Pro-Con is a manufacturing company that has been working with OEMs, designers, and engineers for nearly two decades. Chris Hinkebein, President, shares the story of the company’s success: “Pro-Con was founded in 1995 and I purchased the business in 2012. It was well established at the time and the previous owner had a good management team in place, which coming from outside of manufacturing was greatly beneficial. The business didn’t have a solid marketing presence, but with my background in marketing, my goal was to increase the company’s visibility while allowing the managers to continue doing what they do, in terms of driving growth.
“We are a contract manufacturer, specializing in CNC mill, and lathe services. We also have light fabricating capabilities. Our welders carry out MIG and TIG welding, both on individual parts and assemblies. We have approximately 60 staff members and work with customers throughout North America, Canada, and Mexico, and are always looking for new opportunities within the manufacturing world.
“Companies come to us with drawings of components and quantities they require. It can be a one-off or an ongoing purchase, and we will quote accordingly. Our state-of-the-art, 30,000-square-foot facility includes 18 CNC milling centers and 15 CNC turning centers, plus an assortment of supporting equipment such as manual mills, lathes, and saws. As a precision component parts manufacturer, we provide customers with high-quality and cost-effective parts, delivered when promised, through excellent service and support,” he explains.
CNC milling can create parts and components to fit extremely precise dimensions and requirements. Using computer-guided tools, the fabrication process is completed quickly and with supreme accuracy. Pro-Con’s superior CNC turning services facilitate the fabrication of parts and components from a variety of materials, all with unparalleled accuracy and precision. The company’s CNC services are ideal for small-to-medium volume runs for custom components, and it also offers prototype CNC services to guarantee that the finished product meets exact specifications. Experienced welding technicians, along with continued investment in welding technology and equipment, assures repeatability. Pro-Con’s welding department can handle the most complex weldment requirements.
The company offers a comprehensive service, including competent and efficient component assembly. Using Pro-Con for contract assembly allows for better inventory management and reduced customer overhead. “We are also now offering painting services in-house,” adds Chris. “If a customer needs a component painted prior to shipping, then we can facilitate that.”
In terms of differentiating itself from competitors, Chris believes customer communication is key to Pro-Con’s competitive advantage. “We keep our customers informed and updated with their order’s progress, including any obstacles to that progress. Many smaller shops don’t have the front office staff that we do. It’s a genuine advantage to be able to communicate any concerns or issues back to the customer and equally, advise them if their parts are going to be finished ahead of schedule. That level of customer service enables us to separate ourselves from other operators out there.
“Likewise, our quality assurance department is second to none. From our highly experienced and qualified quality specialists who are full-time members of staff, to the best equipment available, we have the tools needed to manage and keep up with the large volume of parts moving through our company daily. From raw material receiving to in-process inspection and final inspection, customers can be assured that their parts are being meticulously inspected and monitored every step of the way. We are also proud to be ISO certified, assuring we have processes in place that are reviewed annually by an internal auditor and then reviewed by an external auditor to confirm our processes and reporting are accurate. The quality processes and procedures are in place to ensure that what we do is repeatable. If a customer orders a part today, they can rest assured they’ll get the same part six months from now.”
Pro-Con incorporates technology to enhance efficiency. “We employ machine tending robots to load and unload components into a CNC machine,” Chris elaborates. “That enables us to have one operator managing up to three different machines. One of the biggest challenges facing the industry is the labor shortage. While robotics can plug the gap for certain tasks, we’re always looking for the right people to join our company; people who are a good fit for our organization and align with our vision.”
Looking to the future, Chris shares his vision for Pro-Con moving forward: “We plan to continue to grow and add additional services to our portfolio. We strive to offer our customers a one-stop shop. We are willing to take on additional requirements even though we might not have the current capabilities in-house. One recent example as I mentioned earlier is the offering of wet paint services in 2023. We look to expand on that and incorporate it into our own facility in 2024. A standalone in-house paint shop that offers wet paint, as well as powder coat services will give us greater control over the outcomes and produce optimum results for our customers,” he concludes.
“As such, we’ll look to improve our overall capabilities as a machine shop to give our customers the highest level of service. Much of that involves ensuring we have the quality programs, processes, and procedures in place to provide our customers peace of mind. We want them to rest assured that what they order is what they’re going to get.”