Oldenburg plans move to larger facility

Oldenburg Metal Tech Inc. expects to move into a larger facility and reach $4 million in sales this year, in large part because of owner and president Robert Oldenburg’s management style.

He purchased the company in February 2005 and has grown it from eight employees and $900,000 in annual sales to 30 employees and nearly $4 million in annual sales.

Reputation and aggressive engineering sales have allowed the company to grow and thrive.

Oldenburg has 35 years of experience in manufacturing, and brought that expertise to his own company.

At first, the company focused on simple compound dies, but when he arrived Oldenburg expanded the capabilities into advanced progressive dies. The complex tools are now the company’s specialty.

Oldenburg Metal Tech specializes in advanced progressive dies like this one.

While Oldenburg is currently housed in a 10,000-square-foot facility in Port Washington, it could use about 20,000 square feet.

“We’re very cramped for room and exploring all options at this point,” said Jeff Decker, operations manager.

Since the company can only add about 5,000 square feet on its current site, executives have been exploring a move to a larger facility within a 10-mile radius.

“If you move a company like this too far away from where people are living, we’re going to lose some people,” Oldenburg said. “We don’t want to lose the people we have – our business is about the people.”

The company puts its cutting tools in vending machines to encourage accountability.

Oldenburg expects to hire another eight to 12 people in the year following the move and add several horizontal machining centers to expand its capabilities.

The company has avoided doing layoffs when work is slow, instead adding to its capabilities.

Because advanced progressive dies are highly complex and take at least three weeks to build, it can cost as much as $300,000 for one tool. This leaves Oldenburg with a highly variable workload.

“You end up having these big jobs coming in. In between, you get these big valleys where you don’t have any cash flow,” Oldenburg said.

So for the past two years, it has been offering production machining services. They’ve machined specialty parts for a wide variety of products, from submarines and helicopters to candle wicks, relying on word of mouth to secure projects.

“The hard stuff they give to anybody and the impossible stuff they give to OMT,” Oldenburg said. “We have a hard time saying no.”

Its customers have been growing, which has led to an increase in work for Oldenburg this year.

When job candidates come in for a second interview, they spend a few hours working on the shop floor so employees can determine whether they are the right fit for the position.

About 40 percent of Oldenburg’s work is for the automotive industry, while the rest is across many industries. The company has customers in 16 states and three other countries.

Oldenburg makes about 110 dies per year, mainly out of steel. The company has devoted itself to efficiency on the shop floor, reconfiguring the layout to save steps, keeping parts and projects organized with barcodes and giving employees the responsibility of controlling project costs.

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