Originally founded by Tom Harrison back in 1959 as True Groove Machine, Axxis Corporation today enjoys 50+ years of experience and a much cooler name. Working out of a small shop in his garage called R N S Machine Works, Brandy Tidball was well known locally for precision, ingenuity, and had a knack for problem solving. With a plan to elevate their game through quality, service and automation Brandy purchased True Groove in 2007 from Tom’s sons TJ and Bob. “I was making a lot of one offs, and doing a ton of prototype work with R N S, while True Groove was doing more production style work,” explains Axxis President Brandy Tidball. “It just made sense to buy it and expand all of our capabilities instead of starting from scratch.” With 32 CNC machines, and new leadership the company was bursting at the seams in their old Bloomington, CA. location. Plans quickly went in place to set up an ideal manufacturing facility in a nearby location.
The hunt for a new building was slower than expected, but eventually a 40,000 sq.ft building on 5 acres was purchased nearby in Perris, Ca. just off the 215 freeway. “Even though we do business on a global scale, and offer delivery, it was important for us to stay in the same general area,” explains Brandy. “I had a specific idea of what I wanted in a building. It took longer to find and customize than I had expected.” The new state of the art manufacturing facility is simply amazing, and one of the nicest shops you will ever set foot it. Everything from the lights to the security system is automated and accessible from management’s devices. “Employees have proximity cards,” tells production manager Brian Grigson. “All the doors lock and unlock as they approach if their card has access to that area. We can see and control every aspect in real time from our phones.” The 100% climate controlled building was up to spec in July 2013 and machines were moved over piece by piece as the work load allowed. They were completely moved in and fully operational by November 1st.
The shop is laid out in a grid pattern, with mills and lathes lined up in formation to maximize employee time and workflow. In an area separated from the rest sits the new Makino a61nx, strategically positioned for future expansion and ready to tackle anything sent its way. “By looking at the list of our equipment, it is evident that our goal is to provide machining that is reliable, accurate, and with the newest technology” says Brandy. “All the machines we were considering buying were similar in spec, but we chose the Makino for their reputation, their brand and the support.” With 12 pallets and 218 tools, it is a game changer for the shop. Three employees have undergone extensive training on it to get familiar with the capabilities and operation. David Butler, Operations manager for Axxis is now tasked with selling jobs for the Makino, and filling the other machines as better suited work is moved to the Makino. “We never have had the need for a sales force,”explains Butler. “It is less of a sell and more of a process to make customers aware of our expanded services. The quality off of the Makino sells itself, but they need to know we have it.”
Axxis is on their way to becoming a paperless shop. Faxes and filing systems have been replaced with electronic communication. The only paper you see on the shop floor is the travelers, and even they are on their way out. “We are looking into a tablet system for each of our machining centers,” tells Brian. “We are still a little ways off on finding exactly what we want, but I suspect to see it in the near future.” At the heart of the automation is the company wide use of the E2 Shop Systems. E2 is a completely integrated shop management system that handles everything from estimating to data collection. “Our E2 system gives us real time data from anywhere in the shop,” tells Brandy. “If Brian updates a job, it is instantly updated everywhere. We can see how many parts are coming off of any machine at any time by just looking on our computer screens, tablets or on any of the large monitors throughout the shop and offices. It is a great tool for taking the guess work out of production, delivery, and quality.” As an ISO9001 certified company, Axxis works mostly in aluminum, stainless steel, carbon steel, high temp alloys, and magnesium. They are a top tier supplier to the aerospace, power generation, medical and automotive industries which requires a high level of excellence to meet and exceed their customer’s expectations.
“Our biggest advantage as a company is how we work together as a team,” explains Butler. “Everyone says they like their boss when he is sitting in the same room with them, but Brian, Brandy and I really work well together and I feel it shows.” Axxis management has a belief system of treating employees as assets, and striving for continuous improvement. The working environment at Axxis was designed to empower employees to learn and grow through innovation and training. Dave has been with the company for 35 years, starting as a night janitor while still in high school. “I was fascinated by the CNC machines and wanted to learn how to run and program them,” tells Dave. I went from machinist and programmer to supervisor and now have the pleasure of being the Operations Manager.” Brian shares a similar tale, also learning the trade in high school as a welder. He too started from the bottom and now has a corner office. “I’ve pretty much held every position possible since 1996,” boasts Brian. “Janitor, driver, shipping, machinist, purchasing, you name it. I worked here as I earned my business degree and then studied contract law specifically for the company. I love working in such a collaborative environment and am very proud of how much we’ve grown in the last few years. I can’t wait to see where we are five years from now.” Brian, Dave, and Brandy all have a passion for machining that comes through instantly. As individuals their experience and expertise may vary, but together the trio makes up the Axxis of awesome, delivering excellence to their customers. If the adage of “if you love what you do then you will never work a day in your life” is true then these guys never have to worry about working.
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