Articles > Components Company, Inc.
Longtime Wisconsin Firm Carries On
But with a Sharp Eye on the Future
Components Company, Inc.
Wire rope and wire rope cable assemblies have been a core competency for Brookfield, Wisconsin's Components Company Incorporated for many decades. The company was founded 82 years ago and continues to grow by meeting its customers changing needs.
By Peter Hildebrandt
Published in Rope News & Sling Technology June 2016
Components Company, Inc. was founded in 1934 by H.A. Loomis as a Manufacturers' Representative group located in downtown Milwaukee. In the 1950's the company expanded, and moved to Lisbon Avenue in Milwaukee and became a distributor for the B.F. Goodrich Rivnut and Plusnut fasteners.
In 1979 Joe Wittig joined the company and in the early 1980's became the sole owner of the business. It was at this time that the direction changed from that of a Manufacturers' Representative group, to a full-service, value-added manufacturing, sourcing and distribution company.
In 1987 the company expanded again and moved to Legion Drive, Elm Grove, Wisconsin. In the 1990's the company expanded again, and moved to Eastmound Drive, Waukesha, Wisconsin. New personnel were brought on including Connie Klippel, Vice President, who retains this position to present day. In 1997 a new plant was built, utilizing green concepts located at 3320 Intertech Drive, Brookfield, Wisconsin.
In 2000 Components Company, Inc. was certified to ISO 9001-2000, which was upgraded to ISO 9001-2008 in 2009. In 2010 they completed the construction of a new quality lab located adjacent to the shipping and receiving area which enhances their state-of-the art systems. They continue to grow and add new customers and new employees, while at the same time retaining many who have worked there for over 20 years.
Services include the manufacture of custom wire rope cable assemblies in varying sizes and configurations. They also provide custom kitting, bagging and packaging. Their assembly services include putting together component parts and sub-assemblies. Supply base management and vendor reduction are also core competencies. As an advanced sourcing expert with a network of over 1500 proven suppliers, they are able to find that "needle in a haystack" for their prospects and customers.
"Our leadership team pro-actively monitors and adapts to changes in both customer and market needs," says Joe Cincera, CCI Director of Sales. "We remain strongly committed to continuous improvement here at CCI, annually investing in new technology and lean initiatives."
"Our dedication to quality can be found, specifically in our in-house Quality Department. Dovetailing with that development is our customer driven inspection plans from dimensional and visual inspection up to Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)."
In order to enhance their lean initiatives, the company annually invests in new equipment and technology. For example, recent upgrades include the acquisition of a high speed wire cutting system, automated banding equipment, and a heat sealer and tunnel. To keep track of complex business inventory, CCI has invested in a "Real-Time" Inventory Tracking System with hand scanners.
Custom Wire Rope Cable Assemblies range from 1/16" – 7/8" diameter. Construction includes galvanized or stainless steel, coated or uncoated in whatever length is specified by the customer. They also stock many standard wire diameters and end fittings. An automated cutting system is in place to speed process flow. In addition, there are multiple in-process quality inspections taking place to ensure compliance with customer requirements.
"We tell our clients to ask us for a competitive quote on their existing parts," explains Cincera. "But in addition to that we like to involve CCI up front on our customer's new programs as well.
Components Company, Inc. was excited to announce news about the installation of solar panels on their roof; which was completed in October 2015. Besides an obvious operational cost savings, solar panels serve as a green initiative due to being an alternative source of electricity. Joe Wittig, Components Company, Inc.'s president has always had a personal interest in green initiatives and this solar panel project has been on his to-do list for a long time.
CCI was honored when Energy on Wisconsin (a collaboration of the State Energy Office and an extension of the University of Wisconsin) showed interest in the project.
In its March/February newsletter, Energy on Wisconsin gave an aerial view of Components Company's rooftop solar panels the honor of "Photo of the Month." And this wasn't the first time Components Company, Inc. President Joe Wittig considered installing solar panels on his company's rooftop.
About 15 years ago when he first looked into the project, the dollars just didn't make sense. Wittig stated that even 10 years ago, the installation of panels on a roof similar to Components Company had a price tag of almost $500,000. Wittig, who has a personal interest in green initiatives, said that if the installation was done back then, "it would have been strictly as a hobby."
However, with today's advancement in technology, the price of installing and maintaining solar panels has decreased exponentially. For Components Company, the project total was only $185,000; and they didn't even have to pay that. There are many financial incentives to support solar panel installations on both the state and federal levels. Components Company received a $40,000 rebate from Wisconsin's Focus on Energy program as well as another $40,000 in tax credits.
With these incentives and a projected 50 percent energy cost savings, Wittig said he estimates that the panels will have paid for themselves by the fifth year of service; sometime in 2020 or 2021.
Even though the solar panels can last up to 25 years, Wittig said he would assess their condition around that same five-year mark. If enough advancement in technology has been made, he said he would consider upgrading the panels. He said that keeping the panels operating at their maximum effectiveness would ensure the best energy and cost savings.
Wittig sees the future of solar energy to be bright. To illustrate, he looks at trends in other states and industry news. For instance, the state of California has long had a solar energy program in place: the California Solar Initiative or CSI. Much like Focus on Energy in Wisconsin, CSI provides rebates for state residents and businesses that meet renewable energy requirements.
"For California, it won't be long before every energy resource will have to come from renewable energy," Wittig predicted. He also has been watching the evolving career of business magnate Elon Musk, who is CEO of Tesla Motors and chairman of SolarCity (among many other ventures). In 2015, Tesla Motors unveiled a new Powerwall home battery for storing home solar energy and the demand for them has been huge. "This will revolutionalize the battery as we know it," adds Wittig.
