Reputation, quality, and automation; the backbone of Timesaver’s success
Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Timesavers is a pioneer in their industry. Established in 1945, the company is now in its 76th year of operation, creating the best woodworking and metalworking surface finish equipment.
Timesavers serves a broad range of industries and sectors, producing original equipment manufacturing (OEM) parts/equipment, and they are known for their quality finish and surface preparation.
As a genuine USA legacy brand, Timesavers has several US locations, as well as international offices. These satellite production sites are also steeped in history and have a workforce of highly skilled craftspeople.
The headquarters are based just outside the Minneapolis Metro, and the location is home to 75 employees. In the local area, the company also recently incorporated a new Minneapolis-based company called Midwest Automation, which has an additional 35 employees.
Also at the headquarters is the Timesaver’s brand Randbright, which produces cylindrical furnishing products.
“With over 100 employees in Minneapolis, and two more locations that manufacture for and support all of North America, Timesavers provides products for our nation’s woodworking businesses and is known for having the best finishing products in the industry,” says Brent Fischmann, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Timesavers.
Timesavers is a company with a heritage, so when it incorporated Dubois Equipment Company, based in Jasper, Indiana, they were sure to insist that Dubois keep production standards as they’ve always been.
Dubois Equipment Company is the oldest operating business in the state of Indiana and was established in 1868. This historical company produces equipment that is associated with coating and curing systems for wood and metal industrial purposes.
Outside of the USA, the Timesavers’ European branch is based in the Netherlands and is called Timesavers International. They provide support for metalworking and fabrication on the European continent. Sales and support are based in Asia and the company has an employee count of between 200 – 225 individuals.
The company aims to provide its customers with the best manufacturing solutions to deliver the best products. This is achieved via the collaboration of all the branches.
“Timesavers provides the cutting, shaping, forming, and surface products. While the Dubois or Randbrights will assist with linking upstream or downstream processing,” says Fischmann.
With Timesavers’ portfolio of brands, they can provide a complete 360 solution for woodworking and metalworking. This includes sanding, polishing, removing slag, surface finishing, grinding, and several other applications.
Working in such a technical industry, staff retention is key to success. The company ensures that the ethos they apply to their client service is also used within their own staff. This means enabling them to achieve their best.
Timesavers make sure that their employees are encouraged to grow, and when needs arise, they are met with urgency. Often, staff will be sent on educational courses to up their credentials, learn new expertise, and develop as people.
It’s for this reason the company is home to many very senior employees that have been in the business for years. With this combination of development-orientated incentives, Timesavers is a great place to work and grow.
Fischmann elaborates, “Our vision is to be a great place to work and to grow personally. We support our clients and employees, so they respect and love the company when they walk through doors. We are the preferred partners to all our customers.”
While many companies have struggled with supply chain and employment issues during COVID-19, Timesavers was registered as a critical business. This meant the company could stay open and carry on production. While other industries have been finalizing the implementations of new working models, such as working from home in manufacturing, Timesavers’ employees had to be on-site. To keep employees safe, the company was strict about its health policies during the pandemic.
The business has benefited from the employment market slump as Timesavers’ products are all about automation. When companies can’t find new employees to fill roles, they turn to automation to keep the lights on.
“Hiring individuals for repetitive roles such as sanding has become an issue. So, with the introduction of automated machinery to optimize production, Timesavers is replacing hands with machines when there aren’t available hands for the jobs,” says Fischmann.
Timesavers assists their clients to continue growing in a market where employees are scarce. This means there is a demand for sophisticated equipment to replace skilled individuals.
Automation is a buzzword in many industries, and in the manufacturing sector, it is the same. Timesavers is focusing on providing fixed automation solutions where they’ll automate processes that would take longer by hand, such as sanding kitchen cabinet doors.
Recently, the company has decided to also explore more automation processes in material handling solutions and is talking about introducing robotic machinery. This would mean having a fully integrated robotic cell that would take care of deburring, sanding, or grinding.
As these advancements are added to the working environment, the connectivity of these machines is essential, as it is the future of factory work.
Fischmann elaborates, “The future factory will give users feedback information. Providing them with predictive maintenance updates, so parts can be sourced in time, and production can carry on flawlessly.”
Machinery that can feedback information will also assist with locating issues and help cut down on maintenance time. Linking and integrating robotics and material handling makes the systems more flexible.
This flexibility will be realized when recounting batch recipes and being able to change processes with a press of a button without having to reset the entire machine, saving time and money.
No company can succeed without collaborating with a great partner; for Timesavers, it’s 3M, based in Minneapolis. As one of Timesavers’ oldest partnerships, they have been working together for years to create specific abrasive processing technology.
“Every Timesavers unit that goes out is equipped with a 3M abrasive mating surface on it. They support us today in application development for customers. And if clients want a solution for challenging application requirements, we call in 3M,” says Fischmann.
With the company’s ambition of moving toward more automated products, Timesavers International is working with Siemens to assist with control panel interfaces. This being said, the company will tailor its control panels to integrate with every known manufacturer, including Bradley, Mitsubishi, and more.
While economic trends affect the business, Timesavers have learned to pivot with the times. After the steep decline in home building, the company is now seeing an uptake in providing assistance with commercial wooden projects. And if in the future both are seeing a downturn, homeowners will want to modify their homes with new kitchens and renovations. No matter which way the market turns, Timesavers is ready to assist.
“We love it when our custom builders are doing well and when commercial builders get larger projects from builders, designers, and architects. Our team is ready to provide the automated solution for any job,” says Fischmann.
In the next few years, the company plans to expand by offering more products that bring these solutions to new markets, developing its own products organically, and carrying on with its acquisitions. This would entail creating new products, providing more manufacturing solutions, and promoting these items to consumers. Also, this leads to venturing further into automation, connectivity, and upping the volumes these products can handle.
The company’s future is bright, with newly established collaborations, such as the acquisition of Midwest Automation, Randbright, and Dubois. This bigger team can now tackle new customers’ problems.
And new collaborations have already provided tangible results, with the team presenting new products at the November Expo of FABTECH in Atlanta.
Fischmann concludes, “This is exciting. All the new products to showcase to our customers are a real tribute to the people working tirelessly to keep the reputation of the Timesavers high for another 76 years.”
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AT A GLANCE
What: Woodworking and metalworking surface finish equipment company
Where: Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota