Manufacturing Today - Winter 2012 - (Page 30)
SPECIAL SECTION Automate/ProMat 2013
Applied Energy Solutions / www.appliedenergysol.com / 2011 sales: $10 million / Headquarters: Caledonia, N.Y. Products: Industrial battery chargers / Tom Bell, vice president: “We believe in common sense manufacturing.”
applied energy solutions has enjoyed growth in recent years – even after the impacts of the recession – with the help of lean manufacturing and its loyal workforce. by alan dorich
Some firms limit the autonomy of their workers, but not Applied Energy Solutions (AES). Instead, President Vern Fleming says the company gives them the opportunity to make important decisions on its work floor. “This allows us is to have a flexible work force,” he says. “If we get a bubble of business, the operators can [efficiently] move that bubble throughout the factory.” The Caledonia, N.Y.-based AES designs, manufactures and sells industrial battery chargers. The company originally started operations in 1949 as Caledonia Transformers, which manufactured transformers and power supplies. Throughout the years, the firm branched out into making power conversion equipment for military and commercial applications. By 1979, the company had changed its name to Chloride Electro Networks and manufactured industrial battery chargers for forklifts, pallet jacks and other types of transportation equipment. In 2000, Fleming purchased the company and changed its name to Applied Energy Solutions. Today, it manufactures its own electronic circuit boards and transformers, which sets it apart from other battery charger manufacturers. “We’ve become much more of a lean, efficient organization,” Fleming says, explaining that the company usually has a lead-time of two days. “It’s been reduced [to] a quarter of what it used to be.” 30
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to set itself apart from other battery charger manufacturers, aes manufactures its own electronic circuit boards.
AES’ main customers are warehouse and distribution centers throughout North and South America who often choose the firm because of its reliability, Fleming says. “Sysco Foods is a large user of our products,” he states.
A longtime veteran of manufacturing, Fleming’s previous experience includes working at Peko Precision Products in Rochester, N.Y., as a manufacturing engineer and quality engineer, production manager and plant manager. In addition, he worked at Enbi, a Netherlands-based public company, as a plant manager and engineering manager for new product development. He originally came to AES in 1997 when it was known as CEN Electronics. “It was always in my career plan to own my own business,” he recalls. “I bought this one when I was 37.” To this day, the company still
employs a strong staff, which includes several longtime workers. This includes Vice President Tom Bell, who has been a colleague of Fleming’s since 1997. “We work very closely together,” Fleming says, noting that he personally manages the financial side of AES, while Bell oversees its shop floor. Fleming also praises Service Manager Ken Selbig. “[He] has been here 30 plus years and is a tremendous resource,” Fleming raves. “Our competition calls him when they can’t figure things out. “It is a family business as well,” Fleming adds, noting that his son, Andrew Fleming, coordinates the company’s national accounts, while his daughter, Jennifer Morgan, is its public relations and marketing coordinator. Additionally, his daughter Katelyn is involved in the IT side of the business. “This family environment transcends throughout the company and
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - Winter 2012
Manufacturing Today - Winter 2012
Applied Energy Solutions
Carter Control Systems
Global Technology Systems
Tampa Tank Inc./Florida Structural Steel
Fullerton Tool Co. Inc.
Honda of South Carolina
Sapa Extrusions North America
ACE Controls Inc.
Vendors Exchange International Inc.
EXEL North America
Capewell Components Co.
U.S. Sugar Corp.
Industrial Magnetics Inc.
Lakeside Plastics Ltd.
Norpak Handling Ltd.
Mid-State Machine Products
TenCate Protective Fabrics
The Dupps Co.
Western Manufacturing Ltd.
Wisconsin Plastics Inc.
LaSalle Bristol LP
DAP Products Inc.
Honsa Ergonomic Technologies Inc.
Engineered Material Solutions LLC
Master Spas Inc.
U.S. Chemical & Plastics Inc.
Votaw Precision Technologies
Banker Steel Co.
Manufacturing Today - Winter 2012