Jim Carr is the president of CARR Machine & Tool Company in Elk Grove IL. They have been in business since 1972. Jim has a 33 year tenure with the company. He started from the ground up, learning all of the different aspects of the business throughout the years. In 2004 he became the sole shareholder of the company where he took it from his father.


The company does low volume, close tolerance, multi-axis machining in 9 CNC vertical machining centers. It has been the niche of their business for roughly the past 10 years when they decided to chisel and narrow their niche down to just doing multi-access machining. They felt that was their strength and was more lucrative. By maintaining a small presence they could run lean and profitably.



Making America’s supply chains more dynamic and innovative


Jim believes the American attitude is improving regarding in-shoring. Based on what he has been hearing from his peers, a lot of the off-shoring product is coming back to the US. Jim estimates he hears twice per week that another product line is being brought back from overseas. This really makes Jim feel good. He believes the attitude of the American people lately has been to buy American, keep it here and keep us employed. Jim thinks it is really a good attitude to have amongst the American people.


Once manufacturing does come back, sustainability and keeping it in the US will be crucial. Jim says America is a great country and all we have to do is figure out how to make it work well for us. We need to really give our customers what they want, which ultimately is service and quality.


Over the next 5 to 10 years Jim believes it won’t be about price anymore. Major OEMs that push their work down the supply chain will be looking for a quality vendor that is really married to them and can supply them with a quality product on-time.


Smaller suppliers providing innovation to large multi-nationals


Technology is everything nowadays. You have to keep yourself relevant. You should keep your machine tools, your IT and information there. It is very important to stay top of mind. Jim truly believes in social networking for your business to build your brand and make you look relevant amongst your competition.


Large firms reaching out to smaller suppliers


Larger firms should go to their trade associations and local chambers and find those smaller companies at are there that can help and assist you with your projects. The small companies are out there, we just need to know how to connect. This appears to be the biggest obstacle we are facing these days. The smaller companies are out there but their presence is so hidden.


You need to build your SEO on the Internet. You need a dynamic website which shows you are dynamic and aggressive. Small companies need to go to the trade associations to become obvious and present. Getting to know people not in your industry is important because people talk and will give recommendations. It is really all about that personal network, in addition to the social networking and website SEO work. It all works together as one big package to keep your brand high and to keep yourself relevant in your industry.


Jim’s experiences


Jim has been doing quite a bit of social media marketing for his business over the last 11 months. He most recently has been asked to present his experiences at the local TMA association in Park Ridge, IL. TMA is Illinois premier full service manufacturing association. Jim presented to about 60 people where he shared his experience with social networking and specifically with paid target marketing on Facebook. He discussed how you can drill down to your ideal target audience.


Regarding in-shoring trends, Jim has not seen an increase personally with his business. However, he has talked to a lot of his peers over the last few months. He has also need many discussions and mentions on social media that a lot of off-shoring is coming back to the US. Jim was at a networking event roughly 4 months ago where he as introduced to a medical manufacturer in Elk Grove Village, IL. This manufacturer said he was pulling everything from his Asian vendor and bringing it back to the US.


Unfortunately, Jim could not service him because it was not a good fit for the manufacturing he was looking for. Instead, Jim gave him a good quality introduction to one of his partners. As a result, someone locally in the Chicago area picked up new work to replace an Asian option.


Final Recommendations


We need to realize who we will be selling to over the next 5 to 10 years. All of the young adults who were born 1980 and on are so connected with their social media and smart phones. Jim believes the corporations going forward should really get involved and embrace that culture which the generation Y’s are using because it is a great way to get in front and them and network with them.


In terms of marketing, branding and sales over the next 5 to 10 years; Jim believes social media will be leading the way in ways that small and larger corporations reach out to a new customer base.


About Jim Carr




President, CARR Machine & Tool, Inc.

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