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Lee’s Summit Business Owner Helps Fill Workforce Gap With Summer Internship Program

Colby Jacquemin is only 17 years old, but he is already gaining valuable on-the-job training to prepare him for his future career. The Lone Jack High School and Summit Technology Academy student spent his summer interning at Creative Blow Mold Tooling in Lee’s Summit, where he learned to make molds that end up on factory lines all over the world.

“He’s definitely exceeded expectations,” said Creative Blow Mold Tooling owner Michael Bohning. “He learns things quickly, picks things up quickly. He’s pretty focused, pretty serious about getting the work done.”

Students like Jacquemin are exactly who Bohning hoped would take advantage of the new internship opportunity. In 2018, Bohning met with the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council and education partners from the Lee’s Summit School District to discuss workforce issues. From there, Bohning formed instrumental relationships with the school district to increase student exposure to the trades.
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LSEDC Makes Impactful Connection to Help Fill Workforce Gap

Like many manufacturing business owners, Michael Bohning had felt the pain of a tight labor market. Bohning bought Creative Blow Mold Tooling in 2006. The Lee’s Summit company designs, manufactures, repairs and tools products for the blow mold industry. Creative’s products end up on factory lines all over the world to help create the products found on store shelves, but despite the success of Creative, Bohning said finding qualified candidates was a challenge.

“Finding good people who want to join a winning team is not as easy as it seems,” Bohning said. “Most of these people have jobs and are not looking to make a move.”
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Creative Blow Mold participates in MFG Day 2017

National Manufacturing Day:

Manufacturing Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. Manufacturing Day occurs on the first Friday in October – this year Manufacturing Day was October 6, 2017.

Manufacturing Day is an annual celebration of modern manufacturing which manufacturers invite their communities – including students, educators, business people, media, and politicians – to their facilities in a collective effort to educate visitors about manufacturing career opportunities and improve public perceptions of manufacturing.

Manufacturing Day at Creative Blow Mold Tooling (CBMT):

On Friday, October 6th, CBMT participated in our second Manufacturing Day event – a nationwide celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.  Visitors and students from Summit Technology Academy toured our plant location in Lee’s Summit, MO to learn first-hand about careers in the advanced manufacturing industry.  This educational event was created to inspire students to choose careers in modern manufacturing.

“This collaboration highlights Lee’s Summit’s strong educational ecosystem and the strategic collaborations that our partners have designed to help develop and prepare the workforce of the future,” said Jessica Hamilton, Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council’s director of community and investor relations.

“Students gained a better understanding of the skills and education needed to advance in the industry,” Summit Technology Academy Principal Elaine Metcalf said.

A total of 16 STA juniors and seniors observed manufacturing processes in real-time while engaging with engineers, programmers, machinists, and tool makers to learn more about career paths in the advanced manufacturing field.

SME – Society of Mechanical Engineers – Tour at Creative Blow Mold Tooling:

In September 2017, the Kansas City SME Chapter toured our plant location in Lee’s Summit, MO.  A total of 39 SME member students for surrounding Universities and area manufactures participated.  Collaboration inspiring the next generation of manufacturers.

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A Conversation with Creative Blow Mold Tooling

The purchase of one, and then another, Haas UMC-750 five-axis machining center triggered the implementation of new, better machining processes that have helped Creative Blow Mold Tooling significantly reduce lead times and expand into new markets. Image courtesy of Creative Blow Mold Tooling.

Explain how Creative Blow Mold Tooling better serves the needs of its customers through supply-chain management.
Jim Hensiek, director of business development: The market for packaging design and development is very competitive. When brand owners plan to change packaging, they want the new packaging quickly. This puts pressure on our customers to deliver, which puts more pressure on their suppliers, including us, to deliver quickly. We believe effective supply-chain management works upstream and downstream, and our approach is one of assisting customers with sourcing and managing resources for modeling, sampling and other tooling needs that are outside Creative’s scope of work. Part of this process includes the generation of mold-building spec sheets for every customer. Each spec sheet highlights 19 key areas of required specifications regarding new mold builds, mold refurbishment and mold repair, including the various machine platforms scheduled to produce the container in each plant location. The data, which also documents past mold performance, helps us continually improve on delivery timelines while also improving our customers’ ROI. At the same time, it’s also important that we stay on the cutting edge of technology to be able to provide more services in-house and reduce lead times. 

