3 C's That Make or Break Precision Machining Companies

Bowman Tool and Machining Inc. Shares the “3 C’s” That Make or Break Precision Machining Companies

If you’re in need of precision machining, you have a difficult decision to make. Among all the precision machining companies available and surrounding areas, you must choose the one you can trust.

When you need a part for your machine, you want the process handled from start to finish by a company who doesn’t just see you as a customer, but a partner.

At Bowman Tool and Machining, we’ve spent the past 40 years forming bonds through teamwork with everyone we’ve served.

Today we’re going to cover some questions and concerns you might have to ensure Bowman Tool is the right choice to be your partner in precision machining.


Not all machining companies are built alike (pun intended).

You may be wondering if we just focus on small parts or are only capable of handling larger ones. Our answer? We have the capabilities to handle both and everything in between.

With 54 Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines – ranging from 400mm to 1000m – we can handle parts ranging from 1 lb. to 6600 lbs.

This means you can come to us with jobs of essentially any size. Plus, our state of the art, 150,000 square ft. facility, gives us the bandwidth to handle a range of order amounts from a single prototype to a fleet of parts.

Our capabilities don’t stop with our machines. We’ve created a reliable and responsive staff to meet your needs, even on short notice. Working with Bowman Tool and Machining gives you the personal touch of a small machine shop with the readiness to tackle big projects because we have the personnel to handle them.


 When you work with a precision machining company, you don’t want surprises. You want to work with a team that keeps you informed every step of the way.

With Bowman Tool, you’ll work with a staff who not only communicates with you effectively, but communicates within its own company with an eye toward excellence.

For example, in the prototype to production process, we’ll work with you to meet all specifications requested, even if they appear complex and challenging on the surface.

After creating the initial prototype, we’ll use our Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs) to make sure the part functions precisely as it should. That data circulates back to the beginning of the process, with us communicating each step to you along the way, to make sure the part is crafted to as close to perfect as possible.

 We also communicate as a team to make sure our processes are running smoothly. In our daily white board meetings, we review strategies to reduce lead times, increase efficiencies, and discuss cutting edge trends and techniques in the machining industry, all of which gets communicated back to our quality control team and machinists on the floor.

 Why do we do this?

 We focus on excellence so much because we literally imagine the farmer on his combine or planter, the person driving their car, or the person laying underneath an MRI machine.

 In a way, modern society isn’t possible without the parts precision machining creates.

 We provide parts in industries where precision matters, so why wouldn’t we go the extra mile to help our partners?


 How does a precision machining business stay around for 40 years? That’s a good question.

 In the machining industry, stories have circulated about companies that fail. They take on jobs they’re incapable of performing, communication lapses, debt is owed, and all the sudden keeping doors open becomes difficult.

 At Bowman tool, we’ve learned to grow at a pace allowing us to increase our capability and knowledge while protecting our partners in the process and staying debt free.

 This dedication to consistency allows us to guarantee 100 percent on time delivery. It’s what makes us keep you informed from the very beginning stages of pre-production, through the machining process, and even providing support after the parts have been shipped out the door.

 We built our business on the philosophy that consistently creating quality products creates success. If you work with us, you won’t just be a customer, but a part of a continuing legacy of strong relationships and top-tier precision parts.

 Here’s what you do next. Pick up the phone, dial (507) 286-1400 and speak with one of our representatives at our  facility. Let’s talk about your precision machining needs and see how we can work together.


Robot Squad Wins Again

Sponsored Team Brings Home the Gold


We are very proud of our sponsored Robot Squad FTC Team 7152 and all of their hard work this season. They got 1st place in robot runs and ended up being the captain on the winning alliance at the North Branch Tournament last month. They were nominated for five awards, more than any other team there, and won the 1st place Inspire Award which is the highest award possible. Hard work and lots of fun learning really does pay off. Here's some footage of the BTM robot in action.

Anniversary Celebration

Congratulations Dale Morey on 30 years with BTM!!




Throwback to 2009

37th Street Building Remodel


This former K-Mart building was turned into a manufacturing powerhouse in 2009 when BTM demoed and remodeled the rundown property. At the time of purchase, the building was being rented by Goodwill and IBM, but had been seriously neglected. BTM was proud to revamp what the community called an "eye sore" and make it into a job-creating, economy-boosting business.

In 2009 Bowman Tool & Machining invested over $1 Million to demo in the interior of the building, add a beautiful entrance and office space, as well as enough power for the company to operate the heavy manufacturing machinery that would run around the clock. The result is an enormous amount of pride for the new location and what you see below...




US Manufacturing Renaissance a Myth?

