NICKELL MOULDING Maintains A Laser-like Focus On What It Does Best
By Bridget McCrea
Elkhart, Ind.—When times get tough, or when new opportunities rear their heads, companies tend to get sidetracked. They reach outside of their core competencies and attempt to add new products and services, hoping that these offerings will help boost their bottom lines.
Nickell Moulding Company, Inc., located here, takes a different approach:It sticks to what it does best. Even in the most recent economic downturn, for example, the manufacturer looked internally to tighten up its operations and cut back on expenses, rather than trying to be something that it isn’t.
The plant runs roughly 40 hours a week, with a single shift, and uses about 3.5 million board feet of lumber annually. Primary species include Yellow Pine, ash, poplar, basswood, red oak, and maple, all in No. 1 Common and Select and better grades.
“We really try to stay focused on the manufacture of custom mouldings, and prefer not to get thrown off track by new lines of business,” said George Nickell, president. “We’ve taken that approach since inception, and it works very well for us as a long-term strategy.”
Founded in 1981 by Nickell and his wife Patti, the company started off supplying the picture frame moulding industry. From there, it moved into the cabinet, furniture and housing industries.
Specializing in mouldings that are used in cabinets, picture frames, furniture and residential homes, Nickell Moulding operates from a 120,000-square-foot plant and employs about 85 persons.
Founded in 1981 by Nickell and his wife Patti, the company started off supplying the picture frame moulding industry. From there, it moved into the cabinet, furniture and housing industries. Prior to starting the firm, Nickell was running a different moulding manufacturing company that he’d founded with his brother. “When I left that position, I decided to establish my own firm,” said Nickell, who began in the industry in 1970. “I’ve been at this a long time.”
Early on, Nickell said the company’s main products were raw mouldings for the picture frame industry. When those customers began asking for custom finishes, the manufacturer started offering that service as well. A few years later, the company began manufacturing moulding out of medium density fiberboard (MDF), to meet a growing demand for the product, which can be veneered or laminated. “Today, we’re producing a wide variety of mouldings, solid wood and MDF,” said Nickell, “but still sticking to our core product lineup and customer base.”
Nickell, two full-time sales reps, and six independent salespeople who represent Nickell Moulding, handle company sales. A member of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) and the Wood Component Manufacturers Association (WCMA), the company sells its products to customers throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Many of those clients are picture frame makers whose final products are sold in department stores.
Credit the manufacturer’s use of water-based finishing products rather than solvent lacquer based products in both its manufacturing and finish applications, and its production of eco wood (MDF) that is a virgin recycled product for its wrapped mouldings with helping to raise its “green” profile.
“We also sell to manufactured housing producers, cabinetmakers and furniture producers from coast-to-coast,” said Nickell, whose firm has been honored with numerous environmental awards for its efforts to run a “green” plant. In 2010 for example, the company was one of just six companies statewide to win an Indiana Environmental Stewardship Program Award.
According to the company, Nickell Moulding is also the only mouldingmanufacturer in Indiana to take part ina voluntary program called the Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP). Run by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the program focuses on lowering manufacturers’ carbon footprints, or the total set of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event or product.
Credit the manufacturer’s use of water-based finishing products rather than solvent lacquer-based products in both its manufacturing and finish applications, and its production of eco-wood (MDF) that is a virgin recycled product for its wrapped mouldings with helping to raise its “green” profile. Nickell Moulding also recycles its sawdust, wood and cardboard waste into wood fuel pellets.
“Environmentally-conscious strategies are in our DNA around here,” said Nickell. “We have one associate on staff who keeps us focused on being ‘green’, and as a result we’ve reduced a lot of material waste in the plant, and taken other measures to ensure that our firm has as little negative impact as possible on the environment.”
Still grappling with a challenging economic climate, Nickell said other key initiatives right now include staying on top of its account receivables and cutting costs without sacrificing quality and service. Looking ahead, Nickell will maintain a “cautiously optimistic” view on company growth and expansion, all the while keeping a laser-like focus on the firm’s core product line.
The plant runs roughly 40 hours a week, with a single shift, and uses about 3.5 million board feet of lumber annually.
“We’ve done some downsizing over the last three years, and now have plenty of excess capacity,” said Nickell. “As the economic climate continues to improve, we’ll be using up that excess, increasing our ‘green’ efforts and serving up the best mouldings in the business for our customers.”
For more information visit www.nickellmoulding.com.