Ryan Loew worked in equipment and machinery maintenance for a Fortune 500 food manufacturer for 10 years, tasked with ensuring that all equipment ran productively and efficiently.
After working swing shifts to earn a bachelor’s degree in business, Loew decided to step out on his own in 2012 and launch an original equipment manufacturing business. Process Equipment and Control, in Covington, Georgia, began with two employees, including himself.
By 2016, Process Equipment and Control employed 15 employees and Loew was looking for tools to help manage the company’s cash flow.
He found the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center and business consultant Mike Myers.
“Mike came out, we had a discovery session, and he said he could help,” Loew said. “He brought in solutions.”
Before long, companies began outsourcing their equipment and maintenance needs to Loew. While the additional business was good, the companies often stretched their payments to 90 days or more, which made it difficult to maintain a balanced budget.
“Managing cash flow is the number one issue for any business,” Myers said. “The technicians at Process Equipment and Control earn well above what a minimum wage job pays. (Loew) was having to pay his highly compensated employees for their work while waiting months to get his invoices paid.”
Myers introduced Loew and his accountant to cash flow management tools that would keep his business running. He then led Loew and his senior management through a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis and strategic planning exercises.
“The strategic planning helped us plan out where we’d be at years one, three and five,” Loew said. “As long as we hire the right people and make sure they match our goals and vision, we will continue to see success. It’s been key to our vetting, hiring and onboarding process.”
Myers also showed Loew how use material that emerged during the planning sessions on the company’s web site.
“They took a lot of components from the sessions to better explain who they are and what they stand for,” Myers said. “A website needs to catch someone’s attention, so they will engage you. Their site is now very engaging.”
Process Equipment and Controls now has 75 employees and serves customers in both in the U.S. and abroad.
“Working with Mike, we tackled the cash flow challenges we faced and increased our sales 900 percent over the past two years, exceeding our wildest dreams for this business,” Loew said. “We’ve grown significantly. Without the assistance of the UGA SBDC, we would not have been able to manage our explosive growth. We would have grown to death.”