By Jerry Pervis
MITCHELL — They might have only been in business about four years, but McKiney Manufacturing and Sales has kept busy fabricating metal parts to keep the machines rolling in a variety of industries.
The Mitchell business started in 1972 as Bare Manufacturing, providing tool and die machine shop services to support the machinery that manufactures hydraulic hose.
“Being tied to one industry can be both good and bad,” said new owner Roger McKiney, who took over the operation in 2015. “We’d go up and down along with the hydraulic hose manufacturing business. At the time, the price of oil had gone into the $30 a barrel range when it was up at about $100 a year before.”
As hose manufacturers started trimming their budgets, it had an impact on the industry that serviced their machinery.
“The first couple of years it was a challenge to keep the cash flowing, so we looked at opportunities to branch out into other markets,” McKiney said. “We started working with a company in Wyoming that manufactures natural gas and LP generators for the oil and gas industry.”
Taking advantage of every opportunity they were given, McKiney became a dependable company with a reputation of good quality in manufactured parts while also providing quick turnaround.
“I’m in sales and I found one of the biggest holdups in a company’s production line is with the exhaust system,” McKiney said. “Then we had the opportunity to purchase a tube bending system with help from Scottsbluff’s LB 840 fund.”
With the ability to custom make tubing applications for a wide variety of uses, McKiney and his vice president wife, Julie, were able to double their revenue.
The new machinery is capable of bending round, rectangular or square tubing in sizes anywhere from a quarter-inch to 4-inch diameters.
“We don’t want to give up on the hydraulic hose industry, but this gives us the opportunity to take on additional markets,” McKiney said. “In many of those areas, we’re competing with companies from overseas.”
He said the turnaround capability for his company is a big selling point. Companies buying overseas parts must take into account delivery time, paying upfront and buying in lots that might not be reasonable.
“Added value and customer service are important for us,” Julie McKiney said. “We’re able to meet with customers in person rather than just over the phone. With personal relationships comes trust.”
McKiney Manufacturing and Sales recently launched a new website designed to take visitors to the exact area they’re searching.
“We’ve made the website simple to use and it showcases everything we can provide,” Julie said. “We’re also putting together a marketing plan to promote it.”
The company was also nominated for Business of the Year by the Nebraska Business Development Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. While they didn’t win the title, McKiney Manufacturing will be a featured business in the upcoming magazine from the Business Development Center.