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Manufacturing Industry Services

Ironwood ~ Transition Management

Ironwood Advisory is a transition management consulting firm that advises stakeholders and managements on issues of operations, finance, marketing, sales and strategy in a number of specific industries including - and with an increasing emphasis upon - manufacturing. We also have the capability through interim management to implement everything from recommended changes including efficiency and quality measures all the way to entire plant relocations.

Manufacturing Industry Situation

Manufacturing companies often find themselves performing below their potential in today's business climate and increasingly global economy. Yet, at the same time some manufacturing organizations are thriving. By weathering the storm of the current business environment, these thriving companies have positioned themselves for higher margins, increased profits and future growth as the economy improves.

Ironwood Advisory helps manufacturing clients reach their full performance potential by implementing positive changes in their operations, marketing, finance and strategy.

A survey of thriving manufacturing organizations reveals certain common characteristics:

By successfully addressing these issues now, your company can position itself to seize the opportunities of a recovering economy and join tomorrow's industry leaders.

Ironwood Advisory offers expert help in reaching these goals for your company. Our Senior Consultants have transformed client manufacturing firms experiencing declining sales and market shares, persistent quality issues, accumulating creditor pressures and performance efficiency issues.

There is no need for management to wait for problems to become acute before calling in professional assistance. Deterioration in industry operating drivers cause stagnating or declining corporate performance. When the deterioration of industry drivers are recognized and acted upon promptly the available options are more numerous and substantial and the cost of fixing these issues much lower. These early actions can correct root causes of deterioration and reduce or eliminate the losses that a Company would otherwise experience.

Additionally, there are the internal indicators as well. Issues often arise from a combination of external industry drivers and internal operations. These internal factors include operations and production management, marketing and sales management, research and development, and overall company strategy. Productivity measures for all of these areas can indicate whether your company is tracking the industry, whether it is over-performing or underperforming.

Our Preferences and Our Capabilities

In a manufacturing world which is rapidly changing given free trade, incessant market price pressures, global manufacturing choices, and rapidly changing technology we are devoted not only to making our client companies as efficient and competitive as possible but, where we can, recommending (and/or implementing) changes which will preserve jobs here in the U.S.

To do that, we have experts in lean manufacturing and other proven techniques. We can help to plan and successfully implement manufacturing programs designed to achieve marketing and sales objectives. Our consultants have shown a demonstrated ability in deploying the full range of Total Quality Management ('TQM') techniques and processes including Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing utilizing techniques such as Kaizen, One Piece Flow, Kanban and Heijunka. We have initiated and directed ISO and QS 9000 implementations which resulted in significant quality and delivery improvements.

Through affiliates we have developed global joint venture and acquisition strategies, identified and analyzed target companies and implemented plans designed to position the client company as a single source supplier in several markets.

However, should these strategic and specific programs not be enough to maintain the client company's market position due to price point erosion or price/quality curves deterioration or rapid competitive product improvements, we have capabilities to provide outsourcing services through affiliate offices in Mexico (covering South America), India, Thailand (covering Singapore, Malaysia and SE Asia), China, Europe and Canada.

These outsourcing capabilities can be provided on an "as needed only" basis, that is, taking only one component or a few components rather than moving all manufacturing overseas. Should that, too, not meet the need to outsource in order to retain market share, we have the capability to move entire manufacturing facilities overseas and our consultants have done so.

Additionally, we have the proven capability to develop global joint venture and acquisition strategies, identify and analyze target companies and implement plans designed to position a client company as a single source supplier in several markets.

Summary of Services

Ironwood provides turnaround, workout, crisis management and general management services for businesses in difficulty or experiencing flat-line performance. Ironwood has assembled a team to specifically service manufacturing companies experiencing difficulty or stagnation and failure to meet desired goals.

To this task Ironwood brings experienced business executives and recognized manufacturing industry experts and operators.
Most of the basic business concerns are common across a spectrum of industries in which Ironwood professionals have deep experience. For those elements unique to the manufacturing industry, Ironwood has assembled a cadre with deep experience in:

Ironwood Advisory helps manufacturing industry clients reach full performance potential by implementing positive changes in operations, marketing, finance and strategy.

Ironwood Manufacturing Company Revitalization Team

Ironwood's manufacturing business team not only includes expert operating executives of Ironwood and industry specialists and project operators, product and retailing experts, consumer products marketing and distribution experts, as well as turnaround personnel and auditing services.

Ironwood also has corporate finance capacities enabling the restructuring of debt and equity for balance sheet management.

Some of the members of this team are:

Jeff Condon
Ed Cornell
Jim Jacobs
Jim Kelly
Ken Lipinski

Frank Martin
Jim Micali
Duane Montopoli
Bill Sharp

Gene Siciliano
Edward Story
Richard Wadley
John Wallingford
Lloyd Wallis

Call or Write Us

If you operate a manufacturing business facing challenges and would like to have some professional assistance, we urge you to call us at 1-866-692-1600. Ask for Edward Story, Managing Partner,
Or write us: .

There is no charge - and no risk to you - for talking to us about the issues your company may have or for estimating what would be involved in dealing with them.

Waiting for problems to become more acute before calling in professional assistance simply makes the problems harder and more costly to solve. The available options to correct the root causes of deterioration in a company's operating drivers are more easily acted upon earlier rather than later. Give us a call.

Manufacturing Industry Successes

Some but not all of these successes are related to manufacturing. All are related to issues likely to be encountered with distressed companies in the manufacturing business. This list is only partially representative of the experience in transition management, turnaround and in the manufacturing industry accumulated by Ironwood professionals.

