by Tom Hudson, CEO & President
Like many American stamping
companies, nth/works was founded by a returning World War II veteran
who grew up in Louisville, Kentucky.
George Lenz, entrepreneurial to the core, bought his first
screw machine and put it in his garage.
Like rabbits, one machine led to two, then four and so on.
Screw machines ultimately morphed into stamping presses as
the business grew and prospered.
G.E.’s Appliance Park,
with almost 30,000 employees, was just down the road.
Over time George’s business, Precision Tool, Die & Machine,
became an important part of G.E.’s supply chain.
In the 1970’s the first generation of Lenzs gave way to the
second. By the early
1990’s, Precision was a $40 million business with two plants focused
mainly on the appliance industry.
The Lenz family decided that they
needed to diversify.
They drove the business into the automotive sector.
When sales volume reached the low $60 million range in 1998,
the Lenzs decided to sell the business to a NASDAQ company.
Elemex’s goal was to use Precision as the base company for
their automotive supplier roll-up strategy.
For a variety of reasons, strategy implementation failed.
One of the core problems was that
Precision was stamping structural parts for the appliance industry.
Essentially the Company was making a significant number of
parts that were perfect for Chinese manufacture.
In late 2001, Elemex hired Tom
to reposition the Company for the future.
The new management team focused on solutions for customers
that involved complex cosmetic parts and tight tolerance parts with
high engineering content.
They opened a new plant with a Class A paint line and began
screen printing range parts.
They also installed an MRP system to replace the abacus.
It was the MRP implementation plus the rapid increase in
process complexity that led Elemex and Hudson to make the decision
to put Precision into bankruptcy in 2003.
The restructured company emerged
from bankruptcy in late 2005.
The new company is owned by creditors, General Electric and
employee has an equity interest in the new company - nth/works.
The strategy established at the turn of the millennium
remains roughly the same with two exceptions.
In 2007, nth/works made a significant investment in the
application of sensor technology.
That program has evolved into sophisticated in-press
measurement and tool adjustment.
The second major investment has been in the implementation of
the Toyota Production System.
The one constant in the new
millennium has been the total dedication of all nth/works’ owner
associates to providing our customers with world-class solutions.