Off Grid Survival Axe – A Made-in-America Success Story for the MFG.com Buyer and Supplier

THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE

Innovation Factory is a small business headquartered in Havertown, Pennsylvania. Since 2001, the firm has produced innovative hand tools to help its customers “prepare for whatever may come.” All its products are made in the United States by design, as Inventor-in-Chief Marvin Weinberger takes pride in supporting American manufacturing and brining this level of quality to his customers. Innovation Factory products come with a lifetime, no-hassle, replace or refund guarantee.

The firm designed a new tool named “Off Grid Survival Axe” to satisfy a need first responders face: When working in remote locations, they often have to leave their vehicles behind and cannot physically carry all their heavy equipment – from axes to power tools – with them. They need a multi-purpose, portable tool that can chop, saw through wood and metal, act as a wrench and screwdriver, and perform myriad other tasks. A Kickstarter campaign not only raised initial funding for the tool, then known as “Lil Trucker,” but also created brand new markets among campers, sports enthusiasts, survivalists and more.

Committed to its made-in-America dictum, Innovation Factory soon found that producing the initial prototype in the United States would be cost-prohibitive. The firm set about a series of redesigns intended to enhance manufacturability at a lower cost without sacrificing quality. Ultimately, rather than making all the parts using cast steel, it opted to keep the core and tang (the projection on the blade of the tool, that holds the blade firmly in the handle) steel but use die-cast aluminum and/or glass-filled nylon in the side panels. Overall production involves many processes, including investment casting, CNC machining, die-casting and injection molding (plastic and metal).

THE SOLUTION

Weinberger had heard good things about MFG.com, the largest global online marketplace that puts buyers in touch with hundreds of U.S. suppliers. He shares, “MFG.com was helpful at every stage. They assigned someone to work with me who explained to me the best practices for creating an RFQ, how to specify U.S. or international manufacturers, and much more. They walked me through every step of the process. It was great.”

He uploaded the design for the head onto the MFG.com platform and connected with over 30 different companies able to do the casting.

THE RESULTS

After interviewing all of the responding firms, Weinberger identified a small machine shop in Utah. Innovation Factory struck a deal with the start-up firm, which had recently acquired the assets of another shop and was looking to make a name for itself. When the shop owner saw the RFQ for the product, he fell in love with the tool and saw a business opportunity that could bring notoriety and attention to his young company.

Conversely, says Weinberger, “The shop owner possessed just the level of energy and enthusiasm for this type of manufacturing that I wanted. I thank MFG.com for bringing him to our attention. We never would have found him otherwise.’’

Weinberger continues, “I can’t say enough for MFG.com and how they have helped us. The savings we were able to achieve are enormous. Our final design offers many more features – at half the price – than the original specs. Consequently, our retail price is much more affordable, which, in turn, will grow demand for our Off Grid Survival Axe from a few thousands a year to tens of thousands per year. Plus, we kept production in the United States of America, which is the hardest part of all.”

The experience was beneficial for the Utah machine shop, too. In addition to making part of the Off Grid Survival Axe, the shop won a much larger contract to make other parts for tools in the Innovation Factory portfolio.

Through a relationship forged on MFG.com, everyone is a winner. The machine shop has quickly grown into a much larger business, a novel tool will come to the marketplace in May 2017, and customers can purchase a high-quality product made in America at an affordable price.

 

"I can’t say enough for MFG.com and how they have helped us. The savings we were able to achieve are enormous."

Marvin Weinberger
Inventor-in-Chief,
Innovation Factory

 

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