Client: A $50 million dollar producer of construction components was operating at a 10% loss.

Major Initiatives:

  • Acted as Interim Advisory staff to the COO
    Developed new products & markets
  • Implemented processes for sales, product design and production

Outcome: Converted bottom line to 12% profit in first year.

Client: $6M, sixty+ person designer, manufacturer and wholesaler of women's fashion hats and apparel accessories, with sales sagging and an inability to ship orders on schedule.

Major Initiatives:

  • Acted as Interim CEO
  • Introduced lean manufacturing, Six Sigma and total quality management concepts, techniques and tools
  • Advised the owner on financial and strategic options for exiting the business and
  • Communicated plan to key internal and external stakeholders and investors


  • Increased sales by 36%, gross margins by 5% and net income by 120% within eight months.
  • Reduced product lead-time by 50% and increased on-time shipments from 70% to 95% through lean manufacturing, Six Sigma and total quality management concepts, techniques and tools.
  • Sold corporation to strategic buyer for a 500% increase in shareholder equity.

Client: Publicly owned worldwide aviation parts Redistribution Company with 55 employees and sales of $38 million. Operations disrupted by SEC investigation regarding restatement of financial reports used for IPO; banking and investor relationships in jeopardy.

Major Initiatives:

  • Acted as Interim COO
  • Stabilized banking and investor relationships
  • Re-established sound systems
  • Headed executive committee for investigation crisis control

Outcome: Increased sales by 67%.

Client: A surgical equipment manufacturer had difficulty forecasting special orders, resulting in overly late deliveries and excessive inventory.

Major Initiatives:

  • Acted as Interim CFO
  • Upgraded the manufacturing and financial systems
  • Developed improved forecasting methods
  • Allowed special orders to transition to ship-from-stock status

Outcome: Operating expenses were reduced by $1M.

Client: $4M, forty+ person furniture, gift, and automotive industry component manufacturer and wholesaler suffering from production inefficiencies and quality problems.

Major Initiatives:

  • Acted as Interim CEO
  • Implemented lean manufacturing, Six Sigma and total quality management concepts, techniques and tools
  • Managed daily "shop-floor" manufacturing operations from vendor development through quality assurance and safety and daily administrative functions from sales & marketing to accounting and collections
  • Communicated strategic vision, organizational objectives and tactical operational plans to all stakeholders
  • Packaged and sold the enterprise

Outcome: Increased sales by 40% and net income by 80% within seven months. Reduced product lead-time by 50% and employee lost time by 80%.

Client: A startup leasing firm was a new venture for a global manufacturer not achieving its business plan. Revenues and profits were under plan and expenses were over plan. Major concern was to prove the viability of the business by showing consistent growth in new business.

Major Initiatives:

  • Redefined what business company was in
  • Eliminated tactic of requiring potential clients to pay fees to give the Company their business.
  • Changed business from fee driven to receivables driven

Outcome: New business growth went from $800K in the previous fifteen months to $20M in the next eighteen months.

Client: Two Canadian Aerospace subsidiaries of this Manufacturing Holding Company were never fully integrated. After the parent company filed for Chapter 11 in New York, the subsidiaries had declining sales and margin.

Major Initiatives:

  • Acted as the Advisor to Executive Team
  • Initiated an immediate action plan to integrate the two entities
  • Developed a business plan to raise capital for an MBO
  • Developed an integration plan for the two sites, which included the close-down of one site, the combination of Design, R&D, and Engineering Departments, the rationalization of product lines and dramatic reduction in overhead
  • Negotiated with the banks to preserve the customers' relationship
  • Developed business plan to attract capital providers

Outcome: A communication plan was set and helped maintain a good working relationship with the customers throughout the sale process. The business plan was key to attracting a strategic buyer while the management becomes equity partners. A dramatic savings in overhead of $4M annually was identified and promising cross-selling opportunities were developed.

Client: A copper mining company was in a cost reduction planning mode as a result of the continuing decline in copper prices.

Major Initiatives:

  • Acted as Business Advisor to Management
  • Installed activity based costing system to identify non-value added activities
  • Developed action programs to eliminate these activities to reduce costs

Outcome: The Activity Based Costing System was successfully implemented resulting in the identification of non-value activities which resulted in projected cost reductions several million dollars on an annual basis.

Client: A major apparel manufacturer defaulted on a $40 million loan and threatened to sue its lender.
Major Initiatives:

  • Installed in the company as interim COO
  • Implemented new controls
  • Lowered tension between lender and borrower

Outcome: Moved the company to a new asset based lender with better terms.

Client: A fragmented distribution industry rollup required experienced management to raise capital and integrate acquisitions.

Major Initiatives:

  • Acted as Interim CFO
  • Secured $15 million in investment in three months
  • Raised a total of $41 million in equity over three years
  • Completed eleven acquisitions
  • Integrated accounting for subsidiaries

Outcome: Grew the startup from three employees to over 250 with $70M in revenue.

Client: A small ($3M) Speaker Manufacturer for stereo systems was experiencing declining sale performance.

Major Initiatives:

  • Implemented an effectiveness assessment
  • Determined that the manufacturer's relationship with their dealers was being stifled by the rep firms and they were not reaching the client base correctly
  • Implemented a rep advisory council, a dealer profiling system and a structured funnel management system to track major deals.
  • Recruited and hired a full time National Sales Manager

Outcome: The decline was stopped and sales were turned positive using the guidelines and principles set up.



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