Schaefer Industries is an Allentown, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of refractory shapes for metal casting. Although best known for its pouring cups used in investment casting processes, Schaefer has also diversified its product offerings to include additional refractory shapes—crucibles, molten metal flow control shapes, kiln furniture, etc.—to withstand other high-temperature industrial processes and/or molten metal contact.
“MRC is a tremendous resource. I can’t say enough about their ability and willingness to help. – Rich Kilgore, Vice President and General Manager
Schaefer faced many of the same problems that confront small to medium-sized manufacturers; they had a desire to grow their business, but there were some acute supervisor and management needs to be addressed, as well as larger planning and certification obstacles to be cleared before that growth could become reality.
Schaefer looked to MRC for assistance with the resolution of these issues. MRC delivered a suite of in-house and third-party services to address the individual challenges, as well as guidance to help with the overall planning and implementation. First, Schaefer engaged MRC for both a Manufacturing Leadership Institute (MLI) course—attended by the company’s president and VP/General Manager. Next, they identified four supervisors (and those with clear supervisory potential) to attend MRC’s Supervisor Boot Camp.
“Everyone loved it,” says Schaefer’s VP and General Manager, Rich Kilgore. “One of the senior supervisors in particular really saw the light. He made the transition from supervisor to leader in just a month.”
In addition, Schaefer saw the need to achieve ISO certification. The company had identified one prospect in particular that was heavily involved in the aerospace industry, and although other customers were not pressuring them to pursue ISO, management realized that the view would be worth the climb in terms of opening new doors for expanding sales opportunities. MRC put Schaefer in touch with a capable ISO consultant in the Spring of 2014.
MRC’s services also included 5S training, as well as “Lunch and Learn” sessions on mergers & acquisitions, intellectual property law, Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
- Schaefer achieved ISO certification in September 2014 and they are moving forward with plans to expand their outreach into the aerospace industry, adding an additional $400,000 in value.
- Current and upcoming supervisors have improved their understanding of their roles and laid the foundation for enhanced mid-level leadership in the future.
- Senior management developed a business-growth strategy following their MLI course in manufacturing leadership.