Superior Die Set has had to adjust operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, but CEO Martin Girga said the company has not been as negatively impacted as other manufacturers.
The Oak Creek-based die casting company is recognized as an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the various industries it services, which include tooling, the automotive industry and stamping houses. As a result of that designation, and since many of the projects that Superior Die Set gets contracted to design, such as parts for upcoming car models that are expected to be released in upcoming months, business is not screeching to a halt.
“We are feeling less of an impact than probably a typical company out there that doesn’t play in this market that we are in today in terms of tool and die shops. That’s favorable to us. That doesn’t mean that we may not get impacted later down the road,” Girga said.
He said Superior Die Set expects more of a slowdown in the third and fourth quarters. According to Girga, many of Superior Die Set’s competitors supply foreign-made goods, which are currently experiencing supply chain issues. Because Superior Die Set makes what they sell, the company is able to control its own supply chain much more efficiently, Girga said.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the company has also seen an increase in orders for components that are being used to manufacture ventilators.
The company’s first order from Accro Tool and Manufacturing in Burlington was received in the late afternoon on March 27. Accro Tool and Manufacturing is a plastic fabrication company that produces molds used on other products. It was an order for a custom mold base for a part used on a ventilator. The typical lead time on such a piece is five to seven work days. The Superior Die Set team delivered its first order in less than two days.
According to an email from Accro, because Superior Die Set was able to produce the part so quickly, Accro anticipated tool delivery on April 6.
“We’ve acted on this promptly realizing that this is a good thing for our company and to rally our troops around this to be able to help society and to be people that are sick,” Girga said.
Girga said that since February, the company has had an epidemic plan in place. So far, none of Superior Die Set’s employees have gotten sick.
“We acted very quickly,” Girga said, noting that 90% of employees are working from home.
“It’s a strange situation because you have people in the shop. You have people in the office. It’s different. It not only protects the people that are working from home. It also protects the people that need to continue to work here and continues to support the industry that we serve,” he said.
Girga said the company is taking the appropriate steps to avoid layoffs. These steps includes Girga taking a cut in his own pay. He said the company also is taking steps at the top level to streamline and ensure the company is able to right size.
“My idea right now at this point is the business while it’s slowed down, it’s still healthy enough for us that we want to make sure we’re retaining employees as much as we can,” he said.
Girga added that if the company does struggle, it hopes to take advantage of some of the small business loans that are available to companies like Superior Die Set.
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