Finding Solutions and Building Relationships
Coinco Inc. provides custom metal stamping services to the industrial, commercial, electrical, and aftermarket motorcycle markets. With 60 years of experience, Coinco has developed wide-ranging tooling expertise for producing quality custom parts to unique specifications.
Offering brackets, washers, panels, connectors, faceplates and much more, Coinco, Inc. provides custom metal stamping solutions to customers in a wide variety of sectors. The company’s roots reach back to 1960 when four toolmakers working together at a zipper factory decided to break away and establish their own business. The company began as a simple tool shop, but over time it grew into a much larger operation and introduced additional services such as metal stamping.
Coinco is located in the small community of Cochranton, Pennsylvania, and its services reach the whole of North America. 35 employees are at the heart of Coinco’s culture, a tight-knit group who’ve been working together for a number of years and in some cases, decades. It’s gratifying to see that, despite solid growth, the leadership team maintains a personalized relationship with each one of them.
“We work right out on the floor next to our employees. This not only gives us the opportunity to train and mentor but to keep up with our employees on an individual basis. We would not ask our employees to do anything we wouldn’t do or haven’t done ourselves. We believe this is why we have employees that have been with us for ten plus years,” says Robert Boozer, President of Coinco.
A good mix gets even better
Approximately half of the employees on Coinco’s staff are female, and its membership with WiM has been a great resource. As the only national trade organization truly dedicated to supporting women in the manufacturing field, WiM (Women in Manufacturing) provides essential networking connections.
Membership has improved the company’s ability to build solid relationships with female employees and has given the company new channels of communication and new insight into the industry. Coinco says that WiM has also helped the company find new ways to improve leadership skills and effectiveness.
Last October, the sales and marketing coordinator at Coinco, Kim Lengling, teamed up with two other WiM members to visit local schools in the area. They offered a program called “Stepping into your future” that introduces manufacturing to students.
Kim outlines the program: “It covered the three paths that are typically taken – college, trade school, or military – and that there is no one way that is right for all. Students were encouraged to look at each path, look at what they are currently good at or have a passion for, and make a determination from that along with guidance from a parent, mentor, school guidance counselor, etc.”
By targeting middle school students, Coinco hopes the program will also dispel the lingering myth that manufacturing plants are dirty, dark, and dangerous. The ultimate goal is to refresh the workforce with a younger generation of workers who grasp the new reality of working in the manufacturing field.
The outcome that everyone is working towards is that the skilled labor gap will be filled with students who understand that manufacturing is a reliable, highly technical and stimulating, well-paid career.
Charting the path
Currently, like most fellow companies across the country, Coinco struggles to find skilled workers for its tool room and the production floor who are able to meet all requirements for those positions. To meet this challenge, Coinco is committed to working closely with potential employees to train and mentor them as they enter a career in trades.
In partnership with the Northwestern PA National Tooling and Machining Association, Coinco has introduced a ‘Journeyman Program’ to encourage skilled-trades training. So far, the company has produced one graduate from the program, with a second apprentice currently working toward graduation.
The focus on training is helping the company overcome the labor shortage, but, in this respect, there are also the deeply-entrenched and strong people-values of the company itself. “We realize that respect is earned and we strive to be the type of leaders that our employees can turn to,” says Robert.
Another challenge is constant fluctuation in the pricing of materials, which naturally slows production processes as company staff search out the best prices and quality. Despite this, Coinco has been able to build a reputation as a staunchly reliable manufacturing partner in North America.
Coinco has developed many long-standing relationships with its customers and vendors as a result of its resolve to be honest and transparent. Its ability to make personal connections and establish strong business partnerships is a significant factor in its success.
Agility and expertise
Also, as a smaller company, Coinco has the advantage of greater agility, as Carter Boozer, Vice President at Coinco explains. “We’re a smaller shop, so we can react a little quicker than the bigger shops can. If a customer comes in and needs something right away, we usually can accommodate them and get them quality parts in a timely fashion.
“And being smaller, we know all of our customers by name, so I think it’s more of a personal relationship.” He notes that the company consistently strives to deliver its quality products in an affordable manner, on time or early – first requirement when building partnerships.
As a marker of Coinco’s expertise, customers in the industrial, commercial, electrical, and motorcycle-aftermarket industries choose Coinco to manufacture various parts even when they cannot provide precise drawings and specifications. The company has a design team in house that can create custom products from scratch.
The process begins by reverse-engineering the part. Coinco experts analyze the dimensions of a part and draw up the specifications for a precise copy. A prototype is developed and eventually threads its way to the production floor.
Coinco’s capacity to manufacture parts without access to the original design has enabled the company to stand apart in the marketplace.
As a pillar of manufacturing in Cochranton, Coinco has found numerous ways to give back to the small community. An avid supporter of the U.S. Veterans, it regularly participates in local events for veteran organizations. The company also enjoys sponsoring local youth sports teams that include softball, baseball, soccer and T-Ball teams.
A unique and interesting way that Coinco chooses to invest in its community is by providing mentorship and tool room assistance to the local Cochranton High School Robotics Team and donating time and material for robots being built by the students. Coinco invites the students to come into the shop and will supervise and mentor the students as they manufacture the parts needed.
The high-school students participate in an annual competition called ROBOBOTS held in Meadville, Pennsylvania. To Coinco, it’s a duty of pleasure to support these types of ventures geared toward the local youth.
Growing just right
Strong but measured growth is the chosen pace at Coinco. “We are comfortable with the rate of growth and look forward to continuing that steady growth into the future,” Robert says. Ensuring that the business will not become overwhelmed, and potentially lose important connections with its customers, vendors, or employees, is vital.
Naturally, this means that the ability to provide solid employment to its staff is a responsibility taken very seriously. The leadership understands that the business plays a large role in the stability of the area’s homes and families.
“We keep our employees in mind as we’re growing,” Robert says, “ and keep everything stable so everybody feels safe and secure. We’ll just keep working hard at what we do right now and keep growing the company, and growing as individuals.” The company aims to continue its steady growth and avoid a trajectory that would require compromising the quality of its products or its relationships.
Coinco celebrates the milestone of its 60th anniversary this year with some excitement and understandable satisfaction. To the company, it signifies something solid and simple – that its dedication to building true relationships with its customers has led to plenty of repeat business, the key to longevity.
In the years ahead, Coinco has plans to make sweeping upgrades in its machinery to stay at the forefront of advancing technology and to increase the efficiency of its processes. “Short term, we are in the midst of introducing and implementing a new inventory system to help streamline the process throughout the shop. We continually look for the best way to upgrade our machinery both in the tool room and on the production floor with presses.
“Long term, we want to keep going and growing. Doing our part to do an exceptional job with honesty, integrity and transparency,” Robert says.
To Coinco, it is humbling to consider the impact it has as a manufacturer on people across North America. This awareness has kept the company grounded and fully awake to how fortunate it is. Refreshingly, it is an organization that clearly understands how respect must be earned and, as Robert says, it plans to proceed with this awareness informing everything it does.
“We are working and striving to continue providing on-time quality parts to our customers and building relationships with both our customers and vendors.”