Founded in 1994, Advantage Controls is a family owned and operated manufacturer in Muskogee. With 115 employees, and approximately $20 million in annual revenue, Advantage Control serves as one of Oklahoma’s best entrepreneurial successes.
“Advantage Controls is dedicated to serving the needs of the customers in the industrial water treatment market,” says Jeff O’Neal, vice president of operations. “We try to do that through as much horizontal integration as we can. We supply controllers and chemical metering pumps that we manufacture and we also distribute a wide variety of accessory products that complement our core product lines.”
Over the past five years, Advantage Controls has grown sales by approximately 50 percent in the core business. A key driver of growth is its exceptional customer service.
“Customer service is what we are known for, and it’s solely based on the fact that we take care of people,” says President and CEO Dan Morris. “That’s how we’ve grown from being the new kids on the block 20 years ago to being the top guys, which we’ve been for probably about the last 10 years. It’s the personal touch that makes it work. We’re a small-town company and we’re a family company. We want to take care of people.”
Through the local manufacturing extension agent, Judy McCombs, Advantage Controls has demonstrated a true commitment to continuous improvement strategies. McCombs is one of 16 MEAs working throughout the state to grow industry. She is sponsored locally by Indian Capital Technology Center, Northeastern State University and Muskogee Port Authority.
“The economic impact of the Lean Manufacturing projects they have done is remarkable,” says McCombs. “They have been able to increase capacity and output within their current facility and not expand it, so that saved a large sum in real estate costs and the building costs.”
O’Neal adds, “Our Lean Manufacturing efforts have put us in a much better position to respond more quickly to the needs of our customers by decreasing our lead times from between 43 and 127 percent by product line. We are able to deliver in a much more timely fashion for our customers.”
Morris says it is an essential part of the company’s strategic growth.
“This is our future,” he says. “It sounds like if you listen to the wrong people that manufacturing is a dying business, and it’s not. It’s extremely important in Oklahoma and it’s important to our future. One thing that’s really cool about Oklahoma is you never hear anyone say I can’t do that. We have done stuff here that you shouldn’t be able to do, but people figure out a way to do it.”
“They represent the enormous potential available in Oklahoma and take a leadership role in promoting the importance of doing business in and from our state,” said Dave Rowland, president of the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance.