WBJ manufacturers of the year are thriving, innovating, specializing

Photo/Nathan Fiske
Photo/Nathan Fiske
Kinefac Owner Leslie Greis (left) with division sales managers Mark Russell (right) and Patrick Brogan

A little over a year ago, Worcester Business Journal committed itself to more in-depth coverage of Central Massachusetts' legacy industry – manufacturing – by assigning Staff Writer Laura Finaldi to report on the beat full time and launching our first Manufacturing Summit & Excellence Awards last spring.In that time, we have written repeatedly that the stereotypical notion of manufacturing as a dying industry is largely false. Yes, the industry is employing fewer minimally skilled production workers to mass produce straightforward products, but that's because companies are increasingly automated and producing more complex goods. The industry's gross domestic product (GDP) – the true measure of success for any sector – has increased steadily.

But what does it take for a manufacturer to truly thrive and be successful? In WBJ's second year of its Manufacturing Excellence Awards, we have found those performing at the highest level. Picking from dozens of nominated companies using our own in-house knowledge and the input from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extensive Partnership, we identified the eight best Central Mass. companies showing others how it is done.

The Manufacturing Excellence Award winners succeeded in the past year because they provide specialty products no one else in the marketplace can offer; innovate their existing products to adapt to the changing demands of their clients; and apply their existing skills to develop new ideas help solve problems for new customers. From top to bottom, they run efficient operations and hit a high level of quality on a consistent basis.

This year's awards give us a moment to pause and reflect on what the industry is doing right. If you would like to join us, I invite you to attend the second annual WBJ Manufacturing Summit & Excellence Awards on April 26 at the College of the Holy Cross.

- Brad Kane, editor

Manufacturing Excellence Award, small company

Manufacturing Excellence Award, midsize company
Manufacturing Excellence Award, large company
Product Design & Innovation Award
Green Manufacturing Award
Workforce Development & Productivity Award
Collaboration in Manufacturing Award
Emerging Manufacturer Award