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Above and beyond: Businesses succeed by helping experts work even better

Corporate executives can differentiate their companies in a variety of ways, including by establishing their expertise in an industry or segment. But even experts sometimes need help. When that happens, they can reach out to knowledgeable specialists — large and small — who provide valuable answers.

Since 1980, Thal Precision Industries has been building, modifying and qualifying — ensuring that industry requirements are met— injection molds that are used in manufacturing. But when the Clark-based advanced manufacturing company wanted help in software training and other processes, it turned to Cimquest, a 56-employee firm based in Branchburg. That was about 30 years ago, and the business relationship is still going strong.

“Through Cimquest’s training and support, we have become self-sufficient in the mold design and CNC [computer numeric controlled] programming requirements of our tool builds,” said TPI General Manager Paul Thal, whose dad started the company, and sold it to Natech Plastics last year. “This is invaluable to us since we control the process internally.”

Consistently helping its clients to work better is a value-add that keeps companies like TPI loyal to Cimquest. “We believe injection molders deserve functioning molds that make quality parts,” Thal noted, adding that companies like his “grow frustrated when a lack of accountability delays the timelines and impairs the quality of their mold builds. We have partnered with Cimquest to design and build quality molds that offer optimized cycles, quality parts, and low maintenance.”

Cimquest has also provided mold design support, Mastercam training, and 3D printing support, he added, referring to the process of “additive manufacturing,” or constructing solid objects by depositing of layers of plastic and other material based on digitally stored and displayed specifications.

Rob Hassold, CEO and founder, Cimquest Inc., with his newest production 3D printer. - AARON HOUSTON

Rob Hassold, CEO and founder, Cimquest Inc., with his newest production 3-D printer. – AARON HOUSTON

Cimquest CEO and founder Rob Hassold knows his market, and noted that “Mastercam is the world’s largest provider of CNC programming software. But manufacturers often find it’s challenging to develop and train their own employees in the skills needed to efficiently run Mastercam.”

A value-added reality check

His company also helps clients by clearing up misconceptions about 3D printing, which many people initially thought would wipe out traditional manufacturing processes. “There’s been a bit of hype about 3D printing,” he said. “A lot of people projected that it would be used for large-scale custom manufacturing, or ‘mass customization,’ even at home. It hasn’t happened, yet, although additive manufacturing has ramped up to produce higher-quality volume parts, and we help show manufacturers how to do this. Our employees gain an understanding of a company’s operations and needs, and then we see if our solutions can solve their problems.”

Other companies help business clients in different ways. Anyone who watches TV is familiar with the telecommunications giant Comcast Corp. and its ubiquitous ads for Xfinity cable and other services. But Comcast Business also serves companies, “from small pizza shops to Fortune 1000 businesses,” according to Mike Louden, a Comcast Business regional vice president whose responsibilities include New Jersey. “Our Xfinity brand is huge and there’s a lot of focus on it, but since 2006, Comcast Business has been a business partner for companies of all sizes. As a full solutions provider, in addition to triple play of cable, internet and phone, we offer Wi-Fi solutions, 4G backup services to cover point-of-sale and other applications, video surveillance and additional cloud-based and other services.”

How does a big company deliver personalized attention to small businesses? By being obsessed with customer service, according to Louden. He calls it “consultative selling. It’s not just speed and cost. We understand the requirements of each business, and match that with technology that will help them to grow.”

Its starts with sales reps who do more than make phone calls, Louden added. “We’re not just an 800 number,” he said. “Our sales reps go onsite, so they can see what’s happening firsthand.”

One of the company’s many business offerings is a professional Wi-Fi package that has a customizable landing page, he noted. “Customers can log onto the retailer’s Wi-Fi and the landing page will show any sales or other special offers, or other customized message,” according to Louden. “Comcast built the nation’s largest gig-speed network to deliver unrelenting speeds to more businesses in more places, and we’re continuing to develop new solutions for businesses of all sizes.”

Staying relevant with upgrades

Quality customer service also means keeping up with client needs, and that’s what the law firm Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC did when it recently refreshed its banking and financial services sector practice.

“Servicing the legal needs of the banking and financial services sector has long been a core practice at CSG,” said Rosh H. Jaffe, a member in the firm’s Banking & Finance and Real Estate, Development & Land Use Groups. But then Shirley U. Emehelu — former Chief of Asset Recovery and Anti-Money Laundering for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey — joined the firm as a member, and co-leader of the firm’s Banking & Finance Group on Sept. 3.

“Her experience handling anti-money laundering, BSA [Bank Secrecy Act] compliance and financial fraud matters offered an opportunity to more formally bridge our corporate banking and finance practice with our white collar and government investigations practice,” Jaffe said. “This created a comprehensive suite of services in support of the sector.”

The practice also covers hedge funds, investment banks, cryptocurrency exchange platforms and broker-dealers, “as well as organizations that some may not expect, such as gift card companies and online payment remittance services,” added Emehelu, who’s based in the firm’s West Orange office. “Essentially, any entity susceptible to fraudulent financial activity could benefit from our guidance.”

The timing is right, she added. “The U.S. financial system remains the backbone of international commerce – both for above board transactions and for dark money. And over the last several years, we have witnessed constant changes in laws, regulations and sanctions in the AML context. Now, more than ever, the heat is on.”

The stakes are high. Well-publicized incidents cited by Jaffe and Emehelu include a December 2018 case, when federal prosecutors in New York brought an AML/BSA criminal charge against a broker-dealer, Central States Capital Markets, for failing to maintain an adequate AML program. Allegations included not filing suspicious activity reports concerning a customer who laundered money in an illegal payday lending scheme.

The charge ultimately was resolved through a $400,000 forfeiture and a deferred prosecution agreement, where a prosecutor agrees to grant amnesty in exchange for the defendant agreeing to fulfill certain requirements.

But the costs of implementing compliance programs that pass regulatory muster can be prohibitive for smaller banks, and often forces consolidation to achieve adequate scale, according to Emehelu and Jaffe. They also noted that information overload – the sheer volume of data housed and conveyed through banks — makes it particularly difficult to differentiate between red flags, false positives and actionable patterns that should be communicated to law enforcement.

“In this climate, banks must have robust Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering programs in order to satisfy regulatory compliance rules,” Jaffe said.

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