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Overland Products Tackles Foreign Competition by Automating Processes and Starting a Green Initiative

Fremont, Nebraska
“The opportunity to partner with the Rocky Mountain Trade Adjustment Assistance Center reduced the financial risk of investing in improvement projects. That, coupled with the expertise and experience of RMTAAC project managers ensured our improvement projects would be successful.” - Bill Ekeler, Owner/CEO, Overland Products

Overland Products was prepared to take action when confronted with international competition in their market. Nation-wide, the metal fabrication industry has seen amplified competition from foreign countries, such as China and Mexico, in the last decade. Overland Products, a metal stamping and assembly manufacturing company in Fremont, Nebraska, recognizes that although they can’t stop the development of manufacturing production in foreign markets, they can make adjustments and advancements to their business to help them compete.

 

Overland Products used the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program to offset costs of improvement projects by 50%. With Trade Assistance Funds, Overland Products completed two projects designed to improve efficiency through automation and begin a company-wide sustainability initiative: 1) the development of a production counting system, and 2) the hiring of pollution prevention intern to devise an energy efficiency plan for the company.

 

Since its inception, Overland Products has tallied the number of parts made each day by hand. With 60 punch presses and 1500 manufacturing dies, obtaining an accurate count of production numbers was tedious, time intensive and subject to human error. They needed an automated solution to tally production, but found that none of the existing software systems on the market fit the breadth of their products or their specific needs. Instead, Overland Products worked with a consultant to develop a customized automated production counting system. Each production machine was equipped with logic controller boxes to capture the necessary data and a software system to link all machinery and tabulate production was developed. Now, with a single push of the button Overland Products can accurately report their production, a process that used to take 45 minutes.

 

Overland Products also used Trade Assistance funds to hire an intern from University of Nebraska’s Partners in Pollution Prevention (P3) program. The nine-week internship will result in an energy efficiency and waste reduction plan that the company can implement to both cut operational costs and decrease its environmental impact. Bill Ekeler, Owner/CEO, hopes this is the beginning of a journey that will ultimately lead to an environmentally-friendly green-certified manufacturing facility and business.

 

Since working with the Rocky Mountain Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, Overland Products has increased its annual revenue by 13% and employment has risen from 63 employees to 96. “The opportunity to partner with the Rocky Mountain Trade Adjustment Assistance Center reduced the financial risk of investing in improvement projects” says Bill Ekeler, Owner/CEO. “That, coupled with the expertise and experience of RMTAAC project managers ensured our improvement projects would be successful.” 

 

Learn more about Overland Products at the company Web site.