Sam Haynes’ upstart contract manufacturer is angling for opportunity in Central Texas with a design-to-manufacturing bent.
As stated on his company website, making a useful product out of a block of steel has been a passion of Haynes for nearly 50 years. His latest career journey has been the establishment of TruNorth Manufacturing Support, a Llano-based business that will soon approach its one-year anniversary and offers a variety of services within the machining industry including 3D modeling, CNC programming support, prototyping, and tooling support.
“At TruNorth, one of the things we can help with is prototyping and assisting with design by taking a manufacturing eye toward it,” Haynes says. “I can take what comes out of the engineer’s brain and make it more efficient and more profitable to make that part. I see that as a big opportunity for us, particularly in this part of the country.”
In late 2021, Haynes decided to leave his most recent full-time job where he had played a key role in making over an existing shop and bringing in the latest cutting-edge five-axis technology. In that specific role, he was able to apply such principles as lean manufacturing, process improvement, and introducing a paperless shop floor.
“For several years, I wanted to do consulting and get out on my own, so it all came together,” Haynes says of the next step in forging his own business. A business partner and his two sons round out TruNorth Manufacturing Support’s burgeoning staff.
“It’s a very new venture. We’re just getting things started,” Haynes says. “I love to do 3D modeling and anything to do with making the manufacturing process easier for companies.”
From his own experience within the field, Haynes says he believes TruNorth Manufacturing Support is well poised to serve other companies’ needs — particularly in the central Texas region where he is based.
“I know there are a lot of companies out there that struggle,” Haynes says. “I know this first-hand, as I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of different manufacturing organizations. A lot of them struggle with the day-to-day support kinds of things.”
Haynes’ resume includes certification through car maker Toyota’s production system. That role instilled within him a principle that serves as the bedrock for his company’s name.
“It’s what we’re all shooting for. It can mean different things for different disciplines,” Haynes says. “But ‘true north’ is actually what you’re shooting for — it’s perfection. You never get there, but you’re always striving.”
In the near-term, Haynes says he plans to establish a physical presence in Llano where he can begin serving client’s needs.
“I’d like to have a small machine shop where I’m able to do prototyping. Whatever design work I have, I can put into hardware as well,” Haynes says. “I’m looking at six months away.”
Challenges: As with any new venture, building a solid customer base and simply getting the word out about TruNorth Manufacturing Support’s presence is Haynes’ top priority.
“We’ve been working on social media, a website, and getting the word out. I have a lot of contacts I’ve made over the years,” Haynes says. “Even so, it still takes time to gain the trust and belief that when you say something, it’s going to happen. I understand that, and I’m taking on that challenge.”
Opportunities: Geographically speaking, Haynes says there is untapped potential in the region he lives and works in.
“We’ve got some great opportunities,” Haynes says. “Central Texas is really growing. There’s a lot of area with aerospace and other new developments.”
Needs: Haynes says he readily recognizes that he will have to earn the trust of the clientele he picks up as he forges ahead with TruNorth Manufacturing Support’s growth. In doing so, he says he is hopeful he will bring in repeat customers.
“We need to gain the support and the trust of some reliable customers that we can draw on regularly,” he says. “We really need to build that base.”