Machining Manager Raises the Bar at Quality Products

There are a variety of issues that can arise at a CNC machine shop in modern times. Machining Manager Dwayne Davis is greatly helping Quality Products navigate all of them.

Since joining the Compass operating company in October 2021, Dwayne has taken on increasing responsibilities in the machine shop. That’s extremely valuable in an environment full of challenges.

”When we hired Dwayne, we were looking for someone to take our CNC machining capabilities to the next level”, explained Kevin Farmer, President of Quality Products. “As with any shop, that means overcoming lots of challenges. Dwayne certainly has been up to the task since the day he walked in the door.”

“Dwayne has been a great addition,” added Operations Manager Greg Donaldson. “He gets stuff done in machining so the rest of us can concentrate in other areas of the plant.”

In about a year and a half, Dwayne, who has been in the machining sector for more than 20 years, has made a strong attempt to streamline the machining process at Quality Products. He has made that effort despite the company experiencing some turnover among its machinists and programmers.

The lack of worker consistency is a problem, but as is true with practically all machine shops, replacing departed skilled workers is the biggest challenge.

In some cases, Dwayne and the company have hired new employees with little to no experience. It’s then the responsibility of his direct subordinates, with Dwayne’s supervision, to train the new machinists quickly.

Dealing with supply chain issues is another challenge. Dwayne says that in some cases, material, such as nickel, has more than doubled, sometimes tripled, in price. That could potentially place major strain on the company.

But Dwayne works with different suppliers and communicates with customers to combat the problem. He also manages maintenance machine issues, which is a new role he didn’t have when starting at Quality Products.

Overall, Dwayne described his daily duties at the Compass operating company as “making sure the machine shop is running smoothly.”

Dwayne previously worked for Baldor Electric Motors for a year, Winchester Electronics for three years and ASKO, Inc for 11 years. All three were significantly bigger companies than Quality Products.

Therefore, working for Quality Products has been an adjustment for Dwayne. But it’s been a change he’s enjoyed making.

“It kind of makes you more aware of everything you’ve got going on in the machining department.”

Dwayne described directly communicating with repairmen to perform maintenance on machines as one example of what he likes about having more responsibilities at a smaller company.

“It kind of helps streamline and lower the cost of repairing the machines when I’m asked to get involved. I don’t have to just take the first bid that comes along; I can kind of get a quote from different services.

“I could have one repair guy that’s going to be very dependable to come in and he’s going to get the job taken care of that day versus talking with someone else [cheaper] that could come in and repair and they might be 4-5 weeks out from being able to repair the machine.

“I like the idea of being able to make the decision of when I can get the machine back up and running. So we won’t lose valuable production time on that machine.”

Dwayne began his machining career at Upchurch Machine Company. He worked a summer job as a machinist for the company while attending Clemson.

He stopped going to Clemson and married his wife, Davelle, in 1998. Dwayne later finished his undergraduate degree at Strayer University and then earned a masters degree in Supply Chain Management & Logistics from Liberty University.

In his free time, Dwayne likes to fish. He also enjoys reading and acquiring new knowledge.