Would You Benefit from Sub-Contract Manufacturing?

Many OEMs face challenges that hinder production and profitability. Sub-contract manufacturing is an effective strategy for expanding production capacity. Outsourcing helps meet growing demand and improve bottom line. Consequently, it allows businesses to grow without increasing overhead or tying up in-house assets.

The decision to outsource should be carefully considered. Each business involves unique conditions and circumstances. The decision to sub-contract does not have to be difficult. But it is important to understand what factors to consider.

Years of experience as a manufacturing supplier has given us a knowledgeable perspective on sub-contract manufacturing. In order to assist businesses considering outsourcing, we compiled a guide that outlines the most important considerations. Our eBook, Determining the Feasibility of Sub-Contract Manufacturing is designed to help determine if sub-contract manufacturing is right for you.

Topics we will look at include:

  • Establishing Your Internal Cost Baseline
  • Assessing Internal Capacity and Capability
  • Considering Potential Issues
  • Compiling Your Prospective Vendor List
  • Establishing Your Next Steps

Just fill out the short form on the right to download your FREE eBook now!

sub-contracting ebook

Aluminum and Steel Tariffs Could Mean Supply Issues

Tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union (EU) went into effect in June, 2018. National security investigations of steel and aluminum imports were cited as the impetus for imposing tariffs of 25 percent on steel and ten percent on aluminum. Early in 2018 the Department of Commerce recommended tariffs, concluding that imports of steel and aluminum threaten U.S. national security.

tariffs on aluminum and steel aren't good

Tariffs took effect in March, 2018. Canada, Mexico, and the EU had temporary exemptions, which expired on June 1, 2018. The Trump administration announced on May 31 that the exemptions would not be renewed due to insufficient progress in NAFTA negotiations and talks with the EU.

Since the June 1st tariffs took force and word of countermeasures against U.S. products spread, analysts discussed the unintended consequences. Key among these was the impact on manufacturing and the economy. Domestic manufacturers that relied on global supply chains considered how to navigate the fallout. Many U.S. manufacturers applied for exclusions through the Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.

Tariffs Trigger Instability

These tariffs are one example of how politics and world economies can trigger instability and create serious supply issues. Supply risks have a detrimental effect on a business’s productivity and profits. Companies increasingly rely on overseas suppliers and global supply chains. Consequently, small to mid-sized companies are especially susceptible to supply risks, as larger buyers often get preferential prioritization.

Developing strategic partnerships with dependable suppliers is the best way to mitigate supply chain risks. Winston Manufacturing offers many advantages. In addition to comprehensive metal fabricating capabilities and access to the newest precision fabrication and metal bending equipment, Winston Manufacturing offers supply chain security through bulk material buying leverage. We secure the best pricing on materials, and have stability with our suppliers due to high volume purchasing power.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you as a dependable manufacturing supply partner.

Celebrate National Welding Month

welding professional
The American Welding Society (AWS) declared April “National Welding Month.”  The purpose is to recognize and appreciate the impact welders have on our daily lives. Skilled welders build the structures and products that fuel the economy. National Welding Month provides an opportunity to “spotlight welders’ past, present and future through education, mentorship and recognition.

It is important to recognize that this is a skilled trade in dire need of new talent. According to AWS, “the industry is predicting a shortage of over 200,000 skilled welders by 2020. By spotlighting the opportunities available in our industry we can create a better future for professionals that choose welding as a career.

Winston Manufacturing offers certified welding among our specialized manufacturing services. We honor our team of certified welders and celebrate their hard work and accomplishments.

Interested in learning more about our manufacturing services? Fill out our contact form!

Automated manufacturing – Science Fiction to Reality

SciFi - Automated manufacturing Ever since we heard Captain Picard utter “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot,” to a portal and then sip from his cup, we’ve been enthralled with machines that create something out of nothing. A replicator that can create hot tea out of thin air is probably a few centuries away (though the Keurig is close). But machines that build things on their own are already a reality. Everyone has heard of 3D printers. Self-replicating machines and nanofabricators can’t be far behind.

The first known mention of a “self-replicating machine” is attributed to William Paley in 1802. He thought the question of who originally made a watch would be rendered moot if the watch could make a copy of itself. In 1948 John von Neumann provided a detailed conceptual proposal for a self-replicating system. These “Von Neumann” machines are an integral part of plans to eventually mine the moon and asteroids for ore, as well as create lunar factories.

