On Highway M-60, where it winds past scenic lakes and lush farmland in St. Joseph County, sits a dynamic manufacturer of high-profile parts for the automotive, marine, agricultural, entertainment, and industrial sectors.
Revved-up auto enthusiasts readily seek out its products such as covers for the superchargers on General Motors’ Corvette, Camaro, and Cadillac supercars, and superchargers for Roush Racing that power the Ford Mustang and Raptor.
Established in 1976, XL Machine Company Inc. has quietly created a reputation for itself by being able to take a client’s unicorn idea and transform it into a finished prototype ready to be produced in volume. The company has long since engineered a product portfolio containing a vast array of machined components and has tripled its sales and employee count. It is getting ready to grow again.
“We founded the business on building prototypes,” General Manager Chris Orlowski said. “Then, we added production contract work to create more stability and went from one to three shifts in four weeks.”
A division of the Burke Porter Group since 2012, XL Machine keeps pace with technology innovations such as additive manufacturing. “We utilize a company in Munich, Germany, for 3D printing of parts that go into a very high-profile vehicle,” Orlowski said.
Under Orlowski’s leadership, the company has established an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, become International Automotive Task Force (IATF) 16949 certified, and added management positions in quality, process, purchasing, production, and materials. Orlowski recognizes that the team assembled by XL Machine is responsible for the company’s growth. The team meets regularly to brainstorm and debate new ideas. Orlowski’s philosophy is to place employees in positions that maximize passions and talents. The company looks for individuals with engineering and machinist skill sets and utilizes apprenticeship and educational co-op programs. It believes in grooming and developing its team and investing heavily in training.
This summer, XL Machine will enlarge its 83,000-square-foot footprint in Three Rivers by breaking ground on a 30,000-square-foot expansion. Recruitment has begun for 20 new employees with mechanical aptitude, which will bring the team to over 110.
“Our biggest challenge with growth is hiring people at the right time and being able to train fast enough,” Orlowski explains. “Our management team is all mentors and has identified individuals to fill the role of internal master trainers. A training matrix records what everyone has been trained on and where our gaps are.”
Know someone who would like to be a contributing member of an innovative
and growing company? If so, go to xlmachine.com/careers.