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Business Spotlight

Winning with precision

Numerix Inc. makes aerospace, defense, medical components

Johnson
Photos by Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Joey Macy programs a CNC Swiss lathe. Numerix Inc. of Columbia City has invested $500,000 in two of the lathes.
Holes are drilled into the flange of a clutch hub for a combine at Numerix Inc.
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Greg Sauers calibrates a bore gauge.

Numerix Inc.

Address: 406 B Diamond Ave., Columbia City

At a glance: Numerix is a precision manufacturer that makes components for large and small companies in the aerospace, defense, medical and general manufacturing industries. Examples include medical instruments, medical implants, aircraft engine and fuel injection parts. “We make very, very small components that might be the size of a pencil lead,” said Jeff Johnson, owner and president. At the other end of the scale, the company makes some parts that are more than 5 feet long.

Employees: 10

Annual revenue: $1.2 million in 2012

When was the company founded: November 2002

Biggest accomplishment in the past 12 months: Numerix was one of 18 small businesses last year that won the Indiana Small Business Development Center Network’s Economic Development through Growth and Entrepreneurship Awards. Each of the Small Business Development Center’s nine regional offices chose one emerging and one established company for recognition. Numerix won in the established business category.

Numerix also earned two national certifications based on the quality of its work, including one specific to the medical industry. And it invested $500,000 in two CNC Swiss lathe machines.

What was your biggest mistake so far in operating this business: Starting the company without understanding how to handle the finances, Johnson said. He almost lost the company in 2007 as a result. But Johnson went to his accountant and asked for monthly lunchtime tutoring sessions. Johnson also worked with other coaches and advisers to strengthen the company’s balance sheet.

What are the key challenges facing your business or industry: Like many business owners, Johnson has found it challenging to find people “with a good work ethic.” He has also struggled to learn to run a business “in such a volatile business climate,” including changes in tax rates and regulations. But Johnson knows he has to learn to adjust to the environment as it continues to change.

What is your strategy for staying ahead of your competition: Johnson’s mantra is quality, quick turnaround and cost-effectiveness. “We want to look around at our competitors, find out what they’re weak at, what they’re not willing to do,” he said. Numerix also tries to address situations that customers are struggling with.

What resources have you found most helpful in running a business: The Whitley County Economic Development Corp. supplied business coaches to help Johnson learn more about marketing and sales. Fort Wayne’s Small Business Development Center also helped coach him. And he worked with WorkOne.

What are your growth projections for the next five years: $5 million a year in sales; a building expansion or new building to replace the one that’s now at full capacity

What is one thing about your business that people might not be aware of: Johnson wants to start multiple businesses, including one that would qualify for federal contracts. He’s looking overseas for customers and likes to “think big.”

If you weren’t running this business, what would you be doing: Farming. Johnson, who farmed more than 400 acres last year, is taking over the corn and soybean fields once tended by his father.

Source: Jeff Johnson, owner and president Compiled by Sherry Slater, The Journal Gazette Business Spotlight profiles small businesses that are at least three years old and have 100 or fewer employees. To recommend a business, e-mail the name of the company and the name and phone number of a contact person to lisagreen@jg.net or fax to 461-8893.

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