Smart automation at Felker Brothers leads to solid return on investment

An MOC Success Story
October 30, 2020


Felker Brothers has goals to grow the company. A new process development committee was the first step toward developing an innovation culture, sustainable growth process, and skill set that can identify, evaluate, and implement new manufacturing process capabilities. The long-term goal is to foster and grow the next generation of business leaders and to have the organizational capability to capitalize on new sales, market, and product opportunities.


Project managers from the University of Wisconsin-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center (MOC) helped Felker Brothers implement a custom innovation management system for their product development committee. The system helped generate and capture ideas, screen and score, and manage approval of implementation projects. The new process development committee set objectives to move these initiatives forward: 

  1. Review opportunities to develop new product ideas using current manufacturing capabilities or identify what future capabilities would be needed to manufacture these products.
  2. Investigate new market opportunities using current manufacturing capabilities and/or future capabilities needed to enter a new market.
  3. Identify opportunities to improve current processes or develop new processes to reduce cost, improve lead-time, enhance quality, or improve safety in manufacturing.


Key projects implemented: 

  • Flex Drill increased additional sales by 10% with 50% production/cost reduction
  • Mazak machining center increased additional sales by 5% with 35% production/cost reduction
  • Pipe-cutting equipment offered 25% production/cost reduction


“With the guidance and instruction from MOC, we have developed a process to evaluate projects and processes that determine benefits to the company and the confidence of solid ROI.” 

- Jeff Wefel Chief Operations Officer Felker Brothers Corporation