Investing in Success

Investing in Success

December 10, 2013 4:37:55 PM

Phoenix, Ariz.-based Howell Precision secured approximately $1 million in financing to procure their equipment, their facility, and to orchestrate their build-out—after one of the most severe economic downturns in decades.

It took a superior business plan, solid customer relations and a major machine tool builder and dealer who believed in owner Rob Howell.

To get the business of the ground, Howell enlisted the help of his family friend, a professor, to help develop a thorough business plan for Howell Precision. 

“Charlie Grantham, founder of Community Design Institute, has a basement designed for brainstorming. For two days, Charlie asked me questions and we drafted the plan. I owe much of what is happening with Howell Precision to Charlie,” says Howell. 

Howell’s next task was to purchase the best equipment for his business. 



 “In my view point, there are some machines that you can’t buy used, and a state-ofthe-art laser machine is one of them. The technology re-invents itself so quickly that a used laser is behind the times, and is less efficient in cuts and has higher operating costs.”


Howell contacted a number of laser machine dealers to get machinery.

“One laughed at me, and the others said they wouldn’t be able to help me, particularly in this economy,” says Howell. “Only one sales person, North-South Machinery’s Glen Zachman, believed in me and said he would make it work. Glen warned me that it wouldn’t be easy, and that I would really have to be persistent and well prepared in order to get the financing.”

After a few phone interviews with Mitsubishi, the company’s credit analyst came to meet with Howell and his potential customers in person. In early February, Howell and his wife Leslie made the trip to the Mitsubishi facility in Chicago for further discussions. The meetings went well, and in March, Howell installed a Mitsubishi LVPLUSā…”45CFR laser and a Dener Elite 120 Ton press brake. A mere six weeks later, Howell was producing parts.

“I have learned so much in the past 20 years of manufacturing and since I was starting with a blank space in my building, I was able to construct the build-out to maximize efficiency,” says Howell.

Customers appreciate Howell’s experience, commitment to quality, and on time delivery. Customers also benefit from the company’s relationship with Harschco Waterjet and precision machining company RPM Industries—both located in the same complex as Howell Precision. This partnership allows the company to meet all customer manufacturing needs in the fastest, most cost-efficient manner possible. 

The Howell facility is designed with designated, self-contained departments—organized, Rob says, so that work can flow efficiently through the shop. All the necessary tools for operation are contained in each department, with lean manufacturing principals in mind in each segment. The Mitsubishi laser is “automation ready,” meaning that as production grows, the machine can be expanded to include a multi-shelf tower and to support 24x7 unattended (lights-out) production.

Howell Precision is ready to provide superior service and on-time deliveries to new and existing customers. And Howell wants to thank all of his new teammates who helped make this possible: long-term colleagues and key employees Travis Nelson and Gabe Cruz, Bill Isaac from Mitsubishi, Glen Zachman from North-South Machinery, Professor Charlie Grantham, and especially his wife Leslie.

“I will remain loyal to North-South and Mitsubishi. Not only are their machines, service and support superior, but they believed in me. They are even providing me with advertising support to help me create marketing materials to promote my business,” he says. “It doesn’t stop there. The open house that we will be announcing, hosted by Howell Precision, is provided courtesy of North-South and Mitsubishi.”


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