After a recent visit to a client who purchased a heat sealing machine, I was reminded of a rarely discussed solution that we offer. When customers purchase blisters and heat seal tooling from Shepherd we guarantee feed-ability of those blisters on the clients equipment.
Shepherd has a history in contract packaging and sales of heat sealing machines. Some Shepherd staff are still with the company that supported this type of equipment. Although blisters have taken a back seat to clamshell’s, Shepherd Thermoforming and Packaging Inc. still offers a guarantee to the markets still using the technology. A solution that is not mentioned often to our clients.
If you have a need for this see our contact page for how to get in touch.
For years we have supplied a local customer thermoformed dust covers. These covers have some nasty undercuts that were required in order to fit the clients product and its intended use. Shepherd struggled with the job at production start up but eventually overcame the unique learning curve that this project mandated.
When we learned that the production was moving to the Czech Republic our immediate thoughts were how do we retain the business. We should not have worried. After the customer moved production we continued to ship the dust covers and switched the material to a ROHS friendly clear RPET. We also worked with the customer to achieve price discounts with this material and a new purchasing pattern. Shipping to the Czech Republic has been a seamless transition, further solidifying the projects long term potential.
Shepherd employees Nitin (left side of the picture) and Scot (right side of the picture) were awarded the National Occupation Standards (Thermoforming Standard) by obtaining their level 1 thermoforming certificates from the Canadian Plastic Sector Council. We congratulate them on this achievement and the roll they will play mentoring fellow employees. If you are interested in learning more about the CPSC’s NOS standards, contact Cornel Toader (middle of picture) at email@example.com.
Back in November of 2009, Shepherd Thermoforming and Packaging Inc. invested in Lean training for the majority of its employees. The training was found through the companies membership with EMC (Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium). Value Stream Solutions Inc. provided the training for a number of Lean techniques including 5s.
After a year of the management team encouraging employees to adapt 5s techniques, it has been embraced by employees without management direction. The monthly meetings went from discussing what could be implemented to “look what we implemented”. In our monthly checks of 5s projects, we have seen noticeable improvements in organization and efficiency’s.
Congratulations to the all staff that now understand how 5s works and taking the initiative to continually improve it. Working smarter, not harder!
The picture to the upper left of the page is before and to the right is the after. The other pictures on the post are the employee initiated and implemented 5s solutions.
Shepherd has a number of SPE – Thermoforming Division members and we are proud to promote the association. SPE (Society of Plastics Engineers) is currently on a membership drive. If you are in the plastics industry we encourage readers to sign up.
Looking at some old news letters from years ago I know these projects are known to many of our customers and thought the readers would enjoy these updates.
One of our favorites. The bomber article was in newsletter (Volume 1, Issue 4, page 4) in the winter of 2006. The Halifax Bomber was shot down by German anti-aircraft fire on April 23rd of 1945, killing all but one of the 6 crew members. Volunteers working on the restoration of the WW2 Halifax Bomber came to Shepherd to produce the 4 sections of the nose canopy. The plane was unveiled at the Royal Canadian Air Force Museum in Trenton, Ontario on November 5th, 2005 after 10 years of work by mostly volunteers to restore it after it was raised from a lake in Norway in 1995. The plane is a main attraction to the museum with our nose cone being front and center!
The Better Bee Hive!
You may recall our article (Volume 1, Issue 1, page 4) in 2004 on Ian Bigham and Andrew Sperlich, owners of Bee-O-Sphere Technologies in St. Williams, Ontario. Together they basically built the better beehive. Andrew has since bought out his partner and moved the company to Jamaica, where we currently ship product. The volumes have been steady over the years. Bee-O-Sphere primary market seems to be the hobbyist.
High School Hydrogen Car!
A couple years ago we helped the kids from Carter High School and there ambitious teacher Bryan C. that changed the wood shop into something the students could better relate to….. a go-cart shop. After building the first go-cart they decided to take on the challenge of building a Hydrogen powered car with the goal of breaking BMW’s v12 Hydrogen powered 1/8 mile record time. Shepherd completed forming the car’s body panels for the students to decorate a couple years ago. After challenges getting the engine to run, they did complete some testing on the track. No word on the record being broken however just the idea of a bunch of high school students, teachers, volunteers and supporters donating to get the project working is an accomplishment in itself!
