Converting Custom Adhesive Products
Budnick Converting converts huge rolls of flexible materials into whatever adhesive and tape products clients might desire for custom use in a variety of industries. The company is headquartered in Columbia, Illinois near St. Louis, Missouri, and has sales, distribution, and converting locations throughout the United States in Atlanta, Kansas City, Dallas, St. Louis, and Tampa. Budnick also co-owns a joint venture company in Mexico called Excelcuts.
The extensive experience of Budnick Converting’s team allows them to fully understand their customers’ production processes and determine the best way to help customers reach their objectives.
“Our customers’ goals determine our goals. Through the creation of custom solutions that support their manufacturing process, we look for ways to improve processing and efficiencies to help customers meet their goals. If we are successful, our customers will benefit from product quality enhancements and increased profits,” says Ron Miaskiewicz, vice president of sales and marketing at Budnick Converting.
In its production facility, Budnick converts adhesive tapes and other flexible materials into user friendly parts for customers’ specific applications. The company’s broad list of converting offerings includes die cutting, precision cutting, spooling, slitting, printing, laminating, and printing. While Budnick primarily focuses on the converting of flexible materials, the team has a variety of machines, like Waterjet, that convert rigid plastics and metals.
The company has some of the widest converting capabilities in the industry due to the number of machines in its manufacturing facility. “We have sixty-five pieces of converting equipment, and we use that equipment to develop solutions for our customers to satisfy their manufacturing requirements, putting them in the best position possible to be more productive and profitable,” says Ron. Most converters have limited capabilities and cannot create the broad array of solutions that sets Budnick apart in the industry. This makes it easy for the company to stand out by promoting the value it can add.
The company’s versatile and creative salesforce will tour a prospective customer’s plant and find unique ways to alter various manufacturing processes to increase production efficiency. “We just try to add value. We’re not going in to cut somebody’s prices; we’re trying to do anything that we can to give them a product that makes them more efficient,” says Ann Wegmann, owner and president of Budnick Converting.
“Appliance, for example, is one of our biggest markets. Their products are often created on an assembly line with multiple parts and steps going into the production of stoves, refrigerators, and dishwashers. A slight tweak in product presentation can significantly speed up a production step, helping the manufacturer get more products off their line,” says Ann.
The same focus goes into Budnick’s other markets, including the automotive industry, specifically working with the suppliers that produce parts for the auto manufacturers. Building supply, aerospace, and distribution are additional examples of markets that require the custom products provided by Budnick.
The company was founded by Edward ‘Bud’ Schwartz and Nick Cutlich in 1952 as a tool supply business selling drill bits and files. It soon expanded into packaging products and janitorial supplies and eventually into adhesive products, when a customer asked for electrical tape to be added to an order.
Bud bought Nick out of the small company that, in the beginning, had only four employees: himself, his then-secretary daughter Ann Wegmann, a truck driver, and a salesman. “I was the only one in the office taking all the phone calls, and as we got to selling more and more tape, I realized that people were asking for sizes of tape that we didn’t have because the manufacturers would only make certain regular sizes,” says Ann.
When customers continued to ask for odd sizes of tape that Budnick could not find, Ann had the idea to buy a machine to cut wide width log rolls of tape to whatever size customers required. Budnick purchased its first tape cutting machine in 1986 to cut and convert flexible products, setting Budnick on the path toward focusing on custom converted products.
Approximately 110 people are now employed by Budnick, and the company keeps its employees happy by treating every one of them as part of the family. “The ownership does a great job of bringing us in and treating us as family, which is very important,” says Ron. “You want to be at a place where you feel like you’re making a difference, and the ownership here definitely makes you feel that way which for me is very comforting.”
This is a popular place to work, and many of the staff members have been with the company a long time. It has been named by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper as one of the top workplaces for the past seven consecutive years in the category of a small business in the Metro East region. Budnick is particularly proud of this rating since it is voted on by the employees and proves that its efforts to take care of its staff are both successful and appreciated. One reason for the pleasant atmosphere is the work hard and play hard mentality and the fun parties and events that support it.
“When we train our employees, especially in production, we start with quality, not quantity. The speed will come. It’s more about quality and making the customer happy,” says Christy Hornacek, quality and communications manager at Budnick Converting.
The experienced employees are the company’s greatest asset and help it achieve its primary goal of customer satisfaction. “We’ve got this library. It’s almost like a human library of experiences and information that puts us in a great position to satisfy our customers’ requirements,” says Ron.
Budnick has received recognition from the Better Business Bureau with the Torch Award which is given to companies that demonstrate integrity towards consumers. It is also acknowledged by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) as a certified woman-owned business.
The challenge for any company that works with custom-made products is in meeting its customers’ expectations within a specific time frame when it cannot always get the necessary response from its suppliers. “That instant gratification that’s much a part of society today makes it challenging from the business standpoint. I think meeting ever changing and shortened expectations has created a new challenge for us,” says Ron.
The lead times with custom products often take weeks since a new product is being created from scratch, and the process depends on the raw material supply. “We can’t just pull something off the shelf, and ship it. We depend on our suppliers to provide a good quality product in a reasonable time frame, and then it’s our job to give the customer what they need. We aren’t manufacturing widgets, we are producing custom products,” says Ann. Budnick has systems that allow it to meet these challenges, and welcomes the difficult projects that require creative thinking.
Budnick Converting has aggressive growth goals, and it is in the process of developing ideas about how to achieve them. It is now undergoing an expansion as it anticipates further upcoming growth. The headquarters currently has a 42,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, and the company is about to break ground on a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on eleven acres of land behind its current location.
Budnick is looking forward to approaching the future market and is putting itself in the best situation possible to completely satisfy its customers’ needs fully. It will continue to bring unique adhesive tapes and flexible materials to the market to fulfill specific customer requirements while maintaining its foundation of integrity.
“We all have a real desire here to do the right thing by the customer, to provide the right product in a timely fashion, and to be honest and forthright with our dealings,” says Ann.