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B&B Molders, LLC

Mishawaka, Indiana


B&B Molders, LLC is a custom plastic injection molder that manufactures custom plastic components for many industries such as medical, electrical, aerospace/defense, consumer goods, office furniture, and others. Their state-of-the-art material handling system and year-round climate-controlled manufacturing environment ensure resin and molding conditions are optimized for consistent results. From product design and tool build, to manufacturing and assembly, they produce innovative products that meet the demanding requirements of a wide range of industries for their clients.

Situation:

B&B Molders has always encouraged internal promotions and career advancements. With their team rapidly expanding and evolving, leadership recognized the importance of providing new managers with a foundation of shared practices and beliefs to ensure team members were working from the same set of standards and culture. The company reached out to Purdue MEP for leadership training for current leaders, as well as future leaders, to provide practical tools to assist with day-to-day leadership and continuous improvement challenges.

Solution:  

Purdue MEP met with B&B Molders leadership team to develop a strategy for the delivery of several modules of training to ensure the schedule and course topics fit both the company’s needs and the objectives they wished to accomplish. The first series focused on Lean manufacturing with 10 days of training for production floor associates to develop their skills and implementation of Lean practices. The next series of classes, set for a group of 24 supervisors and team leads, included a customized version of Leadership Skills for Success series courses to focus on coaching for superior performance. Despite an unexpected interruption due to Covid, the MEP instructors were incredibly effective in meeting the objectives B&B Molders had established for the training. The series of classes stretched over a longer period ensured teams could implement short-term changes right away to see the impact which gave them encouragement to focus on longer-term improvements.  Recognizing the success and impact of the first two series of courses, B&B Molders elected to continue additional trainings into 2022 with Purdue MEP covering topics such as coaching, mentoring, and the development of supervisors.

Results:

The objective of the first module of training was to expose employees to the concept of continuous improvement and the second series broadened their understanding of leadership techniques. As B&B Molders team members moved through the training series, internal measurements reflected significant progress. B&B Molders has an ongoing relationship with Purdue MEP and continues to utilize the Center for their supervisor development and leadership training needs.

Results metrics:

  • Increased sales of 2%
  • Retained sales of $135,000
  • Cost-savings of $73,500
  • Invested $47,250 in new equipment, products, and processes
  • Creation of 4 new jobs
  • Reduced turnover by 4%
  • Improved employee morale
  • Coached 24 supervisors over a six-month period

 

Lisa Fry, Human Resource Manager:

It was a pleasure to work with the MEP team. They worked very hard to ensure the course content was exactly what we were looking to provide. They presented a dual focused curriculum on Lean practices and married that with Leadership training. The instructors were able to engage the groups in meaningful conversations centered around real-life situations and examples from our workplace. This made application for our teams so much easier and faster in many situations. We appreciate the customized approach and the nearly one-on-one support the instructors provided our teams.  We will recommend and continue to utilize MEP moving forward.

Estella Burciaga, Team Leader:

It took many years for Estella to consider moving into a leadership role, hesitant to deal with the people issues she observed during her time in production. New to the position of Team Leader, she participated in the training shortly after her transition into the team leader role.

“I don’t know if I’d have been able to handle this job as well without the information from our classes.”

She went on to say the leadership topics were relevant and applicable on nearly a daily basis. The MEP instructor was able to present the information in a way that wasn’t intimidating, and he made a connection with Estella from the beginning.

Mark Borlik, Production Manager:

“In particular, the session that explained different learning styles was so eye-opening for our supervisors. They immediately made a connection between what Joe McMurry (Purdue MEP instructor) was saying and what they had observed with new people on the floor. Suddenly, they had empathy for new people who may take longer to learn than they’d expect because they learn differently.”

Jeff Gear, Maintenance Technician:

Jeff is in line for promotion to the Maintenance Manager role when his supervisor retires later this year. He’s completely comfortable with the technical part of the job, but has been very vocal about his concerns in dealing with people issues. The company has been very pleased with Jeff’s growth following both the Lean and leadership classes.

“I looked forward to the Lean classes because I knew they would help with problem solving and learning continuous improvement methods. Mike [the MEP instructor] offered a new look at how to approach problems in manufacturing. The hands-on illustrations that we did helped show us what could be possible.

 “I knew the leadership classes were more geared toward relationships, and honestly, I was definitely not enthusiastically anticipating them. However, the classes were great, and I gained some knowledge of how to deal with coworkers. The skills learned were not just how to deal with difficult situations, but also how to encourage good behaviors to avoid or minimize the difficult situations. Joe made the class very enjoyable and gave it value.”

Mike Dittrich, Project Manager:

Mike is new to leadership, leading a small team of designers, and is stretching his leadership muscles.

“We actually walked through a Lean example based on B&B Molders. Step-by-step analysis of our process which allowed us to work through one of our real situations, not just a textbook illustration. We could actually apply what Mike was teaching in a real problem we face at work.

“I legitimately enjoyed Joe’s leadership classes. He engaged every person in the class, even the most reluctant, and made everything relatable to us. He was very personable and friendly, and I honestly looked forward to those classes. “

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