Hufcor and its goal to unite its message under its brand has led to a strong rebranding strategy in 2017.
Hufcor is not your typical manufacturer.
Instead of a few manufacturing facilities producing and then shipping standard products, Hufcor has an extensive and diverse footprint in its industry. And it has the proven experience to create customized space management solutions for customers anywhere in the world.
The complex global company has a direct sales force in many locations, including the United States. It also has a 3PL level of distribution, and several licensees using its technology in various international markets.
Hufcor manufactures the world’s most installed brand of moveable walls. From conference rooms and hotel ballrooms to office dividers and concert halls, the company has helped resorts, restaurants, schools, hospital, stadiums, financial institutions, religious facilities, and even bowling alleys optimize their space.
The brand has had a successful 116-year history but realized changes were necessary to continue being the leader in the marketplace. Kevin Flanagan was brought in nearly three years ago to oversee the company’s required evolution to remain the top player in the industry for the next 100 years of operation.
“When I joined, everyone at Hufcor was told I don’t have all of the answers, but I do have most of the questions,” said the CEO and President. “Based upon prior career experiences, I was adamant a team approach would be taken to address opportunities as no one has all the answers. I knew by leveraging our team’s considerable experience, we could affect change and create a culture centered around ‘One Hufcor’.”
The “One Hufcor” approach is a key strategy to the company’s 2017 rebranding efforts. But first, Flanagan and his team had to get everyone on the same page. With domestic manufacturing in Wisconsin and global manufacturing in China, Australia, Malaysia, and Germany, and sales and services throughout the country and around the world, Flanagan and his team knew the company could improve in some areas.
“We found inconsistencies through our product offerings, raw materials, design, and go-to-market strategies. It was an inefficient way to run a global company,” he said. “But our leadership team was clear on the vision for Hufcor. There’s been change, and there have been shifts, but today everyone is making decisions with ‘One Hufcor’ in mind.”
Flanagan and his team’s first goal was to prioritize where they could make the biggest impact the fastest. Looking towards domestic operations, the leadership team first got everyone stateside on board with the new collaborative strategy.
Implementing Microsoft’s customer resource management system—Dynamics—played a big part in bringing the team together. Not only did it create a pipeline of opportunity for the company, but it allowed all sales members to coordinate on a national level.
“Our new CRM has changed how business is conducted, but we have created new lines of communication,” shared Dave Hewitt, VP of U.S. Sales. “The sales teams now have weekly staff meetings both internally and externally and review the facts presented by CRM. National meetings bring teams together to collaborate on sales and project management activities. Our communication has really ramped up.”
“On the operational side, we started making biweekly calls to discuss current projects, daily efficiencies, and customer orders. It’s now routine, and has been very beneficial,” said Jim Scott, VP of Operations.
Once Flanagan and his team felt confident in the company’s domestic acceptance and utilization of the ideals behind ‘One Hufcor’, the company took its plans to its international locations. Today, Flanagan and the entire team is “very bullish” on the growth opportunities being created across the globe.
“We set a clear vision for what we were looking for. We’ve had to make a few management changes to find a team that believes in the vision, and have focused in on our financial results, namely when and how to make the appropriate investments. It’s still a work in progress, but we’ve taken some pretty large steps to cement our one company mentality and position Hufcor for significant future success.”
And things are only going to get bigger and better for Hufcor. February saw the launch of the company’s rebranding efforts, a move that is aiming to perpetually keep the industry informed on just how many options it has when it works with Hufcor, along with the value proposition all customers receive.
Mike Kontranowski, VP of Marketing, realized that while Hufcor was identified as a leader in a couple of fields, the marketplace was not aware of the breadth of services the company offered.
“We wanted to find out what people knew about the company. Our existing customer base of general contractors, designers, and architects knew us as leaders in just operable wall panels for conventions and hospitality,” he said
“They weren’t as knowledgeable about our custom work, our engineering expertise, or our glass wall market. Most didn’t know, either, about the logistics arm that can save time for general contractors with regards to products delivered safely, on time, and under budget.”
“From the beginning, it was very apparent our employees—everywhere around the world—have a tremendous amount of pride in our solutions,” Flanagan said. “But as a company that has been around for over 100 years, sometimes you lose track of communicating with the market on what you have done and what you can do.”
This realization led not only to the creation of Kontranowski’s role, but also the foundation for Hufcor’s rebrand. Several different initiatives have been put in place—both for internal and external communication—to strengthen the brand.
It takes more than the efforts inside the company though, to continue the success at Hufcor.
The company’s suppliers play a key role in meeting Hufcor’s customer needs, and to maintain the company’s quality of service throughout the internal changes Hufcor is making. Although Hufcor highlighted the importance of all of its partnerships, the company’s relationship with Precision Screw Products is just one example of the quality suppliers Hufcor partners with.
“The quality they bring us on a timely basis is outstanding,” shared Scott. “When I started at the company I considered whether we should continue relationships with each of our suppliers. Precision Screws never made me question if I wanted to go to another source. I’ve been very impressed with them.”
In 2012 Kara Howard, Purchasing Manager for Hufcor, was networking with several different companies on a large sourcing project that would include several key plastic components that go into Hufcor’s highly engineered operable partitions.
Alpha Plastics Solutions, Inc. was quickly determined to be the company providing the best solutions at highest quality. Mark Bergman, Manufacturing and Design Engineer, provided Hufcor the plastic expertise it was searching for by offering several applicable solutions.
This partnership approach is a vision that Tim Hogan, Alpha Plastics President, believes in and it continues today within the company.
Another long-standing partner of Hufcor’s is its finish supplier, HyTex Industries, a leader in decorative textiles that are designed and colored to meet the constantly changing market needs.
“Their quality to detail is essential to meet our customer requests,” said Scott.
With a long-term Hufcor employee heading the purchasing department, the company knows it has the right people for every kind of job.
“Everyone is proud to work for the company with the legacy we have. The rebrand is another great way to energize the marketplace.,” said Hewitt.
The new look and image has already sparked new interest for Hufcor in the industry by freshening up the brand and customer’s knowledge of the brand in the marketplace.
“When you have a company that is as old as Hufcor, you want customers to acknowledge your past, but to also focus on the next hundred years,” said Kontranowski. “Timing is critical: this new strategy by our new management team can help answer the question of what Hufcor can do to have more impact. We’re all excited for the clear path for growth and continued success.”
Hufcor's is the recognized world leader of providing space division solutions. We offer a complete line of operable walls (also known as "airwalls"), accordion doors, glass walls and room dividers to meet the requirements of any facility needing acoustical separation, daylighting, and flexible space division. Partitions may be ordered in sizes ranging from the short (over a counter-top) to the very tall (convention center heights exceeding 60').
Our products are used in some of the world's finest hotel meeting rooms and ballrooms, educational and health care institutions, religious buildings, convention centers, recreational and commercial facilities.
Hufcor partitions have gained an international reputation for expertly engineered design and top quality workmanship. Our partitions are known for their quality construction, durability, beauty, versatility, easy movement, and quiet operation. All are custom manufactured to the project requirements. Although our partitions are most commonly finished with vinyl, optional surfaces such as fabric, carpet, wood veneer, high-pressure laminate, etc., may be used as well. Panels may also be shipped unfinished for field application of murals or other custom surfaces to match or coordinate with the perimeter room construction.
2101 Kennedy Rd.
Janesville, WI 53545-0824