When a customer is looking for a company to manufacture a roll-form machine, where do they look?
Advanced Manufacturing Institute is creating a searchable database of companies customers can use to find a manufacturer with capabilities they need— like the ability to create roll-form machines. When a customer types in their desired feature, Marion Manufacturing and other manufacturers will appear with information on how to contact them.
Marion Manufacturing and Marion Die and Fixture will be a part of the database. AMI engineer Rick Windholz spoke with the owners of both companies and said the data should be collected by July, but it may take AMI much longer to organize the information and build the database.
AMI, a consulting company affiliated with Kansas State University, is in the process of contacting 125 manufacturing businesses in Kansas.
The project is being funded through a federal stimulus grant and the Wichita Work Force Center. Potential employees and employers could also use the database. The Kansas Department of Revenue will receive the completed database, which will eventually be available to the public, free of charge.
Windholz visited both Marion manufacturers two weeks ago and asked the companies about their capabilities, how they find quality employees, and about their quality systems. Windholz asked questions specifically pertaining to both Marion manufacturers’ capabilities concerning wind power because of the proximity of wind turbine manufacturer Siemens USA, located in Hutchinson.
“Wind power has very specific requirements,” he said.
Dave Richmond, co-owner of Marion Manufacturing, said he hopes the database benefits both Marion companies by introducing in-state customers to their capabilities. For example, Marion Manufacturing is capable of producing roll-form equipment and tramlines.
“The first (customers) you find are out of state,” Richmond said. “Anywhere around here, we can ship it for $1,500 or less.”
Windholz said a perceptive vendor would be able to use the database to find the right manufacturer.
“Your potential is what we’re hoping to sell,” Windholz said to manufacturers involved in with the database.
Richmond is familiar with meeting expectations.
“We’ve been told before, ‘Can you do it?’ and we give them a price,” Richmond said. “Everybody (else) they went to said it couldn’t be done.”