Manufacturing at Speed in Indianapolis
Accurate’s story begins in Plainview, NY in 1987, and takes us to Indianapolis, Indiana, the heartland of America, where today the company makes its home. During this 24-year journey, the company evolved from a distributor into a full-fledged manufacturer, navigated the sweeping changes in the industrial fastener marketplace, and weathered the great recession of 2008-2009.
Accurate Manufactured Products Group (AMPG) started out in 1987 as a Master Distributor of Measuring Tools, Industrial items and Fasteners when two employees of the then privately-held MSC Industrial Supply decided to go out on their own, forming Precision Fasteners.
Ira Friedman came from the Measuring Tool business with Mitotoyo, and Matt Goldberg from Tower Fasteners, a large fastener warehouse located in Plainview, New York.
While working together at MSC, they identified an opportunity to manufacture many of the accessory type items for machine tools, measuring tools, and small volume fastener items, which prior to that time came mainly from overseas. As business branched out to include more and more fastener items, Larry Pearl joined Precision, adding his 15 years of fastener experience.
In 1991, after four years of growth with Precision Industries Inc., Ira Friedman was recruited by the LS Starret Company, where he still works today. Matt and Larry continued without him for a few months, then split the business into two parts – Larry took the fastener distribution business and started Pearl Technical Sales, which is still going strong, while Matt started Accurate Manufacturing Products Group, Inc. to continue the accessories business, partnering with Richard Jacobs, a close business associate who had printed the Precision catalogs.
Having weathered the recessions of the early 90’s and 2000’s and the “Great Recession” of 2008-2009, Accurate re-established its’ growth curve, and continues to add new machine tools and additional product lines to its core business.
“Less is more. The less we spend on office administration, the more competitive we can be for our distributor customers” Linda Fry – Vice President of Operations and Controller.
Accurate has one centrally located manufacturing plant in Indianapolis, Indiana. In their quest to hold the line on expenses, and be as competitive as they can, this location was chosen based on its’ central location, low real estate costs, skilled manufacturing base, and business friendly environment. In 2004, the company made the move from New York to Indianapolis.
Of the 32 full time employees, there are only three in administration, and two on the phones. The rest are involved in manufacturing, and distributing the products. This facilitates a price structure that allows our distributors to be successful with their customer base. Only when they earn their customers business can we get an order.
Technology plays a huge role in Accurate’s company structure. But becoming cutting-edge has not been easy, which is certain to strike a chord with many other manufacturing and distribution companies in the fastener field.
From the beginning, Accurate relied on FASPAC software to run the business, since most items were purchased outside, and then shipped in for the secondary operations of heat treating, plating, etc.
After FASPAC was purchased by a larger company, we moved over to Computer Insights – The Business Edge. In 2003, The Business Edge software was a huge step up from the FASPAC system, and it allowed Accurate to grow without increasing administrative head count. It also had many other advantages, especially the ability to import and export data into Excel easily, accurately, and quickly. At that time, this easy transfer of information was not available in most other software systems.
As manufacturing output increased, Accurate went from a 60/40 split (60% of products were purchased outside, while 40% were made in our shop), to an 80/20 mix – 80% of products were now made internally, with our Cold Headed and Stamped products purchased outside.
In 2008, The Business Edge didn’t have a manufacturing module that worked with our methods, so on the advices of our SAP trained IT manage, we switched to a very large ERP system, which had increased complexity, capabilities, and of course, increased cost.
That switch in 2008 proved to be extremely detrimental to the business. This new system, while handling most of our manufacturing requirements quote well, lacked almost everything on the distribution side. And unlike The Business Edge, it demanded more employees to make it work. And it took more time to do everything. The small staff at Accurate quickly became overwhelmed in the customer service area, since even the simplest request for delivery information became a time consuming task. While we weren’t IT experts, we knew that this ERP system wasn’t the complete answer we were looking for to run our business.