In 1955 Philip K Dick wrote a short story called Autofac. This story is set years after an apocalyptic war has wiped out most humans. Left behind is a network of autofacs, or automated factories. These autofacs autonomously gather resources and produce goods that previous civilizations needed. The recovering human population does not need the goods, but does need the resources the factories are consuming. They can’t figure out how to shut the autofacs down. I don’t want to ruin the ending, but remember the phrase “the milk is pizzled!

From Fiction to Reality

There is speculation that in the next few decades we will have operating nanofabricators (or molecular assemblers) that take raw elements like carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorous and sulfur, and create anything from a t-bone steak to a laptop. After all, matter is made up of elements and molecules. If you have the right process and the right recipe you can make anything. Food for thought, right?

Today we have 3D printers that can build anything from cars to kidneys, given the right materials. Automated manufacturing systems can take raw material, such as steel, and create a fully-functioning product to exacting specifications.

Winston Manufacturing is one of the few domestic facilities with the Salvagnini P4 + SL4 systems. Together, they make up the most efficient flexible manufacturing system (FMS) available. We still have to make Earl Gray tea the old-fashioned way, but contact us for a tour to see what our automation can create for you!

Kentucky Positioned to Grow as a Manufacturing Hub

KentuckyBig things are happening in Kentucky manufacturing. According to the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, more than $360 million were invested in manufacturing during 2017.

Jack Mazurak, Communications Director of the State Cabinet for Economic Development, reported that manufacturers look for locations with affordable living, plentiful labor, and existing aerospace and automotive industries. The state’s pro-business regulatory climate is a catalyst for corporate investments.

Fostering a New Skilled Workforce

Kentucky is fostering a new generation of skilled talent. Part of the state’s focus is on struggling areas in eastern Kentucky. HAAS eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Initiative in Paintsville partners workforce development representatives, elected officials, and business leaders to form an institute dedicated to preparing students for careers in advanced manufacturing. The institute offers courses in areas such as CNC machining, machine building, and tool maintenance. This skilled workforce is expected to attract more manufacturers to the area.

Winston Manufacturing’s Role in Promoting Kentucky Manufacturing

Above all, Winston supports our community. Our partner in that commitment is the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME). KY FAME works with local institutions to create a pipeline of highly skilled workers. For example, Winston partnered with Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTS). In conclusion, we are proud to play a role in advancing the Commonwealth as a vital domestic manufacturing hub.

Winston Manufacturing Welcomes Stephanie Kharizanova


Stephanie K, Winston Manufacturing Regional Sales ManagerWinston Manufacturing welcomes Stephanie Kharizanova to our team. As Regional Sales Manager, she’s tasked with increasing contract manufacturing and prototyping business.

Stephanie’s experience in sales and her network of clients is a great asset to Winston as we continue to grow our client base,” said Dale Stevenson, General Manager of Winston Manufacturing.

Stephanie has a long career in logistics and supply chain industry management. Most recently, she served as Sourcing Manager at Würth Snider Bolt & Screw. Prior to that, she was Area Sales Manager at Gexpro.

Reduce Costs and Keep Manufacturing in the USA

skilled workers reduce costs

Many US businesses have opted to move production to countries with abundant cheap labor, to reduce costs and improve their bottom line. But this tactic has consequences. These include a long-term drag on the domestic economy, and negative effects for companies offshoring jobs. For example, American companies that moved manufacturing overseas while keeping engineering functions in the US hindered their ability to maintain effective continuous improvement programs. Some companies explore ways to reduce costs while keeping production in the US.

Salvagnini helps reduce costs

Labor costs remain one of the largest expenses. Many US companies utilize a domestic supplier as an effective way to lower operating costs while keeping production close to home. Outsourcing gives companies the flexibility to access additional labor when needed, without the expense of maintaining a larger workforce.

Developing a strategic outsourcing partnership can reduce costs beyond labor costs. The key is to partner with an experienced, capable, and qualified manufacturing supplier.

Expanded Production Capability

Operating costs can be reduced and capabilities expanded with a supplier that offers a wide range of production capabilities. Your supplier operates as an offsite extension of your business, offering expanded capabilities without the associated capital expense.

Access to Advanced Technologies

Outsourcing with a well-equipped and qualified manufacturing supplier allows access to advanced manufacturing technologies, without the burden of ownership. Productivity is enhanced. Profitability is streamlined. As a result, the levels of accuracy and precision achieved reduces profit loss due to downtime and quality issues.

