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Okuma Highlights Manufacturing Success Story
October 15, 2013
Okuma America Corporation has launched a campaign featuring the success story of family-run manufacturing customer, Lumar Machining & Manufacturing Ltd. of St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. Ian and Jack Wagter, owners of Lumar purchased the company with a customer base of two automotive plants. Today, Lumar Machining has a thriving business powered by their 7 Okuma CNC machine tools. The company will soon expand, adding even more machining technology to their arsenal. Story Highlights •"Change is the Only Constant" – Ian Wagter follows in his father Jack's footsteps where they share a passion for all-things machining. After many years of working in a variety of manufacturing plan environments, Jack and Ian decided to go into business for themselves. With this, Jack and Ian embarked on a new journey where change is the only constant – because change is the best way to stimulate growth.
•“The Transformation Begins” – When Ian and Jack came across Lumar machine, the most sophisticated piece of technology was a fax machine and a customer base consisting of just two automotive companies. Ian recognized Lumar’s potential and capitalized on Lumar’s established employee base. After riding out a learning curve, Ian made the transition from process engineering in large plants to taking on a general machine shop.
•“No Guts, No Glory” – With the recession that followed after 9/11, Lumar cut everything to a minimum. Despite maintaining lean operations, Lumar took a leap of faith and purchased more CNC machines during the economic downturn. With several auctions at the time, Lumar was able to purchase two Okuma CNC mills. Because of Ian and Jack’s ability to look forward while others hunkered down, they were able to take advantage of great deals in the marketplace.
•“What Service?” – Happy with their first Okumas, Ian began to shop for heavier equipment like a CNC lathe. Ian did his homework, calling shop owners who owned different equipment and asked them about their experience with their equipment. He focused his research on service. He repeatedly asked, “How is the service from Okuma?” Repeatedly, he got the same response – “What service?” The Okuma owners went on to explain they’d never had a need for service. With these strong endorsements, Ian bought his first Okuma CNC lathe, a Captain 370. To date, Ian has never had to replace anything other than a lightbulb.
•“The People’s Evolution” – Lumar has evolved from a manual shop into a high precision, high technology environment – a change that required the employees to reinvent their skills. With new technology and a newly trained workforce, Lumar successfully gained a foothold serving high precision customers in several new markets, while still retaining their two original automotive customers.