New Reports Suggest Tall Tale


Have we been letting a good story get in the way of the facts?

The “manufacturing renaissance” has been the central point in the return of America’s industrial power. It even has its own national council.

Yet here are the facts: the United States may have added only about one new manufacturing job in the last few years for every five that were lost during the financial crisis and the recession that followed...

...“A lot of people are desperate for positive economic news, so articles suggesting that there’s a revival of manufacturing get a lot of traction.”

Read more:

Happy Holidays from the BTM Team


Happy Holidays from the Bowman Family! 2014 has been a wonderful year at BTM and we are excited to see what 2015 has in store for us. Many thanks to our loyal employees and their families as well as our Suppliers and Customers for keeping us going everyday. Without all of these important people we would not be where we are today.


State Grants Hopeful to Introduce More Women to Skilled Trades

State grants aim to get more women in hard hats

Star Tribune January 11, 2015


$475,000 will go toward training in fields traditionally male-dominated

"...Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis received $72,450 to help women earn associate’s degrees in construction, computers and manufacturing. In Rochester, the Workforce Development Center will spend $71,000 certifying women in welding and computer controlled machining (CNC).

Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development, said the grants target low-wage women or those over age 50 who want in on some of Minnesota’s highest-growth industries. The new program should slim the gender wage gap, where women earn just 80 cents for every $1 a man earns.

“Today, about 40 percent of the gender pay gap is attributed to women doing different work from men and the lower value placed on female-dominated work,” Clark Sieben said. “[Many of the] greatest growth and highest paying fields are typically dominated by men. … Women are not well represented in these occupations.”

To change that, armies of educators and students are getting to work. The pounding was deafening Tuesday at Goodwill’s construction training facility in St. Paul, where two licensed contractors guided the chaos on the second day of class.

Porter, St. Paul resident McKenzie Reynolds and 10 other construction newbies banged hammers and cranked crowbars to disassemble the roofs, siding and walls from two “demonstration” houses. The students will rebuild those same houses this week.

“At this point, it’s just important to get them comfortable using hand and power tools,” said coach Anna Wright. “They are here in the [construction lab] for six weeks and then go onto the actual building site, where they build real houses.”

In between, trainees will meet with employment counselors, visit bricklayers and other firms looking for long-term apprentices. They also will select a specialty trade to study further.

Crystal resident LeeAnne Stevens, 32, and a single mother of four, can’t wait. She will spend the next six weeks learning to pour concrete and tie rebar, thanks to the state grant. The training opportunity came at the right time, said Stevens, a former Electrolux refrigerator assembler who was forced to leave her job and go on welfare when her child care fell through. But now she has steady help from her mother and is ready to learn new skills.

“I wanted something that would pay me enough that I would not have to depend on anyone else. So I came here and said, ‘Let’s do this,’ ” Stevens said.

Such training is needed, said Sarah Richards, CEO of Jones Metal Products Inc., the Mankato factory that machines parts for nuclear submarines, nuclear power plants and electric generators.

Richards is delighted the state is helping Rochester and Dunwoody women learn machining, robotics, welding and other skills badly needed by factories like hers. “There is a tremendous gender gap,” she said.

“We are 100 percent men in our front-line manufacturing operations,” Richards said. “A lot of women gravitate to the quality positions but they are just not CNC [computerized robot] operators, or welders or machinists. They are not the ones with the welding torch in their hand,” even though welding and machining jobs often pay $18 to $30 an hour.

“There are still societal stereotypes that keep girls from pursuing some fields that naturally pique their interest.”

Richards hopes to change that. This month, she’s hiring her first female machinist intern from South Central College.

“I am so excited she is here. I want her to work here full time,” Richards said. “There is a lot of good going on around this new [statewide] effort. If we could just get a good core group of women started here, then I think that things start to take off.”

Continue Reading...


2014 STEM Summit at UCR

STEM Summit a Success

Over 2,300 area students visit UCR campus



Thousands of Southeast Minnesota students got the opportunity to get hands-on with some career opportunities in the Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering fields. Over 80 area businesses and organizations partnered with the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce to make the STEM Summit an awesome experience for middle and high school students. The event has grown from its first year of 200 students to the 2300 that were hosted this year.

Bowman Tool and Machining has dedicated an extraordinary amount of time and energy working within the community to develop a strong workforce. The youth in our community today are our employees tomorrow and for decades to come. BTM will continue to strengthen involvement in STEM and other programs geared toward advancing our business, city, and the education of our children.


