President's Column - September 2022

President's Column,

Dear IADD Members and Industry Friends,

GatheringOne of the highest rated and most valuable benefits presented to IADD members during the past 50 years has been the opportunity to visit the operations of a variety of diemaking, diecutting and manufacturing facilities.

In this ninth, and final, article in a series leading up to the IADD’s 50th Anniversary Annual Meeting in October 2022 in San Antonio, TX, USA we will explore how open houses are such a popular attraction and beneficial to both attendees and hosts when they are offered as a meeting option for an IADD event.

Thanks to the generosity of numerous companies of all types and sizes, we’ve been able to see first-hand the many facets of business operations, plant management, warehousing and production, all within the converting industry. Often, these tours are accompanied by educational programming designed to enhance attendees’ experiences and to encourage better communication throughout the production chain.

For example, diemakers who are able to visit various diecutting plants develop a more thorough understanding of how the tools they create are being used (and abused). They may be able to spot circumstances that impact future design or discover questions they should be asking their customers before fulfilling their purchase order.

On the other hand, diecutters who watch dies being made in real time gain a better knowledge and appreciation of the craft, technical expertise and components which go into the tool, furthering greater understanding of pricing and production times.

All attendees agree that being exposed to the entire process leads to a more thorough recognition of the problems and challenges faced by their suppliers and customers and strengthening a team approach to identifying solutions.

So many companies have partnered with IADD to open their doors throughout the years that it would be impossible to list them all here. However, to give you a variety of the scope of experiences which have been provided, here are a few (some names have since changed):

Ace Dies
Alliance Packaging
Bobst Canada/Bobst North America
City Stamp Works
Craftsman Cutting Dies
Data Technology/Gerber
Die Techs
Fibre Containers
Graphic Coating
Heidelberg USA, Inc.
Jellco Container
Jonco Die Co. Inc.
K & D Graphics
Markal Finishing
National Steel Rule
Nor Cal Design, Inc.
Pacific West Coast Die
SouthEastern Die/Atlas Die
Synergy Tooling
Thomson National Press
US Steel Rule Dies

Dozens more companies have made their facilities available to students at technical colleges and high schools, as well as scout troops (Be prepared!), in an effort to educate the future workforce about the industry.

You may be surprised to learn that the benefits of holding open houses and plant tours can be as great as attending them. Hosts have found that sharing their expertise positions them as a leader in the industry and increases their visibility with customers and potential customers. They get to “show off” their premises as well as the technology they are using for production. Their employees are also proud to showcase the company and their talents and to be recognized as experts in their field.

An important note is to know that no IADD member can be excluded from an IADD-sanctioned event if they wish to attend. This means that an open house host cannot bar their competitors from visiting their facility, though they can limit access to proprietary products and processes and also to restricted areas.

Nevertheless, when polled, meeting attendees overwhelmingly request plant tours, so it’s a great way for hosts to have an instrumental role in an engaging event with their community.

Unfortunately, for the last couple of years, the worldwide pandemic negatively impacted our ability to get together face-to-face. Now that we have discovered the power of remote access through video communication, as well as have begun learning how to safely navigate in-person gatherings, it’s time to begin planning for future open houses and plants tours. I would like to invite you to consider working with an IADD local chapter and the staff to become a host.

P.S.: I want to thank IADD staff, and in particular Cindy Crouse, Jenny Holliday and Leanne Schimming, for their help in putting the information together for this column.

Take care,

Gino Gualtieri,
IADD President