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Creative Blow Mold Tooling Installs 2nd Haas UMC 750 5-Axis Machining Center

Creative Blow Mold Tooling, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, has installed its second Haas UMC 750 5-axis machining center. This greatly expands the company’s capacity for custom machining.

The 33-year-old company has built a strong reputation in the blow mold industry for designing and producing molds for the bottle and packaging industries across the country. It focuses on collaborating with its customers and finding the best solution for their needs, not just meeting blueprint specs.

“We’ve invested in the engineering capacity required to add value to the customer relationship,” said Jim Hensiek, director of business development. That strategy largely revolves around the strength of Creative’s engineering team.

In addition to staying ahead of the curve with the number and expertise of engineers the company employs, Creative Blow Mold Tooling aims to stay on the cutting edge of technology.

“In order to meet customers’ ever shrinking lead time requirements, Creative must also leverage technology to improve productivity and turnaround, that’s where the 5-axis machines play an important role,” noted Hensiek.

“The Haas equipment is an excellent fit for our mold manufacturing process. It’s reliable and their service has met our needs,” stated Creative’s President, Michael Bohning. The firm has 22 pieces of Haas CNC equipment. Besides the two 5-axis machines it has four horizontal mills and 16 vertical mills.

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Breaking the Mold: Creative Blow Mold Tooling goes Above and Beyond

Over the course of 33 years, Creative Blow Mold Tooling, located in Lees Summit, Missouri, has found a way to break the mold so to speak. With Creative in its name, the company has committed itself to designing blow molds that will set its customers apart. A blow mold is the tool companies use to manufacture hollow plastic packaging or parts. Its the tool that takes plastic packaging from idea to product.

Designing packaging is not a task to take lightly. 

Packaging is directly linked with marketing. The right size, shape and style can have a direct impact on sales when products make it to the shelf. When a customer presents Creative Blow Mold Tooling with a set of specifications it needs in its next package, its up to the company to equip the customer with the tooling it needs to make its design vision become reality. Instead of just taking instructions and blindly going forward, this manufacturing company has a strategy for helping its customers get the best experience and final result out of its blow molds. 

“We’ve invested in the engineering capacity required to add value to the customer relationship,” said Jim Hensiek, director of business development. “We provide engineering support to our customer even if that customer, or the customers customer, doesn’t have a purchase order.” That strategy largely revolves around the strength of Creatives engineering team. That’s customer service at its finest. Creative Blow Mold Tooling dedicates its engineers time to working with potential customers even when there is no commitment. That means sharing expert advice, collaborating on package design, and talking back and forth on what the end product should look like and why.

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Creative Blow Mold Tooling Installs Haas UMC-750 5-axis Machining Center

Creative Blow Mold Tooling, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, has recently installed a new Haas UMC- 750 5-axis machining center. The 31-year-old firm specializes in the design, manufacture and repair of tooling for the blow mold industry across North America. It can handle rigid container and PET projects ranging from 4-ounce bottles to 5-gallon containers. Creative also builds blow molds for industrial applications.

The new UMC-750 (the company’s 16th Haas) was purchased to help improve the company’s efficiency through reduced set-ups/ set-up time, improved cycle times, tooling efficiencies and faster delivery times. It also enables the firm to handle more complex parts and expand its capabilities beyond mold manufacturing. “The Haas equipment is reliable and their service has met our needs. We are looking forward to the 5-axis’ impact on our efficiency and capabilities,” stated Creative’s Michael Bohning.

The UMC-750 features: 30” x 20” x 20” capacity; a 40-taper, 8100 rpm direct-drive spindle and 41-tool changer. Creative Blow Mold Tooling serves a wide range of industries including: food/beverage; automoand a quality lab.

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Improve Profitability with Supplier Collaboration

Developing a strong and effective supply chain will benefit both the moldmaker and its customers.

MoldMaking Technology, Jim Hensiek , Director of Business Development from Creative Blow Mold Tooling

Being “first to market” is a common goal for manufacturers in this industry, but the reality may actually be quite different when there is ineffective supply chain management. For example, brand owners often are extremely successful in finding design firms that can come up with very creative packaging, but applying that design to an actual product proves difficult when the design cannot be molded. This is a supply-chain management challenge.

The opportunity for mold manufacturers lies in developing a supply chain that maximizes success in the marketplace by avoiding mistakes with upfront collaboration, averting costly backlogs, aligning manufacturing capacities with growing demand, and ensuring that raw materials and products from supply-chain partners are delivering value.

