Posted: Aug 9, 2012 6:51 AM by Chet Layman - MTN News
BOZEMAN- Governor Brian Schweitzer recognized nine Montana businesses for their innovative business practices and contributions to Montana's economy; one of them is Bozeman's SIMMS Fishing Products.
SIMMS preparing to move to a new location this fall. The country's only fishing wader maker has been growing for more than 20 years, but this Gallatin Valley business has to innovate everyday just to deal with a major lack of space.
SIMMS employees 112 people in its Bozeman operation center, which consists of five buildings and a couple of storage crates to boot. Products have to be hauled, several times daily between the factory, packaging and shipping. That means leaving one building, by foot or forklift, and traveling to another. Sales and marketing are in another building, and some of product assembly actually operating out of a loft area.
"It's a real challenge moving materials and finished product back and forth particularly in the winter time when we have snow. Also it's not very energy-efficient when you're opening and closing doors. We'd rather spend less time moving materials and focusing more on building a better quality product," Bob Gibson, the company's director of operations, said.
As SIMMS has grown, the need for space has become crucial and solutions have become creative. Staff meetings are a challenge, actually impossible since 112 employees will not fit in to any single space within the SIMMS campus of buildings.
SIMMS recently began renovations on the former Four Corners Hardware building. The Four Corners location will ease those issues and will allow the growing Montana business a chance to run more efficiently.
Gibson says SIMMS took advantage of the coming move to reevaluate the company's efficiency.
"We took this opportunity to really look at our whole work flow and design a very efficient work space. We utilized Montana manufacturing Extension Center to help us look at the work flows and we think we have a good layout for the new facility," Gibson said.
Construction still on schedule with move-in set for early November. SIMMS will be recognized at the governor's first annual Innovation Day and Awards Dinner on Aug. 28.