Member Spotlight - Dean Phillips

December 2016

Each month, the PMA Member Spotlight features an outstanding member sharing his/her insights into the latest industry trends and technologies.

Dean Phillips
PMA is pleased to highlight Dean Phillips, sales engineer, Link Systems, Nashville, TN, and a member of PMA's Safety Task Force. Link Systems is a leader in press automation and safety controls as well as plant-wide machinery communication.

Read Dean's thoughts about game-changing metalforming technology, what keeps him up at night as a metalformer, and more!

Q: What is on your wish list for your shop next year and why?

A: As a manufacturer and supplier to the industry I will give you both perspectives. From the manufacturing side: 3D printing, additive manufacturing and flexible manufacturing are the areas of interest to help us scale up and more easily and quickly develop new products. As a supplier to the industry, we are always interested in connecting with outside equipment and developing new communication platforms so that manufacturers can synchronize their entire plant.

Q: What do you see as a technology game-changer for metalformers?

A: Electronics-industry prognosticators expect that we will be using 10 times the numbers of sensors in the near future, and analyzing with greater precision. But to prevent analysis paralysis, we are seeing a greater demand to ‘act’ upon this information. This allows manufacturers to respond quickly to issues and not requiring a decision on the back end once parameters are set up on the front end. A great example within the industry is measuring a part, and as the part material changes, making adjustments within the die to bring that part back into tolerance.

Q: What would be on the agenda of your ideal metalforming conference?

A: 1. Onboarding process
      2. Outside-of-the-box discussion groups, problem-solving for industry-wide issues as a group using experts from a cross-section of the industry
      3. Leadership execution strategy, making a plan that works for your company and learning when to let go of the plan and execute
      4. Best practices for workforce development, including career planning and establishment of milestones so that employees can gain a long-term view of their role in the company and can see what they need to do to advance. In 10 years, 50 percent of the workforce will be millennials, and we need to help our companies develop a plan for training them and our leaders to work together

Q: As a metalformer, what keeps you up at night and why?

A: Workforce development–this goes without saying. Also, what is the next progression driving people away from manufacturing? Is it new materials changing the way we manufacture? Is it new technology changing the way we build products or outsourcing to where we are just an assembly plant in the United States? And lastly, why don’t manufacturers execute their plans and utilize the tools at their disposal? I walk into plants all the time and see people with continuous-improvement plans and tools, bought and paid for, that are not used–the tonnage monitor that goes unused, the die protection that is disconnected and even the safety devices that are bypassed. It can be an upsetting puzzle to view. But it’s one that we intend to solve.

Q: What was the best piece of business advice you were ever given?

A: Be a good steward; make sure that you leave the business/industry in better shape than when you got there. It is my personal responsibility to do everything I can to make our companies as competitive as I can in order to compete in the world market.

Another great piece of advice: Listen, listen, listen. You can’t know what to fix unless you understand the problem.

Q: If you could have a dinner party with three famous people (living or dead), who would you invite?

A: 1. Zig Ziglar–I truly believe in the philosophy that “you can get everything you want from life as long as you help other people get what they want!” His unique way of teaching through storytelling has always fascinated me.
      2. Tesla–Not the car, but Nicola! He was an incredible visionary who saw the advantages of alternating current and its benefits, which has led to everything electrical-energy-related that we use today.
      3. W. Edwards Deming–I have always been impressed with Deming’s philosophy for on-the-job training, building in quality and gaining a total vision of the plant.

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