Turnkey Helps TMCO Add Value
TMCO takes pride in its ability to employ many immigrants and refugees, who contribute greatly to the quality it provides customers.
There are many benefits to single source manufacturing. Although companies like flexibility, they are beginning to look to manufacturers that offer turnkey solutions.
“More companies are leaning towards single sourcing,” says Roland Temme, CEO and founder of TMCO, a Lincoln, Neb.-based metal manufacturing company. “Our business is getting away from manufacturing commodity piece parts and there’s an emphasis on adding more value.”
TMCO, short for Total Manufacturing Company, does as its name suggests. It specializes in being a one-stop, concept-to-completion metal manufacturer. The company’s capabilities include finishing a product from any stage.
“We can give our customers more value and that differentiates us from our competition,” Temme says. “We can make the part, form it, weld it and then paint and assemble it – so that it’s ready for the customer. We want to be a single-source supplier for our customers.”
TMCO’s services include anything from milling/turning, sheet/tube fabrication to powder coating, welding, and prototyping.
Living in an era that’s become notorious for outsourcing and impersonal service, family-owned TMCO holds tight to the values that have made it special in the metal fabrication business.
It has developed a reputation for building one-on-one relationships with both customers and suppliers. The dynamics of those business relationships helps foster a mutual goal of successful business operations.
“We develop real partnerships with our customers and we truly partner with our suppliers,” Temme says.
TMCO has also developed a reputation for quality. The company has earned an ISO 9001:2015 certification that ensures that all standards of quality are met through proper production process checks and balances. “If you do good work, you’ll get more work,” Temme adds. “But we have to be competitive.”
A Local Supplier
In recent years, TMCO has been developing business partnerships with overseas companies that want to have a manufacturing presence in the United States – bringing a lot of business into Nebraska.
Currently, roughly 40 percent of TMCO’s customer-base is from overseas businesses. One of those companies is CLAAS, a German agricultural equipment manufacturer that opened an assembly plant in Omaha, Neb.
“They needed a local supplier for a harvesting combine assembly that is made up of roughly 800 sheet metal parts,” Temme says. “It’s an example of the type of work we like to do and it’s been very successful for us.”
Partnering with customers that have high demands for TMCO’s products and services often requires major capital investments. Since 1989, when TMCO purchased its first Trumpf fabrication machine and entered the metal fabrication business, the company has invested more than $25 million into machinery.
“Technology changes very rapidly,” Temme says. “You need to upgrade capital equipment every seven years to stay competitive.”
TMCO’s 300,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Lincoln has expanded about 15 times as the company’s customer base grew. Today, TMCO produces roughly 200,000 parts per month.
“All of our new machine tools and new technology allows us to do everything faster and better,” Temme says.
Speed is important. Modern-day manufacturers are moving away from storing large amounts of inventory and look to their suppliers to produce in shorter time frames.
“This is a trend in the industry,” Temme says. “Suppliers are producing in shorter time frames – and we can produce new parts in a very short time frame. Our equipment has gotten faster and it can produce on a just-in-time basis. That means less inventory for our customers.”
Aside from having a number of overseas customers, TMCO also proudly employs immigrants and refugees. Roughly 40 percent of the company’s workforce is made up of refugee immigrants from about 20 different countries.
“Lincoln, Nebraska is well known for a great place for immigrants to come to settle,” Temme says. “In recent years, Nebraska has had one of the highest refugee resettlement rates per capita in the country.”
TMCO offers its non-English speaking employees English classes. This year, TMCO partnered with a local daycare center and preschool to address childcare accessibility and affordability for its employees. Currently, TMCO offers priority enrollment and subsidized rates to assist its families.
“We are a family company and we treat our employees as a part of the family,” Temme adds. “We are really working hard to be innovative and help them to become integrated.”
Temme’s family-owned company got its start in 1974, when he was asked to set up a manufacturing facility in Rogers, Arkansas to produce parts for Magnefax cassette tape duplication machines. He agreed to do this, but wanted to work in Lincoln, Neb.
That year, he started his business as a one-man machining operation in an 842-square-foot shack. But Temme had a vision to turn his machining company into a “Total Manufacturing Company.”
He started adding new employees and capabilities. TMCO acquired National Mfg. in 1985 and founded Metal + Art in 1997, a department which specializes in custom decorative metal work.
“We were a machine company for the first 15 years and then added metal fabrication to diversify our business,” Temme says. “That came about as a result of the large volume of machine work being outsourced to China.”
Over time, TMCO grew to acquire the latest technology in metal manufacturing with diverse capabilities including machining, sheet metal and tube fabrication, water jet, welding, powder coating and assembly.
Today, TMCO has more than 200 employees and Temme has been recognized for his commitment to providing employment opportunities to immigrants and refugees and for being a community leader.
Temme currently serves on the board of trustees at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo and Junior Achievement and is a member of the United Way Tocqueville Society. He has helped shape his community by building many iconic pieces in Lincoln such as the Sunken Gardens dome, Lincoln Children’s Zoo letter blocks and the district markers which guide visitors to the downtown Haymarket District from the Lincoln Airport.
He has been recognized with various honors and awards including the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame Inductee, Junior Achievement Gold Leadership Award in 2020,
Lincoln Center Kiwanis Distinguished Service Award in 2018, Doctor of Laws honoris causa from Concordia University, the Douglas E. Parrott Faith in Action Award from Lutheran Family Services in 2016 and Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Manufacturer of the Year in 2015.