A Shot in the Dark
April 10, 2017 10:03:51 AM
Laramie, Wyo.-based HIVIZ Shooting Systems has sold fiber optic sights for handguns, rifles and shotguns for 20 years. In that time, the company grew to be known in the industry for durable products and immediate availability for a wide variety of different options. However, about a year ago, orders simultaneously picked up as lead times with manufacturing partners increased.
Chief Executive Officer Phil Howe knew they had a major business decision to make: continue to outsource the manufacturing and be at the mercy of vendors, or bring the manufacturing in-house. For HIVIZ and its dedication to its customers, the choice was clear. They were going to become a manufacturing business.
“This was the second largest business decision we had to make in the last few years,” says Howe. “The first was moving to a new facility, but the decision to purchase the manufacturing equipment is a very close second.”
The HIVIZ team made some strategic hiring decisions to bring in some application technicians more familiar with the machining side of things. Then they started evaluating equipment makers.
“We were impressed with MC Machinery’s equipment and mainly the fact that they could get us good machines rather quickly,” says Mike Thomas, Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer. “What really helped was their promise in being really hands on as we got up and running and the financing support through MAC Funding.”
MC Machinery supported HIVIZ through a wide range of products like EDM and machining, and through the finance funding side.
“We were able to give HIVIZ the flexibility to invest in new capital equipment to fund their rapid growth, and HIVIZ was able to acquire top of the line equipment and financing from one company,” says Steve Brown, MC Machinery Midwest regional manager.
HIVIZ purchased seven machines in the past 12 months and hired 20 people. Those machines include: Three TV-500 and three TV-700 vertical machining centers and one EA8 sinker EDM machine.
“We’ve now got these machines running five days a week, two shifts, and they are performing really well. No issues to report,” says Thomas. “We are also holding tolerance no one can believe.”
Thomas says the decision to become a manufacturing business has many benefits. First, is turnaround time of ideas and prototypes. Second, is keeping costs low due to not having to pay outside costs. This efficiently allows HIVIZ to bid on jobs and win due to lower cost. Third, is quality control. The current reject rate is very low and customers can depend on HIVIZ’s quality now more than ever.
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