IN THE BEGINNING…
Like many American stamping companies, nth/works was founded by a returning World War II veteran. George Lenz, entrepreneurial to the core and a Louisville native, bought his first screw machine and put it in his garage. One machine led to two, then four and so on. Screw machines ultimately morphed into stamping presses as the business grew and prospered.
In the 1970’s, the first generation of Lenzs gave way to the second. By the early 1990’s, nth/works was a $40 million business with two plants focused mainly on the appliance industry.The Lenz family decided that they needed to diversify beyond appliance manufacturing. nth/works’s took its appliance experience and expertise and began targeting automotive clients. A new finishing line was built to meet the Class A finishing requirements for the automotive industry. The move to automotive was highly successful; by 1998, sales were in the $60 million range. Things were looking great for us.
TRANSITION TO A WORLD-CLASS SUPPLIER OF COMPLEX PARTS
By the 1990s, our focus on manufacturing commoditized parts for appliance industry became a liability. Many appliance manufacturers began outsourcing production overseas. nth/works needed a new way of doing business. In late 2001, nth/works hired Tom Hudson to reposition the company for the future.
Tom knew that in order for nth/works to succeed, it had to move away from commoditized parts and focus on projects with a heavy engineering focus. Tom’s new management team restructured nth/works to manufacture complex, cosmetic parts with tight tolerances. Tom began by opening a new plant on Allmond Ave in Louisville with Class A paint line capabilities. He also implemented in-house printing by developing the world’s largest appliance pad printing operation. nth/works now had the infrastructure and equipment to build its reputation as a world-class supplier of complex parts.
SUCCESS DURING A TURBULENT RECESSION
By 2005, nth/works had transitioned to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) model; every employee now had an equity interest in the company.
A major innovation was nth/works investment in the application of sensor technology. nth/works patented die sensor technology allows much greater precision and mitigates defective parts. The die sensor has evolved into sophisticated in-press measurement and tool adjustment. The second major investment has been in the implementation of the Toyota Production System, a manufacturing process that focuses on continuous improvement.
The one constant in the new millennium has been the total dedication of all nth/works’ owner associates to providing our customers with world-class solutions and our team with an environment where they can learn and grow.