When it came time for AEM member Vintage Parts to commemorate 50 years in business earlier this summer, the celebratory participation extended far beyond those who worked within the four walls of the company’s Beaver Dam, Wisconsin-based headquarters.
Organizational partners, fellow AEM members, community leaders and the public at-large all joined the supplier of slow-moving parts for an open house and traditional Wisconsin brat fry to not only mark the occasion of the anniversary, but also honor the company’s past and look ahead to its bright future as a fixture in the Beaver Dam community and equipment manufacturing industry alike.
“It really was an open house for the community,” said Pete Fogarty, vice president of sales and marketing for Vintage Parts. “And for us, our community is not just Wisconsin or Beaver Dam, it really extends worldwide.”
A Celebration 50 Years in the Making
Representatives from John Deere, AGCO, Koblelco and Navistar all joined in the celebration, as did U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) and his staff Furthermore, State Rep Mike Born presented Vintage Parts with a commemorative proclamation from the State of Wisconsin. As part of the festivities, Vintage Parts employees gave a tour of the company’s facility to local residents and community officials. In addition, the company designed and unveiled a new logo in to mark the occasion of a half-century in business.
“There really is a lot for us to celebrate,” explained Fogarty. “We’ve been in business for 50 years, we employ 100 people and we’re based here in Wisconsin. So, what do you do? You throw a brat fry and give away almost 750 brats in a two-hour period. It really was a fun time, and a great experience for all involved.”
Since 1972, Vintage Parts has been in the business of managing slow-moving, end-of-service life inventory for equipment manufacturers. Many AEM members – including the aforementioned John Deere, Kobelco and AGCO – are partnering organizations. All told, Vintage Parts works with more than 100 different manufacturers serving agriculture, construction, material handling, automotive, aviation, large transportation, recreational vehicles and medical customers. The company is comprised of 15 warehouses, covering 25 million cubic feet of internal climate-controlled storage space. In addition, Vintage Parts warehouses 1 million-plus part numbers in stock, which equates to just over 10 million actual pieces.
“Everything we do is based on trying to make sure it’s easy for dealers to get inventory from us,” said Fogarty. “And we’ve always prided ourselves on the fact that we have a live call center here in Beaver Dam, staffed by local folks who understand parts, emphasize service and recognize what it means when a machine is down or needs a repair. Most importantly, they understand their job is to get that out to their customers as quickly as possible.”
If there’s one thing that’s common among many AEM members, it’s – regardless of who they are, where they’re located, or who they serve – they recognize being part of a community and making connections with local people and institutions is a top priority. Because, ultimately, those connections benefit everyone in the long term.
“We also know that there’s also a workforce development situation where we need to continue to get other folks excited, as young people, about going into manufacturing and service businesses,” said Fogarty.
“Those are things that AEM pushes, and that’s fantastic,” he continued. “Then, of course, there’s the I Make America campaign, which is the best grassroots program I’ve ever been associated with. It allows so many folks within our industry to go out and say to their members of Congress and local legislators, ‘This is what we do for you. This is what it means to have a strong manufacturing sector in this country. It keeps us at the forefront of technology, and it helps us allow the country to continue to be prosperous.’”
Looking Toward a Bright Future Ahead
Now, with a half-century in existence behind them, Fogarty and Vintage Parts are looking ahead what they expect to be a bright 2023 and beyond for the organization. According to the Vintage Parts VP, the company is looking to expand online, making its website more accessible and user-friendly. In addition, Vintage Parts is evaluating a number of potential growth and expansion opportunities.
‘We’re always expanding into new areas,” said Fogarty. “We’ve done quite well with the ag and construction marketplaces, so if there’s ever an opportunity to do something with a service part, then we’re looking at it.”
No company is an island, however. And Vintage Parts, like many of its organizational counterparts in AEM, is also looking to further leverage its involvement in the association to not only help achieve its goals and positively impact its bottom line, but also build momentum for the equipment manufacturing industry and the customers it serves.
“The networking we get within an association like AEM is just so important, knowing that we are all rowing in the same direction of trying to promote manufacturing and – more specifically – manufacturing in North America,” said Fogarty. “We want to do our part to make this industry strong, this country strong and this region of the world strong. And, as long as we’re all telling the same story about how to accomplish that, and build consensus, things will move forward.”
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