2022 was a big year for Cresswood. Not only did we grow the business both financially and industrially, but we were able to delight our customers and deliver value in more ways than one. I’ve talked extensively about Cresswood’s challenges in 2022. However, I wanted to take some time to discuss our biggest blessings as well. Here are the biggest benefits, successes, and opportunities we saw through 2022 and beyond.
Three Major Manufacturing Blessings For Industrial Recycling Shredders In 2022
There were three major blessings experienced by Cresswood’s pallet, plastic, wood, and paper recycling shredder divisions:
- New panel vendors
- Additional boring bar mills
- New hires in critical areas
Let’s take a closer look at these below.
A New Panel Vendor Increases The Efficacy Of Our Industrial Recycling Shredders
The supply chain crunch has been particularly brutal to the electronics industry. For Cresswood, that meant significant increases in both costs and lead times for the panels used in our paper, plastic, and pallet recycling shredders. And no panels meant no delivery. Our default panel vendor wasn’t helping. The company was doubling previously promised lead times for existing orders, and at times, couldn’t provide lead times at all. Communication surrounding specific issues was terrible, leaving us wondering what to tell our customers.
This situation continued for most of the year. Our OTD rates plummeted, and without the components necessary to complete panel builds, we were no longer readily available to serve our clients. This was not an acceptable situation. I couldn’t accept disappointing our customers like that — not when they were counting on us to deliver critical pieces of equipment.
We had already begun to vet a new panel vendor in early 2020. As the situation escalated with our default vendor, we challenged our secondary one to take up the mantle. And not only did they meet our expectations; they exceeded them. The most immediate change was in our lines of communication. All contact was sharp and specific, and we knew exactly what our panels’ status was. Our new vendor never used setback as an excuse to do nothing. If a component shortage was discovered or expected, they were all-hands-on-deck to solve the problem and move our project forward. Thanks to our new vendor, we are now seeing a tremendous improvement in our OTD (and you might have, too!). We’ve moved all future projects to our new vendor for the foreseeable future.
To summarize: We are only as good as our weakest link. Cresswood is heading into the new year with a fantastic control panel provider and extremely strong OTD.
Additional Boring Bar Mill For Our World-Class Industrial Grinders
As sales of our world-class industrial grinders increased throughout 2022, we discovered a key bottleneck that was limiting our amount of work through the shop — our horizontal milling process.
Cresswood grinders are a premium product. This means each of the main fabrications are precision-machined for maximum performance, quality, and durability. We’d initially been able to support the business with one large G&L milling center, but as we’ve grown, we’ve created a bottleneck at the machining stage as jobs queued up at the work center.
Thankfully, we are now at the finishing stages of acquiring a new, larger, and more capable G&L machining center. This machine has greater travel capabilities, newer controls, and a servo-motor driven engine. Not only will this double our working capacity for wood, plastic, pallet, and paper core recycling shredders, but it reduces setup time and variation at each of our two milling centers.
The bottom line: Cresswood is rolling into the New Year with even greater production velocity, all with the intent to shorten lead times, cut down our COGS, and serve our customers better.
New Hires in Critical Areas
Cresswood is known for custom-engineered solutions to tough or complicated problems. Adding more horsepower to our engineering department allows us to better accomplish this mission.
I believe our hires in 2022 ultimately differentiated us from our competitors. Nowhere could this be more visible than with Jeff Lauher, another degreed engineer with a deep working knowledge of SolidWorks. Jeff has recently created 3D movies to visually demonstrate our solutions at trade shows and conferences. His SolidWorks talents also provide a huge boost to our Marketing and Sales presence.
We also hired a new Controller. As Jeff Makosh was preparing for his year-end retirement, we hired Aaron Fritzgerald to follow in his footsteps. Aaron started his career in the maintenance field while still going to school. After five years, he transitioned from maintenance work and pursued a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting. Aaron also serves as the treasurer of Eden’s Glory, a recovery home for sex-trafficked women, and acts as a member of the finance committee for Ascent 121, an organization that serves those who have been exploited, trafficked, or at risk of being trafficked in the Indianapolis area.
We have also added a talented fabricator to the team, Sawyer Forest. As a female, Sawyer represents one of the key ways that American manufacturing will grow and thrive. She works extensively on our new and used machine shredders to deliver quality solutions our customers know and love.
Finally, we have recently hired a new Field Service Technician, Nathan Mihic, who joins us with solid skills, experience, and industry know-how. Since we are a service-oriented solutions provider first and foremost, we can count on great bench strength to achieve our market promise.
Our emphasis on a great workforce didn’t stop there. In 2022, Cresswood performed a thorough market analysis of the benefits and wages in our region. This was done in the hopes of making continuous adjustments and becoming an above-average employer in our area.
For 2023, my primary focus is to retain the amazing team we have, then slowly add more quality to it over time. Our workforce is well and truly the heart and soul of the company!
Looking Ahead To 2023
The road ahead for the American-made industrial shredder industry is anything but simple. However, armed with so many opportunities, possibilities, and blessings, there’s no doubt in my mind that Cresswood will hit the ground running.
2023 is now front and center on all our minds. As Cresswood, an American made industrial shredders company continues to face new obstacles and opportunities, I encourage you to stay updated with our upcoming news and surprises. I’m excited to see what the future holds — and hope you come along on our journey as well!