Bending Branches, LLC weighs potential technology solutions

An MOC Success Story on Technology Scouting
"The Branches Team" poses with some of the high quality, handcrafted canoe and kayak paddles for which the company is known.
April 28, 2015


Bending Branches, LLC opted to update and improve one of its production lines in late 2014 and turned to University of Wisconsin-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center (MOC) for help. The project goal was to identify an alternative decorating technology for one of Bending Branches' faster-growing products.



To do so, the MOC Technology Scouting team first listened carefully to Bending Branches' priorities, goals and concerns and then began researching existing technologies capable of meeting the company's needs. The team conducted an extensive in-depth study to identify potential solutions, spoke directly with providers throughout the United States and across the globe, and sent production component samples to several companies in order to verify claims.

MOC findings were presented to Bending Branches in March 2015. Ten technologies, including the final recommended decorating process, were evaluated for pros and cons of quality, production time, production flow, required skill level and estimated cost. Research data and conversations were captured in an electronic "MindMap" which allows Bending Branches to revisit discussions, trace outcomes and see information used to support the decision-making process.

Ed Vater from Branches, LLC, foreground center, discusses business with Jeff Carr, Senior Project Manager from the UW-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center, as he shows Jeff the BB Special canoe paddle.
Ed Vater of Bending Branches, LLC, foreground center, shows Jeff Carr, MOC Senior Project Manager, one of the company's handcrafted paddles.


Bending Branches, LLC is currently weighing these options, and although the new process has not been implemented, these technologies offer the company the potential to:

  1. Significantly reduce inventory requirements
  2. Streamline operation to a rapid, single-piece flow
  3. Improve flexibility and customization capability
  4. Eliminate one step of the current production process




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