Manufacturing Today - January/February 2016 - 32

Midwest

Milton Industries

working capital efficiencies. As such, we've established
new sales and marketing capabilities and resources along
with new product development to complement and expand upon the very strong heritage of the Milton brand.
Operationally, inventory management with Just in Time
(JIT), high-velocity turns orientation is very much new
to the team. The team has responded well, and we're
working both internally and externally with our vendors
to achieve our aggressive change requirements and key
performance indicators."
Riithink is a specialized development and digital marketing agency headquartered in
Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Since 2009, Riithink has worked hand-in-hand with numerous
multinational companies and corporations such as Milton Industries to custom-tailor
eCommerce strategies and drive web success. Riithink provides scalable, customizable
web architectures to companies of all sizes using their unique business model.
Certified developers and project managers are located around the globe, which allows
Riithink to efficiently design and deploy web technologies 24 hours a day -- the all-new
Milton Industries website went from conceptualization to completion in just two months.
Standard support and maintenance agreements are also popular, as Riithink staff are
available at all hours to ensure a smooth, uninterrupted web experience.
Beyond development, Riithink supports clientele with post-launch marketing initiatives including email marketing, lead scoring, paid media management, market/competitive analysis and inventory management.

32

manufacturing-today.com JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016

Growth Opportunities
The company is pursuing growth initiatives in a variety of
ways. First, it recently launched a new website designed
to be more user friendly. The site also is aimed at capturing younger consumers who are accustomed to doing business online, Carlson says. "If you're 35 or over,"
he says, "you know the brand." Whether they're new or
long-time customers, however, they will appreciate the
new site's user-friendly design, he says.
The website is organized by the company's five business segments for easier navigation. It also includes
drawings and pictures of parts and provides the heritage
and legacy of its brands, Carlson says. "It's a huge step
forward," he says.
The company hired additional channel managers so
that each market segment it serves will be represented.
"This has been part of our growth plan," Carlson says.
The installation of an enterprise resource planning
system shortly after the acquisition also was part of the
strategy, he says. "Many manufacturing processes and
procedures were changed," Carlson adds.
Milton Industries also is renovating its facility, located on the northwest side of Chicago. The building was
constructed in the 1940s, and the company acquired it
in 1973. Design plans call for the building to have a "new,
urban Chicago loft feel" that features an open floor plan,
Carlson says. "Now, it's kind of a mouse maze," he says.
He adds that the open design is expected to have a positive effect on employee productivity, as there will be
more opportunities to network and share ideas.
"It's an overall better environment," Carlson says.
Employees can talk with more people. It's more vibrant
and robust." The $300,000 renovation is scheduled for
completion by the end of 2015.
In addition to a facility makeover, the company in
2014 underwent a complete packaging improvement
change while retaining the Milton Industries' logo. The
new packaging look allows for more retail selling and
has consistent packaging sizes based on a modular design, Carlson explains.
The purchase of new equipment also has been a key
part of Milton Industries' transformation. The company
in 2015 invested $700,000 in automation equipment and
plans to make a similar investment in 2016, he says. The
new, faster equipment is critical for the company as it
takes on new customers, such as aftermarket auto supply
stores. "We have a new breed of customer with high expectations including high fill rates," Carlson says. "The


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - January/February 2016

Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2016 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2016 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2016 - 1
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