Veteran's Day 2014


As one of the millions of Veteran owned businesses around the country, Bowman Tool & Machining salutes the service men and women who help maintain our freedoms, rights, and privileges every day. 

Thank You American Veterans and Enlisted Service Members.

Get Out the Vote

Bowman Tool & Machining is Proud to be an American Manufacturer 


Over 12 million men and women in America work in the Manufacturing industry. Stand up and vote for pro-growth and pro-manufacturing candudates at today's midterm election. The strength of our nation's economy depends on your voice.

Facts About Manufacturing

Did You Know...

  • In 2013, manufacturers contributed $2.08 trillion to the economy, up from $2.03 trillion in 2012. This was 12.5 percent of GDP. For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.32 is added to the economy, the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector. 
  • Manufacturing supports an estimated 17.4 million jobs in the United States""about one in six private-sector jobs. More than 12 million Americans (or 9 percent of the workforce) are employed directly in manufacturing. 
  • In 2013, the average manufacturing worker in the United States earned $77,506 annually, including pay and benefits. The average worker in all industries earned $62,546. 
  • Manufacturers in the United States are the most productive in the world, far surpassing the worker productivity of any other major manufacturing economy, leading to higher wages and living standards. 
  • Manufacturers in the United States perform two-thirds of all private-sector R&D in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector. 
  • Taken alone, manufacturing in the United States would be the 8th largest economy in the world. 


For more details, read the full report by the National Association of Manufacturers: Facts About Manufacturing.


Are you a Manufacturing Voter?

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America needs your help in electing pro-manufacturing and pro-growth candidates at the polls November 4th, 2014.  #MFGvoter 



Speed and Accuracy a Top Priority at BTM

Visit our Facilities tab for our complete Equipment list....

Mazak Nexus 10800


Mazak Nexus 8800


Mazak Nexus 6800


Mazak Nexus 5000




Visit our Facilities tab for our complete equipment list....

Made in Minnesota

Take a closer look at the unique qualities that make our manufacturing industries the best in the world. Minnesota Manufacturing holds a statewide economic impact of $43.7 Billion, 16% of total state gross domestic product.

Manufacturing Holds Largest Share of Job Openings


The latest data from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development shows Manufacturing holds the highest amount of full-time job openings in the state. Healthcare being a close second, Retail, then Construction in 4th which also has the highest number of seasonal workers. This affirms Manufacturing is at the heart of economic development and is an encouraging viewpoint for the Nation's Manufacturing Renesaince and reshoring activities.

September 2014 Industry News

US Manufacturing Activity Holds Near Four and a Half Year High

NEW YORK Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:15am EDT


(Reuters) - U.S. manufacturing activity hovered at a near 4-1/2-year high in September and factory employment surged, supporting views of sturdy economic growth this quarter.

The growth picture was also boosted by other data on Tuesday showing an acceleration in services industry growth this month.

Financial data firm Markit said its preliminary or "flash" U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index was at 57.9, unchanged from August's reading when it touched its highest level since April 2010.

A reading above 50 signals expansion in manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of U.S. economic activity.

Factory employment increased for a second straight month, with a gauge of labor market conditions touching its highest level since March 2012....Continue reading...

Presidential Proclomation

October 3rd National Manufacturing Day

Obama Declares National Observance


"...America's manufacturers have created jobs at the fastest pace in decades, adding more than 700,000 new jobs since February 2010. Factories are reopening their doors and businesses are hiring new workers; companies that were shipping jobs overseas are bringing those jobs back to America. As we work to rebuild a foundation of growth and prosperity, we have the opportunity to capitalize on this momentum and accelerate the resurgence of American manufacturing."

- President Obama

Continue Reading From the White House...

2014 STEM Summit


Science, Technology, Engineering, Math  


On November 18-19th the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the 2014 STEM Summit. Bowman Tool and many other area businesses and educational institutions will come together to encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. Our community is reliant upon a strong workforce and maintaining our competative edge in the global marketplace. Mark your calendars to come see us and find out why STEM is so important to our community and our youth.



Industry on the Rise


AP Economics Writer
Published: Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014 - 7:38 am 

WASHINGTON -- U.S. manufacturing grew in August at the strongest pace in more than three years as factories cranked out more goods and new orders rose.

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index rose to 59 from 57.1 in July, the ISM said Tuesday. That was the highest reading since March 2011. Any measure above 50 signals that manufacturing is growing.

Tuesday's ISM report coincides with other signs that manufacturing is helping drive the U.S. economy's improvement. Factories are benefiting from strong demand for aircraft, furniture, and steel and other metals. The boost from manufacturing has helped offset slower homebuilding, a slowdown in consumer purchases and weaker spending on utilities and other services... Continue reading...


