“My grandfather started the business and grandmother helped balance the books while he built a customer base,” said Valerie Sanderson, a third-generation WWC employee and co-owner of the company. “In the 1960s we began to see success with the marine industry, producing cut-to-size plywood parts. With woodworking in our name, one can assume that we’re a custom cabinet shop. However, that’s not the case. Considering only 34 percent of WWC products are made of wood materials, the company has evolved a lot acquiring new equipment, introducing new processes and product markets.”
Located in New Washington, Ohio, WWC primarily serves a regional, ten-state customer base. Much of its business is from long-term customers with repeat production. But, WWC also bids on one-time job specifications and is frequently referred by word-of mouth from satisfied clients.
By excelling in the hybrid fabrication of projects such as point-of-sale displays comprised of composite panels, wood and thermoformed plastics, WWC offers additional value to its customers who can take the partially-completed displays and pass them on to other specialized fabricators who add elements like glass and lighting fixtures.
WWC continuously acquires new technology and equipment that allows the manufacturer to work smarter and faster. The company recently purchased two new 3-axis CNC routers that have increased the capacity in its woodworking operations of cut-to-size component products from plywoods, laminates, engineered wood & composite panels as well as polymer sheet goods. This brings WWC’s CNC count to twelve machines. WWC relies on CNC automation for precision and accuracy to construct the desired finished piece. Soundproofing panels, as well as several other products from WWC, are made from base substrates such as medium density fiberboard, particleboard and even veneer hardwood plywood.
Polymer sheet goods fabricated by WWC include those extruded by a company called Vycom, which offers a range of expanded PVC products designed for use in UV, chemical, corrosion and heat resistant applications. With brand names such as Celtec, Flametec and Seaboard, these plastic sheets are used in projects like store fixtures and kiosks, workbenches and sinks, marine furniture and outdoor cabinetry. WWC uses these materials for golf cart and class 8 truck applications.
“We’re able to serve a wide variety of customers because we can process such a large number of different substrates,” said WWC President and Owner Jerry Wurm. “Like everyone else, we’ve faced the economic ups and downs of the last few years. But, we’ve come out stronger than ever.”
One factor in WWC’s success is the partnership with its primary material supplier Distributor Service, Inc (DSI). By obtaining a wide variety of raw materials from one source, ranging from composite and veneer core substrates, plastic sheeting, high-pressure lamination and various adhesives, the company keeps a large portion of its supply side under one roof.
“DSI has an excellent variety of products to offer,” Wurm said. “You name it, we buy it. They have much more to offer than most vendors.”
Wurm explained that his workforce is made up of a healthy mix of experienced, old-time craftsmen and tech-savvy younger people. “The roles of our employees have changed during the last 25 years,” he said. “Materials that were manually cut by hand are now machined using computer programs to tight tolerances. Our workforce has adapted well.”
WWC also commits to quality by maintaining its ISO 9000 certification. This adherence to quality management is only obtained after a strict third-party auditing team examines all aspects of the way the company does business. From upper management to the shop floor, ISO auditors ensure that the principles of quality management are implemented every step of the way.
WWC is also certified by a Forest Stewardship Council-accredited body. This organization monitors and tracks a product from an FSC-certified forestland to the final consumer. The FSC label ensures responsible resource consumption by providing a link between local resources and a manufacturer. This helps end-users make socially and environmentally sound buying decisions.
“At first, we decided to obtain the certification because it was a requirement to acquire a specific job,” Wurm said. “However, the benefits of implementing the process to us as well as our customers soon became evident. It’s a lot more than just window dressing. We make sure we do everything according to the process and our customers receive value and quality-produced products.”
WWC’s capabilities are not limited to flat wood and plastic parts, its thermoforming operation uses heat and vacuum to mold items from pre-colored and textured ABS, TPO, PE, styrene and vinyl upholstery to a 3d shape of a mold. WWC also membrane presses parts using the thermo-lamination process to wrap foil over MDF profiles, eliminating the need for a separate edge treatment. The company’s future plans include long term, steady growth. If necessary, the manufacturing facility can expand into running multiple shifts to meet growing demand.
“WWC is very much a family tradition,” Wurm said. “Our third generation, Valerie Sanderson and Richard Wurm, who began their careers at WWC in the 1990s, both have children who we hope will continue to carry the company onto success in the future.”