AIN Plastics Acquires New Talent Through TKMNA Program

Like many companies ThyssenKrupp Materials NA, parent company to the AIN Plastics Division has started to look to internal programs to help existing talent grow within the company and to help new talent find their way to TKMNA and their Divisions.

In 2012 Heather Clark, SPHR, Employee Development Manager for ThyssenKrupp Materials NA, was approached by TKMNA’s president Hans Joseph Hoss about starting a program to help TKMNA attract and develop talent both inside and outside the company. The objective was to increase tools and programs to  support and develop employees, thereby strengthening the TKMNA workforce all around. Heather embraced the task and set out to

  • Develop Programs to attract entry level talent
  • Develop Current Employees especially in the areas of leadership development
  • Attract New Talent through establishing internship programs with universities

One program that is currently benefitting AIN Plastics is TKMNA Sales Talent Development Program and just two years after it’s November 2012 launch, Ms. Clark is happy to announce TKMNA has had their first graduates from the talent program, meanwhile the second class of recent college graduates began the program in June of 2014. This year AIN Plastics jumped in whole heartedly with President John Shepherd taking on the role of Senior Executive to the program. John took a hands on approach and attended career events at several universities across the U.S. including his own Alma Mater, University of Toledo. (Read more…) John worked with ThyssenKrupp Aerospace NA’s Talent Acquisition Manager, Scott Haas who also travels to events around the U.S. to spread the word about TKMNA and to search for talent.  ( Business Development Director, Richard Winter also took on a large part in the selection process for AIN Plastics Division. As a result of the TKMNA Talent Program, AIN Plastics Division brought in Rebecca (Becca) Reidy. Rebecca is a recent graduate of the University of Toledo, and like the others in the program, her interests lay in a sales based career.

Program Director, Heather Clark, noted we have many TKMNA employees move within the company throughout their careers. Two examples of current employees who have found success in growing within the TKMNA company are Shawn Lynam who began in sales, then took on the Business Development Director job for AIN Plastics. Shawn recently became the President of Richard Winter, who has held numerous roles in the AIN Plastics Division, including Branch Manager, is now Business Development Director for AIN. Additionally, TKIS current President, Brian Diephus began in 1985 at Copper and Brass Sales. (Read More…) and the list continues. The TKMNA Talent Program is unique in that it targets people who are interested in sales oriented careers and developing their sales and leadership abilities in TKMNA.  One unique feature of the program is that participants  need to be able to relocate up to four times in their first year before settling in at their full time location which is  determined at the conclusion of the 12 month program.

For example, AIN Plastics Talent Program employee Becca Reidy, is starting her first three months with AIN Plastics in Madison Heights, MI. From there she will spend two months at Copper and Brass Sales, Southfield, MI, two months with TKIS, then it’s onto TK Aerospace in Seattle, WA for two months. Once those are completed Becca will be placed at one of AIN Plastics thirteen locations. During her travels Becca will also complete a one year project for AIN Plastics to further her learning.

DSC_0002Becca said she found the program in a search at her college, University of Toledo. She applied and completed the process this spring. Richard Winter said Becca was chosen out of five finalists who came to Detroit for the TKMNA Talent Program selection process. When asked about why she wanted to work for AIN Plastics, Becca said there were several things that came down to the atmosphere at AIN Plastics and the people as well as how she feels AIN Plastics shares her personal values. She enjoyed how friendly and professional the team is. She also noted that AIN Plastics is a company that tries to always do the right thing, and they really put an emphasis on providing good solid customer service. The program also fit her interest in a sales, or sales related career path. Since her first days with AIN Plastics Becca has enjoyed the work as well as a couple of events and one of AIN Plastics favorite Programs – AINFit. Becca, along with Trevor Drake, John Shepherd, Katie Juneau and their families took part in the recent Mt. Hope Michigan Warrior Run. See more photos on AIN Plastics Facebook. She has also been able to spend time visiting AIN Plastics Suppliers and getting to know the business of plastics distribution.