I recall reading somewhere that an employee only stays with an employer on average about 5 years. Always found that odd, since in our world we seem to find quite the opposite. Shepherd currently has 12 employees with over 10 years of service with the company (over one quarter of the staff). At this time every year we honor those that have made a long term commitment to the company by recognizing them in a staff meeting.
Brenda Silveira completed her 10 year with the company last year. Most of you reading this will probably know of her due to her work in customer service. Her career at Shepherd has been doing just that (customer service). Brenda’s dedication and knowledge of the business has given her decision making abilities that most customer service staff would long for. Her ability to weigh customer needs and balance the company goals has made her well known with our customers and staff. I could add a long list of customer testimonials to back this up. Co-workers would give her the same accolades. Not an easy task when your representing the company when talking to the customer, then having to represent the customers needs with co-workers. Brenda has adapted the “I want to sleep at night” to working with everyone, she tells it like it is, not as you want to hear it. I think this is what helps everyone…..knowing that what she’s told you (good or bad) is information that you can make a solid decision with.
I think I speak for all of us in looking forward to many more years of working with Brenda. Congratulations and thank you for the last 10 years!
The Holiday season is fast approaching! Our office will be closed at noon Friday December 23, 2011. A skeleton crew will be in the office December 28th-30th. The plant will be closed at noon Friday December 23, 2011 and back December 28th. Closing again for New Years on Monday January 2, 2012.
With all the talk about losing manufacturing to off-shore, it’s nice to get a job that could have been produce off-shore. Recently we designed and produced a tray for a customer where the product (being put in the tray) is manufactured in Hong Kong. The customers high tech part required packaging that would protect it and keep it stable throughout the shipping process to North America.
Our team was able to create a tray satisfying the client’s concerns and accomplish it in a cost effective manner. The tray is designed to be formed consistently from run to run insuring the customers high tech parts will land in North America protected by the tray. Another notable was that the shipping cost to Hong Kong was remarkably lower than importing to North America due to so many empty containers being returned to Hong Kong. The customer is now confident that his products will remain in good condition throughout the shipping process.
Chalk up one more for North American manufacturing!
Our in-house technical team duplicated an automotive component with thermoforming in our Technical Center. They were capable of using a decorative metalized PP film to demonstrate the tremendous draw capabilities of the film while maintaining that class A finish. Testing new materials for a leading Global Automotive supplier was the most recent project. This brings to mind the wealth of knowledge and expertise our Technical Center has to offer. It’s headed up by our Engineering department and has capabilities of replicating production quality parts that could be used for development or market testing.
We have also done parts for thermoformers. You may wonder why we do work for competitors. We do not see them as competitors, more like partners. In the thermoforming business there are many tiers to the markets. These markets are typically defined by volume, some global thermoformers may specialize in food type trays and are dedicated to this type of business. On occasion the launch of a new product may not warrant the cost to tool up one of these dedicated lines. Therefore our tier of business helps start a project with a tool that is 1/10 the cost of a dedicated line. It allows for small market testing without a large volume commitment.
We have also done this on slightly smaller scale projects where a food item just couldn’t quite meet the current thermformers minimum volume. We ran the project for a couple years until volume and equipment was available for the client to take it on themselves.
We have had National brand clients come to us that thermoform the brand in house, however the unusual features in the part didn’t fit well with there in house equipment. The client would have to make unusual and un-timely tooling change overs that would effect efficiency of primary products. We were able to work with the client in developing the new product and a pricing structure that worked for the market.
Recently our Sales and Engneering staff were developing a product to be sourced in China. This project was basically going to be supplying samples to the customer for duplication for production in China. Simultaneous completion of another project, that was kept local, caused the customer to realize the advantages offered by developing and staying with local supply. Those needs out weigh the cost savings from China and if it were not for the open relationship may never have materialized. (click here for other examples)