Craig Guttmann,

President, Algood Caster Innovations

We thank the recession for our new facility

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We’re excited to be moving into our new facility in two weeks – and we have the recession to thank.

You see, when the economy tanked five or six years ago, we did some serious thinking at Algood. The knee-jerk response of many companies was to cut costs and lay off staff. We weren’t prepared to play that game because our employees are our greatest asset. Instead, we chose instead to re-evaluate and consider what was going to make us a better manufacturer. Many of the efficiencies that resulted from that process are at the heart of our double-digit growth today. One of our conclusions was that our current facility couldn’t support the flow between our various integrated functions like injection molding and metal stamping.

It was over 40 years ago that my father originally acquired the building that we will leave on July 7. In truth, it was only one unit in the building. Over time, as the company grew, we expanded and broke down walls until we occupied all seventeen units of what was supposed to have been unrelated industrial condos. The result is a hodge-podge of contiguous but non-aligned spaces.

Once we’d made the decision to move, finding the right place was the cause of many sleepless nights. It had to be just the right configuration with appropriate access and great potential. Location was a huge factor. We mapped the home addresses of our employees and were determined to find a location that did not increase the commute time for most. In the end, not a single employee is leaving because of the new location.

Interestingly, the search process was also a learning process. I had the opportunity to speak to many manufacturers who were finding innovative ways to use space effectively. Companies were downsizing to smaller spaces not because sales were down but rather because they were looking for the optimal manufacturing flow and configuration. That helped us realize that a building with less floor space but higher ceilings could be more efficient. Our new facility has less square feet but with 30 foot ceilings, we have increased our total space by over 10,000 cubic feet.

Now that the decision has been made and the new facility is taking shape, we can see the vision becoming reality and that’s cool. From the outset we established a moving committee with key players from manufacturing, plant operations, engineering, logistics and sales. We labored over every aspect of the move – each with its multiple choices and outcomes.

And it paid off. We have reduced the maximum walking distance between departments from 550 feet to 225 feet. We have a layout that allows for the perfect manufacturing flow. Production will be even better integrated and in some cases we will shave days off lead times. Incredibly, our new home has the capacity to double our output.

Even so, a move of this magnitude is a massive leap of faith. We are investing over $1 million in the new facility. There are over 2000 new rack spaces, over 70 T5 lighting fixtures that were installed, leasehold improvements and the cost of the move itself.

Our move is an expression of our commitment to North American caster manufacturing and our belief in an even brighter future for Algood Caster Innovations.

9 comments on “We thank the recession for our new facility
  1. Joe Mayer says:

    Congratulations to Craig & his entire staff. Bless the people who were with you in the beginning, but are unable to witness the new location. From one small unit to where you will be. Many lives have been changed with the vision Max had. I am proud to say, I knew Max, and he changed my life. Good Luck to everyone as you move forward.

  2. Craig Hagel says:

    Craig,

    Congratulations on your new facility. I know you have put a lot of sweat and tears into growing Algood, and it is great to see that your vision is coming to fruition.

    If you are ever looking for a quality ball manufacturer in the USA, I think I know where you can find one.

    Best Regards,

    Craig Hagel
    Frantz Manufacturing Company / Sterling Steel Ball Div.
    Sterling, IL
    815-622-2410
    chagel@frantz-mfg.com
    http://www.frantz-mfg.com

  3. Congratulations Craig. Continued success to you and your staff. Thank you for your contributions to our much loved industry!

  4. Jeff Tessier says:

    Hi Craig,

    I look forward to seeing your new operation this summer.

    Congratulations on not only the vision for a better future, but the chutzpah to make it a reality.

    Good luck.

    Regards,

    Jeff Tessier
    Global Upholstery

  5. Rick McLellan says:

    Hi Craig,
    I was impressed with your new facility the day you gave me a tour. I’m sure it will help Algood surpass your goals.
    Cheers
    Rick

  6. John Owen says:

    please consider posting a video tour of your new facility on the website or on Youtube so that people from all over the continent can see and share your accomplishment.

    • Craig Guttmann says:

      John,

      Thanks for your feedback. Adding videos to our site in general is on the drawing board. A video of the new facility will be on that agenda. I appreciate your comments. Craig

  7. Steve Carney says:

    Congratulations Craig to you and your amazing employees. Great to see the success you are enjoying and also great to see the growth of a manufacturer in Canada. I look forward to a visit in the near future. Max would be proud!!!

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