Better Product Design

The right manufacturing partner works with you in the early stages of new product development, optimizing product designs in ways that save money, from material selection to production methods. Products can be made better by design in terms of quality, manufacturability, and efficiency. An experienced manufacturer offers the benefit of having already developed proven product design strategies, as well as anticipate problems that could cost money, decrease productivity, or impact product quality.

Winston Manufacturing serves as a strategic manufacturing partner for high quality components and equipment. We are committed to investing in the industry’s best and most innovative technologies, such as our Salvagnini Laser, Punching and Bending Systems and Virtek LaserQC inspection equipment. When you partner with Winston, you’ll enjoy the advantages of this technology without the capital equipment cost. We’ve designed our processes to be flexible, to meet your project and delivery needs and reduce costs.

The KFC Connection

The Solution that Helped Build a Brand

KFC bucket Winston Industries’ long history with KFC began in the 1960s. Our founder Winston Shelton left General Electric to form a new prototyping business. Meanwhile, he was recruited to improve upon a pressure fryer – a project that would set the course for Kentucky Fried Chicken to become a dominant global chain.

Under Pressure for a New Solution

In the beginning, small hand-held pressure cookers cooked chicken in all KFC franchise stores. The Colonel knew pressure frying chicken was much faster than an iron skillet. But this meant cooks had to carry the hot pots to a dumping station and drain them. A screen caught the chicken and filtered the oil for reuse. Consequently, since the temperature of the cooking oil was above 400°F, this was really hazardous. Likewise, consistency was also an issue. Each cook had to track the time of every batch they cooked by watching a wall clock. Consequently, time miscalculations resulted in under- or overcooked chicken. Certainly a safer and more efficient solution was needed if KFC was to really grow.

Winston Shelton’s Filtration Idea

kfc grew with the help of Collectramatic fryers

The first step in replacing the hazardous, inconsistent multi-pot cooking method was a high volume fryer invented by filtering equipment manufacturer Carl Mies. Colonel Sanders asked Winston Shelton to improve the cooking timer for the new fryers. While examining the process, Shelton saw much more opportunity for improvement. Subsequently, he developed a new filtration method for pressure fryers that increased cooking productivity and efficiency.

The Collectramatic® Changed Everything

The original fryer design did not  filter the cooking oil. This meant that bits of breading (cracklings) that fell from the chicken during cooking remained in the oil and burned. As a result, this reduced the cooking oil’s usable life. Shelton invented a way to automatically filter the oil while continuously frying. Using gravity and convective circulation, Shelton’s design allowed the cracklings that fell off to collect in a cooler deep well at the bottom of the fryer. Importantly, this innovation meant cooks no longer needed to frequently shut off the fryers and drain them to filter the oil.

The new fryer was dubbed the Collectramatic® Pressure Fryer. It could cook 20 batches of chicken between filterings.

Kudos from the Colonel and Soaring Productivity

The Colonel had high praise for Shelton’s design. Inspecting the round collector cylinder at the bottom of the fryer, the Colonel discovered it was full of cracklings. Since these bits constituted a key ingredient in his chicken gravy recipe, the Colonel was delighted.

As word of the new fryer spread throughout the franchise system, orders for the Collectramatic poured in. Using the old single pot method, KFC stores generateed $200,000 per year in average sales. With Shelton’s new fryer, average sales per store immediately grew to an amazing $900,000. In a 2012 interview with Louisville magazine, Fred Jefferies, then KFC purchasing and franchise vice president, said the 450% sales growth could never have been accomplished without “Win’s fryer.” Jefferies said, “He helped set the stage for that with true engineering thinking.

Today, we continue to invent and manufacture the most precise and profitable foodservice equipment, serving over 120 countries. Winston Manufacturing carries on the “true engineering thinking” of its namesake. We believe in great ideas and are dedicated to making them a reality. We look forward to building more solutions as we bring more ideas to life.

Winston and Colonel, KFC

Four Things to Look for in a Metal Fabrication Supplier

Metal Fabrication SupplierWhen looking for a production partner, finding the right metal fabrication supplier is crucial. If your supplier is unqualified or mismatched with your metal fabricating needs, it could cost you in terms of product issues, delivery problems, or unforeseen expense.

Let’s look at four critical things to consider in when evaluating a metal fabrication supplier.

