SWISS TURNED COMPONENTS | (262) 743-1700

Gateway Technical College Elkhorn Campus CNC Lab and Manufacturing Center Set to Open January 22, 2016

Michael Reader

With just a bit over a month to welcome in students and instructors for the next semester, Gateway Technical College’s (GTC) new CNC Lab and Manufacturing Center in Elkhorn, Wisconsin is buzzing with energy and excitement. Construction is coming to an end, equipment continues to arrive, and instructors are reinforcing their own knowledge by familiarizing themselves with the new equipment and software.

Rich Shouse, CNC Technology Instructor, spent a week in October at a PartMaker Training Workshop focusing on programming Swiss CNC machines. Shouse explains, “Learning this computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) system was a very easy transition for me, considering what I have used in the past. I have already programmed, set-up and ran ten jobs through our shop using PartMaker. Personally, I feel it is the strongest CAM system that I have ever used.”

A Thanksgiving Note from Mike Reader

Michael Reader

On Thanksgiving, and all through the year, there is so much to be thankful for…

Thanksgiving is a special celebration in our country.  Although originally, people may have gathered to give thanks and bless the harvest after months of working the fields, the spirit of the celebration remains in a state of gratitude, when families and friends gather to pause, be grateful for the simple things in life, and break bread.

When I reflect on my own gratitude, the first thing that comes to mind is the health and wellbeing of my family, friends and colleagues.  This is a reality that can change in an instant, and deserves never-ending appreciation.

Next, I am also thankful to be surrounded by wonderful people who, in one way or another, make a difference in the lives of everyone with whom they come in contact.  Given the opportunity, each one of us has the chance to enrich someone else’s life, validating the deeper purpose and meaning of our actions and our existence.

Last, how fitting is it that during this month of Thanksgiving, we also honor our veterans, whom without their efforts and sacrifice, we would not enjoy the freedoms we do?  Let us remember to thank our veterans every day of the year.

In these times of ongoing conflict around the world, I hope we can find a way to have respectful and constructive conversations to solve our differences of opinion, and continue to build a better place for all.

On behalf of everyone at Precision Plus, we wish for you and yours to enjoy your time together this Thanksgiving.

Mike

Michael J Reader
President
Precision Plus
readerm@preplus.com

For Cathy Giese, Secondary Operator at Precision Plus, The Secondary Department Always Comes First

Michael Reader

Cathy Giese, Secondary Operator at Precision Plus (PPI) in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, has been a team member since March of 2010, as part of the Secondary Department.

For Swiss precision manufacturers such as PPI, secondary operations play just as an important role as manufacturing the parts themselves. Processes such as polishing, grinding, deburring, special assembly, or laser marking help to deliver a product with consistent quality and to specification.

Operation of the state-of-the-art equipment found in the Secondary Department requires individuals who are not only highly trained, but also be willing to learn about new equipment and operations. Cathy Giese has proven to be one of those individuals.

Terry Mumper, Manufacturing Engineer, who supervises Giese, explains: “My favorite thing about Cathy is her eagerness to learn. She is punctual and always arrives to work with a positive attitude. She works hard and is very conscientious of the quality of her work. She is a great part of the PPI Team and it is a pleasure to work with her.”

Giese concurs that she is driven by the opportunity to learn new things, such as inspecting job orders as well as learning to operate the OMNI-VISION® 2D/3D Inspection System, which allows for inspection of components and assemblies with the use of digital multi-frequency Moiré inspection probes.

Cathy appreciates her fellow team members, her excellent supervisor, and the company’s culture of respect for the family through workplace flexibility.

Outside of work, she loves to spend time with friends and family—especially her granddaughter. Cathy is an avid cook and baker, and is known for bringing samples of her delicious creations to share with co-workers. She also shares her culinary gift with her church, baking items for funerals and serving food at church dinners. In addition, Cathy is also a dedicated volunteer who helps with ushering on Sundays. She also loves sports, and is an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers and the Brewers.

Updates from Precision Plus’ Quality Assurance Department: Zeiss DuraMax CMM Added to The Production Floor; ISO 9001:2008 Certification

Michael Reader

Zeiss DuraMax CMM

Dale Wittlieff, Director of Quality and Continuous Improvement at Precision Plus (PPI) in Elkhorn, Wisconsin has recently announced the addition of a second Carl Zeiss DuraMax Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM).

