Human Resources, Manufacturing, and Small Business & Startups

SelfLube molds first-ever second shift

June 6, 2013
| By Pete Daly |
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SelfLube auto supplier adds second shift
Coopersville-based SelfLube is a manufacturer of mold-and-die parts that supplies the auto industry and tool-and-die shops. Photo via fb.com

SelfLube, a small Coopersville manufacturer of parts for metal stamping dies for the auto industry, has gotten so busy it just added a second shift for the first time in the company’s 23-year history.

“Operating on two shifts is definitely more difficult,” said owner Phil Allor, who started the company in 1990. “But, the rationale for doing so is pretty compelling. Effectively we double capacity without the need for a big capital investment to expand the building and buy more machines. This is also a smart way of expanding capacity because we are automatically doubling the capacity on all our bottleneck work centers. Since bottlenecks can change depending upon the mix of work, going after them can be an exercise in frustration. Here it is not. All we need to do is assign second shift workers to the work centers with the biggest backlog.”

Describing itself as “the leading U.S. manufacturer of mold, die and special machine components,” Self-Lube has about 35 employees, and some of its veteran employees have volunteered to work the second shift.

In the manufacturing workplace — as in many other types of jobs — the first shift or “day shift” is highly preferred by most workers, so the newer, less-experienced employees tend to be on the second shift. Then, when problems arise — “which they inevitably do,” said Allor — those employees are less qualified to deal with them and “painful mistakes are often made. This was not a problem for SelfLube because a group of veteran employees volunteered to work the off-shift so the skill level on the off-shift will be pretty much the same as it is on the first shift.”

Several months ago, SelfLube was notified by Honda that it had achieved approved vendor status.

SelfLube also is an approved supplier for the tool-and-die companies that serve Chrysler and General Motors.

SelfLube supplies tool-and-die shops throughout North America.

The manufacturer's product line of some 8,000 standard part numbers includes wear strips, wear plates, bushings, gibs, parting line locks, lifter slides and related components.

“SelfLube is a customer service business,” said Allor. “We have a growing business, which indicates we have been pretty good in the customer service area in the past. Now we will be even better.”

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