Much has happened at C³ in the past six months; we’ve expanded, traveled and invented. This report will share what we’ve been engineering and the direction we’re headed.
“Growing the business has been an exciting challenge. As a team, we all have different backgrounds with specialized experiences. We’re all trying to work together to make the best choices for the team and our clients,” says Mark in Business Development. We think a lot of companies can relate to these challenges, and we’re both excited and sometimes intimidated of the future.
We’ve got a lot to talk about. We’re proud to share this report with you. It’s also a good reminder for us how what we’re doing fits together toward where we want to go.
“That’s great, but can it go faster?”
A customer shared with us their concerns with our compress, fold, and roll machine’s production speed. Our machine wasn’t performing at the rate they wanted. The scary part for us was that we had all the ability to make the adjustments they were looking for, but we didn’t recognize the need earlier.
We realized there’s room for us to better educate our existing and potential customers. We want to keep in communication so we know what our clients are facing in their production and offer our support.
After this concern was raised, we assigned the challenge to a small group of engineers that reduced our pass-through times by over 32%. Our CF1396 roll-pack machine will now pass mattresses through in 23 – 25 seconds.
New Machine Releases in 2017
With our roots in engineering, we enjoy the opportunity to design new machines. We review a combination of market needs, customer feedback and internal improvements to find where opportunities lie.
In March, we introduced our fully-automated lamination machine. This model removed the need for extra operators and improved the accuracy of the lamination process. Fully-automating picking layers, squaring, coating with glue, layering, and pressing allows for a hands-off mattress line with a more accurate and better bond.
The LCN1500 lamination machine model includes a patent-pending roll coating process that provides greater accuracy in laying glue coatings so layers have better adherence for “tear-foam” results.
“Automating the machine ensures that the customer will get a more consistent product and takes the human error factor out of it. It will also help to reduce waste,” explains Grant, a Mechanical Engineer who worked on the project.
This created a buzz; we found ourselves knee-deep in system automation projects incorporating this new machine into an automated mattress assembly line, from blocks to retail product.
We have two more machine launches planned for 2017. One will provide a better package for thick mattress toppers. The other will help businesses stand out in a slew of brown cardboard boxes.
We’ve shipped these new designs in record time. This is why:
- Introduction of the role of Leader of Operations
- Incorporating sales forecasts into bulk order purchasing
- Organization of production flow with added team members
Vision/Strategy: On the Business
Doubled the Size of Our Facility
Many people recognize us by our building, the glowing C³ on the side is clear from the main highway alongside us.
What passerby’s now see, though, is a building twice its size.
Space was tight. When it came time to show customers their new machine, it was hard to talk over the assembly of another within arms reach. It came to the point where we used every inch.
We’ve added 18,000 sq. ft. to our facility:
- 15,000 sq. ft. is dedicated to a new addition to our production
- 3,000 sq. ft. is open-concept office space
The new space came with new LED lighting, an overhead crane and additional meeting space overlooking finished machines. We celebrated with an open house for vendors and families.
Flew Our Team & Work Abroad
This May was our first time exhibiting at Interzum, an international trade show for the furniture and mattress market. It felt like we were leaping as we put this together, but we were confident our brand, people, and machine would perform well.
“We walked away from the show with a sense of excitement, knowing that our machinery is something that the rest of the world needs,” describes Jordan.
Exhibiting helped us learn the following:
- The global market for foam and mattress is huge
- It’s important to showcase the package our machine produces
- We needed to exhibit to prove we’re a viable international player
Not only was it the first time C³ made an international appearance, but it was also the first time abroad for many of our staff. We made sure to make the most of our time there, in work and play.
As we’ve navigated these recent events, we took these steps to improve:
- Center our engineering around the end package our customers desire
- Ramp up recruitment to keep workloads tolerable for our staff
- Refocus our marketing strategy to align our customers, team and the community
Vision/Strategy: Lending a Hand, a Bed
So far this year, we’ve delivered 50 pillows and 25 mattresses to Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs in Appleton. This totals 75 pillows, 50 mattresses, and 25 bed bug covers delivered to women who are moving on towards a new life. Generous customers donate the goods and our team delivers them and spends time at their facility.
“It seems small, it seems unimportant; but to people who have nothing and are just looking to be given a second chance, it can mean everything. This has been a great opportunity to allow our employees to become passionate about impacting the lives of others and showing them what love looks like at a time that they probably do not believe in it,” says Josh, who’s coordinated the partnership between C³ and Harbor House. “This has been an incredible project to be a part of.”
If you’d like to help fuel our donations with mattresses, covers, sheets, pillows or other bedding products, please reach out.
If you haven’t heard, we’re hiring.
We’ve also been hiring. Our team has grown by over 20 new faces so far this year. Our intern program is a bright group of eight college students.
Our assembly team grew the most – the mechanics and electricians that put in hands-on hours to manufacture the machines. The team needed more hands on deck as bigger (and more) projects started coming in. With a larger facility and increased space for assembly, this team grew quickly to take on the work.
Three individuals joined our front-office departments. One joining the business development team and the other aiding in the purchasing department. We also hired a recruiter to help us find and onboard new staff.
Engineers are our biggest need, of which we’ve hired three since the start of the year. We’re looking for at least four more by the end of the year.
We’re looking to fill these openings in the next six months:
- Customer Service Analyst (Position filled)
- Four Engineers (at least), Mechanical and Electrical
- Purchasing Analyst (fall) (Position filled)
If there’s someone you’d recommend in the areas we’re hiring for, please let us know.
We’re also on a mission to increase the awareness of manufacturing as a viable, attractive option for a career in the Fox Cities. If you have ideas on how to further this mission, we’d love to hear from you, too.
If you’d like to talk about anything above, feel free to contact us or reach out at 920.749.0444.
Thanks for being a part of our business.