No Need for Trial and Error

The Weekly Report – February 7, 2022
Teske Manufacturing has expanded through the COVID economy in part by teaming with Enterprise Minnesota.

Family-owned Teske Manufacturing represents a useful example of how the myriad of services offered by Enterprise Minnesota can help manufacturers cope with the unpredictable challenges of the COVID-era economy.

Since acquiring the Springfield-based company from bankruptcy in 2002, owner Tom Teske says his team has done “whatever it takes” to strengthen the business. He told our writer Anne Kopas for a profile in the upcoming issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine how he’s made major investments in the plant and equipment. He’s also branched into subsidiary companies: Complete Target Systems, a shooting target manufacturer, and Teske MetalCraft, a fabrication company.

Tom built his success by immediately integrating a culture of best practices into the company’s processes that enabled them to do more with fewer steps. Instead of learning through trial and error, the company elicited help from experienced consultants at Enterprise Minnesota.

The lean mindset and a value stream mapping exercise were gamechangers.

“These changes seem almost obvious after the fact, but it’s amazing the returns you can get from taking the time to think through the simple things and actually making those changes,” says Matt Teske, Tom’s son.

Today, the family-owned company employs about 30 workers in Springfield, Minn., where they manufacture utility and landscape trailers that “follow you anywhere.” For nearly a decade, Tom’s son, Matt, has been a full-time team member and is currently vice president of sales and new business development. Tom’s wife, Karen, also has ownership in the business.

Teske’s current priority is to earn its ISO 9001 certification, which Tom expects to achieve by mid-2022. One of our top consultants worked with Teske to prep the company for ISO work by auditing its management practices, implementing a quality management system, and making efficient use of robotics.

With five robotic welders and two robotic painters on the floor, Teske has improved consistency and output, Matt says. Now, a single employee can use a robot to weld an entire trailer, where the previous process required four employees.

“All the robots have names, and we speak about them as if they were people,” Tom says. And they don’t erase the human component, either. Workers still need to load and unload the machines — and it opens opportunities for the employees to gain new skills, too.

Bob Kill, our president & CEO, calls automation a workforce multiplier. “It can make better use of the existing workforce, but it also allows the opportunity to bring in less-skilled labor,” he says.

For more information about our services please visit our website.

Events Calendar

February 9 – A Model for Manufacturing Excellence Using ISO 9001
ISO Certification and audit expert Keith Gadacz will be discussing the concepts of the business management system ISO 9001:2015 and how it can take your operation from average to excellent. Online via Zoom  Learn more and register

February 16 – State of Manufacturing regional event: Owatonna
Join us in Owatonna as we bring the State of Manufacturing on the road. Great networking opporunity for manufacturers and industry stakeholders as we discuss the SOM results and what they mean for Southern Minnesota. In-person at the Owatonna Country Club, Owatonna  Learn more and register

February 24 – Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Join us IN PERSON in North Branch, MN for a manufacturing workshop with expert Ally Johnston on ways to integrate lean thinking throughout your organization by developing a culture of continuous improvement. At Lakes Region EMS in North Branch  Learn more and register

March 2 – State of Manufacturing regional event: Marshall
Join us in Marshall as we bring the State of Manufacturing on the road. Great networking opporunity for manufacturers and industry stakeholders as we discuss the SOM results and what they mean for Southwest Minnesota. In-person at the Mercantile Building, Marshall  Learn more and register

Industry News

Minnesota manufacturers get in on 2022 Winter Olympics
From luge sleds to skates, these local brands are playing a starring role in the Beijing Games. February 5, Twin Cities Business Magazine  Read more

A new model of employment? Work first, then earn degree
Apprenticeship programs that give students a job and pay 100% of their college tuition are keeping talent pipelines full. February 3, IndustryWeek  Read more

Boston Scientific’s manufacturing expansion underway in Maple Grove
The company announced fourth-quarter results and outlined expansion details for its manufacturing facility in the Twin Cities suburb. February 2, Star Tribune  Read more

– – –

Enterprise Minnesota is dedicated to helping Minnesota manufacturers grow profitably. If you are interested in receiving The Weekly Report to your inbox, please visit our subscription page.

Learn more about Enterprise Minnesota.