Congratulations to Becca as she takes off on her first year journey to TKMNA Divisions across the country. For more information on ThyssenKrupp Materials NA, the talent programs offered, and all the Divisions please see the links below or contact Heather Clark at

See you in the blogosphere again soon!

Lisa Anderson

Marketing Manager
ThyssenKrupp Materials, NA
AIN Plastics Division


_N1C1196-Edit-cropAbout Lisa Anderson
Ms. Anderson has been ThyssenKrupp Materials AIN Plastics Division for over 2 years. She brings 20+ years of advertising, award winning graphic design, social media and marketing. She has worked in book publishing, advertising agencies, printing, manufacturing, and the apartment industry. Ms. Anderson has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts from Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI.

TKMNA Talent Program Overview website offers information about all TKMNA Divisions and more.

To learn more about AIN Plastics visit us at

Keep up with AIN Plastics on your favorite social media

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Plastic Materials In Robotic Assisted Surgery

Over the course of the past fifteen years I have concentrated heavily on plastics for the medical device industry and I have been fortunate to have witnessed the incredible advancements that have been, and are still being made in this industry. Robotic assisted surgery is surly one of those advancements.

Advancements in Hip and Knee replacement technologies have grown by leaps and bounds from where they were when I began working with device OEM’s and likewise, polymers have advanced quite rapidly too.  Applications utilizing acetals were slowly surpassed by Polyetherimides and Polyphenylsulfones.  Fifteen years ago PEEK was barely known unless you were involved with the Oil and Gas or Aerospace industries.  Now, PEEK is used as a permanent implant in spinal, shoulder, and other applications.  The rapid advancements of plastics has been side by side with as the technology of surgical procedures has progressed.  Another area of growth for plastics in medical uses is that of certain polymers for both non-implant and implantable surgical procedures and these will continue to evolve as the technology moves ahead at warp speed.

Plastic Materials in Robotic Assisted Surgery

This brings me to Robotic Assisted Surgery.  Fifteen years ago as this type of surgery was being developed with funding from both DARPA and NASA (see below for links to information about these agencies) little was really known about it. I’m sure many of the device manufacturers were aware that one day it would be a reality but I’m not sure how many truly believed that by 2014 it would become as prevalent as it is in todays surgical theater and how much it more it will transcend over the coming years.  Today Robot assisted surgeries have been used in many procedures across many surgical disciplines including joint replacement, open heart surgery, oral surgery and a variety of others. These robot assisted surgeries are more precise than any human can perform and although there is still a surgeon at the controls he or she is performing the surgery from a platform that allows the robot to actually make the movements that were once performed by the surgeons hands. The benefits to the patient are numerous and include less bleeding, greater accuracy, and less invasive just to name a few.  The future of this technology is virtually unlimited.

This image shows a traditional incision (left) vs. a robotic assisted approach (right).

So why am I writing about robotic assisted surgeries in a blog devoted to Engineering Plastics?  Good question.  Because as we move into the next decade I believe we will see more and more polymers used in these robotic platforms.  Maybe the applications of yesterday will be replaced with applications for the polymers of tomorrow.  If a robot can determine that the UHMW implant for a knee arthroplasty is between  25 mm and 35 mm will there be a need to have eight knee provisional trials for that procedure?  Maybe there will only be a need for four or maybe two or maybe none at all. In this day and age of less being more, as in less material waste and less time to production,  robots could be the best new tool in the medical industry. One thing is certain and that is robotic arms will undoubtedly be using high performance plastics to ensure they can withstand the speed and precision ensure they can be deemed reliable for the long-term.  This leads to the issue of preventative maintenance which will also be imperative in maintaining the effectiveness of these units.  As we move forward, it looks as though robotic assisted platforms are here to stay as well as the plastic that is used in these platforms today and on into the future.

