Looking Back as Switzer Drives Forward
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success would have no meaning.” One company which can attest to the truth of Franklin’s statement is Switzer: a contract manufacturing company that has embraced continual change and expansion to become an industry leader since its establishment in 1988.
Headquartered in Buffalo, NY, Dennis Switzer founded Precision-Photo Fab, Inc. as a photochemical etching company dedicated to producing custom, tight-tolerance metal components. Since then, the business has undergone several changes, including leadership and name changes, which have pushed the company to grow to its current size and capabilities. In 2009, Dennis’ sons – Bernie and Adam – overtook the roles of President and Vice President and later renamed the company as Switzer.
While he took over and drove the company forward, Bernie says that the roots of the company – his father – are what inspire him most as a business owner. When his father started the company in 1988, he did it from nothing. “I can’t imagine the amount of courage it entails to risk taking an idea and a small amount of financial backing,” Bernie says. His father’s ability to create a successful manufacturing business with little more than his experience and wits has inspired Bernie to not only take risks, but to have courage and be humble; and just as all experienced business leaders know, risk-taking is key when it comes to pushing a company to reach its full potential.
As many companies do, Switzer has taken inspiration from other successful businesses to transform itself into the industry leader that it is today. One business that Switzer has attempted to model itself after is Disney, a company which is reputable for its unparalleled customer service. Medtronic, which consistently produces a high-quality product and runs a research and development process that is second to none, has inspired the quality at which Switzer’s custom metal components are produced. Another business model Bernie mentioned is GE, stating “GE has taken vision and strategy to a level most companies couldn’t even imagine.” Looking up to and learning from other industry leaders has allowed Switzer to develop itself as a leader in its own industry.
While the company has already grown immensely under Bernie and Adam’s leadership throughout the past decade, Bernie says what he is excited for most is the unknown: the further growth of the manufacturing company into areas that are unpredictable right now. With business expansion plans and strategies in place, Bernie knows what the plan is and the general direction that Switzer is headed in but does not know exactly where the company will end up. The president compared Switzer’s future to the production of a film: “We have the script close to being finished but while we haven’t even started filming the movie yet, I know it is going to turn out great.” While there are many unknowns, Bernie is eager to see the success that everyone involved in the business will enjoy, as well as the determination and teamwork it will take to get there.
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