To help us solve this problem, Accurate enlisted the aid of Definity Partners® Group, led by their technology group lytelTup! located in Cincinnati, Ohio. lytelTup’s ability to understand the complex business processes associated with manufacturing and distribution, and the integration of these processes through technology, is helping Accurate to streamline their business execution system. In doing so, Accurate will be positioned to retrieve real-time order information to make rapid business decisions in order to grow their business without sacrificing service levels to their current customer base.
The first step was to re-install Computer Insights The Business Edge, which in the past three years has added features that fully integrate the manufacturing side into the distribution package.
This finally provided us with an integrated platform that allows us to schedule our manufacturing floor, and the ability to give accurate real time answer to our customers on all 14,000 SKUs in our system.
“The more items we can offer in each specialty type commodity that we manufacture increases the solutions that our distributor partners can offer their end users” Alex Goldberg – Vice President Sales.
Ninety eight percent of the products that AMPG manufactures and distributes are sold through distributors of some type. Certain “made to print” specialty products (mostly in the architectural hardware field) are sold directly to the end user. Of the 14,000 SKUs that AMPG stocks, 85% are in the fastener field, 10% in Measuring Tools, 2% in Machine Tool Accessories, and 3% in Power Transmission.
Marty Collins – Lead Man Manufacturing: “With the addition of updated tooling and acquiring new machinery we have been able to reduce a great amount of secondary operations and increase the amount of unattended machine operation as well as make our jobs easier in manufacturing. This allows us to reduce our costs which can go back into the development of new products, machinery and continuous process improvement”
The move to Indianapolis brought Accurate into contact with a treasure trove of young and dedicated machinists. While in New York, we were mostly a traditional machine shop, with parts starting on the screw machines, and being finished by hand on the secondary machines.
In Indianapolis, we found people with a much more advanced skill set, which allowed us to purchase far more complicated machine tools that produced parts faster, more accurately, and were capable of running unattended.
Capital Equipment Sales came in, and designed a manufacturing plan that built on the current Standard Swiss Lathes we owned, but increased the complexity of the capabilities of each machine. The Star Swiss Lathes deliver fantastic up time, while being able to manufacture complete parts in one operation.
There are now four CNC Lathes that run 24/7 with over 70% of those hours unattended. All of our Machinists can engineer, program, and run all the different CNC Controls in the shop. We have to main controls – The Fanuc CNC Swiss Lathe Control for the Stars, and the Mazatrol Control for our Horizontal Milling Center and our Super Quick Turn Lathe. Another Star SR-32 Swiss Lathe is being delivered in a few months.
Our Manufacturing staff has become so successful in “bullet-proofing” jobs for unattended running, that we have found that we can compete with India and China on price, while producing a technically superior product right here in Indiana.
Our Shoulder Bolts in 303 and 316 Stainless Steel are a case in point
These parts come off our machines complete. Even thought the Swiss Lathe is not as fast as a header or traditional screw machine, the fast that we go from bar to a completely finished part allows our pricing to be competitive.
We single point the threads in the machine, which produces superior concentricity over a faster thread rolling secondary operation. We broach the drive in the sub spindle at the same time that the main spindle forms the next part, saving time and money here. We produce a clean hex broach, with out any folded down chips in the drive, which would not allow the bolt to be used in any food service application.
We are able to go nine inches long on the shoulder, and still produce a perfectly concentric part since the Swiss Lathe performs all the cutting operations at the collet face, with perfect support.
Sex Bolts are the generic industry term for male and female mating fasteners. Accurate offers the widest range of product, sizes, and materials in the industrial world. AMPG is committed to an ever expanding line of useful and innovative mating solutions, available from a stock manufacturer.
Our Combo Head system is the largest variety of internal thread fasteners in the world. Available off the shelf in both Steel Zinc and 18-8 Stainless Steel, we stock from 3/16″ diameter Barrel by 3/8″ length, all the way up to 3/8″ Barrel diameter by 1″ length.