Dave Piperi
ThyssenKrupp Materials AIN Plastics Division
Sales and Marketing Manager
Life Sciences

About Dave Piperi 
Dave is the Sales and Marketing Manager for ThyssenKrupp Materials AIN Plastics Division Life Sciences product offering. His focus is on Medical Device, BioPharma and Analytical Equipment markets. Dave has been with AIN Plastics for 15 years and during his time has held several positions including Sales Manager of AIN Plastics New York and Territory Manager.

Related Articles:

Article looks at the difference in incision between robot assisted and traditional surgery methods.

Keep up on all the latest DARPA news on Twitter DARPA on Twitter

See how DARPA is part of developments in medical as well as advanced prosthetics DARPA on YouTube

Read more about DARPA the Robotics Challenge

Visit the NASA website to get the latest news, connect with their blog, and more

Info Graphic – Cast Vs. Extruded Nylon

AIN Plastics Here Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

In the search for Engineering Plastics there are numerous online places and several good size distributors. AIN Plastics is one of those distributors and they have recently been growing and adding locations around the United States. Here we take a brief look at AIN Plastics yesterday, today and tomorrow, and we see good things ahead!

Initially AIN Plastics began as a One Stop Shop Plastics distributor based in Mt. Vernon New York. AIN serviced the local area and provided a large print catalog as well as a special school catalog helping to make machinable plastics a part of shop classes.

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Back in the Day

The original AIN Plastics was a partnership between three gentleman, hence the name AIN. The remaining member of the original partners, Alex Gabay still resides in New York. Since his days with AIN Plastics he has enjoyed a quiet country life outside the city, but in a chat with him at a New York event last year, Alex talked about how he still loves to be able to visit New York City. He talked about how New York is a place that just gets into your blood. The “I” goes to a gentleman by the name of Irving. Unfortunately Irving passed away before things got underway, but the remaining partners kept the AIN name. Last but not least, Norman Drucker, the “N” in AIN continued on with Alex and was the hands on guy “in the pit”. In an early blog post about Mr. Drucker, it was noted by long time associate John Colleluori Norman “was right in there making it happen.” See more in our earlier post.

Since AIN Plastics became a part of ThyssenKrupp Materials NA in 1996 the company has seen an expansion into the western US. AIN Plastics President John Shepherd has seen the company through several new branch openings including the most recent locations, St. Louis, Missouri and Dallas Texas. In keeping with AIN Plastics focus on customer service each branch is staffed with branch managers, inside and outside sales staff that have a background in the plastics industry. Each branch is also able to offer custom cut to size on orders and customized inventory solutions. Additionally AIN is able to assist our customer with fabrication and other services.

In this day and age of online shopping where selecting a material is left to the customer to seek it out by way of google searches and shopping cart searches, AIN Plastics experienced staff is able to assist customers with the sometimes time consuming and tedious task of figuring out not only what is the best material, but what is the most cost effective material for a job. A little like Santa in “Miracle on Thirty Fourth Street” AIN sales people look to be partners in a customer’s business and that may mean selling a material that is not the necessarily the most expensive, but rather the one that fits the application at hand. As Engineering Plastics and High Performance Materials are more often used to replace metal parts and as machinable plastics become a part of today’s increasingly high tech world many factors in material selection are involved. For a more in depth look at this issue see our blog post on Engineering Plastics and the Plastics Pyramid.

Where can you find AIN Plastics Today?

AIN currently has 14 offices and 13 stocking locations in the US. Additionally we stock materials at ThyssenKrupp facilities in California for our West Coast customers. Thanks to ThyssenKrupp Logistics AIN is able to ship anywhere in the US even if no branch is present. For sales support AIN also has a Business Development Team that works across the US in specific markets assisting customers with material selection for specific applications.