The Zeiss DuraMax CMM is a compact 3-D measuring machine designed for shop floor and production applications, replacing traditional measuring gages with automated CMM programs. The DuraMax is equipped with a “VAST XXT” scanning sensor, which quickly and accurately delivers dimensional information on parts (such as size, form and position) that can be easily reproduced on CNC machines.

Precision Plus placed its first Zeiss DuraMax in the Quality Assurance (QA) Department, and was made available to both the QA staff for inspection purposes, as well as to machine operators, as it is perfect for quick in-between inspections of components.

The accuracy and popularity of the CMM prompted PPI to purchase a second one, to be located on the production floor, near the Miyano CNC machines, increasing operator efficiency, as the operators would not have to walk across the plant to use the CMM in the Quality Assurance Department.

The CMM also comes with the Calypso software, which calculates the ideal measuring run and travel paths. Additionally, it can be loaded from three sides, which contributes to its flexibility.

Along with the new CMM, Precision Plus received an offline seat where CMM programs can be created offline and tested before being released to inspect parts. It also opens up time to perform capability studies for new and existing parts on the CMM in the Quality Assurance Department.

ISO 9001:2008 Recertification

Following an intense recertification process, Precision Plus has formally received its ISO 9001:2008 recertification certificate, valid until September 14, 2018.

The surveillance audit process checked for the company’s ability to consistently provide product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, as well as enhancing customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for continual improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

For more information about Precision Plus’ Zeiss DuraMax CMM and/or the company’s ISO recertification, please contact Dale Wittlieff via email or by phone at 262.743.1700.

 

Precision Plus Conducts Customer Survey, Gets Interesting Results

Michael Reader

Precision Plus (PPI) of Elkhorn, Wisconsin recently conducted its first formal customer survey to gauge overall performance, while measuring various aspects of the company’s services. The survey was initiated this past August, resulting in fifty-four responses, primarily from customers serviced within the last fifteen months.

There were six primary questions asked:

  • Q1 Compared to your other business partners, how does Precision Plus rate when considering responsiveness to your needs?
  • Q2 Compared to your other business partners, how does Precision Plus rate when considering the quality of the items produced?
  • Q3 Compared to your other business partners, how does Precision Plus rate when considering the delivery?
  • Q4 Compared to your other business partners, how does Precision Plus rate when it comes to customer service?
  • Q5 What is your overall view of Precision Plus?
  • Q6 What is your primary role at your company?

When asked to compare Precision Plus to other business partners in the area of customer service, 72% rated PPI as “Among the Best,” followed by a 22% rating the company as “Above Average,” which totaled to 94% of customers expressing receiving exceptional customer service. Many commented further, pointing out the extra actions that earned the high grading: “Precision Plus understands what good customer service is. We feel like our business is highly valued. They have very high credibility. Precision Plus does not over-promote themselves; they deliver. Good corporate citizens.”

When asked questions about quality, responsiveness, and product delivery, the results were equally as glowing. Not one respondent rated Precision Plus as “Below Average” or “Among the Worst.” Looking at component quality, 94% of the responses were “Among the Best” (61%) or “Above Average” (33%). When asked to give a simple favorable or unfavorable rating on their overall view of Precision Plus, all 54 participants selected the “favorable” response.

“We were extremely proud of the ratings our employees earned,” noted Jeff Lemmermann, Chief Information and Financial Officer. “There were sixteen individuals who took the time to add additional comments, and those comments really praised the extra efforts the PPI team made to help them succeed.”

Precision Plus is looking to surveys like this to gain feedback from the marketplace on what keeps customers coming back. On the flip side, PPI is also looking for suggestions on how their products and services can be improved.

Lemmermann adds, “Even the comments with improvement suggestions, had a compliment. Furthermore, it was a pleasure to share these results with our employees to let them know how our customers notice their efforts.”

The survey also gave the respondents an option to be contacted for more feedback at a later day. Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus followed up on those calls.

Click here for a PDF of the survey results.

Precision Plus’ President Mike Reader Speaks at The Economic Forum Presented by the La Crosse Area Development Corporation

Michael Reader

Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus of Elkhorn Wisconsin was invited to speak at The Economic Forum presented by the La Crosse Area Development Corporation (LADCO) on Thursday, October 8, 2015. The presentation was entitled “Workforce Development Challenges & Strategies,” addressing tangible steps for manufacturers to take to help tackle workforce challenges.


