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Best Practices for Improving 401(k) Plans in Manufacturing
By Nathan Fisher

For employers in the manufacturing industry, a 401(k) has become an important benefit used to attract and retain valuable employees, and to help those employees to retire when the time comes. But when it comes to retirement readiness, a 401(k) plan is only as good as the savings your employees put into it. Far too often, encouraging employees to participate in the company plan can feel like an uphill battle.

Fortunately, I’ve seen the same 401(k) best practices work for manufacturing companies across the country who want to increase plan participation. Businesses can make it easier for their employees to save and make good decisions by focusing on improved plan design, better employee engagement, and clearer communications.

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Whitmore 1Whitmore lubricants add years to the lives of its clients’ machines.
By Alan Dorich, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

Crushing cement can leave wear and tear on even the toughest of heavy machinery, but that is an area where Whitmore can lend a hand. Senior Director of Sales Jack Ellis explains that the company’s products have been extending the lives of its clients’ equipment for decades.

“We have customers that [after] 40 years are still using the same gears,” he declares. “We’ve got a lot of great success stories.”

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Thermal Products 1Thermal Product Solutions continues to meet its customers’ needs today as it prepares for the future by staying innovative. 

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

Thermal Product Solutions (TPS) designs and manufactures industrial and laboratory ovens and furnaces, and environmental temperature cycling and stability test chambers that replicate environmental conditions for its clients to test their products. Its brands include Blue M, Gruenberg, Lindberg/MPH, Tenney, Wisconsin Oven and Baker Furnace.

TPS is headquartered in New Columbia, Pa., while its brands are located throughout the country. “TPS sets itself apart from competitors by offering equipment in such a wide range of temperatures, from extreme cold to heat and humidity that our customers’ products might be exposed to,” President and CEO David Strand explains. “None of our competitors do everything we do and that’s where the value is with our brands.”

TH Martin Pic 2Sheet metal and piping fabricator/mechanical contractor. T.H. Martin Inc. offers many pre-construction options to its clients.
By Jim Harris, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

T.H. Martin Inc.’s ability to offer a wide range of services to its customers sets it apart from its peers. “We are very good at communicating with our customers,” says T.H. Martin Jr., president of the Cleveland-based full-service mechanical contractor. “We offer clients a lot of options with regard to mechanical systems, equipment, and design options to meet the owner’s needs and budget.”

The company’s capabilities include sheet metal and piping fabrication and installation as well as design/build, design/assist, lean construction and LEED project coordination services. Its clients include large healthcare organizations as well as commercial and industrial facilities. “There’s a great deal of pre-planning, such as [computer-aided drafting] CAD and [building information modeling] BIM and modularization with other trades, that goes into our projects,” he adds. 

Taylor Devices 1Taylor Devices repurposes space technology to improve the structural stability of buildings back on earth.

By Tim O’Connor, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

Sept. 19, 2017, was a seemingly normal day in Mexico City, but then the ground shook for 20 seconds. In those brief moments, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake collapsed more than 40 buildings and killed more than 200 people across the country’s capital. Inside the 55-story Torre Mayor, the city’s third-largest building, the ceiling lights danced as the tower swayed, but the people within remained safe. An inspection later found no damage to the structure. 

Torre Mayor had made it unscathed through the most powerful earthquake to strike Mexico City in 32 years thanks to the seismic protection provided by its nearly 100 dampers, designed and manufactured by New York’s Taylor Devices. The company has produced shock absorbers, rate control and energy storage devices for more than 60 years, making it one of the most experienced manufacturers in its field. 

“Our products are based on aerospace and steel mill designs so they’ve already been proven through decades of use,” CEO Doug Taylor says. “We have the engineering capabilities to design and manufacture anything you can dream up in the field of energy absorption.”

Michigan Seamless Tube 2Michigan Seamless Tube prioritized precision and service as it expanded into the pressure pipe market.

By Tim O’Connor, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

As recently as six years ago, Michigan Seamless Tube LLC (MST) was still seen as a tube manufacturer with a small pipe supply business. But as the natural gas market took off and construction began on new oil and gas facilities, the Detroit-area company saw great potential in the pressure pipe market and decided to invest in the equipment it needed to become a big player. 

MST chose to focus on pressure pipe 2-inch nominal pipe size or smaller. . These sizes are most commonly used by the oil and gas industry in a range of applications from refineries to fracking sites in the United States and Canada. 

APCT pic 2APCT invested in new facilities and in expanding its workforce to become one of the largest privately held circuit board manufacturers in North America.

By Tim O’Connor, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

For Steve Robinson, a relationship with a customer is like a marriage. “Ultimately, regardless of how upset [your spouse] gets, there’s a trust you have with them that allows you to work through any situation,” says the CEO and president of APCT. “That is what we strive for with our customers: the passion and commitment to develop that level of intimacy and trust. When you earn that trust, you have a potential long term relationship.”

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