Join Us in Celebrating National Volunteer Month by Giving Back!

Giving back and helping others is so incredibly valuable. By providing those in need with the support they deserve and volunteering our time and resources, we make the world a better place.

Universal Metal Products believes that volunteering is an extremely important aspect of being part of any community, and service is a value that we hold dear.

The UMP Foundation

In the spirit of giving back, Universal Metal Products founded The UMP Foundation. This non-profit was established back in 2004 with the mission of contributing financial support to top charitable organizations. Through The UMP Foundation, UMP employees are able to set aside money from their paychecks to contribute to charitable causes. This allows our employees to make a huge impact on the world around them.

These causes are selected by the UMP Foundation Committee on a quarterly basis. Some of the organizations The UMP Foundation has donated to include:

  • The Lake Health Foundation
  • University Hospitals
  • Cleveland Clinic Foundation
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Make-A-Wish
  • Humane Society
  • American Cancer Society
  • Sub Zero Mission
  • St Jude’s Children’s Hospital
  • Lake County Foodbank
  • Hospice of Western Reserve
  • Bright Side of the Road (ALS)

More About UMP

Universal Metal Products is a female-owned company that helps with the creation of metal components for the automotive, appliance, and industrial industries. We are able to create a variety of custom and standard components for vehicles, HVAC units, refrigerators, electronics, sub pumps, and much more. Along with volunteering and charity, we value equality. This is why we focus on creating a culture of inclusivity. We do this by offering family-friendly policies and work shift hours, equal pay for equal work, and a dedication to providing a positive and harassment-free workplace environment.

UMP cares about our customers, our staff, and the members of our community. We hope you join us in celebrating National Volunteer Month by scheduling some time to help those in your community that need it most and/or by donating to your favorite cause. Let’s make this world a better place together!

If you are looking for metal stamping services, contact us! We’d be happy to speak with you. We proudly work with female-led and operated companies and people of all backgrounds and ethnicities.

To learn more about our employment opportunities visit our Careers page today.

Saluting Our Working Moms at UMP

Back in March, we commemorated National Women’s History Month by highlighting the contributions women have made to the success of Universal Metal Products (UMP). As a certified women-owned business, UMP is proud to play a prominent role in empowering women in an industry that men have traditionally dominated.

Although the country celebrated the official Mother’s Day holiday a few weeks ago, we would like to belatedly acknowledge the essential and challenging multiple roles that women play as workers, spouses, partners, and their responsibilities as mothers.

How do they juggle these responsibilities occurring inside and outside their homes? Can women achieve that elusive work/life balance that results in happiness and fulfillment on all fronts? We did some research, trying to discover what working moms do to make it work and what experts suggest doing to find the right balance. Here’s what we found:

Balance means different things to different moms

Most mothers understand that the definition of ‘balance’ changes with their circumstances. For example, when they are working on a large and important project, they might have to miss a few of their kids’ activities or ask a neighbor to pick the kids up from school. Conversely, when a young child is sick, they may need to switch to one-hundred-percent mom for a few days. The important thing is to find a balance that works best for them and resist the temptation to compare themselves to other moms.

Successful working moms prioritize self-care

When moms are working, driving their kids to activities, doing household chores, helping with homework, and reserving a little quality time for their spouse or partner, they often sacrifice the time it takes to care for themselves. As a result, they eventually suffer physically and mentally, straying from the path that leads to a happy life.

Exercising, meditating, getting enough sleep, visiting a nail salon, eating correctly, or scheduling a night out with the girls are all forms of self-care, equipping them to be excellent wives, employees, and mothers while being kind to themselves.

Separate work and home life as much as possible

This piece of advice is not easy to follow. Although most moms try to stay in the moment when they are with their families, they tend to be serious, even passionate, about their work, allowing it to follow them after working hours. Some moms counteract this by silencing their phones and ignoring emails and texts during designated times at home. Others draw a line between work and home by not working weekends. However you choose to handle it, don’t burden yourself with guilt about not working when you’re at home or about what you should be doing for your family when you’re working.

We appreciate all our employees, especially our working mothers

Happy belated Mother’s Day as you raise your families and carve out a niche for yourselves here at UMP. Rest assured, you are making a positive difference here and at home!
Universal Metal Products is a WBENC certified women-owned and operated business with over 75 years of experience. Call us at 440-943-3040 or fill out our convenient contact form if we can be of service to you.


