Today’s podcast is part 1 of a 2 part interview we did with Wes Szpondowski, plant manager at Wyandotte industries, a 60-year-old screw machine shop in Wyandotte, Michigan, founded by his grandfather.
Scroll down to listen to the podcast.
Wes gave me the inside scoop of what it takes to run a high production shop floor. We talked about getting the most out of employees, updating equipment, and his mission to NOT waste the company’s money.
Main Points of the Interview
(3:05) Wes gives history of Wyandotte industries. His grandfather made parts on Acme-Gridley screw machines for the custom fastener market—mainly various types of nuts. The company’s original machines were the Acme Model G machines that were taken from a junk yard.
(5:25) Wes talks about the evolution of Acme multi-spindles that Wyandotte used over the years. The company graduated from Model G to Model R and then to Models RA and RB, which people joked was the Cadillac of Acme.
(6:30) Wes talks about how Acmes were designed to run forever.
(10:50) Wes talks about taking over Davenport screw machine work from one of Wyandotte’s suppliers. He says it is his harder for him to find people with skills to run Davenports than to run Acmes, but he likes the speed of Davenports and likes that attachments for Davenports are more affordable than those for Acmes.
(13:35-20:45) Wes compares the challenges of making fasteners to those of more complex parts Wyandotte produces. He classifies the complex parts as “screw machine parts” such as pins, fittings and bushings. He talks about how Wyandotte’s employees have developed their skills over time, using more attachments and limiting the need for second ops.
(20:50-22:30) Wes talks about the company’s gravitation to using Mazak CNC lathes.
(22:35) Wes talks about when he bought Wyandotte’s first Mazak, fall of 2009.
(23:55) Wes talks about how he saved several hundred dollars on airfare when he traveled to New Jersey to buy the company’s first used Mazak. He says that no matter how rich a company may seem, being cost conscious with a company’s money is the only essential and ethical way to run a business.
Question: Do you think it is nuts to run 60-year-old Acmes?
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i just wish i could read these. i cant ever find the time to listen.
Very boring to just listen to these. Even if it was a Youtube video where I could see you sitting at your desk doing the discussion it would be way better. And if you were on Youtube, you’d reach a larger audience. Possibly increase sales.
While technology changes everything, it hasn’t changed 3,600 seconds in each hour. With the right product, the old cam & gear multi’s can remain the most efficient way to produce. Spent 20 years working with a mix of brands, now on home stretch of my career with Warner & Swaseys and doing just fine thank you.
LLOYD: I like the summary of the article. Thank you !!
The only time I have for podcasts is sitting in the hot tub. I live 1 minute away from our plant. I would read the podcasts / just don’t have time to listen.
Thanks John! I appreciate the kind feedback. We will keep making summaries. Eventually we need to have you back on the show!