EFCO Finishing Coping with Coronavirus

Since mid-March, the routine has been anything but “business as usual” at EFCO Finishing.  Numerous impacts have been felt, as they have for all companies, due to the global economy basically shutting down.  Thankfully, most of our customers in manufacturing have been deemed essential by the government and the Department of Homeland Security, and EFCO, providing a necessary service in order for the parts to be put into production, has also received this designation.  Parts are continuing to arrive for processing during the pandemic, although at a little slower pace.

We have tried our best to keep things as “normal” as possible, staying open our regular hours of operation,  7:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m.  But there is now a new normal, with many procedures put in place due to the virus, and life is nothing like we were accustomed to.  Social distancing, face masks, limited in person visits, and virtual calls all appear as new ways of conducting business,  and may be here for longer than any of us originally anticipated.  While this has been an adjustment period for all of us, we are trying to stay positive, and hoping some of the new ways are improvements over what was done in the past.

Our core production team remains in place, running out the jobs at a brisk pace. This shorter lead time is definitely a positive for customers.  We have also really tried to emphasize our ability to step in and help customers in this time of need, especially those who may have processed some of their own parts, but no longer can due to headcount shortages.

Working from home is another adjustment we have made, along with so many other businesses.  We continue this effort today, and are working diligently to keep all lines of communication open with our customers.  It is an odd feeling to not have the phones ringing, as they are forwarded currently.  

One major positive for EFCO during this crisis has been our ability to quote on parts for the medical industry, and the relief efforts.  We have worked with our customers on pricing parts for masks and PPE, along with ventilator parts, and are honored to play even a small part in helping our country and all those on the front lines.

During these unprecedented times, we all want to say thank you to our loyal customers who continue to send work to us.  We appreciate and value the many relationships we have formed over the years, now more than ever.  We remain positive we will get through this – TOGETHER!

EFCO employees wearing facemasks to stop the spread
EFCO employees wearing facemasks to stop the spread

October is Manufacturing Month!

Friday October 4th is Manufacturing Day in Wisconsin.  We celebrate manufacturing this month as it is the backbone of our economy. For every one factory job, seven other jobs are created! Kurt Bauer of the WMC, or Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, shared his thoughts Thursday in a breakfast hosted by the Waukesha County Business Alliance.  Some of the key takeaways are below.

Jobs appear to be contracting in Wisconsin, with 4,000 jobs lost since January, and the lowest manufacturing job growth in 10 years.  There are 22 sub-sectors making up manufacturing, and some may already be in recession. There is also growing pessimism nationwide. There are three main components driving the contraction.

  1. A weakening global economy, especially in the EU and Germany, along with China.  
  2. The political climate.  In Washington, it is uncertain, and investors hate uncertainty.  Tariffs are having an effect, but many feel they are worth it if they can level the playing field with China.  And the lack of passage of the US/Mexico/Canada trade agreement, or USMCA, which is critical for manufacturing and agriculture in Wisconsin! On the state level, Governor Evers campaign proposal to eliminate the manufacturing and agricultural tax credits, as well as our Right-to-work status, could seriously weaken the migration of companies relocating to Wisconsin!
  3. A workforce problem, as there just aren’t enough people to fill all the open positions! We have 3.1% unemployment, and 4% is considered full employment! A 0.1% increase is projected in the working population from 2010 to 2040, which is contraction! One cause here is the reduction in the birth rates, as people just aren’t having as many children.

Overall, while there may be reason for concern, don’t panic. There are still a lot of positives out there!  Let’s urge our legislators to do the right thing not only for manufacturing in Wisconsin, but throughout the country.  Please don’t make it harder than it has to be!

Meet EFCO Finishing – Jim Pinkert and Duane Goetz

Chances are you have seen the EFCO truck making pickups and deliveries.  Sharing driving duties for us are two men, Jim Pinkert and Duane Goetz. And we could not be happier to have both representing us to customers and suppliers!

Jim joined EFCO in January 2007 after 40 plus years at AT&T. He started out as a physical design expert and had worked extensively on tvs power diodes and then decided to jump boats. Over the last twelve years, he has developed rock solid relationships with our customers. He is our “eyes and ears” behind the scenes, relaying critical information to us. Jim has also developed a knowledge of our processes, and isn’t afraid to speak up if something is wrong. This is why he is known and respected by everyone he comes in contact with.

Duane joined us after we moved to Menomonee Falls in 2017, and also has had a very successful career in manufacturing. Companies where he has worked include Tower Automotive, where he served as a supervisor. He also worked at Bradley Corporation on the production floor in addition to driving.  He has a great work ethic, and it is very rare to see him in one spot for any extended period of time. Duane also has a witty sense of humor, which he uses to keep the mood loose, and those around him laughing, either at EFCO or on the road!

We are thankful to have both Jim and Duane serving as goodwill ambassadors for EFCO, and appreciate their efforts put forward on a daily basis! The next time you see them on the road, give them a friendly wave. I’m sure they’d appreciate that!

