Cameron Manufacturing and Design is a manufacturing company specializing in custom machinery, metal fabrication, and weldments. The company also offers a variety of engineering services. It is a one-stop fabrication, manufacturing, and machining house that can handle small to large scale production runs, turnkey projects, and more. But what truly makes the company unique is its capacity to solve challenging problems for customers.
Cameron Manufacturing and Design was founded in 1983 as a small weld shop and installation company providing on-site services and metal fabrication solutions. In the beginning, the company consisted of four people; today it has grown to employ more than 230. The company’s primary facility is in Horseheads, New York, and it also has a smaller off-site facility.
Within its facilities, the company can produce large weldments from thirty feet all the way down to tiny, precise pieces hundredths of thousandths of an inch. It has a computer numerical control (CNC) machine shop, fabrication and forming equipment, and much more. In thirty-four years, the company has grown significantly as a result of its customer service and a constant effort to build strong, long-standing customer relationships. The company also has a sister company that is a wholly-owned subsidiary within it called Cameron Bridge Works that builds light vehicular and pedestrian bridges.
Cameron Manufacturing and Design is an employee-owned company, so everyone involved in a project has a vested interest in its success. The company is committed to quality, on-time delivery, and exceeding expectations in terms of the customer experience. It bills itself as a manufacturing and fabrication outfit, but it makes a great effort to be more.
The company works hard to take on the role of a solution provider for customers. This means being able to do everything from building simple brackets, to building fully integrated equipment, and often includes engineering services to help a customer design an affordable solution to a difficult problem.
Being an employee-owned company provides Cameron Manufacturing and Design a unique set of advantages. “Everything we do is toward making this company more successful,” says Company President Christopher Goll. “We all reap those benefits.” The culture at the company is one of shared responsibility and shared rewards.
In 2013, the company was chosen as the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) company of the year for its ESOP chapter which includes New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. This was a significant accomplishment for the company because, at that point, it had only been an ESOP company for three years. Being recognized in this way is a great testament to the cooperative culture that has grown out of this effort to put the company in the hands of those who best understand how to make it succeed: the workers.
The ESOP philosophy is at the very heart of Cameron Manufacturing and Design, and it is a big part of what differentiates the company in the marketplace. The expert quality of the services that the company offers enables it to rise above the competition, but what truly makes it unique is the approach.
“The five channels that we have within the company, whether its design and build, machine shop services, weld, fabrication, or this new piece called automation, all of those aspects are what we do for customers,” says Goll. “But if you’re asking about what really makes Cameron up, it’s how our biggest asset – our employees – function together in a collaborative way to solve problems for customers.”
Recently, the company has invested significantly in expanding. Over the last two years, it has made a conscious effort to grow geographically. Previously, it had operated predominately within a one-hundred-mile radius of its location in Horseheads, but now, the company has expanded to take on several projects internationally.
The company is also working to expand the services it offers. It has just begun the process of establishing a new product line with a number of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) robotics partners, and it plans to bring in more small-to-medium robotics system integration projects shortly. The automation sector is relatively new to the company, but these new expansions bring exciting growth opportunities.
“We’re taking it slow but we’re trying to get out in front of things,” says National Account Executive Ted Peet. “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. If we work our way into this at a pace that fits within the parameters of what’s safe for our company, we believe it will set us up for success.”
The industry that Cameron Manufacturing and Design works within is traditionally very fickle regarding available work. Navigating these ebbs and flows can be challenging as this can complicate planning for future work. The many years of working within these challenges has enabled the company to understand them and structure its procedures to overcome them. The company’s aptitude for understanding these market cycles gives it a keen ability to keep the right amount of capacity available for emergencies and situations that crop up unexpectedly. It is an efficiency trade-off between how much work is being done at any given time and how much capacity is reserved, and it has the expertise to find the right balance.
The diversity of the services offered by Cameron Manufacturing and Design is one of the keys to the company’s success. Very few of its competitors offer the full breadth of capabilities available under one roof, and this gives the company the advantage to provide a very efficient and cost-effective solution. Going the extra mile to work with customers on unique and innovative solutions on top of the high-quality workmanship built into the products it manufactures is what makes the company a leader in its territory, and what will take it to the top nationally going forward.
The company’s entire model is built on the foundation of the customer relationship, and this carries through every aspect of the business, beginning with an effort to bring all of the necessary services under one roof to simplify the customer experience, to providing effective solutions and quality products in the end. The company depends on its reputation and sees every job as an opportunity to create a relationship, and to demonstrate its dedication to customer needs. Working with a customer to engineer lowered costs or mitigated risks in a project are some ways that Cameron Manufacturing and Design’s industry experience benefits its customers.
There are plenty of common snags and pitfalls that can factor into a project that customers either might not think of or not understand the extent to which those elements can be driving cost upward. For example, customers frequently submit design drawings that have dimensions with tolerance requirements far beyond what is necessary for the application. Tight tolerances require expensive machining and a lot more lead time for work that can often be accomplished much faster at a much lower price. Cameron Manufacturing and Design can look at drawings, locate these oversights, and cut the cost sometimes in half.
After almost three and a half decades in the industry, Cameron Manufacturing and Design has become very successful by holding to principles like honesty, integrity, and dedication to the relationships it has built. The company leadership understands that the success of its business depends on the success of its customers and that the two can benefit mutually and grow together. It takes trust to build a business, and it has earned a wealth of it throughout its history. It is one of the most respected employers in its region, and this is something in which the company takes great pride.
“Anyone can be a weld shop, bracket provider, or a machine house, but when you can take what you’re providing to a customer and optimize it or help them engineer cost out of the project, that’s where you’re truly bringing value to the relationship and to the customer.”