The late 2016 announcement by Guttenberg Industries, Inc. (GII) of its recent planned expansion has already come to a successful conclusion. The $1 million investment over the past few months was just a portion of the overall investment and the result of 20% sales growth for the Clayton County, Iowa manufacturer in 2016.
Guttenberg Industries invested significantly in equipment, building, and employees throughout 2016. During the past year the company invested nearly $2 million in equipment and construction, including a 385-ton Niigata injection press installed in September, a 940-ton Toyo injection press installed in January 2017.
A building expansion that included 12,000 square feet of additional warehouse space and a new 15,000 square foot parking lot capped the latest developments.
The parking lot was especially indicative of the company’s growth as employment during the past four months has grown to nearly 150 from just less than 100 only 12 months ago.
“We have also been investing in our workforce,” explains Dave Kreul, corporate president. “In the past 12 months we have increased our labor force by 65 percent and our support staff for that labor by seven percent. We also increased our entry level wages by 20 percent.”
The company also reevaluated health insurance options in 2016, seemingly choosing a trend counter to most companies.
“We now offer employees the option of three different levels of coverage. We also completely revamped our dental insurance and are now offering vision insurance as well,” says Deb Moser, Corporate Treasurer and Secretary.
Overall, 2016 was a record-breaking for Guttenberg Industries, Inc. Company sales in 2016 were approximately $20 million, illustrative of a sales growth of 20 percent over calendar year 2015.
“Some of our growth is due to our commitment to customer service,” reveals Moser. “We are very lucky to partner with customers who do the same, and we are blessed with an excellent workforce.”
A change in world markets is also having an impact.
“One major benefit to our company is that some customers have been bringing work here from China,” says Kreul. “One of our closest customers brought back one major product line in 2016 and is bringing back another major project in 2017. Combined sales for these products approach $3 million annually for our company.”
There was also a dual benefit for adding the warehouse space.
“While the building expansion was for warehousing, it also opened up space in the existing areas to expand our manufacturing capabilities, especially with the large presses,” states Moser. “Both new presses are expected to be completely utilized this year, with the largest one making agricultural flooring panels among other parts.”
“Guttenberg Industries is part of a new, advanced manufacturing movement in the U.S.,” explains Kreul. “Many people are surprised to see this high tech machinery and robotics producing such precision products right here in their backyard. And, while our focus is mainly regional, we ship products to Mexico, UK, and Australia. Our molds come from the U.S., Canada, and China.”
Kreul concluded, “We are very optimistic about the future of our company and our employees. Our business forecast for 2017 shows continued double-digit growth.”