Machining Concepts


An actionable Strategic Plan can help your business weather an economic downturn.

machining concepts logoMachining Concepts had been growing at a clip of 30 to 40 percent a year before the economic downturn. The strategic plan that Decision Associates helped them develop was performing like clockwork as they turned out high-quality precision parts for a diverse range of customers.

Owners Jim Willats and Mark Wilkosz were confident their strategic plan would pay off when the going was good, but they didn’t realize it would see them through the bad times, too. Today, 18 months into a deep recession, Machining Concepts is doing more than holding its own – it’s winning repeat business from cost-conscious companies, developing strategic partnerships, and tapping into unexpected new opportunities that are positioning the company for future growth.

Jim and Mark first knew they had found their niche when contracts for precision-machined parts began pouring into their small CNC machine shop back in 1993. Their 30 years of combined experience in engineering and manufacturing, and a host of value-added services, gave them an edge in a crowded market with established competitors. But after a dozen years of steady growth, it was time to make some strategic decisions about where to take the company next.

That’s when they turned to Decision Associates. When we perform a strategic assessment, we research the industry, not just the customer. What makes the industry tick? What do the top performers look like? Who are the customers? Who are the competitors? What obstacles are standing in the way of growth? What actions are critical to achieving the company’s goals?

As we worked through the process together, it became clear that if Machining Concepts was going to serve the needs of its customers and potential customers, it needed to expand its machining capabilities with new, multi-tasking CNC machines, and it needed to develop the highly skilled programmers needed to run them.

They bought the equipment and they hired the people. “With these resources in place, we’ve been able to increase our machining capabilities and offer our customers a much more efficient machining process,” says Jim. “Now we’re constantly developing new opportunities to produce parts for new and established customers.”

Customer relationships can prove to be a real strategic advantage, just when you least expect them. Machining Concepts thought they’d lose a major piece of business when a customer was sold to a company in California. Instead, it opened the door to the larger company, which has customers and vendors all over the world. They’d never have known if Decision Associates hadn’t performed an independent customer survey for them. The hum of CNC machines is music to our ears.

"On both a professional and personal level, my Decision Associates Peer Group was a life-changing experience. I forged relationships with other group members that continue today. With Don Moore's insight and guidance, we shared challenges, learned from each other, held each other accountable, and returned to our respective organizations as better leaders. It may have been the single most important process in helping me become a better leader."

~ John Weber, President
Smith Provision Co., Inc.

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