Our Environmental Management System
Makes Every Day Earth Day at UMP

Earth Day 2022 is coming up on April 22nd, and it’s a reminder to all of us of our responsibilities to protect the water, land, plants, and nature that make up our planet. Although individuals and governments must play their part in ensuring the earth’s sustainability, businesses must also acknowledge their obligation to safeguard the environment.

Here at Universal Metal Products (UMP), we are dedicated to minimizing the potential environmental impact of our products and processes by preventing pollution and complying with legislation and regulations. We are also committed to the continual improvement of our environmental management system.

What is an environmental management system?

UMP has systems to manage productivity, quality, finance, personnel, health, and safety. It is just as important to have an Environmental Management System (EMS) to address environmental issues.

Our EMS handles environmental matters by implementing policies with clear environmental objectives and goals and planning strategies to ensure that we conform to any regulations and legislation. Our EMS identifies the steps needed to achieve the objectives and the environmental impact our actions will have.

For example, one of our environmental goals was to reduce our electricity consumption by 2% by 2021. So far, we have upgraded lighting throughout the facility from fluorescent to energy-efficient LED lighting. We have also upgraded our air compressors to newer and more energy efficient units. These two measures alone have contributed to a significant and measurable reduction in kWh consumption. Because of the impact of COVID-19, we will continue with the 2% reduction goal into 2022.

Supply chain disruptions in early 2021 forced us to look for alternatives to traditional wood pallet
packaging. We were able to work with our customers and suppliers to introduce a USDA BioPreffered® solution which was also ISPM15 approved. These engineered molded wood pallets resulted in a significant cost avoidance while using recycled materials in the process.

What are the significant features of an EMS?

The most crucial feature is creating an environmental policy that lays out our approach to managing environmental issues and indicates how we will set ecological objectives. Here is UMP’s environmental policy:

Universal Metal Products, Inc. is committed to the continual improvement of our environmental management system – dedicated to minimizing the potential environmental impact of our products and processes and protection of the environment through the prevention of pollution, compliance with environmental legislation/regulation, and customer requirements through the setting of meaningful objectives and targets.

After we wrote our policy, we began the planning stage. The top management at UMP determined issues relevant to our organization’s context.  Appropriate external and internal context includes, but is not limited to:

  • Air quality
  • Water quality
  • Land use
  • Natural resources
  • Legal, regulatory, statutory
  • Recycling
  • Employee awareness
  • Customer requirements
  • Energy consumption
  • Effects on the local community

We have continuously monitored and measured our EMS since we implemented it, and we identify and modify any areas that don’t comply with our objectives and targets. Following any audits of our EMS, we take actions to address any opportunities for improvement it reveals.

Our senior managers also review the EMS and respond if they deem it necessary to change the environmental policy or our objectives. As a result, we should see continual improvement in our environmental performance.

UMP’s leaders support environmental sustainability

UMP’s top managers take environmental issues seriously. Our Environmental Engineer, Kevin Rossman, monitors the company’s objectives and tracks our progress toward them. It’s an important job, essential to the continual improvement and quicker achievement of the organization’s sustainability goals. And it’s a commitment we are all proud to make on Earth Day–and every other day of the year!

Universal Metal Products is a WBENC certified women-owned and operated business with over 75 years of experience. Call us at 440-943-3040 or fill out our convenient contact form if we can be of service to you.

Dave Joyce visits UMP

UMP has something to say about resilience during this Global pandemic, and Dave Joyce visited our corporate headquarters in Lake County to learn more about the current business climate. Our biggest challenges boil down to 3 things: Shortages for labor and material, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For a manufacturer, these three things impact every level of our organization.

#1 – Labor Shortages

Most companies are hurting in this highly competitive market for talent. In manufacturing, the competition is unprecedented. UMP currently has 31 open positions company-wide, with more than half in Lake County, where manufacturing is the top industry.
The labor shortage is a mix of many things. Baby Boomers are retiring, and the younger population is smaller, with most being guided towards college rather than the skilled trades. The unemployment rates are low at the national and state levels, and wages are rising to compete for the smaller pool. There is also a delay in women coming back to work since the onset of the pandemic due to children that are still virtually learning at home.
What can be done?
 Grants for automation in manufacturing would lessen the need for as many new hires to increase production levels as demand continues to rise.
 Incentives can be created to entice youth to enter the manufacturing sector. Maybe establish scholarships and grants for Training/Apprenticeship Programs and Trade schools.
 Equal exposure to the trades and manufacturing jobs as schools give to colleges and career fairs.
 An emphasis on girls entering the trades, much like the push for them to look at STEM programs.

