Alliant Castings (formerly United Machine & Foundry) of Winona, MN, has more than 125 years of experience creating parts for the mining, construction and agriculture industries. Founded in 1885 as Diamond Huller, the company was purchased by Martin Renk Sr. in 1965 and has been family owned and operated ever since; it is now run by Martin’s son, Tom Renk. Today, the company is committed to redefining the casting industry by focusing on performance, speed and value.
Alliant Castings was facing a transfer of ownership from one generation of the family-run business to the next. At the same time, due to the economic downturn, the company was experiencing a 35 percent to 40 percent decrease in sales. The majority of the company’s business was also strongly concentrated in a handful of major clients. To meet their goals for a smooth transition of ownership, increased sales, broader markets and more engaged employees, the company needed a comprehensive strategic plan.
Through a series of Strategy Management exercises, Enterprise Minnesota also focused on training and developing employees utilizing Training Within Industry, and streamlining processes through Total Productive Maintenance. They also engaged in intensive market research to discover new industries and strengthen relationships with current clients.
With help from Enterprise Minnesota, the transition of ownership proceeded smoothly. Alliant was also able to tap into new markets, such as wind power, and streamline its own manufacturing processes to increase speed, efficiency and customer satisfaction. To this end, the company recently completed a capital equipment upgrade, adding the latest industry technology to the production line. Alliant’s sales have increased by about 30 percent since 2009 and the company has also become certified to ISO 9001: 2008
Another result of the company’s strategic plan, set in motion by Enterprise Minnesota, was the change from United Machine & Foundry to Alliant Castings in January 2012. More than just a new name, the rebranding signifies a company focused on changing the face of the casting industry through technology, efficiency and performance. Alliant is also committed to minimizing waste and pollution through Green Casting technology.
“I’ve never seen so much new work coming into our facility as there is now. That’s a direct effort from the strategic plan, looking for new markets and listening to what the market needs are. With Enterprise Minnesota coming in and helping us, they led us through a very unique process for strategic planning, [and] gave a unique perspective that we would not have come up with our own.”