AIN Plastics Locations

8143 Eagle Palm Drive
Riverview, FL 33578
1980 Shiloh Road
Building 7 Suite 150
Kennesaw, GA 30144
300 County Line Road
Bensenville, IL 60106
8129 Zionsville Rd.
Indianapolis, IN 46268
110 Shawmut Road
Canton, MA 02021
1750 E Heights Drive
Madison Heights, MI 48071
13732 Rider Trail North
Earth City, MO 63045
New York
60 Fullerton Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10704
1360 Boltonfield Street
Columbus, OH 43228
499 Running Pump Road
Suite 16
Lancaster, PA 17601
3001 Alouette Drive
Suite 100
Grand Prairie, TX 75052
1347 Diamond Springs Road
Suite 100
Virginia Beach, VA 23455

What Is AIN Plastics Tomorrow Looking Like?

AIN Plastics focus remains the same as it has in years past. There is still one number to call and that number automatically puts you in contact with the branch nearest you. 877.246.7700. We look to being our customer’s partner for the long term. That means continuing to offer you, our customer,  more services. For those times you just need to place that quick order an online shopping solution is on its way! We are also continuing our educational efforts through our blog, social media and email blast from Constant Contact. We want our customers to be the most informed and educated users of Engineering Plastics and High Performance Materials out there because we know that means success with the materials you use, efficiency, and cost savings. All of those things combine to help all of us to keep our businesses growing and thriving from New York to, Florida, to St. Louis, and Dallas.

See you in the blogosphere again soon!

Lisa Anderson

Marketing Manager
ThyssenKrupp Materials, NA
AIN Plastics Division


_N1C1196-Edit-cropAbout Lisa Anderson
Ms. Anderson has been ThyssenKrupp Materials AIN Plastics Division for over 2 years. She brings 20+ years of advertising, award winning graphic design, social media and marketing. She has worked in book publishing, advertising agencies, printing, manufacturing, and the apartment industry. Ms. Anderson has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts from Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI.

To learn more about AIN Plastics visit us at

Keep up with AIN Plastics on your favorite social media

Facebook     Pinterest     LinkedIn

For more information on ThyssenKrupp Materials see a recent article on their history and growth 

Cultivating a Culture of Safety at AIN Plastics

Safety has always been important within AIN Plastics. As the leader for AIN Plastics safety initiatives I can name any number of clichés and catch phrases, but simply stated, our goal is that – “Every employee should go home in the same condition they arrived.”  Additionally, I hope when AIN employees go home at the end of their day they can say they learned something new as well, whether it is understanding a new product application, how to operate a machine safely and efficiently, or how to administer CPR to a co-worker in distress. Keeping all employees involved and engaged in safety can sometimes be challenging but it is also a highly rewarding experience. Safety not only protects employees, but employees who are happy and feel safe at their jobs are more productive.

Creating a Culture of Safety for AIN Plastics Employees and Guests

AIN has had a site self-auditing process in place, and this year the Executive Management Team at AIN will be added as a new level to our safety auditing process. This will keep Management involved in Safety, and also provides the individual facility being audited another perspective on safety. Having management’s support and involvement in growing a “Zero Injury Culture” at AIN Plastics is important to our employees and sets an example that is visible to customers, suppliers, and guests.

DSC_0003Updated Visitor Safety Protocol

We initiated a visitor safety orientation that must be reviewed by all visitors of an AIN Plastics facility. Our goal is to emphasize the importance of safety not only to our employees, but to all of our visitors and guests. We have added color coded areas of the plant so employees and visitors know if special training or PPE (Personal Protection  Equipment) is required to be in that area, and to help ensure that visitors stay within areas that are safest. Guests to AIN Plastics facilities can easily be seen because they wear a different color than regular employees helping everyone to know at a glance when we have visitors and to help us keep our visitors as safe as possible at all times.

