Two prestigious awards to go Humtown Products

AFS Corporate Member Humtown Products (Columbiana, Ohio), which serves the metalcasting industry with conventional and 3D printed sand cores and molds, has won two Manufacturing Leadership Awards from the National Association of Manufacturers: (1) in the Engineering and Production Technology Leadership category and (2) in the Talent Management Leadership category.

Humtown was recognized among other world-class manufacturing companies such as Boeing, Ford, Lockheed Martin, and Cisco. Other winners in Humtown’s award categories include General Motors, IBM, Merck, and Siemens Energy.

“It’s an honor to be named among such national industry powerhouses” said Mark Lamoncha, president. “To receive two awards is a testament to our dedicated team of ‘industrial athletes.’”

Manufacturing Leadership Council Co-Founder, Executive Director and Vice President David R. Brousell said, “At a time when the industry is more innovative and competitive than it ever has been, these award winners truly stand out as leaders of manufacturing’s digital transformation. We congratulate them for their outstanding achievements.”

The first award honors Humtown’s “Commercialization of 3D Printing in the Metal Casting Industry.” Embracing the newest design and production approaches to game-changing process improvements, NAM recognized Humtown as one of the world’s leaders in additive manufacturing.

“We are one of the largest 3D sand printing suppliers to the foundry industry, so to receive an award wrapped around that and the relevance to our industry is huge,” said director of Additive Manufacturing Brandon Lamoncha. “This is really significant because it shows all the work not only that Humtown has put in, but also all the great work of AFS and their investment in the time and energy it takes to develop committees and conferences around additive. We're all fighting the same fight, and so when Humtown's being recognized, AFS is really being recognized as well.”

Seven years in the making, Humtown’s additive manufacturing expertise was developed with support from America Makes, Youngstown Business Incubator and Youngstown State University, as well as the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber. Brandon Lamoncha also pointed to University of Northern Iowa, where he studied under an America Makes grant. “We could not have done this alone,” he said. “We're deeply indebted to their collaboration and their ideas and their acceptance of us working with them.”

“We're just at the very infancy of where we can utilize this technology,” he added. “It's going to expand and explode so much further and greater. It isn’t just a fad––this is really the future of manufacturing, so the sooner people embrace and understand it the more growth we will experience here in the U.S. market.”

Humtown’s second award­––for Talent Management Leadership––recognizes their strides in “Unleashing Human Potential,” specifically the company’ development of its patented Visual Earnings System.

“It is my vision to help our employees reach their full potential and feel valued,” said Mark Lamoncha. “Our Visual Earnings System helps make that vision a reality.”

Patterned after an annual performance-based compensation system for employees that Lincoln Electric adopted in 1934, Lamoncha’s Visual Earnings couples gamification with software algorithms that calculate labor cost against manufacturing unit into a visual earning rate. In other words, people see what everyone’s making and become self-driven to achieve remarkable performance results.

Simultaneously, Humtown instituted a six-hour workday, which Lamoncha says has had significant impact.

“Some of our people come in at 6 in the morning and leave at Noon so they can go to college or be home for their families,” he said.

Lamoncha’s catalyst for a fresh approach stems from the recession of 2008 when the company shrank from roughly 150 employees to about 25. “I was pretty transparent that we were going through hard times,” he said. “One of the ladies walked up to me and said, ‘Help me keep my job.’ You know, that was a defining moment...

“The recession taught me a powerful lesson: It’s not about what we make or how we make it but rather the why inside of the people,” he continued. “My search for a survival strategy brought me to Lincoln Electric­­––their story resonated with me. I was also trying to find a way to move our people past pay rate towards a fair work-based earning system.”

His proprietary system plus the shorter work shift have more than tripled production output in some cases, utilizing real-time technology to take pay away from an incentive to a real-time earning rate.

“Suddenly, we were making 1,440 parts in a six-hour period where before we made 400 to 500 in eight,” he said.

On some projects, employees have earned as much as $100 per hour. Coincidentally, Lamoncha has taken his company from a 70% turnover rate to as low as 5%.

Humtown Products will be recognized at the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Gala, which will take place as a virtual event on Oct. 8.