Modern Machine Shop

SEP 2018

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Stories of Success Modern Machine Shop 85 He eventually took over the business in January 2015 at the age of 21 when his grandfather, Quentin Bensink, retired. The Ripley, New York, shop provides preci- sion grinding, CNC turning and CNC milling of aluminum, alloyed steels and nonferrous metals in low to high quantities for a wide range of industries and applications. In fact, its centerless grinding capability is beneficial from a business perspective because there are several nearby shops that do not have that capability and look for shops like Ripley Machine to provide those grinding services. Mr. Reinwald says he and his grandfather set up the transition to be gradual. His grandfather continued to be part of the shop's daily opera- tions, offering advice and support when needed. "Having him as a mentor with no clear timetable for his retirement date was helpful," he explains. "It was nice to be able to bounce ideas off of him as I was getting established in my new role." Mr. Bensink permanently retired in 2017. For the first six months after Mr. Reinwald assumed ownership of the company, ever y- thing went well. "Then, it was like the faucet was shut off business-wise and we realized the worse 18 months in company histor y," he explains. "It was clear that our customers had an increasing focus on cutting costs, so we had to make it an initiative of ours to come up with creative ways to reduce our manufacturing costs as well as to diversify our customer base. This we have since done, which has led to a significant increase in sales." In addition to earning ISO 9001:2008 certifi- cation in 2016, one of Mr. Reinwald's goals was to add new customers with work that was in the shop's capability sweet spot. That is, turning work ranging in diameter from 1.5 to 6 inches in quan- tities less than the point at which automation may be warranted, but not less than 100-piece-batch sizes. In doing so, he has also worked to establish a good quote-to-book ratio. "I don't like to quote a job if it seems like it will be a hassle," Mr. Reinwald says. "I'll immediately quote it if it seems like a slam-dunk, and I won't if it's obviously not in our wheelhouse. Other jobs I might discuss with my shop foreman. If that discussion lasts longer than 30 minutes, I likely won't quote it." To speed cycle times to reduce overall costs and the shop's hourly rate, Ripley Machine is using more capable cutting tools. It is also sourcing material from multiple suppliers to get the best price, whereas before the shop used one primary supplier. The shop sometimes buys extra material to get the per-piece price down if it feels it will be able to use the material at some point. Ripley Machine is also more open to suggestions from those on the shop f loor. Being that much of the work there repeats, there is value in taking time to find ways to more efficiently run a job. "If someone suggests that tweaking a part program can reduce the cycle time, I typically won't have a problem with them taking 30 minutes to do that," Mr. Reinwald says. "We'll recoup that cost and time by having established a better process when the job returns. "I'd like our company to continue to grow, and that might require adding new capabilities," Mr. Reinwald continues. "For example, while we currently offer large-diameter turning and center- less grinding capabilities, we might consider "Part of our company culture and overall business approach is to continuously devise creative ways to cut costs for our customers." ANDY REINWALD Ripley Machine "Our people represent the core of our company and are the reason we continue to grow, which is why we invest in them and their future." KYLAN HASTREITER Hastreiter Industries

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