Business Assistance Projects Wrap-up

Mertek Solutions

Mertek Solutions designs, builds, and installs machines for an array of industries. Mertek was founded in 2009 and is located in Sanford, NC, employing around 45 individuals. Jerry Pedley, its CEO, has been heavily involved in the local community, especially in its efforts to promote workforce development programs and, ultimately, retain talent in the area.

Jerry has been recognized for his public involvement on multiple occasions. His accolades include the 1996 Small Business Person of the Year Award from the Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce for his efforts with his prior company, Electro-Mechanical Specialties, and recognition by the National Academy Foundation as one of the top three U.S. business leaders providing opportunities for high school and college students in September 2017. Mertek also won Business North Carolina’s 2017 Small Business of the Year Award and the N.C. Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center’s 2016 Outstanding Business and Industry Award. Mertek is a member in the Manufacturing Makes it Real Network, administered by the NC State University Industrial Extension Service (IES), and Jerry is a member of the IES Advisory Board.

Jerry was instrumental in developing Mertek’s own apprenticeship program and is now spearheading an effort, together with Central Carolina Community College and many other local leaders, to establish an apprenticeship consortium in Lee, Harnett, and Chatham counties. NCGrowth is helping Mertek Solutions with its effort to establish this consortium by bringing together multiple stakeholders, including industry, the community college system, public school systems, and economic development organizations, and studying apprenticeship programs around the state and country. The resulting case studies and data collected will help the consortium develop the future program’s framework, while informing documents for a website and highlighting future considerations and priorities when implementing the program during the upcoming school year.

Mary Ann Osiecka is an NCGrowth Analyst and Masters student at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and Fuqua School of Business.


Heirloom Builders

Heirloom Builders is a design and construction company founded by Logan Parker in Siler City, NC. The company was first established in 2012 with a mission to promote sustainability via the concept of green and energy efficient homes. The company builds with passive solar and universal design concepts inside the home, using renewable energies from the sun. Local and non- toxic materials from the area would also be utilized such as straw bale and possible lumber from the clients’ own home site.

Heirloom Builders engaged NCGrowth and the E-TAP initiative to assist the company with developing a marketing guide for potential online sales of floor plans. As Logan has invested a lot of his time honing his skills in designing homes and come up with successful products, the company needs to figure out a way to capitalize on the existing designs and turn them into a recurring source of additional revenues by selling to a digital audience. Additionally, NCGrowth will provide financial analysis for Heirloom Builders to project their future growth.

In order to fulfill this marketing goal, NCGrowth conducted detailed market research to identify what current trends in the green home markets are relevant to Heirloom Builders and how perceptive the general audience is to the company’s unique products and services. The report also provided situation analysis pertinent to Heirloom Builders’ scale and current scope of business, which recommended that the company develop its own consistent digital presence, educate and engage with audience first before starting selling a product such as floor plans online. The project included analysis of different online marketing strategies that the company can use to reach out to its potential audience.

Vy Huynh is an NCGrowth Analyst and Masters student at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and Fuqua School of Business.


Robeson Community College

Robeson County hosts a culinary program within the Robeson Community College, with the purpose of training about one hundred quality chefs a year from the area. These chefs have the capability to work in four star restaurants.

Mr. James Chavis, the Holiday Inn Express manager from Pembroke, intends to open a fine dining restaurant to both allow students to work in this facility as well as offer a fine dining experience to a region that is lacking in such services. Mr. Chavis’ vision includes the possibility of constructing an entire new building in the town in order to house the restaurant and could potentially include a banquet area for use by the public, in addition to adding some living spaces attached to the building.

This project dives into the different avenues that various culinary and hospitality schools have utilized to offer actual culinary experiences for their students. Half of all culinary programs have ventures that service the college or local community through the use of on campus kitchens, restaurants, or off campus partnerships. This project delves into several of these examples and aims to study the methods and issues that are encountered in undertaking a student-management oriented fine dining restaurant. In addition to this, a few subjects have been researched such as private nonprofit examples, private for profit examples, and other issues that must be circumvented, such as the Umstead Act, which limits the involvement of public institutions with private enterprises unless for educational purposes.

Michael Baker is an NCGrowth Analyst and MBA student at UNC Pembroke where he also got his BS in Business Administration in Economics and Management.


Wind Solutions

by Sai Satvik Kompella

NCGrowth forged a new partnership with Wind Solutions, LLC by assisting them with a high-level system in capturing shop floor data and eliminating paper-based communication of MOP’s and QA data. Founded in 2013, Wind Solutions, based in Sanford, NC, serves both as a job shop and a manufacturing facility to provide in-house Engineering and CAD Manufacturing for refurbishing and/or replacing parts for Wind Turbines.

The core team at Wind Solutions undertakes a complex variety of refurbishments from a large customer base. Due to this sheer number of orders and the raw materials and machining operations involved, Wind Solutions are not able to keep track of inventory just by using paper forms (“Inventory slips”). They also face the challenge of tracking work-order status whenever the production schedule is halted to accommodate for a HOT order or when they outsource from external vendors. To solve this issue, NCGrowth is helping them with the process of using barcodes for automatically capturing part information. This solution is a part of the entire strategy of identifying and implementing an ERP system, such that there is a reliable database which can notify the live status of work orders and also inventory.

The second part of this project is to eliminate the use of paper based Manufacturing Operations Plan (MOP) for conveying the machinists the procedure for every new order. These MOP’s contain the step-by-step process at various CNC machines and the engineering drawing for the part. By suggesting a strategy to implement an ERP, NCGrowth can show that a GUI at each workstation can help the machinists to easily access the MOP and the QC data for that order. This GUI also helps in managing worker schedules by keeping live track of the current order status and machine run-time.

Using the academic and industry connections, NCGrowth has researched about various ERP systems for Tier-III manufacturers. After consulting professors in this field, NCGrowth had prepared the requirements document before approaching the ERP consultants. To understand how these tools are functioning in real world, NCGrowth had visited local manufacturers in NC and tried to understand and apply their successful practices in our ERP implementation project. Ultimately, the ERP system suggested will guide Wind Solutions to streamline their processes and possibly help them in shifting from Job-shop to a flow-shop.

Sai Satvik is an NCGrowth Analyst and Industrial and Systems Engineering Graduate student at North Carolina State University


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Mertek Solutions

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Mertek Solutions

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Heirloom Builders

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Robeson Community College

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Wind Solutions

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Wind Solutions