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Williams – Spec Grade American Manufacturing
Spec grade lighting designed and built in America
This week I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Missouri to visit the folks at Williams. Over the years, at SDA I’ve developed a strong relationship with many of the people at HEW, but there’s nothing quite like getting out to the facility in person and having face to face conversations with the people you email and call every week.
This wasn’t my first trip to Carthage, Missouri. I was already pretty familiar with the folks that make HEW tick, but it never hurts to see the factory in action. This trip was no exception. Raw sheet metal rolls come in one door and complete lighting fixtures made to order are boxed and ready to ship out the other door. It’s pure American manufacturing at it’s best and on the cutting edge.
Watching the manufacturing process is fantastic, especially when coupled with the new experience center, where you can see prime examples of Williams product development on display prominently. There’s really nothing better or more impressive than seeing lighting products as they are meant to be viewed. Installed in a ceiling or on a wall. All of it adds up to an experience of what Williams is capable of as a lighting company. For Williams, manufacturing and product development are a balance of innovation and serving existing markets. We see this with the advancement of their linear recessed product and the introduction of more architectural shapes and form factors.
Few factories you’ll encounter have the capacity to turn out so many different lighting form factors to such a high degree of quality with such reasonable pricing and lead times. That comes from smart product development and the selection of the right tooling to build each product based on demand. A lot of thought goes into what product segments to enter and how to work them into the flow of the rest of the factory. What is never sacrificed, however, are two things:
- Commitment to quality.
- Commitment to American manufacturing.
The commitment to quality is evident in the onsite engineering, development and testing facilities at the Williams factory. It’s clear in the testing of each fixture as it rolls off the line. It’s even clear in how the fixtures are boxed and prepared for shipping. The commitment to American manufacturing goes beyond the obvious location of the plant. American steel is used for all of the component parts of the lighting fixtures, American tooling is used to create all of the elements of the production line. So the ecosystem of American manufacturing is supported not only in the plant itself but in as many of the component parts of the lighting fixtures as possible.
There’s no replacement for going to the factory of course, but I encourage you to get on the Williams website and review the different pieces they are capable of and remember that many times, these fixtures can also be modified for project specific needs. Here are three new products to start with.