Category Archives: News

DeKALB Celebrates 20 Years Under Rodgers and Walters’ Leadership

DeKALB Molded Plastics is thrilled to be commemorating 20 years of local ownership under Jeff Rodgers and Rick Walters, and 38 years overall of successful business, relationships, and service to the community.

Founded in 1978, DeKALB Molded Plastics is a custom structural foam molder specializing in large, multi-nozzle plastic products. DeKALB was one of the first ISO 9002 certified (currently 9001:2015) structural plastics molders in the US. In 1997, Jeff Rodgers and Rick Walters purchased DeKALB from their parent company, JSJ Corporation. While the two serve as owners, Walters is also the President and CEO.

“We couldn’t be happier to be celebrating 20 incrediblely productive years with our team members and the community,” says Walters. “From the start, DeKALB has aimed to be a one-stop shop for your plastic and assembly requirements, and I think we’ve achieved that status and then some.”

One of DeKALB’s biggest differentiators under the leadership of Rodgers and Walters has been their commitment to the local community of Butler, Indiana.

“DeKALB is really engaged with our community because you have to make where you live a really good place,” says Walters. “That’s a combination of work, home, and anything else that’s around you. We work hard to make sure we put our time and our talents back into our community. A lot of people will help financially but really it’s about the time. It’s about getting out there, making contributions, and engaging – that’s what brings the win.”

The entire DeKALB organization will be hosting a party on Sunday, September 10, 2017, to officially celebrate their 20 years of outstanding leadership.

Level Three AchieveWELL

DeKALB is proud to be recognized as a Three Star AchieveWELL organization.

AchieveWell-BannerLevel3AchieveWELL is an award winning, proven strategic process, developed by the Wellness Council of Indiana, which provides a road map to the destination of a good workplace while recognizing excellence in the field of health promotion. AchieveWELL works with companies and organizations by providing tools and coaching help to create a more consistent work place.

To become a Three Star AchieveWELL organization, DeKALB made several strategic changes to help promote wellness throughout the organization.  Implementing wellness was well received amongst our leadership team and become apparent by their participation and encouragement in companywide challenges, up to and including the president/CEO.  Challenges were a great to introduce wellness into our culture and helped build moral and camaraderie amongst the employees.  And, there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition.

In addition to challenges, we also introduced healthier vending machine options.  Healthier items are encouraged but we don’t take away people’s choices by eliminating completely.  Healthier selections are available at a slightly lower cost which is yet another encouragement.  Improving our overall communication and education opportunities was key for our employees to be successful in their wellness journey.  Provide the information and opportunity, the rest is supported by their strategic focus to live healthier.

Wellness is ingrained in both DeKALB’s mission and vision. We are not satisfied with a Three Star AcheiveWELL certification, and DeKALB is committed to becoming Four Star certified in 2017 and Five Star in 2018.

MAPP Innovation Award

DeKALB also received the 2016 MAPP Innovation Award. Capturing over 120 votes for the water manifold entry, voted on by plastics professionals in the United States, DeKALB won the award by a landslide.

Along with the title the award came with a monetary to award our employees for a job well done, free entries to a future plant tour event, special recognition during the 2016 MAPP Benchmarking Conference, and recognition in the national industry publication Plastics Business.

Dedication to Customers and Community Drives DeKALB’s Culture

Our mission at DeKALB Molded Plastics is simple: To provide customer satisfaction that is unsurpassed in the structural plastics industry. This starts with our internal strategies. All of our employees are instilled with this mission, always providing the best possible service for our customers and embracing our community, whether it be in the office or off the clock.

We understand that our employees are the backbone of DeKALB, hence our industry Excellence Award for Employee Relations. We’re proud of the devotion towards a healthy company culture which creates dedicated and passionate employees, which is key to a happy customer. From company golf outings to DeKALB cook outs, there are numerous events held to keep our employees engaged in the culture that surrounds us. Our employees even enjoy free Fitbits to help track and monitor their health.

