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Customer relations efforts make DLH a winner

By: Bill Bregar

March 4, 2014

Plastics News has selected DLH Industries Inc. as the winner of one of its PN Excellence Awards, presented Feb. 25 during the newspaper's Executive Forum in Tampa, Fla.

DLH, an automotive supplier based in Canton, Ohio, that does injection molding and extrusion, won the award for customer relations.

The judges, who are Plastics News reporters and editors, evaluated PN Excellence Award candidates on those three criteria — customer relations, employee relations and industry and public service — which are three of the seven used to determine the overall Processor of the Year Award.

Other awards went to Protoplast Inc. and 20/20 Custom Molded Plastics Ltd. while Tech Molded Plastics Inc. of Meadville, Pa., was named Processor of the Year.

DLH has won a General Motors Co.'s Global Supplier of the Year award for six straight years. The award covers all aspects of the business, since GM's engineering, purchasing and quality groups must unanimously support a winner.

A GM supplier quality engineer told the judges he sleeps well at night when DLH gets one of his jobs. He said rock-solid manufacturing and quality systems have helped the company evolve into a very consistent supplier.

Over the years, DLH has grown from its status mainly as a supplier of windshield washer assemblies and sunroof drain tubes to more complex, assembled products like an actuation system for turbochargers and vacuum brake-assist assemblies.

Taking a vertically integrated approach ensures quality and a faster product development cycle — two key demands for automotive. DLH makes its own molds and dies for its extrusion and injection molding operations. The company has invested big money in automated processes such as tube forming. It uses its own in-house-built assembly process to ensure parts are assembled correctly every time while its use of vision systems — along with a skilled, veteran work force — keep quality levels high. DLH continuously monitors its extrusion lines since tubing must be perfect so it matches fittings that the company also injection molds.

The GM quality engineer said the systems make it nearly impossible for DLH to make a bad part.