To find its answer, it looked no farther than a few blocks west.
The longtime Antigo manufacturer recently purchased a new cardboard baler from Ace Equipment Company, ending decades of handling the product manually and paying for its disposal.
“It’s worked out very well for everyone,” Julie Berndt, operations coordinator for Johnson Electric Coil, said. “Instead of paying to get the cardboard hauled away, we’re getting paid for it.”
“It’s wonderful,” Eric Fuller, owner of Ace, said. He explained that the company is accustomed to shipping its compacting and baling equipment across the United States. and “you never dream of selling something locally.”
Johnson Electric Coil specializes in creating transformers used in industrial equipment and that’s where Berndt said it wants its manpower to focus, not on getting rid of waste products.
Toward that end, Johnson Electric Coil has embraced the concept of lean manufacturing, which focuses on making work cells and other systems more efficient.
At the time, the company was renting a large dumpster to store its waste cardboard and paying for its disposal. The idea of turning it into a modest revenue stream was attractive.
“We saw the need for the equipment just by the mounds of boxes we had,” Berndt said. “It fit in very well with our lean initiative.”
Judy Quirk, purchaser, was tasked with finding the machinery to bale the cardboard and, on an Internet search, Ace was among the companies listed.
That 627 prefix was the first one that she called.
“I liked the idea that they were local,” she said. “The product was competitive and the delivery was excellent.”
Johnson Electric Coil staffers went to Ace and examined the equipment, and even got an extended tour of the shop,
“It was nice to see what others are doing in the community,” she said.
The purchase also fits in well with Johnson Electric Coil’s philosophy of buying locally whenever possible. And service has been outstanding, she added.
The first bale was produced this week, and soon Commercial Recycling Corporation of Medford picked it up for reuse.
The Johnson Electric Coil-Ace Equipment deal is only one example of a growing interconnection between local and regional businesses, the manufacturers said.
“It just makes good sense, helping out another local business,” Quirk said.
Ace buys supplies from businesses as diverse as Servo, Marathon Electric and Wausau Steel, and also has its equipment in place at Fleet Farm and Menards through a multi-store contract with the companies.
Johnson Electric Coil uses suppliers such as Lakeside Grocery, Clermont Printing, World of Wood and Fastenal, and its customers include TSI Power. And Fuller has asked for a quote on a transformer for Ace Equipment.
“It’s so convenient,” Berndt added. “You feel like you’re all together in this in the community.”