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Hidden Virtues

The Weekly Report – November 8, 2021
Galaxy Precision celebrates ISO certification.

While many manufacturers think of ISO as a means of attracting new customers and differentiating themselves from their competitors, the true value of ISO certification is that it potentially impacts every corner of the business.

Ralph Finken, founder and CEO of Galaxy Precision, a three-decade old CNC machining facility, understands this. Several of us at Enterprise Minnesota recently travelled to Albany to help Finken and his employees commemorate the fact they achieved their ISO 9001:2015 certification. We were joined by State Senator Torrey Westrom, Representative Paul Anderson, and the company’s banker Kyle Knudson, along with Galaxy’s employees to help celebrate this achievement.

He knew that ISO would make his company more competitive and help find more new customers. By achieving this international standard, the company could demonstrate excellent process efficiency and continuous improvement along with the ability to consistently meet customer requirements.

The company worked for almost a year with Enterprise Minnesota consultant David Ahlquist to achieve ISO. But their efforts were born out of Galaxy Precision’s owner Ralph Finken.

Dawn Loberg, Enterprise Minnesota business development consultant, who also works with Galaxy, said that the company knew they needed to grow their business because they make specialized parts, and to be competitive they had to become ISO certified.

“The benefits of ISO are already yielding great benefits for Galaxy. Their quality levels are very high, their lead times are down, and they’re producing more products,” Loberg says.

After working in in machine shops for 20 years, Ralph decided to open his own company in 1990. He used an old chicken coop on his family farm to house his start-up business. His first clients included local farmers and area implement dealers. Increased orders for custom-made parts led to several expansions. He and his family built a 30-by-32-foot shop and a 12-by-16-foot office north of the coop. He hired his first employee in 1992. Today the company employs 34 people who operate 30 machines in two shifts.

Ralph and his operations manager, Otis Ostendorf, led us on a tour of the facility that displayed how the company has expanded from humble beginnings to a clean, well-ventilated 26,000 square foot facility.

“The comprehensive improvements that are coming about as a result of the ISO process have been invaluable,” says Ostendorf.

“Completing ISO certification meant that we had to document every procedure, so it put employee knowledge down on paper,” Ostendorf says. “Now these skill sets aren’t limited to one person, and it’s helped with cross training. We quickly discovered that this was going to greatly improve our processes. It’s a process that’s turned into a learning tool.”

To learn more about Galaxy Precision, Inc.’s story, look for an upcoming article in the February 2022 issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine.

Events Calendar

November 10 – State of Manufacturing® survey release event
The State of Manufacturing 2021 will be an excellent opportunity to celebrate Minnesota’s manufacturing industry with hundreds of your fellow manufacturers and all who work in support of the industry. Learn more and register to attend.

November 18 – Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Expert Ally Johnston will show you how small daily improvements can add significant value by compounding over time and how employee engagement is key to CI and overall employee retention. Online via Zoom  Learn more and register

December 14 – Strategic Planning for Manufacturers
Strategy and Revenue Growth expert Steve Haarstad will demonstrate ways to approach strategic planning for the short and long term and why strategic planning shouldn’t be solely for the CEO. Online via Zoom  Learn more and register

See more upcoming events

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Olsen Thielen hosts local State of Manufacturing® event on November 17
Join fellow manufacturing executives on November 17 at Olsen Thielen CPA’s headquarters in Roseville, MN for a local manufacturers-only SOM event where we will be reviewing the results of the 2021 State of Manufacturing® survey.  Read more

SkyWater Technology achieves AS9100 certification 
The International Quality Management System for the aviation, space, and defense industries will benefit SkyWater’s customers by streamlining procurement processes and manufacturing operations. November 4, Business Wire  Read more

Microsoft announces new tools to modernize supply chain & manufacturing
To help address industry supply chain issues, Microsoft announced a new manufacturing solution called the Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing and Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Insights. November 3,  Read more

U.S. manufacturing growth slows in October
The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing activity index dipped slightly in October, due primarily to supply chain bottlenecks and labor shortages. November 1, Finance & Commerce  Read more

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