Automated Solutions | Saw Mills, NC
Automated Solutions, LLC has its roots in developing automated manufacturing systems. Bob Campbell, partner and visionary inventor, developed early systems for automated sewing, packaging and gift-wrapping starting in 1961. His first computerized equipment was developed in 1975 for General Electric. From this beginning, many projects followed including automated welding, CNC routers for the furniture industry and later CNC machining for the aerospace industry. From this expertise, Automated Solutions was formed.
Today, Automated Solutions manufactures several premiere products including Cro-nel® and Nyvel®, cold seal protective packaging materials known worldwide for their durability, light weight, wide range of application, and customizable sizing. Furthering their machinery manufacturing expertise, their HideSaver© system is designed to maximize yield and efficiency during the leather cutting process in the furniture, automotive, and aviation industries.
In 2012, the business was transitioning from being solely R&D, design and fabrication of specialty machinery to a manufacturer of diversified products. From a strategic perspective, the business was experiencing change-related turbulence in their business model and they needed expert guidance. The management team, including Bob, Richard Boyd, Sally Robinson (partners) and Jim Campbell (operations manager), were referred to the SBTDC by the NC Department of Commerce.
Appalachian State University SBTDC business counselors, including Kevin McConnaghy, met with Automated Solutions to discuss the needs of the business. Kevin prepared a strategic organizational analysis and financial analysis to identify the strong and weak areas of the business and develop a plan of action to help the business get on track.
Over the course of a year, the SBTDC has provided financial analysis, strategic organizational analysis, tactical planning, operations review, website analysis, and general business counseling. With the SBTDC’s guidance, Automated Solutions has narrowed its focus. It is offering a more concentrated range of products, slowing R&D investments to focus on its core manufacturing operations, improving margins, expanding its customer base, and implementing a number of processes and procedures resulting in greater control and improved outcomes. They also hired a president, Steve Ellis, to help manage the business, an indirect result of the SBTDC guidance.
With more efficient processes and on-time delivery, Automated Solutions’ products are sold nationwide including exports to Turkey, Austria, Germany, Poland, Mexico and Canada. After attending an Export University workshop delivered by the SBTDC’s International Business Development team, they plan to expand their exporting efforts.
The business brought 26 full-time jobs to Caldwell County, one of North Carolina’s most economically distressed counties. They attempt to give back to their community by hiring local people and outsourcing to local companies as often as possible.
“The expertise of the SBTDC has helped us go from an inventor mentality to a manufacturing mentality, and that has made a positive impact on our business.”
Story originally featured in the SBTDC's 2012-2013 Annual Report.
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