Owens Products

Success with The Center

OWENS PRODUCTS: Improved Costing Leads to Company-Wide Advancements

The information provided by The Center has been a valuable tool for Owens Products as we continue to move our focus on how and who we do business with.
-- Mitch Herald, President

Established in 1965, Owens Products (www.owens-pro.com) specializes in providing a wide variety of products and services, including fiberglass parts, molds and repairs, Jeep and RV products, dog crates, tool boxes, shipping racks, police vehicle inserts and other commercial vehicle products. They also offer products for the marine and medical industries. For more than 50 years, Owens has provided custom product engineering and manufacturing to fit the needs of their customers. Owens is dedicated to delivering the highest level of quality, safety and satisfaction by understanding customer expectations. Owens employs 40 at their 110,000 square foot facility in Sturgis, Mich.


After attending a free informational event about the importance of business costing at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center), Owens determined they wanted to further assess their costing methods.


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To learn how to optimize their costing methods, Owens engaged in four days of mentoring with The Center. This process began with a facility tour to identify all primary and secondary activities in the facility. Following this, The Center’s expert worked with Owens to develop a completely new system for bookkeeping, organizing and categorizing every expense with associated costs. From there, the team compared their numbers with industry averages to identify areas that could be improved:

- Employee wages and benefits were determined to be competitive within industry standards.

- For every $1 spent on the plant floor, $1.20 was being spent in the office. This ratio is relatively high compared to the industry. Owens has taken steps to make this ratio more balanced and to save costs.

- Half of all utility expenses was going toward the vacuum former, a piece of equipment used to produce molds for production. It was formerly being run six days a week in order to keep up with orders. Now, the cycle time has been reduced from 11 minutes to five minutes, leading to reduced costs, improved efficiency and increased capacity.

- Issues were discovered in the quoting process. Due to imprecise estimates of the production rate, quotes were inaccurate. The team is now working to quote with more accurate numbers, offering more competitive estimates.

Going forward, Owens will continue to use this new system of bookkeeping to more closely track and monitor expenses and make improvements accordingly. Additionally, based on the identified challenge areas, Owens plans to invest in future training in Lean and problem solving for middle managers to create a more organized and efficient workplace.


  • Increased Sales: 38% as a result of more competitive pricing
  • Increased Profitability: 8%
  • Reduction in Cost of Goods Sold: 4.7%