Is it the People or the Equipment?

Finally an answer to that age old argument—is it the people or the equipment that make a good plant and product?

HIT THE JACKPOT
Earlier this month, Eric Fletty and I had the opportunity to visit a rotary and flatbed cutting die manufacturing plant in the Charlotte, N.C., USA, area. This particular plant services the corrugated packaging industry in the eastern half of the U.S.

We were honored to spend several hours with Clint Medlock and Darrel Griffin, hearing the history of the company and touring the facilities. If this wasn’t good enough, we hit the jackpot when they asked us to go to a customer outing later that evening. This particular outing included a tailgate extravaganza and Monday Night Football between the Charlotte Panthers and the New England Patriots.

I know what you are thinking, but we seriously had no idea that this was part of the agenda when we scheduled this corporate visit.

Medlock’s words say it best: "I am sure you noticed the thing we are most proud of is the staff of people we work with every day. We can purchase all of the latest high tech equipment, but without the best people, it’s just a waste of money."

You may remember the name of this company from a Travels with Larry a few years ago. Roger Dooley, one of its key sales professionals, was responsible for setting up a visit with a Pratt Industries box plant.

BUILD A GOOD REPUTATION IN HIGH SCHOOL (you never know who may be watching)
The genesis of Stafford Cutting Dies goes something like this. In the 1980s, Medlock was the plant manager of the Charlotte branch of Jamison Steel Rule Die. Griffin started working for them in June of ’85, fresh out of high school. He continued working for Medlock until joining the army to serve his country. After serving his country and graduating from college, he moved back to Charlotte in ’98. An opening came up with Stafford Cutting Dies (owned by Medlock and Tony D’ Aprile). Stafford Cutting Dies had purchased the Jamison Steel Rule Die Charlotte branch in ‘93, and the rest is history. Today, there are actually two separate companies—Stafford Corrugated Products and Stafford Cutting Dies.

Stafford Cutting Dies is unique in the sense that it has figured out a way to service its customers, nine hours away, as good as or better than the local competitors (according to its customers).

WHERE THERE’S A WILL THERE’S A WAY
Stafford Cutting Dies’ marketplace is only limited to how well it can service customers. So in this case, it has achieved a higher level of service by opening another service and repair facility in Reading, Pa. The company has come up with a very nice answer to a logistic puzzle by having drivers who leave Charlotte and Reading at 1 a.m., meet half way, swap keys and provide delivery as far as Connecticut before 2 p.m. the same day.

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
"Our sales representatives are not donut delivery personnel, they are technical consultants. Their calls don’t end at the front desk. They go on the plant floor to actually watch and observe what their customer’s needs are and offer suggestions on ways to improve their processes," Griffin says.

To stay connected to the next big thing, Stafford has joined in with "Inspirere Innovations," a collaborative industry group dedicated to coming up with and developing new die making and die cutting innovations to improve the processes for the industry. Two of the innovations include:

  • The TopMatrix™System, comprised of a matrix sheet affixed to the surface of the cutting dies in sections or in full coverage—"an innovation that provides clear cut results"
  • The Proden TrimSaver™ System that allows rotary die cutters to reduce their trim size down from ½-1/8 in. (you can contact Guy Earley at 704-821-6330 for details of the benefits of using these products).
Darrel Griffin
Stafford Showing Er

In the photos above, Griffin shows Eric Fletty some of the features of the Stafford Collection.

More information about Stafford Cutting Dies is available online.

More information about TAPPI is also available online.

There are two types of people in our industry—TAPPI members and those who should be.

Until next time.......................
Larry

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Riddle Me This!

On Thursday, January 8, 2015, Kristi Ledbetter, Eric Fletty and I had the privilege of having two gentlemen from one of TAPPI’s newest Sustaining Members...

International Research Management at Its Best

On Nov. 4-7, 2013, 36 of our industry’s’ top research leaders, representing more than 30 institutions...

The Year of the Dragon: Part 2

This past May 31, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting with personnel from APRIL's pulp mill in Rizhao, Shandong Province, China.


To find something Special sometimes you have to look under every Rock

On June 22, 2016 I had the pleasure to visit a location of a 75 Year TAPPI Sustaining Member Company. That company is WestRock and that location was the Aurora, IL Paperboard Facility.

The Year of the Dragon - Part 1

Back in 1991, during my days with Republic Paperboard in Hutchinson, Kan., USA, a gentleman set up an appointment with me to discuss a "revolutionary idea...

A Small World

On June 25, 2012, Scott Springmier, Eric Fletty, and I accepted a previous invitation from long-time TAPPI member and a young, Mike Ditka look-alike, Jim Niemiec...

All About Axchem

Larry spends time with TAPPI's newest Sustaining Member company at PaperCon 2016

Familiar Names, a New location and a New Attitude

April 19 20, 2017 (right before PaperCon2017) Kristi Ledbetter, TAPPI’s Converting Division Manager, and I had the privilege to revisit a company that I had the pleasure of writing about several years ago.

Seneca Steel Erectors, Inc.

Eric Fletty and I recently discovered that the town of Logan, OH is home to Men and Women of Steel.


An Accent on Innovation

On May 13, 2014, Eric Fletty and I had the opportunity to visit with one of TAPPI’s Sustaining Member companies, Kadant Inc., at its Kadant Johnson facility in Three Rivers, Mich., USA. 


You Never Know

John, you will be missed...

The Missing Link

The dates of February 28-March 1, 2012 will go down in history as the kick off dates of the one event that has been on the minds of many...


If you Mess it Up, Un-Mess It!

If you have been around any time at all in our industry, you know that things will get messed up in the areas of finished goods...

The Great Pacific Northwest! Part 1 of 3

Travels with Larry February 2017 


Dreams Do Come True

Dreams do come true...in so many ways. Our industry has been called many things during the past 2,000 years...


There's No Place Like Home

When visiting Thompson Industrial Services, LLC, Eric Fletty and I had the pleasure to visit a town that neither of us had been before.

What a whirlwind in September & October 2016 Volume 2

Fall 2016 -- I have seen the Future


One of a kind CEO, one of a kind company

Recently a politician made a statement during a campaign speech: "Corporations are not people, people are people...


How Many Times Have You Heard the Term Found Money?

During a recent early morning walk around Peachtree Corners, Ga., I found what I thought was a small pile of leaves.

Runs Batted In

In non-baseball terms, RBI stands for the Renewable Bioproducts Institute located at Georgia Tech. 

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