#2 – COVID-19 Pandemic: Fear and Protocol

UMP was deemed “Essential”, and has remained in full operation since the beginning of the pandemic. We managed to avoid layoffs during that time by eliminating overtime and filling non-production time with internal projects. When the business came back, our staff was still in place and ready to work.
Many protocols have been in place, like cleaning, masks and incentives to get vaccinated. But even with these incentives, only 47% (61%) are currently vaccinated company-wide. Our discussion with Mr. Joyce surrounded the misinformation that has plagued social media, and its effect on getting to our goal of 85% vaccinated.

#3 – Material Shortages due to the Pandemic

Steel manufacturers idled about 1/3 of domestic production capacity for flat-rolled steel when customers canceled orders and closed plants to stop the spread of the pandemic. Within 2 months, many factories reopened and steel demand for cars, appliances and machinery rebounded. The costs of steel have significantly increased because of the high demand and shortened supply. Since March 2020, steel prices are up 215%

Cleveland Cliffs acquired AK Steel and mills from ArcelorMittal. They have a firm grip on the manufacturing of steel with little incentive to increase production and drop their prices. Experts don’t see the cost of materials getting better until 2022.

There are also global supply chain issues hampering new car production (i.e. the chip shortage, which impacts Appliances as well).

What can be done?

When entire industries can be held hostage by things such as steel production and microchips, it’s time to look at ways to boost production and promote the economic recovery starting where products are made.

In an effort to combat the ongoing labor shortage, Universal has been actively reviewing current processes, investigating opportunities for automation or processing speed improvements. When you are unable to hire the staff count you require, we must find ways to do more within the staffing levels we currently have. The days of “just throw overtime” at a shortage are not sustainable, nor profitable.

Universal has redirected our on staff Manufacturing Engineer towards projects of labor benefit; speed increases or labor reduction, so those employees can be tasked to other work that cannot be automated. Several of those pandemic projects are now starting to see the payback for our investment.

Pictured: Scott Seaholm (left) and Congressman Joyce (right)

The UMP Foundation

UMP – A small company giving back in big ways

When it comes to sharing, our employees have been known to notice when others were in need.  The problem was how to make a difference when you are looking at just what YOU as an individual are capable of giving? The answer became clear that the UMP family wanted to have a bigger impact, and by pooling their “giving” resources, have done just that. 

UMP FOUNDATION Creates Opportunity for Greater Impact

This was the inspiration behind the creation of the UMP Foundation in 2004. A registered 501c(3) non-profit, the foundation enables UMP employees to have the opportunity to set aside money from their weekly paychecks to contribute to charitable causes. On a quarterly basis, The UMP Foundation Committee meets to determine what charitable organizations are selected. Once the charities are selected, the Committee then determines the size of the charitable contribution to each.

“Collectively we can make a larger donation that can help to make a big difference. I like being a part of the team and discussions that make those decisions.”
– Cherrise Robbins, Engineering

Approximately 20% of our employees donate every year to The UMP Foundation through payroll deductions. Over the past 10 years, employee donations reached $86,556 with $80,772 distributed to charitable causes.

In 2020, selected beneficiaries included:

The Lake Health Foundation
University Hospitals
Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Ronald McDonald House
Humane Society

American Cancer Society
Sub Zero Mission
St Jude’s Children’s Hospital
Lake County Foodbank
Hospice of Western Reserve
Bright Side of the Road (ALS)

Volunteering Opportunities

Throughout the year, employees are also able to volunteer their time.  The UMP Foundation Committee arranges offsite volunteer opportunities.  Most recently, we’ve partnered with Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland to provide dinner for guests staying there while their children receive treatment in the hospital.    

Due to COVID-19, offsite volunteering has been replaced soley by monetary donations until such time it is safe to resume outside activities.

