Feature Stories

American Industry: Stark Manufacturing

Stark Manufacturing has grown to be a premier manufacturer of fabricated aluminum, steel, and copper tube and tube assemblies for a variety of industries. Stark Manufacturing has grown to be a premier manufacturer of fabricated aluminum, steel, and copper tube and tube assemblies for a variety of industries.
Stark Manufacturing's processing capabilities include bending, brazing, tube forming and assembly, and production of machined parts and fitting. Stark Manufacturing's processing capabilities include bending, brazing, tube forming and assembly, and production of machined parts and fitting.
Stark Manufacturing is transitioning from a contract manufacturer to a flow solution provider. Stark Manufacturing is transitioning from a contract manufacturer to a flow solution provider.
Stark Manufacturing is headquartered in Russellville, AR and has a additional manufacturing facilities in Paris, AR. Stark Manufacturing is headquartered in Russellville, AR and has a additional manufacturing facilities in Paris, AR.
Stark has developed a strategy that targets large OEM's to develop strategic partnerships. Stark has developed a strategy that targets large OEM's to develop strategic partnerships.
Stark Manufacturing has launched it's Stark Business System (SBS) to ensure implementation of continuous improvements in all areas of our business. Stark Manufacturing has launched it's Stark Business System (SBS) to ensure implementation of continuous improvements in all areas of our business.
Stark Manufacturing has grown to be a premier manufacturer of fabricated aluminum, steel, and copper tube and tube assemblies for a variety of industries.

    American Industry: Stark Manufacturing

    When CoBe Capital bought the business from Dover, Stark Manufacturing was burning through a quarter-million dollars a month.  They had a sea of customers, both original equipment and aftermarket, but just ten customers represented 90% of sales.  The former management team, which had a career in the automotive aftermarket, believed that  smaller customers added capabilities and diversified the customer base, but in reality they were unable to develop this  business profitably.  CoBe Capital needed to stop the bleeding. 

    The first step was to look at customers, account by account, and shed all the low or negative margin business.  CoBe Capital hired new management that were experts at production and operations. This allowed Stark to then right-size the organization and reduce costs  to win more business from bigger customers.

    "We went from a people-intensive process to an engineered process utilizing all the tools, skills and equipment available," said Neal Cohen, Founder and Managing Director of CoBe Capital. 

    To ensure the sustainable implementation of best-in-class lean manufacturing practices, CoBe Capital appointed a new management team to take the reins.  One example of their transformational approach to the business was replacing a labor intensive step-by-step quality control process with a more streamlined approach focused on final inspection rather than work-in-process. 

    The organizational skill-set was so low that  Stark Manufacturing was not fully taking advantage of the automation capability in place.  After Topgrading the management team,  Stark Manufacturing was able to retrain the operators on new processes to dramatically increase labor productivity.

    "Once we got our manufacturing operations streamlined, we had the ability to add volume through automation and we were able to confidently sharpen our pencil and be that much more competitive on our quotes for new business," said Mr. Cohen.

    Stark Manufacturing is now focused on adding process engineers who will further optimize production to keep the equipment running with the same staffing.  Developing more efficient batch sizes, production flows and changeovers, where the first part meets spec, are all contributing cost savings as  Stark Manufacturing continues to move its portfolio from raw components to finished assemblies and lay a foundation for the future growth of this American Manufacturing success story. 


    About Stark Manufacturing

    Stark Manufacturing is a leader in the design, manufacture, machining and fabrication of connective tubular flow solutions.  Its capabilities include aluminum, steel, and copper tube and hose assemblies for a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, agricultural, heavy duty and military.  The Company’s processing capabilities include bending, brazing, tube forming and assembly, and production of machined parts and fitting. It manufactures both high and low pressure products. 

    To learn more about the business, please see our operating company page for Stark Manufacturing.

    American Industry: Stark Manufacturing
    CoBe Capital helped this Arkansas-based flow solutions provider streamline costs to win new customers and get its business growing again

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