FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Association of Washington Business
Jocelyn A. McCabe, APR
Vice President of Communications
Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging, Inc.
Phone: (360) 575-5286
Top Washington State Manufacturers Honored by AWB
SPOKANE - October 11, 2011 - A cabinet maker, a diesel-motor heater business, two packaging companies, two avionics pioneers and the inventor of a life-saving hydraulic jack.
Seven very different manufacturers came together Tuesday night in Spokane to celebrate their similar commitment to industry excellence at the Association of Washington Business' Manufacturing Awards. The honors were presented in conjunction with the first-ever Inland Manufacturing Expo, sponsored by Greater Spokane Incorporated. AWB is both the state chamber of commerce and the state manufacturing association, representing more than 3,500 small, medium and large manufacturers in Washington state.
Honored for overall manufacturing excellence this year was Monroe-based Canyon Creek Cabinet Company. Hobart Machined Products and Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging, Inc. both took home top honors for operational excellence, while Spokane's HOTSTART and Spectralux Avionics each earned recognition for their innovative practices. Another Spokane company, Sonderen Packaging, Inc., was honored for its green manufacturing.
A special Continuous Commitment award was also given to The Bogert Group. The Richland-based company developed a hydraulic jack capable of quickly lifting heavy military vehicles, and has been a real-life lifesaver for the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Despite grave economic challenges, each of these seven companies has continued to find new and better ways to deliver a better product, improve production and find ways to conserve resources," said Kris Johnson, AWB vice president of operations. "These seven manufacturers, along with hundreds of others across Washington, are an integral part of our state's economic recovery effort in terms of the jobs they provide and the innovation they foster, making Washington competitive with companies here and abroad," he said.
"We're excited to honor these seven employers, and look forward to reading more great things about them in the future."
This year's awards also reflected the industry's commitment to workforce training. The actual awards that were presented to each company this year were designed and made by students from Mead and Mt. Spokane high schools. Videos presented at the award ceremony to document each company's efforts were also produced by students attending the Art Institute in Seattle and Gonzaga University in Spokane.
"This year's group of winners and the awards created to honor them represent the level of excellence and creativity that we need to succeed in a highly competitive economy," added Johnson.
Learn more about the winners of the 2011 Manufacturing Excellence Awards below:
2011 Manufacturer of the Year
Canyon Creek Cabinet Company, Monroe
The decline in the housing market the last few years has been particularly hard on the cabinet making industry, but Monroe-based Canyon Creek Cabinet Company has not only found a way to survive, it has emerged stronger. The company has added important new product lines, including closet and storage products, as well as Newcastle, an alternative to low-cost imported framed cabinets. Canyon Creek is also working on an entry-level frameless cabinetry line that will be manufactured in Monroe. Product innovation is just part of Canyon Creek's success. For more than 30 years, the company has contributed to the greater Snohomish County community, the cabinet manufacturing industry, its workers and the next generation. Canyon Creek was a pioneer in green building, incorporating sustainable practices before the term was widely recognized. It works with University of Washington students to provide a "real life" manufacturing experience. And the company has partnered with Habitat for Humanity, providing cabinetry for low-income housing.
Hobart Machined Products, Hobart
Hobart Machined Products proves that you don't have to be a big company to provide your customers with state-of-the-art service. Last year, the small specialty manufacturer invested $10,000 in an automated tracking system that allows its customers, including Boeing and NASA, to instantly check on the status of a work order. The system, called OMNITROL Supplier Visibility, provides a completely automated, real-time information exchange platform that removes overhead and inaccuracies, and gives customers accurate, secure and timely information. "With the growing challenges of managing outsourced partners, our customers require real-time visibility into order status to proactively and consistently track on-time delivery," said Rosemary Brester, president and CEO of Hobart Machined Products. The system represented a significant investment of both money and time, but it paid for itself in the first six months by allowing Hobart to redirect manual labor and reduce expediting of parts. It paid dividends in other ways, too, by allowing the company to provide better customer service. "We were one of the first small suppliers to do something like this, and our customers have really noticed," Brester said.
Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging, Inc., Longview
Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging, Inc. has completely transformed itself since being acquired by Brookfield Asset Management in 2007, going from a company with questions about its survival to a growing, profitable business that one analyst said represents the best turnaround case study he has seen in 25 years. Evidence of the turnaround is seen in a significant increase in worker safety, industry-leading environmental practices, significant cost reductions and higher efficiency. Its success has not only allowed it to keep more than 1,200 people employed, but it's allowed the company to contribute to the community through charitable giving. Longview also contributes to the overall industry through increased public policy involvement. Thanks to a flat organizational structure, Longview can quickly execute directional adjustments. It has found new markets for its products, launched new environmentally-focused products and executed a successful rebranding effort to signal to internal and external audiences that Longview is an evolving company.
HOTSTART Inc., Spokane
Idling engines aren't good for the environment, or the bottom line. And yet diesel locomotives - which don't use antifreeze - are frequently left idling overnight and on weekends simply to keep from freezing during the cold, winter months. HOTSTART, Inc. is changing the practice one locomotive at a time thanks to its revolutionary block heaters. The company's line of electric and diesel-powered heaters allow a locomotive engine to be shut down while it's not in use, and still keep it a toasty 100 degrees, allowing for an easy restart. Based on 90 hours of idling per week at $2 per gallon, a HOTSTART heater can save about 8,000 gallons of fuel, or nearly $15,000. The same type of engine heater technology is being used in other applications, as well, including backup electric generator systems. More than 60 years after HOTSTART got its start, the company is finding that now more than ever, it makes sense to keep engines warm.
Spectralux Avionics, Redmond
Crowded airspace is major problem for airlines and airline controllers. But the problem isn't just too many airplanes; it's also too many voices. Redmond-based Spectralux Avionics is the first supplier to offer airlines a cost-effective solution to the problem of congested communication airways. The company's Dlink+w/CPDLC allows pilots and controllers to share information quickly and easily through text communication. Using data entry keeps the voice airways open, satisfying a European mandate and improving cost effectiveness for airlines. The Spectralux equipment is a small, lightweight unit that can be placed in the cockpit of an aircraft. Its size is an important consideration because of the space premium inside modern aircraft. And it's designed to work with an aircraft's existing avionics, saving airlines the cost of replacing existing avionics. Operating aircraft is expensive, but thanks to the innovative work of Spectralux Avionics, airlines now have a simple, cost-effective way to clear up congested air space.
Sonderen Packaging, Inc., Spokane
Sonderen Packaging has made environmental responsibility an integral part of its company culture, influencing everything from its purchasing and printing practices to how its employees get to work. The company, which is a member of the Paperboard Packaging Council, starts by purchasing materials from suppliers that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. It uses soy-based printing inks and water-cased coatings, and it reuses printing plates for print jobs, which not only helps the environment but also saves customers money. Sonderen has been recognized annually since 2008 by the City of Spokane for waste reduction/recycling, energy efficiency, pollution prevention, transportation and innovation. And the company is creating measurement tools to share waste/spoilage, on-time delivery, productivity and other efficiency measurements with all employees.
The Bogert Group, Richland
The Bogert Group is a small company that hit upon big success when it designed a hydraulic jack capable of lifting heavy military vehicles. But the jacks don't just do the job: They do it flawlessly. Since 2007, Bogert has delivered more than 23,000 jacks and pumps to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. Remarkably, it has had zero returns, warranty returns or reports of failure. Not content to stop there, The Bogert Group is working to develop a lightweight, compact lifting system, and another product on the other end of the weight spectrum that can lift the Predator Drone unmanned aerial vehicle. And it has developed a line of commercial/industrial hydraulic pumps and jacks. Bogert's customers have recognized the company's commitment to quality, giving it high marks in quality surveys - and awarding it millions in new business.
Photos from the 2011 Manufacturing Awards dinner are available online.
Videos about the 2011 Manufacturing Awards recipients are available online.
About the Association of Washington Business Formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business is Washington's oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes more than 7,600 members representing 650,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state's chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing, Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser, 90 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100 people. More than half of AWB's members employ fewer than 10. For more about AWB, visit www.awb.org.