Top Shops 2013: Micro-Matics

Our Human Resources Honors Program winner for 2013 uses a variety of tools to both retain good employees and keep them engaged.


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Best Practices in Managing the Human Element

Rick Paulson says one of the keys to Micro-Matics’ success is the quality of its employees and the fact that many have been with the company longer than 15 years. Mr. Paulson is the general manager of the Fridley, Minnesota shop that leverages Swiss-type lathe technology to produce complex parts in various materials for its customers. He says the shop’s management approach uses a variety of tools to both retain good employees and keep them engaged. This is one reason why Micro-Matics is the Human Resources Honors Program winner for 2013.

For instance, the shop not only pays employees fairly, but also shares revenue with them through a monthly bonus plan. A meeting is held each month to discuss the shop’s productivity and profit in the previous month. Management shares job information, such as revenue and total cost of sales (raw material, shop time, subcontracting work, etc.), to determine the net monthly operating income. This open communication enables all employees to see where the company stands financially. Plus, they can also see that their efforts to improve overall shop productivity have a direct impact on their income. In addition to the bonus plan, the company offers health, dental and life insurance to its employees and covers short-term and long-term disability.

Beyond offering good pay and benefits, Mr. Paulson says it’s also important to provide a healthy amount of training and mental stimulation. Micro-Matics cross-trains its employees to operate its various brands of Swiss-types lathes and other equipment. That way, they’re not pigeon-holed into one duty or capability. Of course, the shop benefits, too, in cultivating a more versatile staff.

Micro-Matics also gives employees the opportunity to build upon their skills. A good example of this is a tricky medical component one of its customers hoped the shop could produce. After reviewing the design, the shop’s engineering team determined it wouldn’t be possible to effectively produce the part. However, they received permission to keep the part print and gave a handful of employees the time and resources to develop a viable machining process. Because it wasn’t an actual job, there was no pressure to ultimately succeed. Eventually, though, they figured out how to make the part. The shop eventually quoted the job and has produced several batches for its customer since then. Successes like this boost employees’ morale. But even “unsuccessful” low-pressure projects enable the employees to learn something new that could be applied to future jobs.

Company Description

Located in Fridley, Minnesota, Micro-Matics, specializes in Swiss-type machining of complex components in low or high volumes. It manufactures many types of parts including inserts, implants, contacts, pins, ground shafts, hardened bushings, rivets, screws and spacers for a wide range of industries. The shop applies lean manufacturing and continuous improvement principles and is certified to ISO 9001:2008, ISO 13485:2003 and AS9100C standards.

Micro-Matics provides continuing education and training programs to enable its machinists to stay abreast of the latest innovations in machining technology. Its management approach rewards individual and group excellence, which minimizes employee turnover. Many of its employees have been with the company for more than 15 years.

End Markets Served

  • Medical      
  • Aerospace   
  • Commercial
  • Defense
  • Semiconductor

Workpiece Materials Commonly Machined 

  • Aluminum alloys     
  • Brass           
  • Copper        
  • Kovar            
  • Nickel-based alloys
  • Plastics
  • Stainless steel
  • Steel alloys
  • Titanium