Manufacturers Across the Country Open Their Doors


Happy Manufacturing Day!

Manufacturers across the nation are opening their doors for tours so you can see what they're all about. Visit to find out which businesses near you are hosting events. #mfgday14.

Capacity Planning


6 Week Series: Maintaining Internal Controls

Week 1: Capacity Planning

As manufacturers, we often face tight delivery expectations and spacial constraints within our facilities. This poses the absolute need for strict capacity planning and attention to fluctuating resources, such a raw material and workforce availability. At Bowman Tool we involve all relevant department managers in the process of capacity planning. From warehousing to purchasing strategies BTM is always seeking the most efficient and cost effective course of action.

Maintaining an accurate view of building and equipment capacity allows us to throttle our business activities appropriately. When done properly, capacity planning allows manufacturers to reduce unnecessary overtime, improve delivery performance, and relieves warehousing congestion. When customer demand increases, so does the need for Internal Control.


Week 2: Effective Processes

Manufacturing is all about effective processes and procedures. Streamlining each piece of the manufacturing pipeline is what truly manages the flow of work from the first contact with the Customer all the way through to Production and Shipping of finished goods. At Bowman Tool we have mapped each step of the manufacturing process from the inside out. This allows us to assign roles, divide labor, catch discrepancies, and continuously improve without constantly “putting out fires” in areas that were unmonitored. Like any business, these processes are ever-evolving to the standards and requirements of the Customer.

The obvious advantage to maintaining Effective Proccess Management is the basic clarity of expectations and requirements for each stage. However, a closer look shows that Effective Processes also allow us to:

  • Identify goals and objectives
  • Identify critical success factors
  • Understand key performance drivers
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses in procedures
  • Benchmark against past performance

Bowman Tool also greatly benefits from an intense Quality Management System in accordance with ISO 9001:2008. ISO not only allows our company to standardize our quality practices but also shows our Customers that we take continuous improvement and meeting the requirements of our customers very seriously.


Week 3: Sunrise Meeting

One of the most important pieces of our ongoing improvement efforts begins with daily team meetings with the BTM leaders. First there is a sunrise meeting among the department heads where the most pressing issues are discussed and plans are made. Then Operator meetings on the shop floor are led by our Team Leads in which supplier and material issues, scrap and efficiency rates, new product introduction, quality control, and preventative maintenance are discussed with Operators to ensure transparency and understanding throughout the facility.

BTM stresses communication at all levels of the manufacturing process. We strive to provide the highest level of Customer Service by developing a lasting working relationship founded on trust and the reliability of open communication. BTM management stresses the importance of this team-led approach as it brings the different departments together in the shared objective of meeting and exceeding Customer expectations.


Week 4: ERP

Like many manufacturing companies, Bowman Tool utilizes a Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to plan the requirements throughout the facility. Financial Management, Supply Chain, Production, Scheduling, Product Data, Service, Human Capital, Sales, and Customer Relationship Management are all areas we are able to monitor through the ERP. With this we are able to confidently make daily operation decisions as well as monitor long-term planning and utilization of resources. By making strategic choices based on the data collected and analyzed in the ERP system we are able to reduce downtime, increase productivity, and continue to focus on our Customers.

Week 5: Continuous Improvement

We at BTM take improvement very seriously. So seriously that it is a part of our Quality Policy Statement:

“BTM Delivers Superior Products to Customers by Adhering to Standards of Quality, Integrity, and

Excellence with an emphasis on Continuous Process Improvement.”

This statement is visible throughout or facility and is upheld by all of our employees. Our management team meets weekly in a Quality Improvement Initiative meeting to discuss ideas and designate resources to improvement areas. Our Quality Initiative focuses on the Continuous Improvement of efficiencies, internal processes and procedures, product quality, employee development, and general work flow for our operators. From these meetings we are able to allocate attention to the matters at hand and determine the best course of Change Management.


Week 6: Change Management

It is rare that any form continuous improvement works perfectly the first time around. Many ideas take ongoing finessing and molding to form the desired result. This is essentially why Change Management is extremely important. When an idea for change is proposed in our Quality Initiative meeting, it is then worked with interdepartmentally until a solution is found. The solution is then brought back to the table and reexamined for further opportunities for improvement. Many revisions may be made before the change has met the needs and satisfaction of the team. We involve Quality, Production, Shipping/Receiving, Engineering, and HR to evolve these changes into something that serves the company as a whole and where all aspects of the situation are evaluated. This is one of the many reasons why Bowman Tool excels in production manufacturing.


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