilizing mobile fall protection units, Bridgestone APM has eliminated the “hard to protect” areas. Joe Clark will explain the beginning-to-end process Bridgestone used to solve the problem.

Hiring For Attitude - Cynamyn Williams, Harmony Systems
Harmony Systems is committed to creating an alternative workforce to focus on hiring and retention. Harmony continues to think outside the box in creating a diversified workforce while focusing on hiring for attitude. Hiring for attitude has led directly to individuals with disabilities. Employing individuals with disabilities is an important part of the company’s retention strategy and an investment worth making. These hires have excitement, pride and a passion for their job, which positively impacts Harmony’s bottom line. Attend this session to hear how to successfully implement a similar approach in hiring.


4:00 PM                 How to Bridge the Gap,                              Chris Bashinelli, TV Host and Global Explorer

A leader unflinchingly places the needs of others above his or her own. This drive to serve clients stems from recognizing that all human beings are interdependent. Having walked in the shoes of everyone from Pakistani fishmongers to Mongolian nomads, Bash sees firsthand how every role is just as valuable as the next and no one is more important than another - be it the secretary, the janitor or the CEO. Being a Global Leader doesn’t mean changing jobs, joining the Peace Corps or even traveling abroad! Rather, it means recognizing the service already provided to clients and the difference already made in people’s lives. Bash will help attendees realize their true potential by eliminating self-doubt through exercises that reinforce trust in themselves. Through stories of leaders who have overcome unthinkable obstacles around the globe, Bash reaffirms productivity can be increased by shifting focus from self to other.


5:00 PM                Annual Meeting


5:15 PM                Members’ Choice Reception




8:00 AM                FUNCTIONAL AREA GROUPS

This session is back by popular demand! Growing peer-to-peer networks is a primary component of the 2017 MAPP Annual Conference. Attendees will have the chance to interact with peer groups during this session on topics that are unique to their job functions in their specific groups. Driven by past attendee feedback, these focused sessions have been highly requested and are expected to be one of the biggest hits of this year’s conference. They are a perfect way for professionals to find new ideas, expand their professional networks and explore new methods of improvement. Areas covered will be operations, owners/presidents/CEOs, sales and marketing and human resources.

9:30 AM                    Best Practices from Employers of Choice

Featuring: Dymotek Molding Technologies, Greenleaf Industries, Plastic Components Inc. and Polysource LLC

Many employers feel challenged when it comes to attracting the best possible new talent. Some fear that other employers, like tech companies, are more inviting or attractive. The fact of the matter is that businesses throughout the manufacturing industry provide opportunities and environments that are more in line with what potential employees are seeking. This panel, comprised of the Plastic News Best Places to Work winners, will share with the audience what they have found to be best practices in retaining top employees.


10:20 AM               Using Social Analytics to Obtain a Real-Time Understanding of Employee Engagement., N Sadat Shami, PhD, Director, Center for Engagement, IBM

he increased adoption of social media in the enterprise provides an opportunity for organizations to receive real-time feedback from employees on organizational issues. Enterprise social media provides a platform for employees to express their thoughts and opinions on organizational programs, policies, and strategies through unstructured text in status updates, blogs, online community forums etc. Such textual data can be mined to generate insights about the employee experience. Research has shown that organizations that take employee feedback employee feedback into consideration in organizational decision-making are more productive, and have employees that are more engaged with the organization. In this talk, Shami will first describe the design and use of Social Pulse—a tool to make sense of large-scale social media text generated by employees of an organization while preserving privacy—and then describe how social media text mined by Social Pulse can be used in statistical models to predict employee engagement, allowing an organization to receive a real-time understanding of drivers and detractors of engagement.


11:00 AM              Managing to Win! ,   Joe Theismann, World Champion Quarterback, Broadcaster and Entrepreneur

In his charismatic and entertaining style, Joe Theismann draws parallels between his successful career as an NFL quarterback and the attendee—whether an executive, manager, salesperson, group or individual—with the goal of Managing to Win! He knows and understands that good management and effective leadership is not a game of following the leader: It is about PEOPLE—listening to them... trusting them...and motivating individuals to take ownership of team goals. By example, Joe Theismann shows that an effective leader cares about and trusts subordinates and demonstrates it by empowering individuals to take risks in order to perform above levels that have become comfortable.


11:55 AM                What's Next?

Don’t miss this incredible review of lessons learned from the 2017 MAPP Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference. Nix will share several takeaways that attendees gained from the conference. The success of the conference is not in the number of attendees or the quality of the speakers, but in the action plan that is created by attendees when they gain takeaways to improve their operations.


12:00 PM               2017 Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference Adjourned