Fans of Discovery Channel’s “American Chopper” or “MythBusters” know that those programs fabricate a lot of metal — bending, cutting, welding, grinding, finishing. That kind of effort takes precision metalworking machinery, and much of it comes from Baileigh Industrial® in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Baileigh has offered an extensive inventory of metalworking tools for the past 14 years, and in that relatively short tenure they’ve become an industry leader in the metalworking field. But last December, the company set a new course for growth by launching a full line of stationary woodworking tools. In at least the past few decades, that’s an unprecedented venture.
“It’s always been in the back of our minds to expand into the woodworking market,” says James Newberg, Baileigh’s marketing coordinator. “Really, our goal is to become a lifetime supplier of quality metal and woodworking machinery.”
Baileigh takes a comprehensive approach to serving an industry. Unlike many other metalworking machinery suppliers that provide specialized machines for niche areas of the market, “we are unique in that we are a one-stop shop for tools. While others are compartmentalized, we offer a broad selection.” And that range of product options has attracted business from “one-man garage shops” all the way up to huge conglomerates like Ford Motor Company and Boeing. “You just never know who’s going to be on the other end of the phone,” Newberg says.
Operating on the premise that woodworkers are still brand-loyal, Baileigh is hoping that once they earn customer trust in one or two machine purchases, woodworkers will come back for more options as their shops and skills grow. The company is also responding to interest from current clients on the metal side who want to add wood elements to their metalworking crafts and products. And, vice versa, “woodworking customers are also looking at metalworking machinery, which will allow them the option of creating mixed media pieces … people are doing both, and they like that they can buy it all here.”
In just a few months since the woodworking machinery launch, Baileigh now offers 66 different woodworking machines. Table saws, band saws, jointers, lathes, CNC machines, drill presses, sanders, dust collection and router tables are just some of the tool categories from which customers can shop. So far, James says woodworking sales have been brisk, and feedback for the most part has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
Part of that may stem from the high standards the company demands of its machinery suppliers. Newberg says metalworkers are generally much harder on their tools than woodworkers are. So the machines must be robust to stand the test of time. “We know what to look for to make high quality machinery, and we don’t source bad products or work with subpar manufacturers.” That industry experience is being applied to the new woodworking line, with a focus on precision, quality features and rugged construction.
But, sooner or later, even the best tools will need service or the occasional replacement part. Newberg says if a woodworking customer should have a problem with a Baileigh machine, the company offers a one-year parts warranty, “and our goal is to stock 95 percent of the parts for every machine we carry in our Wisconsin warehouse. We can get anything else we don’t stock within a couple of days … in most cases, we can ship within 72 hours.”
The company also hopes to entice woodworkers by offering free shipping on its machines within the contiguous 48 states for a limited time. Newberg anticipates that this promotion will probably continue through summer 2013, but customers contemplating a purchase shouldn’t dawdle.
It’s certainly not often that a new player enters the woodworking machinery market, especially on the coattails of a difficult recession, but Newberg adds that Baileigh’s experience in the machinery business and service before and after the sale is second to none. He feels confident about Baileigh’s prospects and opportunities within our industry.
“We’re happy to provide this new machinery line to the woodworking community. We hope that woodworkers will give us a chance and let us really show what we can do.”