Chapel Hill | Doug Shipman | www.shipmantech.com
We increased our revenues by over 550% in four months, we have tripled the number of direct labor employees and added three engineers to our staff.
WHAT’S YOUR STARTUP STORY?
I read an article in a magazine that outlined the troubled relationship between Union Carbide and their client, General Motors. Put simply, the chemicals giant failed in their contractual guarantee to continuously ensure the supply of cryogenic gas, used for welding in automotive production. With manufacture halted, Union Carbide lost the contract to their chief competitor. Realizing the labor-intensive, inefficient method used to determine the supply of gas, I knew I could develop a custom component that could monitor usage and predict when the company would require another delivery. I developed the product, coded the software in my basement, and personally called the big players. The rest, as they say, is history. This year Shipman Technologies celebrates 30 years in the industry.
WHAT DOES SHIPMAN TECHNOLOGIES DO?
We solve manufacturing problems, permanently.
Within the walls of our 20,000 square foot facility, we have developed an unrivaled breadth of capabilities, becoming the go-to company for some of the biggest (and most demanding) players in the medical instrument, agribusiness and industrial equipment markets. Our clients don’t care that we have die cutting, injection molders, CAD-CAM seats, CNC equipment, a sheet metal shop, a materials lab. Our clients care about their manufacturing issue. They want to know how we can solve their problem, and take the solution into production. They want to know how we can do this better, faster, cheaper than any other company in the USA or offshore.
WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER MANUFACTURERS?
Reduced costs and extraordinary quality through easily scalable, automated work cells.
As experts in advanced robotic assembly, our focus on automation reduces the labor component to provide quality control, cost reduction, and greater flexibility. We deliver automated solutions – designing a work cell that requires minimum labor yet produce perfect quality. Through advanced robotic assembly, we reduce the human component so that we can reduce labor costs and human error.
The quickest way to improve a manufacturing process or develop a concept is to have all of the capabilities and talent in-house. Full vertical integration enables us to provide our clients with rapid prototyping, moving from concept to market quickly. We have the capability to develop a concept through mechanical drawing to functional prototype to finished product or work cell without outsourcing any part of the process.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO NORTH CAROLINA?
The heavy concentration of colleges gives our company depth in terms of engineering and lab capabilities. We have ready access to a huge talent pool, engineers who are pushing the boundaries of coding, robotics, materials development and testing; engineers who defy you to bring them a manufacturing process that cannot be improved.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR OTHER ENTREPRENEURS?
As a process design and manufacturing provider, I cannot speak specifically to businesses in the service or retail sectors. Nonetheless, I’m confident they would benefit greatly by availing themselves of the multitude of support programs that the SBTDC, SBA, and SCORE provide. If I’ve learned anything over the past thirty plus years in business, it’s that I still have much to learn.
HOW HAS THE SBTDC BEEN ABLE TO HELP YOUR COMPANY GROW?
We have availed ourselves of as many of the programs offered by the SBTDC that might be beneficial, from human resources analysis through to business development planning. They have been incredibly helpful in supporting our decision making processes, in determining how we can optimize our procedures economically. They have reviewed our marketing, our accounting systems, recommended new approaches and highlighted areas for development. The SBTDC has ensured that we are compliant with current law, and using the latest techniques. They support us by giving us a fresh perspective to contrast our business against best available practices. In so doing, the SBTDC has enabled us to focus on what we do best.
DO YOU THINK THE SBTDC HAS MADE AN IMPACT ON YOUR COMPANY?
After completing a costing and workflow exercise, we embarked on an initiative to market the services of Shipman Tech. As a result, we increased our revenues by 550% in four months, we have tripled the number of direct labor employees, and added three engineers to our staff. With 2015 revenue predicted to grow 400%, we plan to expand our workforce further, and are currently recruiting for a President and CFO.
This story was originally published in the SBTDC 2014-2015 Annual Report. Click Here to view the report.
More Success Stories
Barringer Moving and Storage
When we found the right building, our first call was to our SBTDC counselor, Byron. He was a tremendous help. He educated us on what the bankers needed and asked us all the questions that the bankers would ask. The banks loved it. They didn’t have to ask the questions, because we had the packet ready and we looked like a professional company. Honestly, without that assistance, no banker would have even looked at us to find out our story, and we never would have gotten this building.
The location of each site has been very strategic. Before we open any office, we call Johnnie at the SBTDC and he gives me demographic information about the community. We really take advantage of his expertise, which allows us to pinpoint areas that best fit our business model. Today we have 17 offices from the coast to the mountains and currently serve more than 100,000 kids each year from 64 counties in NC. We have 152 employees and will add at least 25 or 30 this year.