1. Experience

Your metal fabrication supplier’s experience is crucial to project success. More experienced fabrication partners will be more adept at identifying potential issues. Consequently, issues are resolved before becoming expensive problems. During production, a small deviance in measurement can result in unusable assembly parts. Selecting an ill-suited finishing process for your materials compromises your product’s quality. Experienced suppliers spot potential problems before they happen. They can also identify areas of improvement. Their experience lets them see the processes being used on your project might “get the job done,” but at a cost much higher than necessary. An experienced supplier offers you real savings and higher quality. They know a slight improvement in design or layout could substantially reduce material waste.

2. Capacity

It is important to match the capabilities of your supplier to your needs. Just because a supplier can produce a part does not mean their manufacturing capacity is a good match. This is particularly critical in large production runs. The typical job shop may not have the proper equipment to efficiently produce the volume of components needed, or they may not have enough experienced labor to quickly fill large orders.

3. Capability

Many suppliers offer expertise in a few specific areas of manufacturing. While this is sufficient for some jobs, many projects require a variety of fabricating services to complete the end product. These services might include:

  • Lasers and Turret Presses
  • Metal Bending
  • Custom Machining
  • Metal Cutting
  • Certified Welding
  • Metal Finishing

In some cases, design assistance may be required, especially with new products. Choosing a supplier that can assist with design can greatly improve the product and reduce the time it takes to get to market.

4. Advanced Technology

Not all suppliers are created equal. More precisely, not all metal fabrication suppliers commit to investing the time and resources to stay at the forefront of metal fabrication technology. While it may not seem like advanced technology is important for your product, it is worthwhile to consider the value break-through technologies such as Salvagnini integrated systems can bring to a project in terms of lower cost, greater throughput and productivity. When evaluating suppliers, be sure you compare their equipment lists so you can choose a supplier that offers you access to the best technology available.

Have more questions about what to look for in a metal fabrication supplier? Allow us to share with you the benefit of our decades of experience as a foodservice equipment OEM.  Please give us a call to discuss your project.

The Winston Difference in Handling Large Production Runs

Large Production RunsWhen it comes to choosing a manufacturing partner to handle your large production runs, you have a lot of options. Understanding the advantages offered by each manufacturer can mean the difference between simply getting the job done and getting superior products that are efficiently produced.

Winston Manufacturing is your ideal partner when it comes to large production runs. Our decades of experience as a foodservice equipment OEM enable us to be one of the most well-equipped and knowledgeable manufacturing resources available. We put our knowledge to work in every project. Meeting project requirements is simply an expectation of doing business. Our goal is to exceed expectations on large production runse. Here are some key advantages that allow us to achieve optimal results for every project:


Our highly seasoned team has worked through daunting manufacturing challenges. Every challenge successfully met has added to our arsenal of experience. Our collective field tested knowledge is applied to every large production run. This is how we improved upon some of the most demanding manufacturing processes.


While many job shops specialize in a few select areas, Winston has invested in developing a broad range of expertise. We position our company as a one-stop-source for a wide array of manufacturing needs. What advantage does this offer our customers? Above all, efficiency. Projects move seamlessly through our process, with the benefit of our experience at every phase.

More Equipment

We’re an ever-expanding OEM and we’ve made the commitment to invest in capital equipment. Our continued investment has resulted in Winston being one of the industry’s most well-equipped manufacturers for large production runs. Smaller, less well-capitalized manufacturers are financially incapable of creating an equipment mix like Winston.

Better Equipment

Experience has taught us to stay ahead of the curve in specifying and purchasing state-of-the-art equipment. Our most recent investment, the Salvagnini L3 Fiber Laser, enables us to expand productivity and offer greater versatility for a lower cost per part.

Our experienced team anticipates production trends and purchases equipment well in advance to meet upcoming challenges. We maintain an on-going commitment to invest in new technology and rotate old systems out of our equipment portfolio.

Higher Capacity

Our commitment to serving large production runs is reflected in our investment in capacity. Our specialized equipment delivers significantly more machining capacity than standard job shops. Winston also offers expanded shifts of experienced professionals to provide unsurpassed levels of productivity. We schedule production work down to the minute, with flexible shifts and a highly qualified workforce.

Central Location

On-time delivery is a critical factor in maintaining a profitable and efficient flow of operations. Winston Manufacturing’s location in Louisville, Kentucky allows us to easily ship to 65% of the United States in one day’s drive. In addition to effectively serving domestic customers, Winston provides timely international shipments to more than 115 countries around the world.

Are you in need of a dependable and capable partner for large production runs? You can trust Winston Manufacturing with your large production runs – give us a call to discuss your project!