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.

What Manufacturers Can Do to Attract, Retain and Keep Connected with Employees

Michael Reader

On September 18, 2015, the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin, in cooperation with the New Berlin Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, Bank Mutual and Sikich, presented the Wisconsin Manufacturing Summit 2015, which took place at The Wisconsin Club Ballroom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Mary Spaight, HR Coordinator, and Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus attended the conference.

The keynote presenter was Christine McMahon, whose program entitled “Workforce Strategies: Attraction. Retention. Connection.,” addressed a hot topic among prospective employees: “Why should I work here?” This topic is especially of importance to the manufacturing industry, which is plagued with a shortage of high-skilled personnel. McMahon spoke about the role which company culture plays in answering that question, as well as about taking tangible steps for attracting and retaining the right talent.

Talent procurement is an ever-changing science that adjusts to current social sentiments. Employees are looking for a total proposition and a corporate culture they can trust. McMahon cited a statistic, which indicates that a high trust culture yields, on average, 30 percent better performance.

So, what makes a company a great place to work, and how can employees and employers be sure that it is a right match? McMahon suggests pre-qualifying employees by outlining the qualities which a successful candidate must possess for the position, prevents future disconnects and discords.

Jeff Lemmermann, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer at Precision Plus explains that the company currently gives every prospective employee a short survey which creates a ‘Predictive Index’ (PI). “This index provides an insight into what motivates each person, as well as their preferred internal style of giving and receiving information,” he continues. “This is essential in placing someone in the right position or team. The survey does not measure any type of skill level, but addresses the type of situations in which the employee can best engage.” Precision Plus has been using the PI program for workforce analytics since 2011.

Talent acquisition often carries a pricey investment tag, which includes advertising, marketing, interviewing and training, among other costs. What can companies do to retain their employees? McMahon suggested that hiring an employee is only the beginning of the journey. Employees must have a feeling of inclusiveness from the get go, need to feel the company’s story, and must be on board with the company’s values.

Additionally, employees must have clear performance expectations as well as a clear knowledge of what they can expect from the company. “Performance reviews are going away,” said McMahon, “being replaced by ongoing documented performance conversations and real-time feedback that can correct or improve performance midstream.”

Lemmermann states that transparency and understanding members’ style is vital for team building and team cooperation. Employees at Precision Plus are encouraged to learn each other’s predictive index in order to have a better understanding of how people prefer to communicate and work together.

U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan Visits Precision Plus in Elkhorn, Wisconsin on April 6, 2015

Michael Reader

On Monday, April 6, 2015, U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan (WI01) stopped at Precision Plus for a short informal visit with the company’s employees, to share some of the legislative efforts in Washington, D.C. A roundtable discussion with a number of area business leaders followed the meeting.

Mike Reader, President and Owner of Precision Plus, introduced Congressman Ryan to the employees. Congressman Ryan, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, is in charge of reviewing and passing laws that affect issues such as healthcare, welfare, trade, tax and retirement.

During the Q&A with Precision Plus’ employees, Congressman Ryan compared the tax rates assessed on small to medium-sized businesses in the U.S., at an average of 44.6%, with similar taxes for same-sized companies around the world, which average 25%, and are as low as 12.5% in Ireland. Larger-sized companies, such as Anheuser Busch or Snap-On Tools, pay an average of 35%. Subsequently, their shareholders are taxed about 20% on dividends paid and capital gain.

This tax disparity with its global competitors places U.S. companies in hard-to-compete situations. Some companies are choosing to move their operations to other countries in order to be able to be competitive in the global arena. Others, have been purchased by foreign corporations, so that they can stay viable in the global market. Congressman Ryan pointed out the fact that 96% of all consumers are outside of the U.S. and that currently the U.S. is working, among other things, on trade agreements with eleven Asian nations to open up their markets. The U.S. is adamant that trade partners respect fair trade, do not allow unreasonable subsidies, and protect intellectual properties.

Congressman Ryan addressed also tax reform, and the initiatives that can be put in place—such as depreciation rules, etc., to lessen the tax burden levied on small to medium-sized companies, until this complex issue is resolved, allowing companies to be able to reinvest into their workforce and equipment.  “We need to get American manufacturers to be in a good position to sell overseas, make things here, get our tax fixed, so that we can be more competitive,” he added. “We are in a race to set the rules of the global economy,” he added.

Congressman Ryan was also asked about the status of Medicare reform. He reported on a new payment plan for doctors which is based on value, rather than on number of procedures, or quality versus quantity. Those who can account for healthier outcomes and higher patient satisfaction, will receive a larger payment that those who do not.

After the company meeting, the conversation continued with eleven local business executives about legislative issues, and what can be done to promote domestic manufacturing that will create even more good paying careers.

This visit follows in the footsteps of last year’s, where both Wisconsin Senators–Baldwin and Johnson—stopped in at Precision Plus for tours and conversation.  Mike Reader, President and Owner of Precision Plus said, “We will continue to engage our representatives on both sides of the aisle, at all levels, looking for common ground and a path forward.  Our goal is to promote domestic manufacturing legislation and help develop the next generation of manufacturing professionals.  People are our greatest asset and without them we are nothing but buildings filled with equipment.  We need a global level playing field to allow our team to compete and be successful.  This is why we must engage our representatives and we encourage others to get involved in the conversation.”

Representatives from Vitec Group and Parker Hannifin Visit with Precision Plus’ Employees to Show Components in Action

Michael Reader

Earlier this month, Precision Plus had the privilege of hosting representatives from two of Precision Plus’ customers: Dennis Giesler, General Manager of Parker Hannifin Quick Coupling Division in Minnesota, and Alonso Rojas, Supply Chain Manager at Vitec Group, PLC in Costa Rica.

On separate visits, both Giesler and Rojas made a presentation to the entire Precision Plus staff. Their talks included an overview of their respective companies and their products, and explanation of how the components that Precision Plus manufactures fit within their products—components in action.

Both men stressed the importance of the valuable contribution that each Precision Plus employee makes to ensure that the end products work correctly, one hundred percent of the time, acknowledging that in some applications, someone’s life may depend on the accuracy of the component.


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Parker Hannifin’s Quick Coupling Division is the world’s largest manufacturer of quick couplings. The company accommodates a wide spectrum of hydraulic and pneumatic coupling design requirements, varying in size and materials.This division also sells hydraulic swivels, check valves and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment.


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Vitec Group is an international company that designs, manufactures, and supplies “high quality, world class, branded products and services that enable end users to capture exceptional images. Their products such as camera accessories, lighting and control, monitors, prompters, robotic camera systems, are primarily designed to support cameras used in broadcast, video and high quality professional cameras.


Precision Plus thanks both Alonso Rojas and Dennis Giesler for their time and consideration.