I love the machining business. I love watching products come to life from a drawing/model to a jewel you can hold in your hand. In addition, knowing where it’s going, what it’s a part of, and what lives may be changed by that final product give us a sense of excitement and appreciation for what we’ve helped create.
All that being said, the machining business can be difficult as well. Over many years, a few things we’ve struggled with include: finding the right customers, staying away from the wrong customers, hoping the good customers can keep you busy, and updating the equipment fast enough to keep up and compete.
One issue many small machine shops struggle with is customer concentration. This is and has been an issue for us. We are fortunate to have some fantastic, long-term relationships. The problem arises when they continue to grow with you. As you grow with them, you typically reduce the work you get from smaller, less frequent customers. This in-turn works against the strength of the business in that you become more and more concentrated with fewer customers.
As we battled the reality that more and more of our business was going to fewer and fewer customers, we had to find a solution. In addition to some convenient relationships and conversations, we started the process of discussing an acquisition of another company. The main reasons for doing so were:
- Customer Diversity – we did not share any customers with the possible acquisition.
- Capacity – acquiring a company would instantly give us additional capacity we couldnt fit into our current facility.
- Similar Industry – We know machining. We could acquire another machine shop without having to learn a new industry or process.
- Opportunity – The machining industry is getting older. Many great owners are retiring. We saw this as a great opportunity to grow our business.
Now four months in, there is much work ahead. Lots of learning opportunities, employees to meet, and processes to streamline. Overall, the future looks bright and we are excited about the future of machining!