No one believes in this more than owner and CEO, Tim Johnston, of Chapter 2 Inc., located in Lake Mills, WI. In fact, he himself started off with Chapter 2 back in the 70’s mowing their lawns and doing odd jobs. Tim and his wife Tracy bought Chapter 2 from the original owners in 1989 and have been growing the business over the past three decades to a precision manufacturing company capable of high volume production work within all industry sectors. Chapter 2 is a family operation: Pictured (L to R): daughter, Kali; son-in-law, Mike, wife, Tracy: owner, Tim; daughter-in-law, Amanda; and son, Kyle; all heavily involved in the business.
Where many shops struggle with finding skilled labor, Tim says that’s never been a problem for them. “We have highly technical people, with a mix of young and seasoned; some with as much as 25 - 30 plus years of experience.” said Tim. What sets Chapter 2 apart is how they empower their people to be involved in the business and make recommendations. Many of their best engineering ideas came from the guys on the shop floor, not management.
Tim’s son Kyle, Director of Operations, shares a great example. “When we first started looking at improving our machining cell we knew we needed a new lathe. We asked our engineers what machine they wanted to work with and they were the ones that selected Doosan. Doosan’s machine rigidity was a huge part of that decision due to the heavy machining, depth of cuts, and interrupted cuts that were needed,” said Kyle. They since added four more Doosan lathes including (2) Puma 2600Y and (2) Puma GT2100MB. “The Doosan machines hold up. They have the horse power and speed that we need; which has been tremendous for us.”
Their staff has also made recommendations regarding shop layout, engineering processes, design, and even building their own fixtures. By empowering their people, they become invested in the business and that kind of community within extends outward, inspiring others to want to be a part of it, even their customers.
“Technologically, we’re very good at what we do,” states Tim. “Our customers see us as a value. We’re successful when our customers are successful and exceed in their jobs.” Chapter 2 does this by helping their customers improve the engineering process. They work with their design and development staffs to ensure they are making parts the most cost effective and competitively priced.
Chapter 2 is always looking for ways to improve their own efficiency too. “New jobs and new people can lead to scrap, so that’s an area we monitor," said Tim. “Our total overall scrap is typically one-half of 1%. People ask: why do you care so much about scrap…and I say: because that’s how you improve.” They’re able to then share the benefits of those improvements along to their customers.
Today, Chapter 2 is running three shifts capable of handling all kinds of manufacturing jobs, including high production volume work; which they currently manage using their Doosan horizontal machining cell. The cell consists of four Doosan HP 5100 horizontal machining centers making engine components. Chapter 2 even won Supplier of the Year award based on how efficient and precise they were making their parts.
This summer they added the Doosan HP 5100 to make lawn mower housing (pictured right), and based on capacity; have a brand new 2017 Doosan NHP 5000 horizontal machining center that is delivering to their shop this month (October).
Keeping machines running and at capacity is crucial for their business. “We’ve struggled with machine tool dealers in the past when it comes to how they react on service priority,” said Kyle, “but with Ellison, we don’t feel that and it’s a big deal.” Kyle continued, “The Doosan machines combined with Ellison has been a winning combination for us.”
Chapter 2 truly is a one-of-kind company spanning two city blocks. They have a “we can do it” attitude that is contagious and shows through their many capabilities: cnc machining, design and project management, painting services, welding, assembly, workholding, automation and more. They are always looking at new ways to improve and grow with open capacity still available.
Tim summarized it best when he said: “I really enjoy what I do, a lot! I am so lucky to have such smart people surrounding me.”
To learn even more about Chapter 2, visit their website: www.chap2.com