The October 8th event also featured Ann Franz from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, and Mark Kaiser from Lindquist Machine Corporation, both representing the NEW Manufacturing Alliance (NMA) of Northeast Wisconsin. James Hill of LADCO moderated the forum.

All three presenters addressed two common threads: how to raise industry and career awareness, and how to promote collaboration between sectors.

The NMA represents a group of manufacturers who work with educators, workforce developers, chambers of commerce and state organizations to promote manufacturing in Northeast Wisconsin. Franz and Kaiser explained how the organization makes available valuable resources through their outreach program, listing manufacturers who regularly offer plant tours, have representatives who can speak about the industry and career opportunities, offer college internships, job shadowing, mentoring, and youth apprenticeships. In addition, the organization makes available to educators a number of tools to deploy in the classroom, and prospective employees a model pathway for shaping their careers.

Reader recounted his own personal journey to turn the skills gap tables, when he “stopped complaining” and began reaching out to educators, legislators, associations and fellow manufacturers, while organizing career panels, plant tours for students and parents, participating in career fairs, and hiring a dedicated individual to undertake the outreach efforts on a full-time basis. He also established internships and apprenticeships, created scholarships, crafted tuition reimbursement programs, joined career and technical education (CTE) committees, and invested in local education—efforts which, along the way, have nurtured individuals who now make Precision Plus their employer.

LADCO businesses attending the forum, walked away with a wealth of executable ideas. La Crosse, WI is a key city in Western Wisconsin located along the Mississippi River, in what is called the “Coulee Region Business Center,” ideally located to serve the tri-state area of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. LADCO is an organization that strives to promote and retain business in the area, offering an array of business related programs throughout the year.

 

Mike Reader Joins Chuck Jester, Dominic Cariello and Bryan Albrecht on The Morning Show Radio Program with Gregory Berg to Discuss Manufacturing Month

Michael Reader

On October 2, 2015, Gregory Berg, Host of 91.1 WGTD HD’s Morning Show, welcomed monthly guest Bryan Albrecht, President of Gateway Technical College, and special guests Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus, Chuck Jester, Production Manager for Ocean Spray, and Dominic Cariello, Director of Manufacturing and Flow Instrumentation for Badger Meter to talk about National Manufacturing Month.

The month of October has been designated to celebrate and bring awareness to manufacturing, with events taking place throughout the United States and Canada. All guests agreed that for them, every day is Manufacturing Day, but concurred that the month-long publicity gives the industry a boost, and helps dispel outdated ideas about manufacturing while showing how the industry has “moved and changed in some spectacular ways.”

Reader, Jester and Cariello emphasized the importance of collaboration between schools and industry, as well as community involvement, and praised the curriculums and initiatives, which have been developed over the years by Gateway Technical College addressing the needs of local manufacturers, even taking into consideration the rapid pace in which the industry moves. Responsiveness has been of the essence.

The host and the guests also discussed that the development of programs of study do not just end with technical-type curriculums, but that extend to supporting disciplines, such as front office, back office, accounting, management, etc. Albrecht pointed out that the latest trend is “collaborative training,” giving students pursuing different areas of study the opportunity to work as a team, which is what is expected today in the real business world.

To amplify the communication between academia and industry, Jester, Cariello and Reader were recently invited to present before the Wisconsin State Board for Technical Colleges. Typically, the State Board hears from college faculty or college administrators, but Albrecht suggested to reverse the scenario in order to hear the viewpoints of the customers—the employers themselves—stating that, ”technical colleges need to be reflective of the needs of the community.”

The 50-minute WGTD Morning Show program, also touched on several other points relating to manufacturing and Manufacturing Month, and can be heard HERE in its entirety.

For a transcript PDF of the program, please click HERE.

 

 

Precision Plus’ Employees Get Fitter and Healthier While Earning Rewards and Reduced Insurance Premiums

Michael Reader

When Precision Plus (PPI) of Elkhorn, Wisconsin delivers a job, it delivers more than just the metal that has been machined into components. It delivers the know-how, dedication, morale, wellbeing, and work-life balance of the people behind the components.

Creating a positive, safe and healthy environment for all employees, has been a continuous goal for Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus, knowing that the benefits have a positive impact not only on the employees but also on the company.

In 2012, PPI contracted with Healics, Inc. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a company that provides employee health risk assessments and biometric screenings, establishes biometric markers, offers onsite coaching and onsite wellness programs, and educates the participants on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Over the past three years, employees have seen marked improvements in their health and related habits, including smoking cessation and increased physical activity, as shown by the results of yearly biometric testing.

