We know we’re behind on this report. August is by no means mid-year, but we’ve been in a bustle of projects that have kept us from reflecting back on our year thus far… now we have a lot to tell you!
We’d like to share our story; of where we’ve been and where we’re headed.
“Last year we made a number of investments to our facility – expanding our building and adding a number of people, changing things about how we approach the market. This year we are showcasing those investments. We have a number of young engineers and assemblers, we have a much different approach to the market today in 2018. We’re a newer-looking company – a fresh look,” says Joe Van De Hey, CEO.
It’s been another year of growth and change. When it comes to “innovation” – this buzzword that so many throw around – we almost laugh about how important its impact is on our business. Not a day goes by without flickers of inspiration to make something better – whether it’s our machines, our processes, or our people.
Here’s a glimpse at those “flickers” so far this year. Thanks for riding along on this journey with us!
“Let’s bring the trade show to C³!”
In planning for trade shows this year, our CEO, Joe Van De Hey, asked a question to flip our thinking… “What if we held our own show?”
The side comment turned into reality as we prepared for our first-ever C³ Showcase in April. We installed an eight-piece mattress manufacturing line right in our own showroom. For the first time, C³ would manufacture 200 of our own mattresses with our machines onsite. From stacked pallets of cut foam sheets, all the way to a packaged bed in a box, C³ showcased a fully operating manufacturing line to customers and vendors.
“Being able to see every machine out on the floor helped us understand how the designs work in unison with one another. We’re able to have hands-on time with all our machines and feel the process of how things operate for ourselves. It’s given us a good understanding of the transitions and how a line is supposed to be run,” said Zak, Mechanical Engineer.
Learn more about the experience and goal in this video:
From a sales and marketing perspective, the show was a success. What became even more beneficial was what we learned in the process. Our engineering team acted as operators – they were responsible for creating a quality product at each step along the production line. As owners of their sections, they gained valuable, hands-on insight to the operability and functionality of our systems. This led to design improvements and updates that we all benefit from.
New Equipment Releases in 2018
Many of our new designs came as a result of the automated bedding line project in the C³ Showcase. One of them, the LS1000, a laminate storage system, takes storage vertical. Its simple design cleaned up our prior racking designs and improved efficiency. Modular and scalable, the machine is useful at multiple points in the manufacturing line where loading, inventory storage, or curing time is needed.
As of now, there’s a lot of R&D happening around our compression machines. A new lift feature was added to the BC2496 to control outfeed of packaged blocks or provide flat packaging options. The CF1396 has exciting new additions coming to change how mattresses can be packaged. The TC9513 is faster and has a better solution for cutting the scrim packaging material.
This innovation is thanks to these adopted practices:
- A focus on modular design first, with ability to scale later.
- Dividing the engineering team into compression and lamination teams to improve communication around R&D.
- Reconfiguring operations to support faster lead times.
Vision/Strategy: On the Business
More building enhancements were made at the start of this year. We built out an area previously used for storage to create an open-concept engineering workspace. The open design better facilitates the collaboration and open communication our teams rely on.
In spring, C³ exhibited at two tradeshows – Foam Expo and ISPA Expo. We debuted our TC9513 Topper Roll Cage Machine and our PD5496 Automatic Destacking Unit. The PD5496 was a twist on showcasing our designs, as we used it as a lead-in to a great conversation about material handling in mattress manufacturing facilities.
What did we learn?
- Modular design for scale matters. Customers aren’t always ready for an all-in automation solution, so machines that can go into operation today and be set up for further growth tomorrow are valuable.
- We had to get smart about the end product. We’re using more data points and more measurements to become smarter about what our machines manufacture and how.
- Showcase people, not things. Our people are our best assets, and because of this, we’re not an off-the-shelf solution. We made more effort to market the people behind the design and engage customers with our team.
Vision/Strategy: Community Partnerships
C³ continues to support the efforts at Harbor House for Domestic Abuse in Appleton, WI. This summer, they expanded their facility to 55 bedrooms and new offices. We sent a team of 12 C³ staff with 25 twin beds and 42 pillows donated by clients to help move residents into the new bedrooms.
It was rewarding to be a part of their expansion, which will allow families more privacy with the additional rooms. While we don’t want to see a need for expanding resources like the Harbor House, we’re happy we’re able to facilitate donations and give our time so the women in the shelter can focus on healing and getting back on their feet.
If you or your company are interested in helping with donations of bedding products to the Harbor House, including bed bug covers, sheets, mattresses, or pillows, please contact us.
In the last year, we’ve hired our fearless Human Resources Manager, Tiffany. She’s been a lifesaver in filling our openings, keeping our culture on track, and handling the day to day regimen of keeping a growing business on course.
Thanks to her, we’ve hired three engineers so far this year and kept our assembly team well staffed. Our intern team for the season is booming, with ten interns in engineering, operations, and marketing. We’re a full house this summer!
A special welcome, too, to our newest hire Joe R. as Controller. He’s a needed hand in our finance department to better support accounting, procurement, and shipping and receiving areas.
We’re looking to fill two positions in the next four months:
If there’s someone you think would be a perfect fit in one of these areas, let us know. Interns – we hire summer interns in the fall semester. Click the link to get on our waitlist to apply.
We’re always looking for fun ways to ignite interest in manufacturing and engineering careers here in the Fox Cities. If you have ideas on how we can help, we’d love to hear from you, too.
We’re proud of where we’ve come so far this year and are excited to see what the rest of 2018 has in store! In pure C³ fashion, we also found time to have a little fun along the way. Thank you for supporting our journey!
If you’re curious about anything we’ve mentioned here, give us a ring at 920.749.9944 or send a message to [email protected]