Byrne Tool & Die (Rockford, MI) recently spent $125,000 renovating and furnishing a room at customer Byrne Electrical Specialists (the two companies have the same owner), which primarily serves the office furniture market—converting it into a bland space with a vending machine into a creative, wide-open space to showcase the Byrne Tool’s offerings to its entire customer base.
Byrne Electrical comprises approximately 50 percent of Byrne Tool’s business; the rest is outside customers. According to Byrne Tool General Manager Tim Warwick, this renovation is a stepping stone in taking both Byrne Tool & Die into the future. “We have focused on setting up services around mold manufacturing to help bring in new customers,” he notes. “Often, we have new customers come to us through repair work or fixture work, which is on the back end of the tooling life cycle. Now, we are adding the design focus which helps identify potential clients on the front end. We want to target manufacturers that are looking for a partner that is a one-stop shop for going to market. We have invested significantly in the last six years; and have averaged five new open product lines with a multitude of options. These products have been focused on hospitality, medical and industrial markets. These products have just started to realize their potential in the marketplace.”
This complements the company’s strategy that focuses on providing services and value throughout the entire lifecycle of bringing a product to market, Warwick maintains. “We have a long history of developing products and product systems for customers in varying industries,” Warwick explains. “Innovation is a core value that we live in all facets of our business. We have worked very hard on transforming Byrne Tool’s culture and brand over the years. This renovation was the missing piece for us. We have very creative minds and we wanted to establish a creative space for them.”
The company particularly wanted to highlight office furniture, one of Byrne Electrical’s largest markets. “Byrne Tool supports Byrne Electrical in all product development activities,” Warwick says. “We work with their end customers to solve problems with their furniture systems.”
The renovation was designed internally by a six-person team from both companies—from layout, esthetics, furniture layout and technology. “Must-haves in this renovation were collaborative spaces for brainstorming and problem-solving,” Warwick elaborates. “We have three different touchdown spaces away from the workstations where we can bring customers and employees in to work though a problem. All of these spaces have top-of-the line technology to support that process. We have monitors and HD projectors in the space—along with functional whiteboards. We also wanted to create a warm, open space that also showed Byrne Tool’s capabilities and the end application of the products that we have helped developed. Many of our other designed products for our other customers are also on display in this space in its end use.
The room also will serve as a place for employee training and development as well as customer training and development for both companies. “Meeting subject matter will consist of lean training for employees, team development training for the operations team, customer reviews, corporate functions and receptions,” Warwick states. “This renovation has us really excited about the future, which will focus on a strategic sales and branding strategy that will help us grow the business to the next level.”