Manufacturing Optimization

Manufacturing and the Middle Market

Across the US Midwest from the end of WWII to the 1980s, most towns and cities had multiple middle market manufacturing companies that employed the local residents. In addition, the US had manufacturing suppliers including pattern makers, tool and die makers, and container distributors to support these companies. The network of suppliers was local and regional; supply chains were short and simple.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and times have certainly changed. While middle market manufacturing is still prevalent in the Midwest and other areas within the US, manufacturing companies and the supply chains that support them are drastically different. Middle market companies have been forced into the global market and in turn into the global supply chain. Over time, the manufacturing of goods and services has become more efficient with improvements in automation, and market competition is now global—which has greatly impacted the viability of middle manufacturing companies. Today, the most viable middle market manufacturing companies are innovative and competitive, and they continue to strive to improve their capabilities and their global market position. The reality for manufacturers today is that continuous improvement is no longer an option, it is a necessity.

Manufacturing Operational Improvement

Today’s middle market workforce is more highly educated, and they understand the value of innovation and improvement. FortéOne operating partners have extensive manufacturing operations expertise to assist middle market manufacturing companies in creating a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. Whether it is Kaizen, Kanban, Lean, or Six Sigma, FortéOne experts work with manufacturing operations to reduce operational waste and improve manufacturing efficiencies. Importantly, FortéOne helps develop a sustainable continuous process and culture which allows for continuous improvement to proceed after the engagement with FortéOne ends.

Middle market companies continue to invest in improving their manufacturing capabilities and equipment in order to remain competitive. FortéOne engineering experts have industry specific engineering knowledge and experience to assist companies with new manufacturing capabilities layout and development, equipment specification and procurement and labor utilization. We work together with a company’s operations and engineering staff to make sure the operation is well engineered and that operations is capable of supporting and using the capabilities to the fullest extent.

Manufacturing Outsourcing

To a second or third generation middle market manufacturing owner, the idea of outsourcing a portion or all of their manufacturing capabilities to an outsourced contract manufacturer is unfathomable. We hear from owners that say not only have they always manufactured the goods they sell, but they intend to so in the future. However, we have found that the most innovative and profitable middle market manufacturing companies understand the idea of time to market. Having the capabilities to develop and scale a product quickly via an enhanced manufacturing operations model allows middle market companies to get their product to the market quicker and begin to sell them. It is well known it takes many months to design, fabricate, and install new manufacturing capabilities. To stay competitive, companies can begin using a contract manufacturer for significantly less cost and time than building the manufacturing capabilities themselves.

FortéOne operating partners have deep industry specific manufacturing expertise that allows us to assist a company in creating a Request for Proposal (RFP) and negotiating the contract on behalf of our clients. Because of our deep knowledge, we know the competitor landscape and the contract manufacturers that support your industry sector. This knowledge allows us to shorten the time needed to secure and implement a new contract manufacturer.


Middle market manufacturing will continue to change over the near future. Global economic changes will result in increased market competition that will provide the need to change and adapt to these conditions. FortéOne operating partners have met and exceeded the challenges of improving middle market manufacturing capabilities over the past 20 years. The lessons learned over the past 20 years have given FortéOne operating partners the expertise, experience, and perspective needed to help your company adapt through uncertain and challenging times.