Crum grows through rededicationWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Crum Manufacturing in Waterville has found ways to increase revenues by 70 percent from 2009 to 2010 and expects a 40 percent increase in revenues in 2011 with new customers, patents and products.
The company adopted a goal of adding market share to its revenue stream, balancing it with automotive and non-automotive products while focusing on business development and marketing in a team effort, according to Douglas Waldie, vice president and chief operating officer.
Waldie joined the family-owned business in March 2009 when it had reached its lowest revenues and gone from 37 to 15 employees. Today, the company is increasing revenues with a work force of 26 by keeping it lean and productive, he said.
“It was a good time to rebuild or re-create the business with diversification of customer service, quality, cost reductions and operations, all achieved in a team environment,” Waldie said.
For 26 years, Crum Manufacturing has supplied metalworking and machining to a variety of industrial and manufacturing customers. It specialized in manufacturing customized tooling, mandrels and quality check fixtures as a Tier 2 supplier for the formed rubber hose industry.
The firm was founded by the father and son team of Ernest Crum Sr. and Ernest Crum Jr. Ernest Jr. serves as president and CEO but has given daily operations of the company to his son-in-law Doug and daughter Deborah Waldie, who serves as vice president and chief financial officer.
“I’m extremely proud of the job Doug and Deb are doing with the company. Doug is an excellent manager of the team there,” said Ernest Jr.
Deborah joined the family business in 1994 and now is responsible for the financial areas and assists Doug in human resources. She said they needed to be creative to make sure the cash flow is working and the company is stable financially, by conducting cost analyses of custom work and reducing the time it takes to receive payments for completed orders.
The quick turnaround of the business resulted in Crum Manufacturing being named “2010 Business of the Year” by the Waterville Chamber of Commerce.
The rebuild started when the company lost business with a large customer and adopted a goal to regain that business which it has started to do, Waldie said.
Through its business development and marketing efforts, Crum is finding new customers in California, Brazil, India and Mexico. The company is also seeking local business, such as Tier 1 suppliers for Whirlpool in Ohio and La-Z-Boy in Michigan.
Those efforts include researching new leads, participating in trade shows and establishing relationships with new companies and industries, said Kelley Rowe, who joined Crum last year as business development and marketing manager.
With a bachelor’s degree in business management and master’s in information technology, Rowe recently developed a new website for the company.
The Crum team aggressively positioned the firm in other markets that resulted in additional business. It is developing quality check fixtures for use by La-Z-Boy.
With several new patents in the works, Crum plans to introduce a new C-Roto Cutter Fixture in the second quarter of 2011 for customers waiting to use it. The product is designed to reduce scrap hose by 70 percent which is significant for that industry, Waldie said.
The company also plans to introduce automation and robotics into its production by mid-year to meet demands from its customers, he said.
“We’re working on new projects to push us to the forefront with our competitors in the business,” Waldie said.
Customer service and quality were critical in the company’s turnaround. Crum had only one late order out of 1,700 shipments in 2010, according to Customer Service and Quality Manager Jim Pelland.
Pelland has worked at Crum for 15 years, starting in the shop and learning all aspects of manufacturing. He currently quotes jobs turning them into orders while building strong relationships with customers who trust Crum to meet their requirements, Waldie said.
Pelland works closely with Operations Manager Chad Graham to make sure every order goes out in a timely manner. Graham manages the firm’s “just-in-time” operations for production where almost every job is custom work.
Waldie credited Graham and the 18 employees involved in design and production for reducing the average overtime to get jobs done from 12 to 15 percent to 4 percent.
“We react quickly to customer changes,” Waldie said, citing turnaround time of three weeks or less “for customers who can’t find it with other suppliers.”
In an emergency, Crum achieved 24-hour turnaround for one customer, Graham said.
In another move, Crum will offer a profit-sharing plan for employees in the nonunion shop for 2011 in addition to a 401(K) matching plan. Waldie said Crum has an excellent benefit program, with the company paying for 100 percent of benefits that include health insurance.