Custom injection molder Steinwall Inc. of Coon Rapids, Minn., has invested about $3.5 million in plant and equipment projects and received a major machinery manufacturer's kudos.
Regarding the 2009 investments, Maureen Steinwall, president and owner, said: Granted, it is risky during a recession, but my strategy was to do the major projects when we were slow.
I managed by keeping my financial partners in the loop, crafting a strategic plan of investment into market segments designed for growth when things turned, remodeling our facility and installing a new [IQMS enterprise resource planning] software system, she said. Steinwall said her motivation was getting ready for when things get busy and keeping good people busy when things were slow.
Steinwall said there was a risk of customers deciding not to purchase their products, but we knew that was not going to be the case, given our strong relationship with key customers like John Deere.
Employee training programs and communication are constant factors at Steinwall and helped keep the nerves down, she said. Top management confidence helped employees to focus on doing the right things.
In a March 8 ceremony at the Coon Rapids plant, Deere & Co. of Moline, Ill., underscored Steinwall's achievement as a corporatewide 2009 supplier of the year.
Steinwall was the only plastics supplier and one of four direct-material suppliers receiving global recognition within the John Deere agriculture and turf segment, said Don Wulfekuhle, segment supplier base manager for plastics. Factors included on-time delivery, part quality, cost reduction efforts, relationship ease and technical contributions.
It was a very special day, Steinwall said. A definite career high.
Steinwall Inc. was founded in 1965 and began supplying components to John Deere in 1979.
The firm employs 92, operates 31 injection molding machines of 40-1,750 tons, occupies 99,000 square feet and had sales of $12.3 million for the fiscal year ended Oct. 31, down from $13.6 million in the previous year. Steinwall's 2010 projection: $16 million.
In general, clear vision, open communication and empowered employees ... it seems to work, she said. Stakeholder management albeit not a perfect science is the key.
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