Remember When…

Most companies have the desire to grow their customer base and revenues, but how you go about this venture must be very different for each and every company. Our company’s story is a smaller version of the Bill Gates one, who started in a garage much like the owner Norman did. Every day was a challenge then, every order was celebrated and every bill was paid somehow.

Now Birk Manufacturing employs about 75 full time employees that work in a new 33,000 square foot high tech facility, have health benefits, a 401K plan and profit sharing. It may seem cliche to say, call here and you will always speak to a real person, and have direct access to the engineering department, but you will! We remember the owner’s commitment and sacrifice, and realize our existence depends on the approval of our customer; we have to earn your business by delivery quality, on time and cost effectively. Birk Manufacturing company remains humble and very well prepared to deliver now and in the future. We have managed to maintain the small company atmosphere and compete in a world market.

Howard Birk

Vice President

Customer Service and the 5 Rules of Birk

The 5 Rules of Birk convey basic principles we feel are fundamental to doing good business.  They are:

1 – Customer First

2 – Help Each Other

3 – Learn New Skills

4 – Communicate

5 – Have Fun

I will write about each one in successive blogs and it’s convenient the first one is about customer service, since that is what I enjoy doing every day.

BIRK RULE #1 – Customer First

We hear the phrase “the customer always comes first” in many different situations throughout our lives, but here at Birk, customer service is really about company culture, and our culture is one of the things we’re most proud of.  We feel customer service is everyone’s job and the commitment to not only meet the customer’s expectation, but to exceed it, is apparent throughout our company.

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The Pursuit of Perfection through Continuous Improvement

Birk Manufacturing’s vision is quite clear; to become the world leader in flexible thermal solutions by supplying our customers with the highest quality design support, manufacturing capability and customer service while continuing to improve operations to lower prices and sustain competitive advantage. One of the key objectives to fulfill this lofty goal is the company-wide implementation of “lean” improvement methodologies. Lean is a set of “tools” that assist in the identification and steady elimination of waste within a process. As waste is identified and eliminated, production time and costs are reduced.  Lower costs, shorter lead times, unsurpassed quality, and exceeding customer expectations are Birk Manufacturing’s keys to remaining competitive and  increasing our presence within the marketplace.

Since the beginning of 2010, Birk Manufacturing has made huge strides in the application of lean tools and techniques such as 6S, standardization, visual management, improved process flow, batching, poka-yoke, supermarkets, Kanban and more. However, the “lean journey” is a pursuit of perfection, and because perfection does not exist, the pursuit is never ending. There are endless opportunities for continuous improvement and in order to apply lean methodology consistently and remain committed to operation excellence Birk Manufacturing has dedicated a department solely responsible for this task.

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The “Rules” of Birk

Birk is an amazing place to work; we are a growing manufacturing company focused on continuous improvement and better serving our customers.  To help with this process I have implemented the “Rules” of Birk; the rules are posted throughout the building and are know by all.  These rules work great for Birk manufacturing and could be applied to any company.  The key to these rules is not that they are posted, it is that everyone truly believes in the meaning and purpose behind the rules.  That is the case here at Birk and because of that everyone here at Birk follow the rules because they will WANT to follow them.

Here are our rules for reference; you may use them as they are OR you may develop your own list.

1. Customer First! – This is the most important rule and is the focus of the entire company

2. Help Each Other

3. Learn New Skills

4. Communicate

5. HAVE FUN! – This rule is almost as important as #1.  I believe that if you love what you do and have fun while working you produce not only a better product but also better ideas for future improvements