In January I visited three ThyssenKrupp sites in California as part of ThyssenKrupp’s “Safety Advisory Council Meetings.” We audited the sites, reviewed opportunities for improvement and shared best practices as part of our quarterly meetings. In May we will tour six facilities in the Detroit/Toledo area with special guests from ThyssenKrupp AG (Germany): Dr. Neilinger (Head of Occupational Safety and Health) and Dr. Daume (Head of 6S) will be benchmarking and evaluating how we can share best safety practices. It is always exciting to have visitors from Germany to show off our North American sites and discuss the safety of our employees. I look forward to the meetings and the opportunity for dedicated Safety Time with our teams, and seeing what new things I can learn!


Photo---Theresa-GestewitzTheresa Gestewitz

Operations Director
ThyssenKrupp Materials NA AIN Plastics Division

About Theresa Gestewitz -
Ms. Gestewitz began her career with ThyssenKrupp Materials NA AIN Plastics Division 20 years ago. Her first role was Buyer at AIN Plastics Lancaster, PA facility. She has also held additional positions as Office Manager, Corporate Buyer, and Plant Manager. She assumed her Safety Leadership role in 2010.

What Is a “Tough Plastic”?

I need a “Tough Plastic”, what do you recommend?

In our post “How Sales Reps Help You Find the Right Plastic Material” we explored the need for probing questions when assisting a customer with a material request because there are as many different varieties and formulations of plastics as there are applications for them.  Some terms are standard to a market or industry; others may be subjective or open to interpretation.  Two people most certainly may describe the same thing in two different ways.

One of the best ways to identify the material a user is really seeking is by asking questions, in particular regarding the application.

By inquiring as to the intended use of the item (the application) a competent sales person can  direct the customer to a range of materials from which to choose.  A statement that often comes up by a customer is: “I need a tough plastic”.

Nerd SuperheroDefining Tough Plastic…

This can be a troublesome term depending on a person’s particular definition.
Is toughness how a material wears or the “Wear properties”? – one might consider a raw material as tough because of its ability to perform well in a high friction, high load bearing application, such as a bearing or roller.  Often various strength values and data are used to demonstrate toughness of this kind.
Is toughness how hard a material seems to be? One might also think of toughness as being related to the hardness of a product. Hardness is really a tested value of the chemistry of the material based on a scale, and does not indicate its performance, but rather gives a scale of comparison of one plastic to another.
broken phone in a female handIs toughness how well a material stands up to impact? Its common to think that a hard material is more impact resistant and therefore tougher. Impact resistance is actually measured by a notched Izod Impact test and some materials such as silicone or urethane used in luggage and cases are designed to absorb impact so being impact resistant doesn’t necessarily mean hard.
One of my favorite examples that I learned early in my career was that of Polycarbonate (under such common trade/brand names as Lexan®, Makrolon®).  This is the base material most often described in ‘bullet resistant glass.’  The impact resistance is great but I was surprised to find that the hardness value was lower than many other materials thus it’s actually softer.  Sure, it didn’t break when hit with a hammer because, being softer it absorbed impact, but it could easily be cut with a tool or saw making it very popular.

Determining what a term such as toughness means in the most accurate way possible is one more way in which the questions that a plastics sales rep asks can make the difference in whether or not you get the material best suited to your particular application. As you can see, a term that may be crystal clear to one person may ultimately have a different meaning to someone else.

A particular set of properties might be more or less crucial to a given application, we do not engineer applications but rather give you the best tools and guidance to do so!

Lin Poulin
Telemarketing Manager
ThyssenKrupp Materials NA
AIN Plastics Division

International Association of Plastic Distributors. IAPD, Introduction to Plastics, a Training Manual
Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products. Design and Fabrication Reference Guide
Ensinger. Ensinger essentials, Technical know-how for plastic applications
AIN-Plastics Blog Post – Why Purchase Plastics Through a Distributor

What is Fracking and How does it Work?

Fracking is a slang term for hydraulic fracturing, a process that maximizes the output of natural gas and oil wells to make them productive.

How does hydraulic fracturing work?

