March 13, 2018
Manufacturing insights

MTD Micro Molding hires for personality, trains later

Photo | MTD Micro Molding
MTD will nearly double its production space later this year, the result of reaping the rewards of a specialized niche in medical device manufacturing.

MTD Micro Molding, a medical-focused micro mold manufacturing company in Charlton recently took home some hardware from the Plastics News Executive Forum in Naples, Fla. The plastics manufacturing trade newspaper named MTD a finalist for two awards: Processor of the Year for 2017 and Best Places to Work in 2018. The company was also given an award for employee relations. Dennis Tully, president at MTD, spoke with the WBJ about his company's workplace culture.

How many other companies were battling for these awards?

Unfortunately, they don't share this information with us – we asked!

What makes MTD such a great place to work?

If you watch the video, a common thread amongst our employees is their passion to embrace challenges. Our employees describe working at MTD as exciting, interesting, fun, and challenging with a family-like atmosphere. One of our mold technicians, P.J. Blando, has been at MTD for five years and said he enjoys "the work environment along with the level of work precision and attention to detail it takes to create the molds we build. They take great care of us at MTD – like close family." We have a good sense of humor too – if you walk around our shop, you will see employees wearing MTD shirts emblazoned with the company name and: "We do very little work." We are also very proud to offer benefits to our employees like profit sharing and a 401(k) with a company match.

How is that possible in an industry like manufacturing, where qualified workers can be tough to find and work involves manual labor?

At MTD, it is really more of skilled labor vs. manual labor. Employees are performing highly skilled functions generally using with a microscope and a high level of attention to detail. Finding a skilled micromolder to hire is near impossible. We hire for personality and attitude and follow with training.

What does MTD do to continue to improve employee relations and keep everyone happy?

We are always asking employees, "What can we do?" The responses we do get from employees through internal surveys, personal conversations and our idea program are always heard by management, and we try to solve any underlying problem that may exist. We are constantly looking for high-impact, low-cast ways to drive employee engagement (ex. onsite yoga, company outings) and our employees are an amazing source for these ideas.

Why was the company a finalist for Processor of the Year?

This is an annual award by Plastics News honoring companies with superior achievement among plastics processors. Company submissions for this award are assessed based on seven criteria: financial performance, quality, customer relations, employee relations, environmental performance, industry/public service, and technological innovation. Because MTD is strong in all of these areas, it was a good year to nominate our company, and we are very honored to recognized as a finalist.

For the Best Places to Work list, a third party company surveys all company employees and a score is established based on this and the company's submission. Seventeen companies met the score threshold to be included in the list – the highest number of finalists in any year of this contest. A notable fact is that national workforce studies report an average of 25-40 percent engagement amongst U.S. employees. MTD employees reported an average score of 95 percent.

What ideas, if any, will MTD take from the companies that finished ahead of it for these awards?

So many amazing ideas were shared at this event, and we are looking forward to trying some of them out at MTD. One company held a periodic employee contest where the winner would select a charity of their choice the company would make a donation to on their behalf. I really like this idea and plan to implement this at our company. Wellness programs were also mentioned quite a bit, and we plan to enhance ours by offering onsite yoga classes and adding a fitness room to our new addition. Another idea we took home from this event was offering onsite financial planning services to our employees. I am looking into this as an option for our employees as well.

You guys previously mentioned a 12,000-square-foot expansion in Charlton. How are those plans coming along? When can we expect shovels in the ground?

The beginning of this project is all about the planning for the required upgrades to our infrastructure. This is the phase we are in now.

This interview was conducted and edited for length and clarity by WBJ Staff Writer Zachary Comeau.


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