Problem Solver

George Feth

Most people seeking solutions are afraid to ask a question that seems very simple, or expect a simple answer to their question. In my experience, there needs to be many questions asked of the seeker in order to be sure the advice fits the problem. Most of this can be gathered from background information, but sometimes just asking these background questions will lead to a resolution or direct them to gather information on potential causes before they take action. Somtimes a person with a product concept for a material or part will have no idea what a plastic is or what it takes to make a good part. Other times they are new to plastics and expect them to perform as wood or metal replacements and use the same design criteria as before only to find out their plastic part is too heavy, too expensive, fails under testing conditions, or in an environment where metal or wood is okay. Any good plastics person will tell you that directly replacing your desgn with a plastic material is probably the wrong idea. Balancing the design with the processing method and end-use environment is the only way to make a profitable and useful product.
I seek to find the simplest answer for the least cost in the fastest time for a manufacturing problem because time is money. Many times a simple solution will be quick and cost effective if you consider the lost profit, down time, sorting parts, and customer satisfaction, even though it is more expensive up front. This gives you time to work out a solution that is more cost effective and integrates into the longer term of the product design, manufacturing process, or product evolution.

Areas George Feth is Knowledgeable in:

Plastic materials and property profiles
Applications for plastics and type of plastic to use
Plastics for metal replacement
Analysis of plastic part failures, competitive materials, lot-lot differences
Developing a lower cost product from an original design or material
Taking new product concepts or ideas and developing path to commercialization
Plastic processing methods, why they are used, when to use them
Liason or team leader in multi-fiunctional teams to resolve product issues
Exploring potential uses for a new plastic, filler or additive product, developing
a product for a process
Exploring new processing methods, capability studies, process comparisons
Exploring new materials for processability, functionality, applications

Techniques George Feth Uses:

I may use different modes of information analysis depending upon whether it is hard data such as SPC, or more subjective information such as cost/value, volume/cost analysis, sustainability of a market for a new product, in-house technical capability of the client, perceived value added, or other technical and marketing information. Many problem solving techniques for technical issues result in identifying the root cause, validating the cause, setting up QC methods and procedures for tracking information to prevent the re-occurance, and educating the personnel involved in the area having the issue on what to look for and how to prevent the problem.

George Feth's Problem Solving Skills:

  1. Creation of dynamic teams within an organization to troubleshoot technical issues and understand roles
  2. Correlation of material/processing/design to part performance in plastics
  3. Ability to liason technical needs of customer to manufacturing, R&D, purchasing, Sales/Marketing groups
  4. Determining the most logical and cost effective manner in analyzing a plastic material or failed part.

George Feth's Problem Solving Experience:

  1. Developed a simplified FR additive analysis procedure and support equipment for Manufacturing QC technicians to use which reduced analysis and production holdup from 2 hours to less than 10 minutes.
  2. Developed simplified methodology for fast, precise, and accurate analysis of cis-PBD in HIPS reducing railcar acceptance of raw material from days to 30 minutes.
  3. Performed injection molding process studies and laboratory analysis of TPO material samples to invalidate a lower cost material supplier's new product that was in the process of purchasing contract negotiations, which prevented manufacturing losses and customer liability issues for a painted automotive front fascia application.
  4. Developed quick and simple monomer catalyst analysis method for production QC which eliminated $25K in outside testing fees, reduced response time from 3-5 days to 10 minutes, and introduced a $1MM/yr. cost savings.
  5. Identified materials and assisted in developing direct laser marking of keycaps to replace pad printing, which accomplished a 33% reduction in costs and improved manufacturing throughput by 20%.
  6. As part of 5-member resin manufacturer’s grass-roots group focused on blowmolding, I evaluated and demonstrated gas-assist technology as an alternate route, developing a technical and marketing strategy which exceeded the group’s goal by creating $8MM in applications in 3 years.
  7. Created a new supplier base using hardcoated plastic sheet, laser cutting, and insert molding for manufacturing a specialized optics instrument cluster lens that changed a $0.24 loss into a $1.25 profit/part. Took responsibility for design concept, vendor selection, transport packaging design and prototyping, and customer signoff.
  8. Identified source of legend wear field failures on keyboards, recommended cost effective materials and processes which prevented loss of major account worth 40% of sales, and stopped returned shipment costs of over $20K per month.
  9. Developed inexpensive analytical scheme and ran analyses for major field failure of automotive part, which provied material supplier was at fault, resulting in over $2MM payment to company for compensation and replacement, and switching to another material supplier.
  10. Researched and wrote white paper to develop in-house process for manufacturing speedo/tach needles to participate in a 80MM market opportunity. Originated new design and material for in-mold balanced speedo/tach needle using electro-luminescent lamp to create first-ever low cost, E/L needle design that saves over 60% in weight and 50% in cost.
  11. Initiated material development with supplier, acted as liason and lead multi-functional group from Manufacturing, Purchasing, Engineering, and QC to create in six months a first-ever LIM silicone computer keypad for major keyboard manufacturer that met all our customers' product requirements, while generating manufacturing savings of over $4.7MM per year. In 10 year period of losses for business, prior to my arrival, my 2 years resulted in only years company was profitable