Shops should strive to make customers more profitable, to generate a greater return on investment (ROI) and to beat the expectations of the marketplace. This can be accomplished by building relationships and growing partnerships that yield an effective supply-chain timeline for those customers.

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Creative Blow Mold Tooling focuses on supply chain management for profitability

by Clare Goldsberry, published September 8, 2014

Manufacturers are always looking to improve profitability and moldmakers are no different. Yet, according to Jim Hensiek, director of business development for Creative Blow Mold Tooling (Lee’s Summit, MO), most companies are missing out on an important opportunity for improved profitability simply because they are unaware of the profit contributions their supplier can bring.

“At Creative Blow Mold Tooling, it’s all about building our relationships, growing the partnership that results in an effective supply-chain timeline for our customers,” Hensiek said. “If we can help make our customers more profitable, generate a greater ROI and beat the expectations of the marketplace, that’s what we do and what we’re about.”

The goal for manufacturers is to develop a supply chain that maximizes their success in the market. For OEMs that produce plastic products or plastic components for their products, the mold manufacturer is the lead vendor. Not only is it critical for the OEM to have its supply chain in alignment with schedules (product release dates, etc.) and financial goals, but it’s just as critical for the mold manufacturer to have the links in its supply chain functioning on-time and on-budget.

Blow mold built by Creative for a customer in the consumer products industry.
“In order to meet customers’ ever shrinking lead time requirements, the moldmaker must avoid bottlenecks that can result in delays in the mold build,”Hensiek said. “Because each mold design is unique, we can’t maintain a huge inventory of mold components or mold materials in stock. So, developing good relationships and partnerships with our suppliers is critical to our ability to deliver completed projects on time.”

For that reason, Creative’s investments are focused on growing the partnership business model, not only with its suppliers but with customers as well. “Our approach with our customers is simple and straightforward: to be consistent and predictable in establishing and maintaining an environment of trust,” Hensiek said.

Being a critical part of their customers’ supply chain, Creative is well aware of the fact that the OEM’s success is dependent on its suppliers. “When a new mold design is needed, our five-member design engineering staff is available and quick to respond, helping to reduce the supply-chain timeline,” Hensiek said. “Leveraging our product design talent, our engineering expertise and our experience with various machine platforms, we can create tooling in the shortest timeline possible that will effectively blow-mold parts. This collaboration with customers, as equal partners, reduces costs and improves the quality of the end product.”

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Staying One Step Ahead of Customer Needs

The key to optimal customer support for any mold manufacturer is doing more—from upfront design engineering during the initial stages of product development to emergency mold repair services. And this is exactly the business model Kansas City-area blow moldmaker Creative Blow Mold Tooling offers to stay ahead of its customers’ needs.

MoldMaking Technology, Christina M. Fuges , Editorial Director from MoldMaking Technology magazine

Creative began building this model in 1984 when the company was established to design, manufacture, repair and reverse-engineer blow-mold tooling for the plastic container industry. Today, the company’s plant in Lee’s Summit, Missouri accommodates mold manufacturing for wheel, shuttle, injection stretch blow mold and reciprocating screw platforms. This provides the necessary flexibility for the company to meet its customers’ diverse and changing needs, and also helps to maximize Creative’s productivity and manufacturing processes.

“In our operations, we couple upfront design efficiencies with lean manufacturing techniques to maximize throughput that generates an effective value stream and reduces lead times. This allows us to meet our customer’s scheduled deadlines,” explains Jim Hensiek, director of business development.

The “Doing More” Model

Hensiek believes success comes from being different and willing to do more for the customer than just building tools, and that is why Creative invests a significant amount of time and resources in working with clients on front-end design, some of which it doesn’t get paid for.

“It’s all about the relationship,” Hensiek says. “We collaborate with customers on a variety of issues, many times before a project has been approved. Once the tooling is built and delivered, if a customer needs us on site to assist with runoff or other issues, we commit our people there the next day. Staying in touch with our customers, being good listeners and helping them meet their internal company goals have earned us their confidence. This ‘trust factor’ is essential to becoming a preferred vendor in their supply chain.”

With Creative already focused on customer plant productivity, quick turnaround and communication, the logical next step in the company’s business model was to initiate a

24-hour emergency blow mold repair service. According to Hensiek, this means that technicians give immediate attention to molds when they arrive at the dock via a series of tests to determine the severity of the damage. This information is then communicated to customers and turnaround time is defined, putting everyone on the same page with regard to expectations. Once the repair work is complete, the customer is contacted and the mold is returned to the plant.

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