Last week I visited two facilities that focused on low- to medium-volume manufacturing. Both customize products to meet customer needs. Both tout quick response and comprehensive customer service. Yet in many respects, the two couldn’t have been more different.
A week ago today I pulled into the parking lot of Atlanta Precision Machining & Fabrication and its parent company, Atlanta Attachment Co., a make-to-order manufacturer in Lawrenceville, Ga. Atlanta Attachment began as an equipment supplier to the apparel industry and diversified into automated machines for mattress-making. The company also fabricates products for the aircraft maintenance market. When business went downhill during the past recession, managers considered the manufacturing technology on the floor--press brakes, lasers, waterjet, painting, rows of machining centers--and had a thought: Why not offer contract fabrication? That’s how, in 2009, Atlanta Precision Machining & Fabrication was born. (Look for an article featuring the company in a future issue of The FABRICATOR®.)
Because the company already fabricates and assembles complete machines for its product lines, Atlanta Precision offers more than just parts. For certain customers it handles the entire manufacturing process. Managers are finding that some OEMs are stepping out of the manufacturing arena entirely, especially for products with highly variable demand.