Positioning For Success
For much of the early years, KLH Industries experienced effortless growth. Riding the wave of a new, exciting technology known as wire EDM, customer's sought out KLH for their quality and expertise. Despite being powered entirely by word of mouth, KLH was well positioned for success.
Retrospectively, KLH was as lucky as it was good. Erratic, unplanned growth is often the fastest way out of business.
In the modern days of KLH, measuring, planning, and preparing for growth is a primary focus. Not simply the need for growth, but for the need for consistent, stable growth.
Positioning for success allowed KLH to survive a sharp economic downturn in 2009, while remaining fully operational and profitable throughout. In the midst of a historic recession, sales dropped to there lowest in six years, yet KLH was eager, willing, but certainty not waiting. KLH has been strategically increasing manufacturing output, growing personnel, and improving quality systems.
Upgrades began in April 2009, when KLH purchased a CMM vision system for non-contact inspection. Parts that cannot be inspected with probe heads, such as certain rubbers, could now be inspected with repeatable measurements within 0.0001" (with variation).
Over the next several months, every KLH employee received 80-hours of Lean training, totaling in excess of 2,300 hours. A substantial investment for a small business, however, a necessary step for future growth.
To satisfy a demand for more, larger turning projects, KLH purchased a Puma 480L in early 2010. In addition, two new personnel were hired to keep the spindle turning.
In an effort to become both lean and green, the waterjet cutting department installed water filtration system to create a closed loop cutting system. The system, designed by Ebbco Inc., slashes water consumption by 2,300 gallon per day (90%), and is expected to double the life of consumables.
Another department to see significant equipment improvements is also historically the newest department. While KLH has offered dimensional inspection services for years, adding a second CMM in July 2010 gives KLH enough throughputs in the quality lab to avoid bottlenecks between internal and external inspections.
A year and a half of upgrades culminated in July 2010, when KLH achieved AS9100 certification. Situated with the proper staff, equipment, and manufacturing structure, KLH is ready to tackle the challenges of the aircraft and aerospace industry.
Over two decades later, customers still seek KLH for their quality and expertise. New machines with additional personnel, but still whistling an old tune, as a company well positioned for success.