DeKALB Molded Plastics wouldn’t be the company it is today without the support of the community. That’s why the team at DeKALB holds a variety of events giving back to the town of Butler. Every year we host the Annual Recognition Dinner, paying homage to the Butler Police, Fire, and EMS departments, giving each member a small token of our appreciation as well as a donation to each department. While we consistently donate to organizations recommended to us by our employees, one of our favorite charitable contributions is to the local Butler school system. DeKALB is also a proud corporate sponsor of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. In recent years, we have participated in the United Way Day of Caring, a volunteer opportunity to lend a helping hand to local nonprofits and give back to the great community that embraces our company.

At DeKALB, it’s very important that all of our employees are on the same page. Synergy is promoted through communication. This is what builds our culture at DeKALB. With a combination of unsurpassed customer satisfaction, community involvement, and employee recognition, we are able to create an enjoyable work place and maintain our strong reputation. Giving back not only helps the community and our team members, it helps DeKALB become a better company for our customers.

DeKALB Molded Plastics President Rick Walters Appointed CEO

Butler, IN – DeKALB Molded Plastics’ incumbent president, Rick Walters, added Chief Executive Officer to his title effective March 1, 2016. The move comes from DeKALB owner Jeff Rodgers, who has long planned on relinquishing more responsibility to Walters.

“This is a decision that should have been made a couple of years ago,” said Rodgers. “Rick has done an admiral job of managing DeKALB Molded Plastics, and this promotion signifies my continued confidence in his skills.”

Having worked at DeKALB his entire career, Rick Walters has an established network of professional partners and friends. His technical knowledge and understanding of the importance of team help support employees throughout all areas of the organization.

With new authority, Walters seeks continued success for DeKALB. The first of his main priorities is to advance DeKALB’s development plan, building the next generation of leaders and maintaining status as a premier structural plastics molder. He also strives to capture new business opportunities by promoting DeKALB’s value-added capabilities and the structural plastics process.

“DeKALB exists because of the great employees who understand how to be successful and know how to bring real value to our customers. I have always enjoyed being a part of our group and am blessed to be their leader,” said Walters. “I really care about each of them. Being CEO enhances my opportunity to promote individual creativity and help tell their story. I’ll cheer and channel their ideas for our team successes, and our celebrations will be intense!”

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About DeKALB Molded Plastics:

Founded in 1978, DeKALB Molded Plastics is a custom structural foam molder specializing in large, multi-nozzle plastic products. As one of the first ISO 9002, currently 9001:2008, certified structural plastics molders in the US, DeKALB offers a variety of value-added operations, including in-house post mold painting, plastic decorating capabilities, kitting, and assembly requirements for programs ranging from single stand-alone products to complex, multi-component, multi-operation programs. For more information on DeKALB Molded Plastics, please call 260-868-2105 or visit www.dekalbplastics.com.

Media Contact:

Teresa Schell
President | Vive, LLC
414.292.1291
tschell@vive4mfg.com

Inventory Management Benefits for Customers

For the team of experts at DeKALB Molded Plastics, inventory accuracy is a major focus from all levels and aspects of the company. In order to accomplish this, we have established a reliable management system in all phases of production from the hardware (wireless AP), handheld scanners, barcode printers and data entry/collection stations at all presses. By coupling that with a top-notch ERP System and the proper training, we have successfully accomplished a solid management system.

Warehouse management at DeKALB is supported and accomplished through our ERP system (or IQMS). This program enables us to be organized and streamlined by receiving the items, printing barcoded labels and moving materials to the press, as well as scanning labels to ship produced items to our customers.

As stated by IQMS, this program enables our team to properly “monitor, manage, analyze and report on the manufacturing process from end-to-end, giving you real-time visibility and control over your entire manufacturing supply chain.”

Operational Efficiency

By regularly maintaining important steps with our ERP system, we are able to be more efficient, which saves time and money for the customer. Our team is always focused on implementing the following process:

  • Product is ticketed upon receipt
  •  Product is ticketed once produced
  • Product is logically organized and categorized
  • When product is shipped, the tickets are scanned and recorded

Customer Service is Priority

A major reason why DeKALB has invested time and money into an efficient ERP system is to provide cost and time savings for our customers. Therefore, our system is very streamlined to allow for an easy-to-follow set of instructions that pertain to sales orders, pick tickets, resin orders and scheduling. To have a recorded process, which all managers can access and adjust, has substantially reduced the shipping of non-conformance products. In fact, customers have attested to our reliability as there have been zero shipment errors since the inception of the ERP system.

