Expansion preps The Cawley Company for future

The Cawley Company Team
The Cawley Company Team


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The Cawley Company, leaders in the recognition and identification business for the past 68 years, recognizes quality when they see it. That’s what led them to tap A.C.E. Building Service for their building’s 12,000 square-foot expansion that wrapped up mid-year.

The project, which added production space, expanded shipping and receiving capacity, new restrooms and improved site drainage to The Cawley Company’s North 8th Street location, is part of the company’s strategic preparations for increased business.

“Our company is expanding, including planning a more robust web presence, and the project stemmed from an initial need for more office space,” said Jim Peterson, who co-owns The Cawley Company with his wife, Molly. Peterson is seeing an influx of business in keeping with pre-2008 or 2009 levels, before the recession hit. “It’s really about business ramping back up again and moving in a positive direction overall, and being proactive,” he said.

A.C.E. broke ground on the expansion in November 2013. The Cawley Company worked in collaboration with A.C.E. to identify where some of the company’s current manufacturing operations could be shifted within the building for efficiency’s sake. In the end, the consultative approach A.C.E. took allowed Peterson to add 12,000 square feet – “a little more building than we initially thought” – without requiring the creation of a retention pond. The company’s square footage jumped from 40,000 to 52,000 square feet as a result.

He credits A.C.E. with being mindful of the property’s unusual terrain and limitations, as well as keeping an eye on potential future growth. “We even went ahead and did some further planning so that if we’re able to expand again, we can do so as efficiently as possible as well,” said Peterson.

The expansion included reconfiguring the building’s space so the company’s flow of orders in and out the door can occur as smoothly as possible. “We process anywhere from 200 to 400 orders a day, and we need to have enough space for product to flow through shipping and the entire building efficiently,” said Peterson. The additional room will also allow The Cawley Company to accommodate the incorporation of operations for Random Specialties, the Eden Prairie, Minn., company it acquired about five years ago and renamed Cawley Plastic Printing.

The consolidation of operations will bring 10+ jobs to the company’s Manitowoc location, new equipment, and printing and laminating equipment to produce loyalty cards, gift cards and any type of plastic processing. “We’ve been operating the company in its Eden Prairie location for five and one-half years, and it’s time to consolidate operations in one location,” said Peterson. The relocation is underway and should conclude in first quarter 2015.

The internal reconfiguring and remodeling that’s occurring as a result of moving departments into the expanded area is creating a lot of excitement at The Cawley Company. The new office space includes five offices, 11 cubicles, a new conference room, an expanded lunchroom and more office spaces in the original space. “All these things are the result of having the expansion and being able to put this additional production equipment into it,” he said. A new structure built within the expansion houses equipment like a brand new Hewlett-Packard Indigo 5600 Digital Press, which is allowing The Cawley Company to add new processes for its customers.

Reflecting on where they are, Peterson said he couldn’t be happier with not only the project’s end product, but the process. “Our interactions went well and communication was good, and once we came to an agreement, things moved along quickly and efficiently,” he said. At one point, The Cawley Company had some issues with a subcontractor’s work on the blacktop, but “A.C.E. came in, determined where the problems were and had it taken care of.”

Peterson said that in the end, he goes to work every day in a building that reflects the most efficient LEED design and delivers on the purpose of the building. “A.C.E. did a great job of asking the right questions to figure out how to design and build something that would fit our needs,” he said. “They delivered on all the promises they made.”

They opted to work with A.C.E. on this expansion since their previous 10,000 square-foot expansion project with the company went so well. “We knew and trusted the people there; they always looked out for our business interests in planning and building,” he said. “The quality of the [last] building expansion had served us well for the past eight years.”

Peterson credits the parallels between the two organizations with making them such a good fit and the project, a success. “They really listen and operate a family type of business where they’re concerned about doing a good job and keeping a good rapport,” he said.

For more information on The Cawley Company, visit thecawleycompany.com.

Product samples from the newly-added Hewlett-Packard Indigo 5600 Digital Press installed as part of the new expansion.
Product samples from the newly-added Hewlett-Packard Indigo 5600 Digital Press installed as part of the new expansion.

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