Case Study: American-Made Fishing Lures
What’s better than being a market leader? Being a market leader with American roots. In today’s competitive landscape, many companies are opting to outsource manufacturing operations. But others remain dedicated to keeping production domestic, establishing themselves as conscientious industry leaders with an eye on U.S. job creation.
The case study below shows how the team at Spartek was able to help a client stay competitive in their field while continuing to produce high-quality parts within the United States.
When competitors made the decision to move manufacturing overseas, Bill Lewis Outdoors chose to stay on American soil to oversee production and product quality first-hand. Keeping operations in the United States also allows for easier communication with vendors, quick responses in the event of any issues or changes in the production process, and faster turnarounds — not to mention more jobs for U.S. workers.
For these reasons, our client was set on keeping their fishing-lure manufacturing operations in the United States, but they knew they had to offset production costs in order to stay cost-competitive among the many companies outsourcing their labor.
So, Bill Lewis approached Spartek to review their existing production processes, identify core competencies and areas for improvement, and optimize operations to ensure the most efficient, economical production of competitively priced, top-of-the-line lures.
Spartek was originally chosen because of our reputation for high-quality vacuum metallizing, or chrome plating services. But as we carefully analyzed the client’s manufacturing processes, we discovered that their molding, sonic welding, assembly, and decorating areas could use improvements as well.
There were three major challenges involved in this project:
- The client required large volumes of the product annually.
- The customer’s manufacturing process involved many different steps, all of which needed to be streamlined and optimized to reduce costs.
- The client was making use of multiple iterations of post-assembly airbrushing decoration operations.
The Spartek team set out to eliminate the inefficiencies we identified in order to cut costs for our client — as well as their customers. After pinpointing specific areas for improvement, we streamlined their systems and focused especially on the airbrushing process.
The client was airbrushing using various masks to create the many different patterns needed for the baits. Many of the baits required five or more separate airbrush operations in addition to pad printing. To address this issue, we worked with multiple industrial original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to develop the sophisticated technology needed to streamline the process.
After implementing the new optimized airbrushing system, Bill Lewis Outdoors was able to eliminate a whopping 85% of the airbrushing operations involved in lure decoration.
Our robotic injection molding machine has allowed for much faster production, and the sonic welding, vacuum metallizing (chrome plating), pad printing, and digital printing operations were optimized as well. We now deliver 1,000,000+ pieces to the client annually.
Today, Bill Lewis produces more fishing lures in America than any other outdoors company. And, thanks to their innovative manufacturing approach, they can now offer a wider variety of products with more subtle patterns and prints.
The team at Spartek works with clients across a huge range of industries, and is proud to offer full-service production analysis and coordination services in addition to our injection molding capabilities.
To learn more about our past projects or discuss how we can help with your unique application, contact us today.