Closer to home, Wittig feels he has been seeing a trend of more green initiatives in the manufacturing industry. He noted that green initiatives are now part of the new ISO standards for the industry. The good news for companies looking to implement green initiatives in the near future is, Congress, despite its current reputation for inactively, actually extended the renewable investment tax credit for five years in the latter part of 2015.
"Solid green initiatives in the manufacturing industry are really important now and they will continue to be really important in the future," Wittig said.
After the solar panel installation, Components Company worked with a firm called Deck Monitoring, to display its energy savings statistics in a series of gauges and factoids. A solar widget appears at top left corner on each of Components Company's website pages. A full data report can be found on a solar page specially designed for their website. Those interested can view all of the solar data including the number of trees, gallons of gas and light bulbs that have been saved since service began on Oct. 12, 2015. Visitors to the site can also find out more about the solar panels themselves, view installation photos and see a video of the finished panels taken by a drone.
Mechanical Assembly is an integral core competency at Components Company, Inc. Unlike some other companies, CCI directly purchases the component parts used in the assembly either from customer directed sources or their own. In one example there are over 20 component parts used in a kit used in the agricultural industry. Each part is individually ordered and brought in for the order. Since many of the parts have Minimum Order Quantities, there is always a surplus of parts in their inventory. After the assembly is made it is packed into a custom logo box for the customer. When the customer releases parts they are pulled from finished goods inventory and shipped. It is only at this time that the customer is billed. There is no cost to the customer for excess inventory or lead-time issues with individual suppliers. Parts are ready to ship when the customer needs them with no headaches. Cincera feels that "this sets CCI apart from other companies."
Another example is the use of a specially designed machine that mechanically assembles several component parts into a sub-assembly that is used in their customer's daily production. CCI orders all component parts, schedules and performs all labor operations in-house, performs incoming, in-process, and final inspection and offers various stocking and distribution programs.
The Milwaukee area firm is equipped with a full selection of AutobagÆ systems for all their clients' kitting and packaging applications. The type of products they supply to this market includes molded plastic and rubber, fasteners, hardware, wheel assemblies, tank reservoirs, seals, drills, clamps, connectors and more. Several thousand component parts and sub-assemblies are supplied to the residential and commercial lawn/snow removal market as well as landscaping industries, along with agriculture and construction industries.
CCI has been an integral supplier to the Agriculture & Construction Industries for over 30 years and a trusted strategic partner to the transportation industry for over 20 years. CCI supplies production, service & sub-assemblies to this market known for its strict standards of "zero defects" and "100% on-time," which CCI systematically attains.
"If a customer needs those assemblies packaged we can do that," explains Joe Cincera, Director of Sales for CCI. "Wire rope assemblies can be bagged, boxed, stocked or distributed with just-in-time delivery. We can create many types of programs revolving around our customer's needs. Also, if someone wants us to release an order according to an agreement, we can do that too. We regularly work with wire diameters from 1/16" to 7/8".
"CCI can make one, 1,000, or 100s of thousands of whatever is needed…"
If someone gives them a blanket order with releases, this arrangement is possible too. CCI also has an ARTOS Automatic wire cutting system, another core competency, as Cincera points out. "Everything is cut to the optimal length consistently and at a fast pace."
At Components Company nothing is standard and everyone wants something different in terms of length, strand construction, hardware, etc.
Right now we're at just under 50 employees and although we are located in the heart of the Milwaukee metropolitan area, our customer base is nationwide.
Other key industries for CCI include construction, agriculture, heavy equipment, mining, medical devices, children's furniture, lighting, automotive, lawn & garden, for both OEM and aftermarket sales.
Unlike a number of other wire rope makers, CCI outsources the testing of their products to a third party. "There are benefits to not doing the testing ourselves. We have partner labs that we work with," adds Cincera.
"The largest reason for our success is due to the philosophy of our President & CEO, Joseph A. Wittig. The foundational principals of integrity, honesty and commitment are evident in every area of the business, from customer interactions to employee suggestions. That type of top down leadership is what sets CCI apart from many of our competitors," states Cincera. "Success is not only measured by sales revenue, it is measured by satisfied customers."
As Mr. Cincera points out, their customer service is outstanding; they truly try to always provide solutions for companies. "Before we send out a quote we try to find out what is really needed, what they are really looking for. With this information we are able to come up with creative ideas and programs to meet their specific needs."
"Our philosophy is that if our customers are successful, we will be successful."
The company also continually monitors the industry and adapts to changes in the marketplace.
In addition to having all of that going for them, CCI has been an amazing role model for similar-sized firms going green. They were the first company in their region of Wisconsin to have roof-mounted solar panels. 50% of the company's electrical energy is produced from the solar panels which were installed in 2015.
This was a 100,000 dollar investment, yet only one such initiative among others. Their commitment to the environment and sustainability transcends into the office with ergonomic-friendly furniture and sound deadening; and in the shop with infrared heating and high bay fluorescent lighting. In short there is a substantial amount of green initiatives underway at CCI. The building they currently occupy was constructed in 1997 and was built to those standards of what constituted a green structure at that time according to Cincera.
"I am really here for them and for meeting any necessities our customers may have. Our focus as well is on being a market leader, including the consistent tracking of relevant metrics. I guess you could call us a well-oiled machine.
"CCI remains poised to help our customers meet their ever-changing needs," states Cincera. "This philosophy helps us add new satisfied customers." The company has sustained noticeable growth over the past 5 years due to this philosophy and is poised for significant positive growth in the future. WRN.