Fort Atkinson manufacturer grows with new distribution channels

Electronic Technologies International Inc. (ETI), a Fort Atkinson manufacturer of custom-printed circuit boards, wiring harnesses and cables, and electrical boxes, has grown its employment by 41 percent this year and dramatically increased its sales by expanding into new markets, increasing automation and implementing lean manufacturing initiatives.

ETI is now preparing to expand its sales channels into the East Coast from New England to Florida, and in Texas.

In 2007, the company had 53 employees, said Kurt Hartwig, director of marketing and sales. Today, it has 75.

“We’ve had market expansions… from 11 states to 15 states that we’re selling into,” he said. “We just added the region of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. We’re showing some pretty good interest from OEMs there.”

ETI sells its products to OEMs in the medical, agricultural, mining, construction, industrial, telecommunication and wireless industries.

Last year, the company expanded its 32,500-square-foot facility by 5,000 square feet. When it moved into the expanded space, ETI began implementing elements of lean manufacturing, focusing on improving its use of automation, Hartwig said.

“This is a major cultural change for the company,” he said. “At the same time we hired managers who had quality management tools and techniques who could work on the floor as a team to develop quality measures and controls.”

ETI recently upgraded the software controls for all of its automated machinery, which has given it a net 50-percent throughput increase, Hartwig said. It is now preparing to make upgrades in its quality control and quality assurance.

“We will document more quality initiatives with a new optical machine that will arrive in January of 2009,” Hartwig said.

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