This month, Best Practices takes you into the land of the humble zip tie — a perfect example of a ubiquitous plastic product that amounts to much more than it appears. In the case of American Elite Molding LLC, internal improvements led to a 50 percent increase in the assembly process, better problem-solving skills for employees and other benefits.
If you're a plastics person, a visit to a retail store is not the same as the general shopper. The same goes for members of the trade press. I turn things over to see who makes them and if they are U.S. made — and I bet you do too.
I tend to gravitate to the housewares department. Where my wife sees dish drainers and storage totes, I see the great combat of capitalism — Sterilite vs. Rubbermaid. What are United Solutions and Keter Plastics up to? A trip to the dollar store is even more intriguing, as you can find plastic items from around the world at super-low prices; what's up with that?
And so this month, Best Practices takes you to Crestview, in the Florida panhandle, where American Elite Molding produces nylon cable ties on 14 injection molding machines in its 75,000-square-foot plant.
Known as zip ties, these are the long self-locking ties perfect for every imaginable use.
And these are made in the United States! Founder and CEO Robert Sires said American Elite Molding turns out more than 1.5 billion cable ties a year, running 24/7. The company's website sports a zip tie man with googly eyes and big, muscular arms.