Sko-Die E-Newsletter - December 2015

Patrick Steininger

Throughout 2015, the entire Sko-Die team continued to work tirelessly to serve our customers and continuously improve manufacturing processes and overall efficiencies. In this year-end installment of the Sko-Die e-newsletter, you’ll get an in-depth look at our Lean Manufacturing initiative and “5S” implementation, and I’ll provide a recap on our achievements including our investment in our people, processes and equipment. We’ll also discuss economic indicators and how they impact manufacturing sector subsets.

On behalf of Sko-Die and all of its employees, I would like to sincerely thank all of our customers for their business in 2015.We wish you a very happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Happy Holidays,

Patrick Steininger

Holiday Schedule
Sko-Die Holiday Hours
Closed December 24 and 25
Closed December 31 and January 1
Open on January 4

Industry News

Economic Indicators and the Manufacturing Economy………A vibrant domestic manufacturing sector is a key contributor to the economic engine of our country. At Sko-Die, we are firmly committed to the strength and expansion of our domestic manufacturing sector. For nearly 70 years, we have served an array of markets and customers that are all affected by the relative strength or weakness of several economic indicators. Though the major media outlets do make regular mention of our manufacturing economy, a vast majority of the discussion tends towards some of the specific subsets of our overall manufacturing sector, such as Housing Starts, Automobile production and Oil Pricing.

We certainly follow those indicators as part of our longer term view of the markets and customers that we serve. There are specific ties between these indicators and the overall product demand from these markets that we include in our short and long term planning. For example, lower Oil prices tend to put Oil Exploration and Drilling in contraction, which drives the demand for manufactured products that support those markets down. At the same time lower Oil prices also tend to drive expansion in Automotive and Aerospace markets. Those markets are also key consumers of the products and services that we provide. In a similar way, robust Housing Start figures drive expansion in Construction and Appliance markets. Those markets are key consumers of an array of electrical steel products that we proudly support.

As we look forward to 2016 and the ongoing opportunity to support our wide array of valued customers, we hear a variety of opinions and predictions as to what is in store for the U.S. economy in the coming year. Some speak of a manufacturing recession while others see positive signs for improved demand for their products. At Sko-Die, our plans for 2016 and beyond tend towards cautious optimism. We are aligned with strong partners on both the customer and the supply sides of our business. We continue to position ourselves to thrive in whatever conditions come our way. Throughout 2015, we have continued to invest in our business so that we are in the best position to support all of our valued customers. We have expanded our building and added manufacturing resources so that we remain in an optimal positon to support whatever opportunities we can. At the same time, we remain committed to Lean Manufacturing principles so that we can be the most reliable and efficient choice for our customers.

We are grateful for the new and ongoing opportunities that our customers have afforded us throughout 2015. We look forward to a prosperous 2016 with you and to continuing to play our role in helping you to achieve your goals and objectives. At Sko-Die, we remain….......

CLICK HERE for More Industry News

“5S” A Key Component of Lean Manufacturing

Following Lean Manufacturing principles is something Patrick Steininger (President) has stressed to meet his goal of establishing Sko-Die, Inc. as a “World Class Enterprise.” Lean principles are implemented to identify and eliminate waste, maximize value added time and minimize non-value added time. They are a key for the success of a manufacturing company because they provide the environment to ensure higher efficiency, quality output, faster delivery, and most important, customer satisfaction. This leads to an organization that will be positioned for growth in very competitive marketplaces.

Mike Cellucci (Operations Manager) leads the Lean Manufacturing initiative and believes that corporate growth demands a commitment to continuous improvement. This commitment begins with top management's support, but can only succeed with the involvement and focus of all employees. Mike also believes that there must be a commitment of time and resources, and that led to the formation of the Sko-Die Lean Team. This team is made up of the managers of each operational area and is facilitated by Bogdan Niculescu (Manufacturing Engineer). The team meets weekly, and focuses on ways to increase manufacturing productivity and maintain safety standards. The team also focuses on the key component of Lean called “5S”.

“5S” is a necessity to a Lean Manufacturing facility as it leads to gains in quality, productivity, safety, efficiency and morale. As the name implies, there are 5 steps to the system that Sko-Die has identified as:

  • Sort – Sort out and separate that which is needed and not needed in the area.
  • Straighten – Arrange items that are needed so that they are ready and easy to use.  Clearly identify locations for all items so that anyone can find them and return them once the task is completed.
  • Shine – Clean the workplace and equipment on a regular basis in order to maintain standards and identify defects.
  • Standardize – Revisit the first three of the “5S” on a frequent basis and confirm the condition of the production floor using standard procedures.
  • Sustain – Keep to the rules to maintain the standard and continue to improve every day.

The Lean team members first educated themselves on the “5S” concepts and processes and then set up a work area to be a model for the plant (see photos). They also developed a training program that will be introduced to all employees through face to face meetings. Another initiative was to set up a marketing program to stress the importance of 5S and to serve as a visual educational reminder. This includes the plant video presentation corporate screen savers (see photo), napkin dispensers (see photo) and the idea box that will encourage employees to submit improvement suggestions. All ideas that are implemented receive a monetary reward.

The challenge to implementing “5S” is to keep everyone involved and focused to never give up.  “5S” creates value to the employee, the company and to the customer. Creating these values is what will separate Sko-Die from its competitors and help drive the growth all corporations strive toward.

Workstation Press Setup

Workstation Bench Plant Screen Saver Video

Napkin Dispenser Visual Reminder

The President’s 2015 Recap
A Focus on Customers, Equipment and Procedures

For 2015, Sko-Die’s main goal was to exceed our customers' expectations. We truly appreciate the business from our current and new customers, and every department was challenged to determine how we can keep improving our service. Our employees thoroughly enjoy making quality parts and shipping on time to our customers.

From Order Entry and Customer Service, to Sales and Marketing, we committed ourselves to developing communications with all of our customers to make sure every order is followed through to its delivery on the customer’s dock. Employees received training in their areas of expertise, with communication, and with our new Epicor ERP software to enhance the development of our business relationships.

The Lean Manufacturing 5S initiative (see article above) was a key program to address continuous improvement in the operation and manufacturing areas. Plant upgrades continued in our Annex building with a complete window replacement and painting of the ceiling and walls. Floor areas throughout the plant were repaired or resurfaced, and painted to increase traffic efficiency and safety. We added a new press to handle increased orders for the notching process and an auto pallet shrink wrap machine to add efficiencies in our shipping department. After a detailed analysis of workflows and capacities we also did a major rearrangement for the welding, shipping and maintenance departments.

Sko-Die’s focus initiatives for 2015 will continue into 2016 and beyond. Our success is dependent on exceeding our customers' expectations, and we are committed to do that.

Delivering Trusted Manufacturing Excellence” is not only Sko-Die’s tagline, but also it is our goal for every customer and every order.      

For any questions or inquiries, please contact:

Bob Blecha, Marketing Manager, 800-486-4756 X 106,


Michael McGuire, Director of Sales, 800-486-4756 X120,

For more information visit


Sko-Die Inc.| 8050 Austin Ave. - Morton Grove, IL 60053
Phone: 800-486-4756 | Fax: 847-966-0322

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