When a well is fractured, an operator pumps a mixture of water, sand and a small amount
of chemicals into an oil or gas formation deep underground and applies pressure. The pressure fractures rock layers, releasing oil or gas reserves. The sand holds the fractures open to continue allowing the oil or gas to flow into the well.


As gas or oil comes to the well head under pressure, it brings with it the fracturing water that was pumped, along with natural brines that are present in the deeper layers of the earth. That “flowback” water is separated from the gas and oil at the surface, contained in steel tanks, and sent to deep injection wells for disposal.

Is hydraulic fracturing new?

No. Gas and oil operators have been using hydraulic fracturing around the country since it’s invention by George Mitchell in the late 1940s. (See article link below)

One popular method for creating fractures is the use of frac ports and sliding sleeves. Open hole packers isolate different sections of the horizontal well. A sliding sleeve is placed between each packer pair and is opened by injecting a ball inside the borehole. Typically, a completion string is placed inside the well. The string includes frac ports and open hole packers spaced to specifications.

Frac balls, typically made from an Engineering Plastic, are critical components in cutting edge downhole tooling used in hydraulic fracturing operations. Typically when creating multiple fractures in a wellbore, a completion string is placed inside the borehole with frac ports and sliding sleeves spaced between each section. In order to actuate each sleeve a properly sized frac ball is pumped along with the fracturing fluid inside the well.

Each ball is smaller than the opening in each of the previous sleeves but larger than the hole in the sleeve it is intended to open. The ball shall seat within the sleeve, closing the hole and exerting pressure to slide open the sleeve, opening the frac ports. Once the ports are open the fracturing fluid is diverted to the open hole space outside of the completion assembly causing the surrounding formation to fracture.

At the completion of each fracturing stage, the next sized ball is injected into the well causing the next sleeve to open and so on until all of the sleeves are open and multiple fractures are created within the well. The main advantages of this process being the speed with which the well can be penetrated hence reducing cost.

Engineering Plastics used in Hydraulic Fracturing

  • PEEK
  • G10-G11-FR4
  • DuPont™ Vespel®

The Engineering Plastics listed above are commonly found in seals, bushings, thrust washers, back-up rings, and logging tools. Many have properties that provide longer wear and high temperature resistance than more traditional materials.

As in nearly all industries today,  Engineered Plastics are becoming widely accepted as a solution to  bearing and wear issues. The oil and gas industry is no exception.  Engineered Plastics have been found to alleviate  some headaches in the extreme conditions the oil and gas industry meets when drilling deeper to tap into new resources.

Kendall Montague

National Sales Manager Oil & Gas
Thyssenkrupp Materials NA AIN Plastics Division

Connect with me on LinkedIn


Links to Related Items:

Animation of Baker Hughes completion and frac ball application. Frac Ball Application by Baker Hughes

Related Article: George Mitchell – The Inventor of Fracking 

ThyssenKrupp Materials NA AIN Plastics Division is a sponsor of the Energy Rubber Group


Engineering Plastics use Grows in Food Processing Equipment

iStock_000014977093LargeEngineering Plastics continue to replace metals as key components in food processing equipment. Plastics are often lighter and able to outlast traditional metal parts. A quick look through the variety of plastics available in today’s market shows an increasing number of engineering plastics that are compliant to FDA, USDA, 3A Dairy standards making them available in applications where they will come into direct contact with food. They are also being chosen for their
ability to create a quieter work environment.

With 2014 looking to be a great year for Food Processing equipment sales I wanted to share what we most find in food processing applications and why.

UHMW continues to lead the way (by pounds sold in the United States) in the transformation from metal to plastic parts.  For more information on materials sold in the U.S. see this article by the American Chemical Council. Compared to steel UHMW is just 1/7th the weight. In addition UHMW is corrosion resistant. UHMW is a great option for room temperature applications like guides, paddles, and cutting surfaces.  Recent advances include the introduction of metal detectable versions that can be recognized by your detection systems in line.

For bearing and wear applications, Nylon materials have been the workhorse for over 30 years.  Like UHMW, Nylon is also light weight, and provides lubrication – free operation making it a great material for producing bearings or bushings.  Gears and sprockets made of Nylon have been popular because they can reduce noise in work areas. They can also improve the efficiency of production lines conveying food and liquids in your plants by lasting longer than metals, which reduces downtime, and by allowing lines to run faster.

For many components, Acetal is the best choice for metal replacement, and we find its popularity is growing quickly in the food processing industry.  Acetal (Delrin Homopolymer or CoPolymer brands like Acetron GP and Celcon) are very easy to machine, and their very low moisture absorption rates make them a good choice for the often wet environment of food processing.  Acetals are harder than Nylons and maintain dimensional stability where Nylons tend to be more flexible. In many applications Acetals can handle continuous use temperatures up to 210° F and they are typically compatible with most cleaning solutions, a huge plus in the food processing industry.

A popular speciality material is Quadrant Engineering Plastics Ertalyte material.  Ertalyte has unique properties that allow it to wear like Acetal in wet environments and like Nylon in dry or unlubricated environments.  I like to think of it as giving you the best of both worlds! Ertalyte also is highly resistant to stains generated by things like tomato based sauces and green vegetables.  Ertalyte also has high dimensional stability that meets the demands of the highly precise machining tolerances required in filling pistons and fluid manifolds.

In looking to the future of food processing the demands are heavy. Companies are working hard to keep consumer prices in line while still making a profit. Food processing companies are achieving these goals by improving efficiency and creating better work environments. Plastics are an increasingly big part of the solution because their use in parts can improve line speeds, decrease maintenance downtime, and even make for a quieter work environment.

As I look at the Engineering Plastics and High Performance Materials we have here at AIN Plastics I’m pleased to see how they are being used to improve the food processing industry and I’m excited to see the new applications our customers are working on as well as the new materials our suppliers are always working on. If you have an application you’ve been scratching your head over, give us a call. We know there are lots of options and we can help you take some of the guess work out of finding out if Engineering Plastics are right for your application.

Paul Hanson

Sales and Marketing Manager
DuPont Vespel®
ThyssenKrupp Materials NA
AIN Plastics Division


For more information on Engineering Plastics visit

The Nursery School Guide to Selecting a Distributor

GoldilocksGoldie Locks and the Three Distributors
There are many factors to consider when choosing a vendor or supplier that is right for you.  Ultimately everyone pretty much agrees, you want to work with sources who consistently offer the best products and services and whose sales people are well-trained and experienced to assist you.  The staff should have a helpful attitude toward you, the customer.  Like any relationship not every affiliation will be a good match.  Most importantly both the customer and distributor should be willing and eager to work together in order to grow both businesses.  I thought I’d take an ‘old-school’ approach with a bit of humor to illustrate some basic points.

The Nursery School Guide to Selecting a Distributor That Fits Your Needs:  Goldie Locks is in need of a supplier for materials and parts used in the production of her lumber and wood products (which explains the age old question of why she was wandering the woods!)  Ms. Locks is reviewing her options and comparing three distributors.
bears3First Goldie Locks called up each distributor to find out a little about them.

Too hot - The first burly company was huge, but it seemed most concerned with only offering higher-cost options to replace existing materials.  Common or usual products are often not available from stock due to a shortage in the market and they have no solution for handling these hot items.
Too cold - Goldie Locks had problems getting assistance from the next distributor.  This organization is showing no warmth to her concerns, and they don’t offer any new or improved product developments from the market.
Just right - The third supplier Goldie Locks called offered her a mix of the newest materials as well as inventory options for her business.  They also provided some value added services like cutting her order to a size she needs it. They aren’t the cheapest but Goldie Locks figures the other services this distributor offers will save her money in the long run. Last but not least, sales and management personnel were easily accessible, knowledgeable about their materials, and friendly.