EFCO Drivers Jim Pinkert and Duane Goetz
Left, Jim Pinkert; Right, Duane Goetz

EFCO Finishing’s Next Generation?

This past summer, EFCO Finishing got a glimpse of what may lie ahead for the future as members of the fourth generation worked at the company assisting with different jobs and tasks.

Matthew Schultz and Ryan Budgins, sons of owners Terry Schultz and Mike Budgins, worked in the shop assisting with a variety of different functions ranging from production to maintenance.  Kayla Budgins, daughter of Mike, assisted in the office, with data entry and other tasks.

While it is premature to project if any one of them will eventually work at or become owners of EFCO, they are all gaining valuable experience and learning what the company is all about and they are also helping the company by putting forth their accumulated knowledge related to the use of blockchain technology, extensively explained on this Salesforce post. Learning it from the ground up, something Don Schultz, my grandfather and company founder, truly believed in. In fact, all owners of EFCO, including the second generation, worked out in the shop learning the business and all of the processes at one time.

“System, planning, and organization” was a saying of Don Schultz, and was his belief on how the company should be run.  Having these members of the fourth generation here seeing first hand how the business is run hopefully proves to be a valuable lesson both for them and the company.  And hopefully extends EFCO’s legacy well into the future. EFCO is a proud member of the Family Business Legacy Institute, or the FBLI, which focusing on all aspects of family run businesses, and we’re grateful to have access to that community!

Matthew Schultz and Ryan Budgins, sons of owners Terry Schultz and Mike Budgins, worked in the shop assisting with a variety of different functions ranging from production to maintenance.

Terry’s Top Three Business & Mindset Books

Spring break is a great time to relax, recharge your batteries, and catch up on some reading. Three great business books that I highly recommend for your time on the beach include the the following classics: Mindset, by Carol Dweck, Good to Great, by Jim Collins, and High Performance Habits, by Brendon Burchard.  Below is a brief summary of each.

In Mindset, Carol Dweck explains that it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success – but whether we approach our goals with a fixed or growth mindset.  With the right mindset, we can reach our goals, both personal and professional. She reveals what all great parents, CEOs and athletes already know, and shows how an idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in all areas.

Good to Great author Jim Collins profiles several companies and identifies some key characteristics that propelled them from “good to great”.  These include having a great leader, mixing a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, thinking differently about the role of technology, and the hedgehog concept, meaning the great companies know one big thing and stick to it.  Some of the success stories include Walgreen’s, Wells Fargo, and Philip Morris to name a few.

High Performance Habits tells how extraordinary people became that way.  Brendon Burchard is the world’s leading high performance coach and he uncovered 6 habits that high performers have.  For personal habits, they seek clarity, generate energy, and raise necessity. For social habits, they increase productivity, develop influence, and demonstrate courage.  Anyone can practice these habits and, when they do, special things happen in their lives, relationships and careers.

Picking any of these books, you won’t be disappointed, and you will learn a ton in the process. Plus I think you’ll really enjoy them. Happy reading!!

2017 – A Year of Hope

A few words on the year ahead from Terry Schultz, President of EFCO Finishing, a metal finishing service provider privately owned and operated in Butler, Wisconsin since 1945.

I have waited to write about 2017 as long as I could.  As a metal finishing service provider in Wisconsin and as a leader of a small family business, I have a unique perspective on the state of manufacturing under the recent changes in our country. We’ve inaugurated Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, the stock market recently closed over 20,000 for the first time ever, and I’ve been listening to numerous numerous “experts” and “prognosticators,” all during the month of January, which is nearly complete.

The overall feeling that I am hearing over and over again, especially among manufacturers and business leaders, is one of optimism. People are truly excited to have some fresh talent in the White House, especially the conservative and experienced cabinet picks President Trump is surrounding himself with. The nominees have all been “around the block”, and what they may lack in government experience they make up for with real world and business successes.

President Trump’s unconventional style has many insiders “nervous”. If the economist at the BizTimes breakfast said he was “concerned” once, he said it 50 times.  The media are not used to being challenged, but I think it is just too early to tell.

Positives that people are talking about and hoping for include scaling back cumbersome regulations, tax cuts, overhauling Obamacare, creating jobs, stimulating the economy, aggressively going after terrorism, immigration reform, and putting “America first” again.  Some concerns include interest rate hikes – the projection being three individual quarter point hikes, if the stock market can maintain the “post election bump” we’ve been enjoying, and the possibility of a trade war.

To conclude, and to all those who are fearful, I would say President Trump deserves a chance to succeed just like those who came before him.  So far he is honoring his campaign promises, and while it is too early to say exactly what the next four years may bring, we need to put the pre-election rhetoric behind us and unite as a country.  We still live in the greatest country in the world, and may need to remind ourselves of that periodically.  Like any solid organization or family, we are stronger when united, and working towards a common goal.  I wish everyone the best of luck for a prosperous year ahead!

