The Big Break
In 1994, Mark Ogier needed a change of scenery after working in the aircraft industry for over 12 years. For the first 6 months in business as Northwind Inc., Ogier worked on manufacturing OEM replacement parts in his small 40 by 40 machine shop in Alpena, Ark. Little did he know that he was about to have a big break that would change his life. Mark’s brother, Tim, had worked in the piping industry for several years and had connections with Tyson Foods. Tyson was in need for a hydraulic and air piping contractor, and Mark and Tim were right there to fill the spot.
The new partnership with Tyson gave Northwind the opportunity to expand their business. They now are known for their expertise in the area of design and manufacturing sanitary conveying systems for the meat, poultry, and bakery industry. They have also developed a line of conveyors and bagging systems made specifically for the food industry.
In 2007, Northwind was able to expand their facilities. They now work out of a modern climate controlled 17,000 square foot facility that houses CNC machining, CNC laser cutting, fabrication, assembly and inspection.
Using Technology to Their Advantage
Since their inception in 1994, Northwind’s design team has been using the best in CAD software to design products to fulfill their customers’ needs.
“Our major advantage here at Northwind is that we are always utilizing the latest and greatest software that is available for our design and manufacturing processes. With Autodesk Inventor for example, we are always able to see what the product will look like in a 3D environment, allowing us to easily make changes before we proceed to manufacture,” says Mark Ogier, president of Northwind.
Northwind also prides itself on the quality of the products they provide to their customers. Many of their competitors may be able to offer speed at a low price, but sacrifice the quality of the product. By using such software as Autodesk Inventor, Northwind not only saves time and money by avoiding costly mistakes in the designs, but they also guarantee the product they are providing is of the highest quality.
Custom conveying system designed in Autodesk Inventor
A Partner from the Beginning
“If we had a problem, we had to figure it out on our own. We didn’t have the luxury of having someone to help us or train us in the software,” says Ogier, “Things got 100% better when D3 stepped in to help.”
When D3 TECHNOLOGIES was formed in 1998, Northwind was one of their first clients. D3 not only helped Northwind with their training and day-to-day support issues, they also worked closely with them to implement an entire custom conveyor quoting system. The system was designed to help Northwind with their quoting process while being able to show potential customers what the end product would look like.
“D3 took the time to come to our facility and spend one-on-one time with us. By figuring out how our business functioned, they were able to help us improve our efficiency and quality of our products,” Mark explains.
A Plan for the Future
Northwind understands that preparing for the future is just as important as maintaining the current business. Their future endeavor is to look into other industries and provide the same technology advantage as they have for those in the hydraulic and air piping industry. With their past experience, the next step is to gear up to become a first tier supplier in the aircraft and aerospace industry. Additionally, Northwind hopes to soon be able to obtain their ISO 9001:2000 certification.
“It has always been my personal goal to start my own business and be able to take care of my family. I’m grateful that I have been able to do that. Now I want to get back to my roots in the aircraft industry," Mark comments.
Northwind employees inspect and prepare packaging for shipment to customer
If your company would like to participate in a D3 Customer Success Story, or if you would like to learn more, please contact D3.