Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - 163

Benchmark Tool and Machine

- saving customers time and money. Going through a design house can take as long as eight weeks, but Hendrix
explains that Benchmark can often turn designs around
in as little as 24 hours.
The company is further increasing its capabilities to
match customer demands. Benchmark recently added
5,000 square feet to its facility. The addition is a flexible space that can be used for metal processing, welding and powder coating, depending on need. Also, many
clients are looking to refurbish or modify their old steel
racks and containers instead of buying new to save on
the cost of steel. Benchmark is investing $170,000 in
various equipment, including a sandblasting building
and reclamation unit to offer refurbishment services.

South

Business began picking up again as the country exited the recession in 2010. Benchmark began hiring and
returned to the container business, providing shipping
containers for the automotive, earth moving and glass
industries. Today, the company's revenues have grown
to about $20 million annually.
Despite its success in recent years, the lessons of the
recession are still informing how the company operates.
"It's one time that will serve me the rest of my life as I go
about my business," Hendrix says. "We don't hire anyone
unless we absolutely have to have that person, and we
don't buy anything unless we absolutely have to buy it."
Instead of investing in a larger workforce - Benchmark
has 72 employees today - the company is putting more
money into training and growing its supervisors' skills.
Hendrix says that investment is how Benchmark is building the company's culture and credits Robinson with
driving those efforts. "One of his (Robinson's) focuses is
to create the next generation of management for Benchmark," Hendrix says. mt

Tough Transition
At the time Benchmark began the transition to making
steel bulk containers Hendrix says he didn't quite understand the breadth of the equipment he was getting
into. The company had to add 50 welding centers and a
$500,000 semi-automated powder coating line to paint
the containers. It was a risky business move at the time
because of the recession, which was just taking hold.
Still, the new direction for the business appeared promising and Benchmark did close to a million dollars in revenue during the first month, January 2008.
But everything changed once the recession struck in
full force. Benchmark's container business dried up by
the end of the first quarter of 2008 and the company was
forced to contract its workforce by 85 percent as it waited
out the economic downturn. At one point, Benchmark's
workforce was down to only four people. The company
made it through those lean years by using the powder
coat system to coat boat docks for another manufacturer
and it built components for the stove industry.
SEPTEMBER/ OCTOBER 2016 manufacturing-today.com

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016

Contents
Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - 1
Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - 2
Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - Contents
Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - 4
Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - 5
Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - 6
Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - 7
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Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - Cover3
Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - Cover4
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