In conjunction with the Healics program, Precision Plus has contracted with Humana as their insurance carrier. Humana offers a “Vitality Program,” which is an incentivized plan that challenges individuals to achieve different levels of wellbeing by improving on their habits and practicing healthier living. There are five vitality stages within the program—blue, bronze, silver, gold and platinum– and as employees achieve the next goal, the benefits aggregate.

When points and “Vitality Bucks” are earned, participants can receive rewards from the Vitality Mall, such as movie tickets, hotel stays, digital cameras and more. Points are also awarded for wearing a pedometer, or getting a flu shot. After participants achieve the Bronze Level, for example, they can also benefit from certain food discounts at stores such as Walmart.

It is a fact that insurance premiums continue to escalate forcing companies to have to share the cost with the employees. At Precision Plus, the company pays for a large portion of the premiums, with the employee paying the rest.   Companies participating in the Vitality Program, however, can benefit from a great incentive available to them when an employee reaches Silver Status: a 10% premium reduction for that particular employee.

We are happy to announce that to date, several employees have reached Silver Status. Precision Plus, however, has opted to not reap from that benefit, but instead pass it on to the employee as an added reward for his/her accomplishment.

So the phrase “Put the Pedal to the Metal” is taking on a different meaning here at Precision Plus The pedal may be that of the elliptical machine, or the bike in the spinning class…but the results achieved from pedaling, are bound to have a positive effect on the metal that will turn into fine components, thanks to a happy and healthy workforce.

Bill Wells Represents Precision Plus at the Wisconsin Aerospace Partners Roundtable in Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Michael Reader

On Tuesday, October 6, 2015, the Wisconsin Aerospace Partners held a roundtable to discuss the possible initiatives that should or could be put in place in order to attract more aerospace business to the State. The meeting took place at the Batten Board Room of the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Present at the meeting were the seven member companies of Wisconsin Aerospace Partners (Astronautics Corp., Fives-Giddings and Precision Plus), along with Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and representatives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. Bill Wells, Sales/Engineering Manager at Precision Plus represented the company.

The discussion centered on the steps which could or should be taken to attract new business to the State, given the strong supply chain already in place. It was noted that Lt. Governor Kleefisch has been a champion in promoting Wisconsin’s aerospace industry to the world, and the attendees were asked to share their thoughts on what the State’s government could additionally do to support the overall endeavors of Wisconsin businesses involved in the aerospace industry.

“There’s just an unbelievable amount of activity in this industry right now in Wisconsin,” recently said Gail Towers-MacAskill, Aerospace Sector Development Manager with WEDC. “These new projects will put Wisconsin on the map in the aerospace sector, nationally and internationally.”

“Wisconsin is climbing as a leader in aviation and aerospace innovation,” recently stated Lt. Governor Kleefisch. “Our assets of industry research and manufacturing know-how, and regional collaboration between manufacturers, engineers and innovators will strengthen Wisconsin and the Midwest’s unique position in the global aviation and aerospace industry.”

Precision Plus is proud to be a part of the supply chain of Wisconsin’s aerospace industry, and a member of the Wisconsin Aerospace Partners.

Millennials in Manufacturing – Precision Plus’ Interns Featured in Wisconsin Manufacturing & Commerce Video

Michael Reader

Several of Elkhorn, WI’s Precision Plus’s summer college or college-bound interns were recently interviewed to get their take on working at a 21st century high tech manufacturing facility. The video was produced by Wisconsin Manufacturing & Commerce, Wisconsin’s Chamber of Commerce, to celebrate Wisconsin Manufacturing Month.

Here are some of the comments from the interns:

  • “You create something from a piece of bar.”
  • “You can touch and see something you drew on the computer”
  • “You get to operate machinery that’s really expensive and they trust you.”
  • “In the classroom, you learn all of the logistics, but here you actually get to do it.”
  • “You look forward to the challenges, but you know that if you get stuck, you can ask someone.”
  • “Expectations are not right. This is not a manufacturing plant from the 1800s!”
  • “You’re just not sitting down. You’re constantly moving!”

Precision Plus is proud to have both internship and apprenticeship programs that connect millennials with manufacturing, providing hands-on experience that is bound to contribute to their future and the future of our country.

For more information on Precision Plus’ internship and apprenticeship programs, please contact Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training by email, or by phone at 262-743-1700.

1 2 3 4