Moving on Up…to our New Facility!

Leave a Comment

We have some exciting news to share with you—our newest addition to our facility is just about completed! For months, we have been working on building and growing, as ground broke on the new facility in April, and we are excited to finally have the space to move in! As we mentioned, we first broke ground this past spring after acquiring another company. With the growth to our business, we decided it was necessary that we have additional space. The facility will act as storage and warehousing space and is an add-on to our current building. This construction project also…

Looking Ahead into 2014

Leave a Comment

At Universal Polymer and Rubber, we are guardedly optimistic about the upcoming New Year. As the company surveys the business landscape for 2014, there are definitely some positive macro-economic trends that point to continued business and growth. In particular, automotive production is trending upward to a likely production level of 16.5 million. This is great news for our rubber molding and rubber and plastics extrusion operations. Another trend we are seeing is in new housing starts. Although still at historically low levels, each year over the past several there has been a trend upward. An increase in the construction of…

The Progression to Lean Manufacturing

Leave a Comment

If you were to travel back in time to manufacturing facilities from twenty years ago, you would notice the vast differences between those facilities and today’s facilities. Back then, each manufacturer focused on their own skills, and businesses had a larger amount of employees. Now, as we have seen even in our own business, small to medium sized manufacturers have a smaller group of employees who wear multiple hats within the business. Since the recession hit in 2009, businesses, especially manufacturers, were forced to delegate business in a leaner manner. Lean manufacturing, as defined by the EPA, is “a business…

Helping the Resurgence in Manufacturing, One Step at a Time

Leave a Comment

Across the world of manufacturing, businesses are beginning to rebound from the recent recession. Manufacturers in a variety of industries are experiencing growth for the first time in years and they are building up for a peak in orders. As there has been a resurgence in manufacturing, we have also seen more support for local customers and for American-made products. As a company that persevered through the recession, we believe that manufacturers who endured the recession are currently doing it again, by integrating lean manufacturing into their processes, investing in automation and new technologies, and making the right adjustments. We…

Returnable Packaging in the Auto Industry: Is it Practical?

Leave a Comment

If you work in the automotive industry, you may have heard about the possibility of returnable packaging—sending packing containers back to the supplier in order to be more sustainable and eco-friendly. It was a growing trend in the 1990’s, when more and more people in the industry were pushing for it. So where does returnable packaging stand now, and why isn’t there more of it? While it seemed like a great idea at the time—who doesn’t want to do better things for the environment?—many soon realized that the cost of returning packaging simply didn’t make smart business sense. While it’s…

Mixing the Right Batch – The Importance of Rubber Chemists

Leave a Comment

Manufacturing rubber compounds is a lot like baking a cake: it all comes down to having the right recipe. And just like any good recipe comes from a good chef, a high quality rubber compound is devised by a skilled rubber chemist. A rubber chemist's job starts when they receive an ASTM specification from a manufacturer. That spec dictates the needs of the finished rubber compound, from required hardness, strength and elongation, to necessary ozone and temperature change resistance. From there, the rubber chemist sets about crafting a compound that meets three challenges: Design for Application: The compound must satisfy…

Universal Polymer & Rubber is TS16949 Certified

Leave a Comment

A few weeks back we achieved TS16949 Certification from the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG). This certification is a standard recognized the world over. Here’s how AIAG defines it: The goal of this technical specification is to develop a quality management system that provides for continual improvement, emphasizing defect prevention and reduction of variation and waste with in the supply chain. Earning the certification meant going through a rigorous 4 day audit. If you’d walked into UP&R in the days and weeks leading up to the audit, you’d have been treated to an atmosphere akin to lawyers preparing for an…

Industrial Athletes—Competing Against Yourself to Achieve Success

Leave a Comment

Manufacturers have a lot to do these days. Many have entered new markets as tried-and-true industries have slowed down. Many more are involved in instituting lean manufacturing principles to keep prices competitive while still making a profit. All of this requires skilled personnel, and one of the challenges facing manufacturers across all industries is the shortage of new, skilled workers. That adds another item to the to-do list: getting the next generation interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing. Part of this effort involves dispelling old notions that the factory is grimy, mindless work. As manufacturing plants have evolved over…

Report from the NAFEM Show: Combi Ovens and Magnetic Inserted Gaskets

Leave a Comment

In February we attended the National Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers Show for the first time, and we're glad we did. There was a tremendous amount of energy at the show, due in part to the rebounding economy, and in part to the fact that the show is held every other year. Sometimes, yearly shows can become almost a chore. But when a show is held every other year, excitement builds, and the entire affair is infused with that much more vibrancy.   Beyond the excitement, the show was filled with opportunity. Have you ever heard of a combi oven?…

Plan. Do. Action. Check. – The Process Nature of Sales

Leave a Comment

One goal every business is constantly in pursuit of, regardless of industry, is increased sales. And while the goal is the same, the strategy on how to accomplish that goal differs from business to business. At UP&R we view sales as a process, just like manufacturing. It's not simply a matter of turning to our sales team and saying “Sell more.” We track inputs of the sales process, as well as various outputs to determine if we're on the right track.   We track calls made, quotes generated, dollar value of quotes, success rate of quotes and total amount of…