Enterprise Minnesota Magazine - September 2012
HELPING MANUFACTURERS GROW PROFITABLY
Precision metal fabricator Corchran Inc. teams up with Enterprise Minnesota to achieve multiple improvements.
Corchran Inc. offers a variety of metal fabrication capabilities, including CNC laser cutting.
Corchran Inc. began in 1949 when Founder James B. Corchran opened a small blacksmith shop in Waseca. Now 63 years into its existence, the homegrown company has expanded into a 64-employee, 93,000-square-foot operation.
The company offers a variety of metal fabrication services, including CNC laser cutting, CNC punching, and both traditional and robotic welding by certified welders. Among its many customers are Birds Eye Foods, Brown Printing, Donaldson Company, Tennant Company and Toro. President Joel Matheson believes Corchran’s focus on a positive team attitude contributes to its high retention rate, with many employees staying on for 25 years or longer. Two employees who will retire this month have worked for the company for more than 40 years. In 2005, Corchran also became 100 percent employee-owned, a move that Matheson says has further bolstered its team-oriented culture.
“Now, employees have a bigger stake in the success of the company, and pride in ownership,” Matheson says. The company is equally committed to its employees. To foster continued growth and a calm and structured work environment, Corchran has recently partnered with Enterprise Minnesota to provide two consulting services to its employees. A grant from the Growth Acceleration Program (GAP) will help offset the costs of the services. GAP is a grant-matching program enacted by the Minnesota State Legislature and designed to help small manufacturers create jobs and accelerate business improvements through training and consulting.
First, Enterprise Minnesota will lead Corchran employees through its Strategy Management consulting service. The service conducts financial, performance benchmarking and leadership alignment assessments, then assigns specific projects designed to help the company improve in each area.
Next, Corchran employees will tackle Proactive Marketing to define the company’s ideal target markets and competition, and ways to provide the greatest value to customers. The employees will gather with representatives from a handful of different companies for four half-day sessions over three months. Participants learn from each other by sharing their experiences and challenges with the group. In between each group session, Enterprise Minnesota travels to each individual business to coach them on applying what they learned. In the fourth session, representatives from each company come forward and present a marketing plan around a specific opportunity that they would like to pursue in their business.
Matheson hopes participating in Strategy Management and Proactive Marketing will help Corchran to achieve better internal communication, increased efficiencies and profitability, continued growth and a safe, stable and enjoyable work environment.
“It’s hard to pull yourself away from the day-to-day stuff as a small company, but we want to make sure that we’re going down the right path in terms of potential new markets and customers,” Matheson says. “We also want to have really good, open communication so that employees are more knowledgeable about and comfortable in the company that they work for and own.”
For more information about Corchran Inc., go to www.corchran.com
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