“The aerospace industry is strong right now, and growing,” said Rudd. Through 2012 and into 2013, the decline in manufacturing means OEMs are facing constraints in meeting this demand. He has already noticed this with new and poten-
tial customers, after opening for business in September 2012. Demand coupled with capacity constraint equals opportunity for a start-up. The only question is if it can deliver.
Focus is Fundamental The key to success, he believes, is a
focused business plan and the discipline to stick to that plan. “There are three fundamentals we as a start-up are build- ing our company around,” he explained. First are the basic offerings, which he
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describes as: end-item components; tool- ing to make the components; fixturing; and gaging. “All of our proposals fall into one of these four buckets and we focus solely on the aircraft engine,” he said. Second is a fast response in deliver- ing those offerings. “We aim to deliver in three to four weeks from the receipt of design approval,” said Rudd. This strains operational expertise. “[A fast response] does not mean putting in a load of equipment that is just sitting there waiting for the order. It is essen- tial that we accept orders and go after business that we know we can deliver in that timeframe while keeping equipment active.” The company’s goal is keep spindles turning at least 20 hours per day over two shifts. Third is quality, with systems and processes in place to both guarantee quality and satisfy customer’s needs for documentation. AS9100 certification figures prominently in this (more later).
Start-Up with a Head Start
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Most start-ups work toward estab- lishing a business plan and client base first before building out capability. Such was not the case with Apex. “We did not start with a vision that we wanted to do aerospace machining, then decide out how to accomplish that,” agrees Rudd. The core group at Apex Preci-