At Founder and CEO Kim Frankel’s machine shop, a culture of precision, pride, and teamwork is central to success.
From its 16,500-square-foot facility, ABACORP CNC Machined Parts serves a diverse mix of industries, contract manufacturing a variety of precision components primarily made of domestically sourced aluminum, steel, and brass, with a few plastics projects in the mix as well. Additionally, the team can do welding and laser marking in-house, contracting with other manufacturers for coatings and surface treatments.
“We kind of look at ourselves as a total manufacturing solution,” says Frankel. “Most clients these days want to get products in that are ready to assemble or to ship. Sometimes they want the pre-assembly done here, and we try to accommodate that as well.”
Utilizing her background in business, natural organizational and computer skills, and her husband’s long experience in machining as a hands-on COO, Frankel has propelled her company’s growth and success over the years.
In the mid-1990s, the company that she and her husband worked for was relocating, and Frankel says, “We weren’t willing to relocate because there wasn’t enough validation and appreciation for us at that time. So, we said, ‘Okay, if we’re going to try something new, this is the time.’ For me, it was an opportunity to go forward and feel satisfied and feel accomplished in what I was doing. And to create an environment where people feel respected and appreciated and part of a team.”
She continues, “It’s always been about creating jobs and allowing people to support their families, our community, and make decent wages. Our team is great. Life happens, and when it does, it’s nice not to get beat up because you have to take a few days off here and there to be there for your kids. We understand all of that.”
Fostering a culture of pride and teamwork has assisted in enabling the company to achieve AS9100D and ISO9001 certifications. An important part of ABACORP’s work entails training new generations of employees in the knowledge necessary for successful, cost-effective, quality manufacturing in the United States. Potential employees are not always properly prepared for real-world demands.
Frankel says, “We’re finding these kids leaving school a hundred thousand dollars in debt, and they don’t even know what to do with their degree or how to get a job. They can engineer something and draw it, but they don’t know how to make it or make it affordable. And some of the things that they draw, you can’t even make. That’s the sad part. So, being able to impact these kids coming in and share with them the reality of what manufacturing actually looks like is really important.”
Like most other businesses, ABACORP has had to deal with price increases from its suppliers of late. However, the company has generally been able to acquire the materials it needs to meet customer deadlines without too much trouble. Frankel’s outlook on the future is positive, with continued growth and expansion for the business. They have continued to hire more people and add more robotic equipment to keep up with demand.
The company relies on its reputation for quality work and on-time delivery to bring in new customers and to keep existing customers coming back. Word-of-mouth and trade show contacts are the primary focus of new sales efforts rather than a dedicated sales force. “We are going to be heading to some manufacturing trade shows to see what’s new and who‘s created what out there,” Frankel says. “We want to see what the latest and greatest is, and how we can help.”
The excellence and high quality that Frankel demands of her staff extends to those providing outside services. She says, “Our team of suppliers works really closely with us. They understand our needs, they understand our vision, and they have to be committed to us from day one. The minute we see that start to falter, we start looking, and we let them know. If I’m making these guarantees to my clients, then you have to make them to me.”
Challenges: “Talent is definitely a challenge,” says Frankel. “It really is a struggle. I don’t know what that looks like going forward. I am trying to get on top of a couple of groups of training organizations that are working in that aspect of things. I’d love to be able to target more veterans and more college students. I feel that because of COVID, everybody has kind of lost momentum in the college area, so we’re looking at that.”
Opportunities: ABACORP recently applied for a firearms license that will allow them to make and assemble components geared toward use by local police and peace officers rather than for public sale. “As far as our expansion, I really want to focus on the firearms area,” Frankel says. “I think that’s really going to be advantageous for us. We’ve got some really great ideas moving forward that we’d like to see. We don’t have any of our own products, so we have to figure out how to tackle that market.”
The company may also expand further into the automotive market. “We’re really good at making aftermarket automotive parts,” Frankel adds, “and we really enjoy that.”
Needs: To continue to find and develop a workforce able to generate the quality and consistency necessary to satisfy their customers’ needs.