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Metal Fabricating
Monday | 02 March, 2009 | 2:35 am

Fast times at Finnco Fabricating

Milwaukee-area job shop prides itself on speediness, diverse customer base

By Lisa Rummler

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Milwaukee-area job shop prides itself on speediness, diverse customer base

March 2009- It's a cliche, but it's true: Don't put all your eggs in one basket--especially when the country is in a recession and market conditions are in flux.

From the beginning, Finnco Fabricating LLC, Milwaukee, has followed this philosophy, making it a policy not to let a single client account for more than 20 percent of the business.

"We don't have any one dominant customer, so we've held up well in different economic times," says Earl J. Guequierre, consultant at and former owner of Finnco. "In fact, [in December] while the country was slow, we finished two of our biggest months in our history."

The companies and industries Finnco supports vary, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small, local landscape contractors. Additionally, Finnco has helped develop heavy equipment and ongoing maintenance plans for a medical waster recycler, several asphalt and highway construction companies, and the waste and landfill industry. Finnco rarely turns down requests from small shops for odds-and-ends work, however.

"We're a steel fabricating job shop that focuses on forming, and we tend to do short runs," says Guequierre. "A lot of times, it's one-of-a-kind work. We've been doing that since 1987 and have developed a very loyal customer base."

Finnco does a great deal of work with abrasive-resistant steel because of the businesses it supports, but A36 is the company"s predominant metal.

Tools of the trade
Although Finnco has a small machine shop to support its forming operations, Guequierre says the company focuses more on the latter.

"We're not trying to make tool and die, but we will do machining work," he says. "For example, we'll make a shaft or something similar that goes along with something else we've done."

The company's capabilities fall under several categories, including plate forming on its brakes, the largest of which is 750 tons and has a 16-ft. bed. It's plate rolling, however, that's one of Finnco's main strengths, according to Guequierre.

"Our large plate roll is 20 in. in diameter by 10 ft. long," he says. "We can roll up to 3-in.-thick plate and 10-ft.-wide cylinders. And we have angle rolls that can roll 5-in.-by-5-in. leg angles, 3/4-in. thick."

In regard to shearing, Finnco has a 12-ft. and a 16-ft. shear, which can handle 5/8-in.-thick mild steel and 1/2-in.-thick stainless steel. The company uses shatter-proof blades, enabling its employees to shear stainless steel without damaging the blades.

And although Finnco has a burn table, it does just short runs. This lends itself to speediness, which is a high priority companywide, according to Guequierre. "We don't try to compete with the steel houses, where they have large burning capabilities," he says. "We're for quick turnaround."

Looking ahead
Fourteen of Finnco's 16 employees are on the shop floor, and the other two work in the office. They all occupy a facility that totals about 31,000 sq. ft. Guequierre says the company aims to grow and always keeps an eye out for opportunities. And with the projected increase in size, Finnco is committed to tackling any challenge that arises, such as retaining high-quality employees.

"That's something that's never-ending, keeping the right mix of people on the floor," says Guequierre. "Brick, mortar and equipment--as long as you have money, you can always buy that, but the chemistry of the people is the hardest thing to put together and keep together to grow the business." FFJ

Sources

  • Finnco Fabricating LLC
    Milwaukee
    phone: 414/486-1690
    fax: 414/486-1692
    www.finncofabricating.com
    e-mail: finnco@finncofabricating.com

Last modified on Wednesday | 22 February, 2012 | 4:18 pm

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Sources

  • Finnco Fabricating LLC
    Milwaukee
    phone: 414/486-1690
    fax: 414/486-1692
    www.finncofabricating.com
    e-mail: finnco@finncofabricating.com

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