Manufacturing Month: Women in Manufacturing’s “Tour & Taste”

EFCO Metal Finishing has a busy month ahead, as it’s their favorite of the year: Manufacturing Month! April kicked off the busy month Tuesday with Women in Manufacturing Wisconsin’s “Tour & Taste” Event. The group toured Sussex IM and closed the event with food at Bistro Z. Sussex IM focuses on custom injection plastic molded parts, but their offering and expertise expands beyond that – their manufacturing process was the impressive main event.

Watch for another announcement for another great WIM Wisconsin Event coming soon!

EFCO Metal Finishing Attends Women in Manufacturing WI Event

Pictured left to right: Teresa Schell- Vive, April Schultz –Efco Finishing Corporation, Antonia Stone- Busch Precision, Linda Mallwitz- Vive, and Natalie Walters- Waukesha State Bank

Metal Finishing Service Spotlight: Table Blasting

Table blasting is an automated metal finishing process to achieve a blasted finish on parts using a pipe bender. As opposed to tumble blasting where the parts tumble on top of each other, in table blasting there is no part-on-part contact, making it ideal for larger parts or circumstances when there are cosmetic requirements of the surface remaining free of any nicks or dings.

This process is used as an abrasive cleaning technique to remove burrs, heat treat scale, rust, corrosion, paint, and other contaminants, and it can also be used to prepare surfaces for the next step in the metal finishing process, such as paint adhesion.

Blast medias available here at EFCO include both steel grit and steel shot from steel fabrication adelaide, with multiple different machines available offering different capabilities and allowing quick turnarounds of different sized parts. Several machines are available in which multiple parts can be continually fed through the machine. Our largest table blast option is a machine with one large satellite used to run larger parts up to approximately 5 feet, 6 inches in length.

The process works as follows: parts are loaded onto satellites, which rotate around the machine and spin in the process. An elevator moves the steel shot or grit up to a wheel, which propels that media onto the parts at a high pressure or force. This area where the blasting takes place in the machine is enclosed, to contain the blast media. After blasting, the parts return to the starting point where they were loaded and are either flipped for blasting on the opposite side, or if completed, unloaded and repacked into the skid or bin. One pass typically takes a couple of minutes to complete; if necessary, parts may be sent around for a second pass.

As mentioned earlier, EFCO Finishing has multiple machines available to meet your needs and complete your project in a timely manner. We can quote your jobs with a print of the parts, or are happy to run samples for your approval!

Table Blasting - Metal Finishing Service at EFCO

A look at table blasting by EFCO Metal Finishing

EFCO Finishing Service Spotlight on Table Blasting

EFCO Joins the Tool, Die and Machining Association of Wisconsin!

EFCO Metal Finishing Joins Tool, Die & Manufacturing Association of Wisconsin

Effective at the start of 2016, EFCO Finishing has officially joined the the Tool, Die and Machining Association of Wisconsin (TDMAW). Along with serving as a resource for the organization, EFCO looks forward to the many networking, educational, and customer interaction opportunities. The TDMAW was established in 1937, so it is a well established organization with firm roots in the community, similar to EFCO, which dates back to 1945!

EFCO, a metal finishing company in Butler, is a job shop focused on the deburring of parts, offering vibratory finishing, ball burnishing, steel grit and steel shot blasting, glass bead blasting, blastroom blasting, degreasing, polishing, and many more services.  Different from the typical member who is a tool and die or machine shop owner, the organization amended its bylaws to create a new category of membership focusing on outside services.  This fits well with the EFCO model, which is to be a metal finishing resource for our customers, offering advice and solutions on a wide variety of different needs.

The year started off with a meeting January 5th at Alioto’s in Wauwatosa, with Cathy Stepp, Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources Secretary, informing the group of what is happening on both the state and national level regarding regulatory and environmental issues.  Secretary Stepp, with her background in the private sector, was well received by the group with what she emphasized as a common sense approach to doing business.  Both she and Governor Walker continue to challenge the organization on ways to do things more efficiently, and effectively, for the business community and the citizens of Wisconsin, who are the DNR’s customers.

Terry is looking forward to meeting more of the group at future meetings, and participating in other events as they come up.


EFCO & Family Business Legacy Institute

EFCO Metal Finishing joins FBLI

EFCO Finishing recently joined the Family Business Legacy Institute (FBLI) in 2016. In business now for over 70 years, and in its third generation of family ownership, EFCO is continually striving for improvement and growth, and to preserve and enhance its legacy.  Being part of a family business presents unique challenges and opportunities, and the FBLI’s mission is to help navigate these, with its focus being on family, faith, and business.

FBLI provides networking opportunities, educational programs, and access to valuable partners and service providers, one of which is Concordia University in Mequon, combined with fun and unique events.  Consultation opportunities are also available.

Listen to Terry Schultz, president of EFCO, in the following commercial recorded at service partner Milwaukee Radio Group. It will air on WKLH, 96.5 FM, during the month of January, to promote the FBLI.