Binding Posts were originally developed to bind catalogs together, but have since found many uses in other industrial applications. Our line is available in plain Aluminum, Aluminum with Black Anodizing, 18-8 Stainless Steel, Copper, Steel Zinc, Plastics, and Commercial Brass.
TamperProof Sex Bolts
We have a large line of 6 lobe (Star Drive) with Pin, in 18-8 Stainless Steel, in 1/4″ and 5/16″ diameters. Our new Swiss Lathes have the capability to put the 6 love with pin drive in specials, so we are expanding our line into 3/8″, 1/2″, and 3/4″ diameter barrels.
Architectural Style Sex Bolts were originally designed for Door Closers and Panic Bars, but have found new life as decorative fasteners for many applications. Available from stock in many standard architectural finishes, and in many sizes, from 1/2″ Barrel diameter, up to 5/8″ Barrel diameter.
Special Sex Bolts
Accurate has become a leader in the design and manufacturing of internally threaded decorative fasteners. We have developed many manufacturing techniques that allow us to produce small runs at competitive pricing. Our unique mix of production machines and engineering experise has epxanded the universe for these versatile fasteners.
We have an in-depth stock of Shoulder Screws, in Brass, Type 303 Stainless, and Type 316 Stainless. Sizes run from 1/8″ by 1/8″ to 1″ by 6″ shoulder diameter and length. Specials are also available and can run up to nine inches long.
Non-Standard Flat Washers
We manufacture and stock extra thin or extra thick washers, leaving the standards alone. Shims from .001 thru .020 thick. Flat washers from 1/8″ to 5/8″ Thick. Bolt sizes from #0 thru 4″. Materials include Low Carbon Steel, Medium Carbon Steel, 4140 Alloy Steel, 303 Stainless, 316 Stainless, and 400 Series Heat Treated Stainless.
Accurate Manufacturing Products Group has added over 1000 items to our new Architectural line of hardware. In addition to a selection of larger diameter sex bolts and oversized, tall acorn nuts, we’ve rolled out a complete product line of stand offs. Panel, edge and slot mount stand offs are essential components of signage and glass installation. Our structural standoffs are manufactured for the commercial glazing industry and can be used for mounting glass canopies, curtain wall and glass railing and balconies. We currently stock the largest selection of sizes, finishes and materials in the United States.
In addition to our stand off line, AMPG offers stainless steel cable infill kits. Cable infill is ideal for applications like railing, decking and mezzanines. Our kits come in various lengths and cable diameters.
All of our hardware is 100% MADE INUSA, and will qualify for LEED Materials & Resources (MR4) credits. A decision was made to enter into this market because there was a need for aesthetically pleasing and functional hardware. When architects and design professionals know that they can add that special finished touch to their project, it makes all the difference.
Jig and Fixture Component Items
Component Washers in Low Carbon Steel Case Hardened and Black Oxide Plated, as well as in 18-8 Stainless Steel Commercial Brass. Selected styles of Jig and Fixture component items and clamps.
Measuring Tool Accessories
We specialize in the design and manufacture of productivity aids for measuring tools, which allow your customers to perform measurements by attaching our products to a common measuring tool that they currently own, and which allow them to avoid purchasing a specialty tool that is very expensive, and which they probably won;t use again after they finish the job they have in house. We also manufacture Dial Test Indicator Tips to fit all OEM Test Indicators, as well as thousands of Tips for Drip Dial Indicators, and Probes for Coordinate Measuring Machines.
Machine Tool Accessories
Parts for Vises and Machine Tools, plus Work Stops and Chuck Accessories. Everything that the small manual machine shop needs to achieve faster and more consistent production.
Power Transmission Accessories
A very large and complete line of Linkages and accessories. All items that exist between the ball joint and the control arm or lever.
This article appeared in Distributor’s Link Magazine, Cover Spring 2011
For More Information
Accurate Manufactured Products, Inc.
8090 Woodland Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46278
Computer Insights, Inc.
108 South Third Street
Bloomingdale, IL 60108-2912