Haas Automation: Goal set for $1 billion in sales, plant expansion sought
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: May 02, 2012
A company that has a goal of $1 billion in sales has expansion on its mind, those attending the April Good Morning Santa Paula learned at the April breakfast meeting.
The Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event, hosted by Steve McFadden CPA, was held at Glen Tavern Inn with an ample breakfast provided by its in-house restaurant Enzo’s.
Tavi Udrea of Haas Automation has been with the company for 21 years. Although formerly involved as manager of company operations involving sales or service, Udrea is now human resources director.
The Oxnard-based company has four buildings holding one million square feet, as well as a 430,000 square foot yard. Haas Automation employs 1,300 people.
The company started in 1983 when owner/founder Jim Haas developed a collet indexer device “to make his own life easier... he needed a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine to make this device” for his then line of business.
The next time he had such a need Haas was told the machine was unavailable, so “He started building his own CNC machine... this took off and,” joked Udrea, “he became semi-successful. The rest is history,” and the company that denied Haas the use of their equipment is no longer in business.
“We have a full line, have distributors all over the world in every country you can imagine... and part of our growth and success was export. Jim realized pretty fast that if you don’t export,” 75 percent of the world’s economy would go untapped. Now with headquarters in Europe, China and India - the latter one of the company’s fastest growing markets - and with a heavy emphasis on customer service and training, Haas has clients ranging from aerospace and the military to automotive racing.
“But most important to us is the mom and pop shop, the one machine operation, those that turn their hobby into a business... we treat them with equal importance; they are how we started. Where we care the most is the customer experience,” those who purchase Haas equipment through its network of Haas exclusive distributors, and any work needed later is done only by Haas technicians.
Said Udrea, “We have a lot of stuff that is out of the norm for our industry, everything we do is with that end customer in mind,” including the owner of the first machine shipped in 1988. There are 125,000 Haas CNC machines worldwide, and the company was able to weather the economic storm even though sales dropped by 60 percent in 2009.
“Our goal is hitting one-billion in sales this year,” a figure the company plans to double in the following five years. The “current business climate” in California is causing the company to explore out of state “opportunities” for expansion.
“One of our biggest challenges is to find employees and find talent,” which prompted Haas’ training programs, including at high school levels to ready students for a career. In addition, “We need software developers, web developers - we’re having more and more problems bringing that talent into Ventura County. That is the bad part; the good part is we love it here,” as do employees - many that have been with the company for decades. And that includes Santa Paulans: “Heidi Juarez is one of my best friends,” a credit to the Haas workforce.
No matter where he travels, Udrea said, “I see Haas’ outlets... it’s a fantastic feeling, like a community.” Customer service is the key and Haas ships 99 percent of parts ordered the same day, “and if we don’t have it we’ll take another machine apart to get that part,” while, joked Udrea, a Haas employee blocks the delivery so the parcel carrier can’t leave without the package.