Posted on: 2020-02-10 09:31:13
By Cara Spoto, Waukesha Freeman, December 27, 2019
Sales Manager Dave Sucharski points to dies made by Miro Manufacturing at the company’s facilities on Sentry Drive.
Photo by Cara Spoto / Freeman Staff
WAUKESHA — They can’t share the names with everyone. But if you asked company officials at Miro Manufacturing, 201 Sentry Drive, to tell you just a few of the companies they make parts for, your jaw might just drop.
Started in 1988 as a small tool and die shop by Jeff and Shelley Brown, the company’s client list today includes some of the biggest names in the auto and lawn and garden industries.
Next spring the company will once again branch out, when it starts creating custom parts for one of the world’s largest medical equipment manufacturers.
While Waukesha, and the Midwest at large, is filled with metal stamping and tool and die companies, Miro officials say the company has been able to thrive — even in tough economic times — due to its versatility.
While the company has expanded out over the last 12 years into contract manufacturing, it hasn’t abandoned its tooling abilities.
“A lot of companies have traveled this path,” admitted Sales Manager Dave Sucharski, but when they do, he noted, they often lose their tool and die skills as the production side grows.
“We chose the opposite. We kept the tool and die capabilities as we grew in contract manufacturing,” Sucharski said. “Because we have those capabilities, we design and build all the dies that we run here.”
In a nutshell, Miro’s main business is making parts for companies. In a typical contract, a customer will send the design or drawing of a part they want Miro to make for them.
If it gets the contract, Miro will then design a die that will make that part.
Depending on the complexity of the die or its size, it can take anywhere from a month to six months to make a die that will be used to make a specific part.
Sometimes those parts are shipped back out to the manufacturer, sometimes Miro will do some, or all, of the assembly themselves.
It still creates dies for other manufacturers as well.
The company has around 50 employees. Operations are spread out across three buildings on its Sentry campus, as well as a former Wisconsin Department of Transportation building near Newhall and West avenues that it purchased about two years ago.
During a recent tour of the Sentry Drive facilities, workers could be seen going quietly about their routines amidst the hammering of towering metal presses and the humming of CNC machines.
In some rooms, parts were laid out along tables or near giant steel dies.
While the company doesn’t have any current plans to hire more employees, Sucharski said growth is part of their strategy. He noted that company leaders are hoping that its new contract with the medical equipment manufacturer will lead to even more contract opportunities, which could lead to even more expansion.
“Like anything, if you do a job well, you’re going to get further opportunities,” he said.
As the company continues to expand, owner Jeff Brown says the focus will be on developing its next generation of leadership.
“Miro has survived a few economic downturns. In the early 2000s, nearly one-third of all U.S. tool and die shops went out of business. Miro survived,” Brown said. “Less than 10 years later, tough times were again responsible for the demise of more shops. Miro survived again, and we reinvented the company as a contract manufacturer, creating the launch pad for Miro’s recent growth and prosperity. We look to continue our growth into the next generation, creating job opportunities for additional employees.”
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