FlorisCat-Sp11-lores.pdfNext, Goldie Locks looked at things like size, location and other company information. After all, getting the right materials is important and she doesn’t want to get all set with a distributor and then find out they are not a good fit leaving her to search all over again –

Too big - This distributor is a huge conglomerate with an impressive resume but they lack personal attention.  Goldie Locks fears she’ll get lost in their volume and be just another account.  Bigger isn’t always better says Ms. Locks!
Too small - This place has nice people but she is concerned about long term growth and sustainability.  Ms. Locks has big plans for the future and hopes to expand. This distributor’s limited locations also limit shipping options.  This small distributor would not have access to product lines from all the manufacturers she wants material from either.
Just right - This distributor combines the personal interaction and service of a small company but with the resources of a global titan. They carry a large inventory and they offer other services like just in time shipping so Goldie Locks doesn’t need as much storage at her business, but with their inventory she can trust she will always get her order fulfilled.

bears41Too hard - The biggest distributor generally lacks flexibility.  There are large minimum orders and rigid terms.  The contacts involved don’t have the direct authority to negotiate, sign a contract, or make other business decisions; but rather have to await some corporate approval or process.
Too soft - This company may just tell her what she wants to hear, Goldie Locks noticed a tendency to over promise and under deliver.  Plus, being a smaller operation this supplier would be unable to use their weight in dealing with manufacturers and they are hindered in developing new opportunities.
Just right - This organization has a wide selection of materials from numerous suppliers so they present options for her business, but ultimately they give her the facts and allow her to make the decision about what is best for her business without undue pressure tactics.

By the ens of her search Goldie Locks found her ideal supply partner is flexible, nimble, and easy to do business with.  They are large enough to have all the materials she needs in stock and ready to ship, and even though they aren’t the cheapest, they offer service that helps her to save money over the long term. She is happy in her choice knowing the time spent up front to find that just right distributor will allow her to grow her business with no worries about the materials she needs to keep on hand.

**Neither the author nor company asserts any ownership to Mother Goose, Cinderella or any other fairy-tale creatures


Lin Poulin (aka Mother Goose)
Telemarketing Manager
ThyssenKrupp Materials NA
AIN Plastics Division

Entrepreneur magazine, April 2010, ‘Build a Good Relationship with Suppliers’ author Bob Reiss

Entrepreneur magazine, ‘How to Find and Work with Suppliers’
IAPD (international association of plastics distribution) “The Distribution Channel Value”, content provided from NAW (National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors) value

To learn more about ThyssenKrupp Materials NA, AIN Plastics Division please visit our website.

Congratulations AIN Plastics!

The entire staff at the AIN Plastics Division location in Yonkers, NY has been recommended for Unconditional Approval for certification/registration for their Quality Management System per the requirements of the ISO9001: 2008 Standard.   Not only the Yonkers, NY location but also in Kennesaw GA, the Plastics Machine center in GA, and to the Columbus, OH team!  These teams have successfully passed their Renewal Audits.  Each AIN Plastics Division worked hard towards an audit that resulted in a zero non-conformances identified or issued.

Once the SRI Registration Review Panel has completed the approvals, AIN Plastics will now be under their own certification/registration.  Every year there will be a surveillance activity by SRI at the locations, followed by the renewal audits.

AIN Plastics Quality Management System supports and enhances their position as a leading supplier of engineering plastic shapes to the medical and OEM communities.  The Division has been working hard to maintain their position as a leading supplier since originally founded.

The AIN Plastics was founded in 1970 and has continued to grow quickly as a distributer for several premier manufacturers of mechanical plastic mill shapes.  It wasn’t until 1996 that AIN Plastics joined the ThyssenKrupp Materials NA group, which positioned the company for even more success!

AIN Plastics Divisions are hard working and dedicated to their work.  The AIN Plastics Division is committed to a continually improving QMS that will assure process and product quality meets or exceeds for customer’s requirements.