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Building this molder’s new warehouse was the easy part

About two-and-a-half years ago, injection molder Steinwall Inc. (Coon Rapids, MN) began the process of adding a large new warehouse, a strategic decision designed to better serve customers with kanban programs and to handle an increasing number of larger molded parts. Building it would be the easy part.



About two-and-a-half years ago, injection molder Steinwall Inc. (Coon Rapids, MN) began the process of adding a large new warehouse, a strategic decision designed to better serve customers with kanban programs and to handle an increasing number of larger molded parts. Building it would be the easy part.



The company finally began moving into the new 24,000-ft2 space last month, installing high-rack shelving to take full advantage of the vertical space that comes with a 36-ft ceiling. Move-in will be complete before the end of 2009. 





About 16,000 ft2 of Steinwall Inc.’s existing structure was demolished to make way for the new warehouse, at right.
Stories of trouble with new construction are common, but company president Maureen Steinwall says the physical part of building the warehouse turned out to be virtually problem free and fast. The biggest challenge, she says, came not from contractors, builders, and craftsmen, but from banks. The financial crisis froze them like the proverbial deer in the headlights.



Not that anything was wrong with Steinwall’s finances; quite the contrary in fact. But the banks were not sure of anything and did not want to move. Since the financial dust is still far from settled, what was it that moved this project forward? "The SBA came through," says Steinwall. The U.S. Small Business Administration did what it was founded to do and the turned wheels.



Are more customers requiring warehousing? "All of them are," says Steinwall laughing. "If everybody’s lean, there has to be storage somewhere." Steinwall Inc.’s website lists its core services, and one of them is distribution. Another motivation for the warehouse comes from larger parts, and more of them.



"We don’t make anything like auto bumpers," says Steinwall. Although the company added a 1750-ton press not long ago, she says it was more about customers needing more production of parts that had been made in single-cavity molds. Now they’re in four-cavity tooling.

Steinwall says a current customer’s request for the company to bid on an eight-cavity production was a principal factor. "All of this is about being able to service our good customers as they grew." [email protected]
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