But attaining substantial growth isn't easy -- it can quickly drain funds, divert resources and fracture focus, and there's no guaranteed payoff. For a company to grow, it has to take a well-educated guess and a carefully planned gamble.
That's exactly what Winkle Industries did. The company, which manufactures electromagnetic lifting devices, mechanical lifting devices and crane products for the steel, recycling and manufacturing industries, decided to build a state-of-the-art facility during the height of an economic downturn.
Many of Winkle Industries' customers consolidated operations and downsized personnel during the tough economic times. And Joseph Schatz, Winkle's president, predicted that when the economy recovered, those customers would need Winkle's products and services even more than they had before. So he took a $3.8 million chance.
"If we didn't make the move to build a new facility prior to the economic recovery, [we knew] it would limit our ability to experience growth," he says.
The new facility, which opened in 2002, allowed Winkle to streamline processes, reorganize workflow to maximize efficiency and create a quieter, cleaner atmosphere. Winkle also developed an aggressive new business plan that focused on a diversified customer base and a diversified product and service portfolio.
"We knew we had to focus on the immediate needs of [our] existing customer base, and to have the vision and ability to penetrate new markets," says Schatz. "Diversification is a key factor, but it must make sense to your customers."
Over the past three years, as the economy has improved, Schatz has seen the gamble pay off in a big way. Sales more than doubled. Revenue increased 89 percent. And the company's portfolio expanded beyond manufacturing lifting devices and cranes to offering maintenance and repair services, and ancillary products.
And Winkle Industries was able to reinvest in its employees. While layoffs were inevitable during the recession, the company bounced back, going from 38 employees to 70 over the past three years.
Those new employees have brought extensive industry knowledge and technical skills, improving every area of the company, from sales to engineering to production, making Winkle stronger than ever.
And the future for Winkle Industries? It's betting on growing strong.
How to reach: (330) 823-9730 or www.winkleindustries.com