“By donating a few dollars from your paycheck weekly, it makes me feel good to know that we are helping a lot of those out there (animals too) that are less fortunate than we are. This year has been rough for everybody and together as a team we have been able to donate to shelters, food banks and multiple COVID-19 causes. This foundation makes that possible. I am proud to be on the foundation team for UMP and am looking forward to when we can actually get back out there and donate our time again to the food banks and Ronald McDonald House.”
– Sherri Whiting, Quality Control Inspector

Foundation involvement, opportunities and donations are reported quarterly via newsletter and social media. Employees wishing to establish regular contributions can contact Christina Balint, Corporate HR Manager ([email protected]) for an enrollment form. 

In this season of Giving and Giving Thanks, may we know that the impact we have on others first begins in our hearts. We cannot take for granted our ability to make someone else’s life better – even if it is one smile at a time.  Happy Holidays from our family to yours.

Universal Metal Products is a certified WBENC Women Owned Business specializing in taking your metal stamping requirement from concept, to design, tooling and production.

PIVOT: 2020 Recruiting for Manufacturing

UMP faces changes and challenges hiring during COVID-19 and beyond

UMP faces changes and challenges hiring during COVID-19 and beyondOctober is known as “Manufacturing Month”, where modern manufacturing careers are put in the spotlight. Companies and educational facilities provide tours to students, parents and teachers with the purpose of sparking interest in the 4 million-plus skilled and high paying manufacturing job vacancies expected to arise in the next decade.  That was pre-COVID-19.  This year has required a “pivot” on many fronts, especially for a mid-size company like UMP.  As the world has gone virtual, manufacturing companies such as UMP have had to stay hands-on, safe, and staffed – requiring a major re-think for recruiting.

HR ‘retools’ the process

Christina Balint, Corporate HR Manager for UMP, has seen a lot of changes in the way she recruits for her skilled trades positions. “Going past COVID,” she says, “there will be an increasing skills gap as the Boomer generation retires, taking their skills with them. We have the training capabilities, but a shortage of interested and invested candidates who have the vision of modern manufacturing.”

There are great opportunities now and in the future for creating a more diverse workforce – especially for women who may be a real instrument of change for our industry.

Christina has turned to social media, including Facebook and LinkedIn to attract the hardworking, disciplined individuals of GenX to help take the future of manufacturing to the next level. “Written correspondence and phone calls have given way to text messages and email. It’s a whole new world in HR, and we have to adapt to the tools needed to reach each generation where they live.”

Even the sales positions have changed this year. Doug Allen, Vice President of Sales for UMP, remarks on just how much the sales team has to “be more creative, and tech savvy as they are required to use conference call tools and social media where face-to-face opportunities have diminished. As a smaller manufacturer, we are better able to adapt and foster ongoing relationships with current and future clients whatever the environment.” 

He adds that UMP experienced a sharp pandemic decline in sales during March and April, but that there has been a rebound as they pivot their resources and tactics to deal with this new landscape and serve the customer. “UMP is right-sized for recovery in this pandemic, and the people who work here are limited only by their imaginations and their desire to be innovative when coming up with solutions to help satisfy our customers evolving needs.”

The “not so hidden” benefits of the UMP Family

‘Sometimes you wanna go – where everybody knows your name.’ This familiar theme song (well, for fans of “Cheers” anyway), conveys that a family atmosphere can be found in unconventional places. At UMP, the CEO knows your name because you are part of the family and it’s personal. What began as his family business, became a legacy carried on through his daughters.

“Everyone at UMP has the ability to make an impact,” says Ms. Balint. “Everyone has their own story, their own motivations, and knows that what they do here at UMP makes a difference.”  No two jobs are alike, and everyone has the opportunity to be creative in how they approach their daily job and career. At UMP you will learn multiple skills and have the opportunity to cross over between departments. (Oh, and they’ll know your name there too.)

Value beyond measure

UMP knows firsthand the investment they have in their employees, and wants to give them the support they need both professionally and personally. Our needs are for real, full time employees who not only enjoy competitive pay, but benefits that include medical, Life and Disability, 401k with match, training and growth opportunities.

Whether you are looking for positions in Sales, Tooling, Production, Engineering or Technology, you need to take a closer look at UMP. The common thread is creativity and innovation, because you are in a place where you are not limited by who or what you are – only by your imagination and the unique gifts you bring to the table.

Now I call that a pivot.

Universal Metal Products is a WBENC certified women owned business.