Thursday, June 4, 2015

Building Pride, One Digital Sound Decoder at a Time

Architect rendering
When you ask what she’s looking forward to the most about the new SoundTraxx facility, the immediate answer from  co-owner and Vice President Nancy Workman is, “Having everyone in the same building!”

Getting the company under the same roof is the essential idea, and she elaborates by saying, “We’re able to be more competitive in manufacturing when we have a technologically advanced production floor. Over the years, we’ve updated our equipment with faster machines and better technology to maintain control of labor costs, gradually becoming larger in the limited space we have for production. We have run out of room in our current facility -- to the point that our engineering staff has been relocated to a rented space down the street.”

With the new building, our production and administrative areas will expand from 6,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet of much-needed space.

Production floor
The ground level is designed to further accommodate the implementation of “Lean” manufacturing methods to improve efficiency and eliminate waste. Production Manager Brad Schulz is looking forward to having this specifically designed area to improve manufacturing flow. He explains that, “having the opportunity to design a manufacturing space from scratch can be very conducive to our efforts to operate under Lean methodologies. We will begin with raw materials on one end of the manufacturing line and end with finished product on the other, which will eliminate or reduce the activities that don’t add value along the way.”

Maintaining efficiency in the manufacturing process is key to our commitment to produce Digital Sound Decoders in the USA. According to Brad, this allows us to control aspects of manufacturing such as quality, cost, and frequency of production. He further describes that, “by keeping our manufacturing operations here in the states, we have the ability to be extremely agile when it comes to fulfilling orders or responding to market conditions.” Because efficiency will no longer be compromised by space constraints, the new facility has also been designed for what Brad refers to as, “calculated and efficient expansion” for keeping production costs down, and, in turn, for a lower product price.

East side of the building
We stand behind our products and USA-based manufacturing to strengthen quality control and provide you with top-drawer products. We design our test fixtures and check the operation of decoder before it’s shipped. If problems arise, our engineering team is right there to troubleshoot and prevent issues from hindering the manufacturing process. Our efforts are focused upon creating the highest quality products for users, and this dedication is what has built the company from the ground up.

Regarding the building design, Nancy adds that, “While we're not pursuing actual certification, we are following LEED practices when possible to reduce the building’s environmental impact.” Standing for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” LEED is a set of rating systems that specify the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of what is commonly referred to as “green.” She calls it “LEEDing by example,” which is expressive to the role SoundTraxx plays globally and locally, especially in an environmentally-aware city like Durango, Colorado.

Nancy in her soon-to-be new office
The new building will also foster an enhanced environment that supports employee well-being. For example, it will include an employee fitness center, as well as a patio complete with a grill for informal gatherings. There will also be more spaces for meetings and product development, including a library area where employees and guests can collaborate or relax. Also among the building's centerpieces will be a model train layout designed and built by SoundTraxx employees. Though, most importantly, the new building will bring all employees back under one roof.

Progress at week 35
If you have plans to come to Durango this fall, you may find us preparing for the move, in the process of moving, or we could already be moved in! You don’t need a GPS to find us (the new facility is across the road from our current location in the Durango Tech Center) and we’re looking forward to showing you around! A virtual tour will be available online when we’ve moved in, and we’ll be happy to give tours if you find yourself in the area. Please contact us at (970) 259-0690 or (888) 789-7637 to schedule a tour. Tours are offered Monday-Friday at 4:30 pm, and we do our best to accommodate specific times.