Growth Report 2017: Kiraly Enjoys Strong Order Backlog

Editor’s Note: The following story is from Growth Report 2017, published by The Business Journal.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Just weeks into 2017, early indications are that business this year for Kiraly Tool & Die Inc., Youngstown, should be better than ever, says President Steven Kiraly.

“We have our strongest backlog of business beginning a new year than in any other year of business,” Kiraly says. “We’re seeing a lot of activity with manufacturers, capturing tool orders from new customers both locally and nationally.”

Companies like Kiraly are usually the first to feel spikes in the economy since production tooling such as stamping dies and fixtures, is required for manufacturing new products, he says.

Last year was a record year for sales at the company, with a 30% increase compared to 2015 and total sales of more than $2.3 million, Kiraly reports. He attributes the growth to three factors: new and repeat orders from the existing customer base, reduction of quoting times with the addition of a full-time estimator, and new investments in machinery.

“In the aluminum extrusion industry, for example, we captured a greater amount of stamping die and fixture orders than in any other two years combined,” he says.

Randy Llewellyn, a journeyman machinist, was hired last year as a full-time estimator.

“Decreasing our estimating time, responding to a greater amount of inquiries, and following up on quotations led directly to an increase in orders and an expanding customer base,” Kiraly says.

To facilitate growth, last year the company purchased two new larger-scale CNC machines, an investment of $200,000.  This year, the company plans to upgrade and replace other pieces of equipment.

“Our processes will be improved due to the advances in cutting tools and modern machine tools, and we’ll be purchasing our first 3-D printer,” Kiraly says.

“Our goal is to be the local go-to source for 3-D printed parts and subsequent machining operations.”

Kiraly employs 16 full-time, and cross training the existing workforce is a primary focus for 2017, Kiraly says.

“In the past, employers may have been limited to one dimensional training – having an employee operate only one type of machine for an extended period of time,” he says.  The objective is to have employees trained on multiple machines and trades, and in the process expand their capabilities.  “We can justify increased wages if the employee has a more diverse skill set,” he says.

Kiraly says hiring for this year is specific to one occupation:  a tool designer.  “Currently, three employees who have other responsibilities share that duty and often play catch-up far too along in the design process,” he says.  “We’re searching for the right candidate as a full-time tool designer,” he says. “We’ll likely employ a young graduate and train accordingly.”

One major challenge this year is implementing a complete, documented, quality system within the company, Kiraly notes.

This is necessary in order to win new business in specific areas of manufacturing that require certain compliance standards.

“We are very excited to see where our efforts will lead,” Kiraly says. “In my 33-year career, it’s never been more exciting to be in the machines trade.”

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