Detail: Founded 25 years ago by CEO Kent Winter, Winter Equipment is a manufacturer of blades, guards, and related products for large snowplows used in both private and public sectors. The Willoughby-based company, which boasts a niche customer base and 50 employees, has also found a foothold in the construction market with its selection of wear parts and milling tool accessories.
Growth Challenge: Prior to connecting with MAGNET in 2013, Winter Equipment felt the need to expand into new markets with new products due to the weather-dependent/seasonal nature of their sales cycle. The company also expressed a desire to reduce lead times, which had led to inaccurate ordering processes and lost opportunities for growth and revenue.
How We Worked with Them: MAGNET assisted Winter Equipment in identifying their core competencies and applying them to new uses. This was executed through a series of ideation sessions, patent research, and concept design meetings that culminated inthe launch of a new snow management product line as well as entrance into a new market. Improved with rapid prototyping, the new products are made of rubber instead of steel, thus reducing wear, lowering weight, speeding replacement, and improving the overall lifespan of the plow blades.
In addition, experts at MAGNET helped train Winter’s sales representatives in Lean and operations, provided designs for an eye-catching trade show booth, and created a demonstration video as a selling tool for the new product line.
Outcome: Since partnering with MAGNET, Winter Equipment has received many inquiries about their new snowplow blades, which boast great demand and a plethora of backorders.
According to Manufacturing and Engineering Director Bill Sulesky, the company has also added several jobs as a result of MAGNET’s help and continues to experience growth on a regular basis.
“I believe [adding jobs] is at the core of the mission of MAGNET,” Sulesky said. “For us to be able to add six positions in the time that we’ve been working with MAGNET is a testament to the support and success we’ve had with the projects we’ve executed with MAGNET.”