Surges in demand for plastic parts led Flambeau, Inc. to invest significantly in its Columbus operations recently, including the addition of a new 750-ton press. This machine is primarily dedicated to a few specific proprietary products, including Flambeau® Brute™ tool boxes, gun cases, and tackle boxes.
The addition represents a company-wide expansion of capabilities for Flambeau’s multiple manufacturing facilities across North America and the United Kingdom. A worldwide economic slowdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic was generally anticipated in the manufacturing industry, but for Flambeau it led to a rapidly increasing company-wide backlog of orders. Just months into the slowdown, Flambeau’s supply chain began to reach its limits, and demand for vital parts began to overwhelm supply.
A top manufacturer of plastic parts for automotive, consumer, and industrial markets, Flambeau addressed the backlog by adding presses to its arsenal, as well as implementing several creative solutions. Here in Columbus, the plant began operating 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It also embraced a revitalized production scheduling methodology, improving forecasting practices and addressing various constraints on production. In just 90 days, the backlog was reduced by 75% and protracted waiting periods for customer orders were minimized.
Ironically, another welcome by-product of the slowdown is Flambeau’s workforce in Columbus growing to a historic high. The plant’s long-term manufacturing jobs focus on assembly, packaging, and distribution operations based on a 24/7 shift rotation, while taking into account family and personal needs of the workforce. The shift rotation is unique to the Columbus area.
The Flambeau plant in Columbus continues to expand and welcomes applications for employment, either in-person or online at flambeau.com/careers. The facility is IATF and ISO-9001 Certified, with a focus on high-pressure injection molding processes and presses ranging from 30 tons up to 1,500. A key customer of the Columbus plant is Cummins, with key retailers carrying Columbus plant products, such as Wal-Mart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and McMaster-Carr, to name just a few.
Along with plans for future expansion of injection molding on the Columbus campus, Flambeau is currently implementing a modern, company-wide ERP system that will continually improve customer support and the company’s standing as a world-class supply chain system.