DeKALB Champions Seat Support Pallet

“I would recommend working with DeKALB because of their ability to plan very well and not let any issues fall through the cracks.” Mitch Kujawa, Polyflex

The Challenge

Polyflex was in the market for a structural plastics company to produce the bases for a seat support pallet, as they did not have a large enough press to run the project. The seat support pallet was being produced for the end manufacturer, Magna, who supplies for Chrysler. The final purpose of the seat support pallet was for seat material handling, so that seats can be brought through the assembly line.

DeKALB was chosen due to their ability to design ribs and manage overall mold ability of the part. The project required four towers, which the team worked to fill properly with correct nozzle configurations. Attachment points and interfaces with the steal components were analyzed by the team to ensure proper functionality as they went from steal to plastic pallet.

DeKALB’s Solution

DeKALB partnered with a tool source to ensure the tool was molded properly and according to quality standards. Advanced Quality Planning (APQP) was utilized in the designing and tooling phases to ensure a successful outcome. Additionally, regular meetings with the tool source were managed by the DeKALB team to make sure Polyflex/Magna was comfortable with the process and all timelines were met.

Communicative Approach

The team at DeKALB started the project with a strong program management approach. They made certain to communicate any potential design concerns upfront; with a solution plan already in place. This strategy included all initial design meetings.

Once in the tool quoting phase, regular meetings were scheduled with Polyflex and DeKALB to identify any concerns and report progress. Polyflex was very communicative and comfortable with this process as the DeKALB team planned structured agendas in order to identify issues as well as provide solutions to solve them.

In addition to weekly meetings, team members were easy to reach by phone and email. They responded quickly with answers to any questions or concerns. Overall, the DeKALB team was very proactive and did a great job of displaying how any change would affect the overall timeline.

Successful Result

Everyone at DeKALB was very committed to the success of this project and the mold trial was realized without a hitch. Polyflex managed the buildup at their facility and then sent to Magna to complete the final review.

In the end, all parties were very pleased when the first run of the tool was realized and approved as qualified by a tool expert and production is set to begin in May 2014. Polyflex could not be more satisfied with the project management displayed by DeKALB and would recommend the team based on the positive outcome of the seal support pallet.

DeKALB Molded Plastics’ Virtual Home

As our culture continues to become more virtually and electronically connected, DeKALB Molded Plastics wants to ensure all visitors have a positive experience while on our company website. Whether you are sitting at a desktop computer or using a tablet at a business meeting, you will find the information you need quickly and easily.

While DeKALB places emphasis on the newest technologies and equipment for structural plastics inside our facility; continuous improvement and excellence applies to our virtual presence as well. We know our website is your first source of information for discovering how our expertise in the structural plastics’ industry can benefit you.

Therefore, we want all visitors to feel just as welcome on the DeKALB website as they would walking through our front door. The following updates have been implemented to make that possible:

  1. New Design – The new design complements our ever-evolving brand identity, which is centered upon superior customer service and quality products!
  2. New Pictures – We couldn’t think of a better way to showcase our company culture and overall capabilities than by simply showing you!
  3. Simpler Navigation – You want information quickly and efficiently; we put the most relevant information on the front page so you don’t have to click around!
  4. Responsive Design – Now wherever you are, we are! We want you to have the best access to our website no matter what device you are using.
  5. Updated Descriptions – Our website has been re-written to ensure you understand our core capabilities and products better.

While nothing compares to meeting with you in person, we hope the website makes you feel welcome and that you visit often. To get to know the team at DeKALB even better, make sure to connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Facebook!

DeKALB is kicking off our annual United Way campaign

It’s that time of year again.

dekalb-united-way

DeKALB is kicking off our annual United Way campaign. Our goal for this year is $14,500, which shouldn’t be a problem since last year we exceed our goal by $4000!! This is a big event that typically results in 100% employee participation. We have games and weekly fund raisers throughout the campaign to help raise money and then wrap it up with a lunch to celebrate our success. This is a great opportunity for our employees to have fun while supporting our community.