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Alpha’s Going Lean

11 Dec

Lean is all about being organized and more efficient, using less work to maintain or exceed the same quality product.  AlphaUSA is continually transforming our work areas and processes to be lean.

Long time Alpha employee, Mike Hootman, is championing this lean movement. Along side Production Manager Doug Prime, they are continuing to make sure that our facility is becoming  more efficient and safer day-to-day.  Alpha has even brought in a new set of eyes, the Lean Learning Center (LLC), to push us further.  The LLC has been hosting monthly labs for our Alpha employees onsite, enabling us to learn lean right on our own equipment, and in our own offices.

The rules of lean are simple: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain.

Take some time to use the “5 S’s” in your life, and you’ll see how helpful a little lean can be.


Times, They Are A-Changin’

29 Jul

Times, they are a-changin’.   

And boy, do they change a whole lot faster than back in 1964, when Bob Dylan first sang those words.  Over the last few years Alpha’s been busy changing, too, both keeping up with the world and anticipating the next step.  We’ve been honing our skills and expanding our industries and capabilities, developing more adaptability and versatility.  In short, we’re the leanest, meanest engineering and manufacturing machine we’ve ever been.   

And as of today, Alpha’s got a brand new face for all of this:   

The home page, with one of several "hero shots"


Yes, that’s the same address as before, but names can be deceiving.  For the last several months, the team at Alpha has been working day and night to get our old site renovated.  In that way, it’s just like the company; we’re still Alpha after all these years, but our substance has changed.  It’s not just about stamping anymore; it’s about diversity and dynamism.  New tooling machines enable Alpha to craft prototypes and small-run orders with a quick turnover rate and to engineer solutions for a broader range of industries than ever before.  Alpha-patented products like the TurnAnut™ are finding applications in everything from major steel structures to military vehicles.  To reflect those changes in Alpha, we needed a digital face to correspond, something curious folk anywhere could see for themselves. is that new face, and it isn’t just pretty (though it is, very).  Keeping with Alpha’s themes of dynamism and versatility, the website incorporates almost fifty pages of brand new material.  On it, you’ll find our “hero shots,” spotlighting Alpha employees—just a few of the proud, dedicated stalwarts that make this company what it is.  You’ll find product info and information about how Alpha serves various industries like the Military and Green Energy.  Looking for a sample of our Load Indicating Fasteners?  Check out the Products pages.  Wondering where Alpha’s been over the years?  Check out the Company History page, in the About Us section.   

And this is just the beginning.  As dynamic as Alpha is, we will keep our site changing on a regular basis, outfitting it with the latest news and information.  There’ll be short term changes as we finalize the finishing touches, and there’ll be longer term changes as things continue to develop within the company and in the world.   

For now, go feast.  And for the adventurous, I dare you to find a mention of Alphatraz.   

Thanks to everybody who helped put together, from our web designer, Peter Schade (of Schade Design) and developer, Pierre Maldonado, to everyone else at Alpha who lent their questions, thoughts, eyes and brains to the project.  Thanks to you, Alpha’s got a brand new face.

The Senator Comes to Town

21 Jun

A view through the press (photo courtesy of Rob Kennedy)


This past Friday, Alpha welcomed Michigan state senator, Glenn Anderson, to its Livonia manufacturing facility.  

Getting ready to hit the campaign trail, the senator called us up Friday afternoon to see if he could swing through the plant and say hello.  Alpha’s own Darwin Kennedy, a die-setter, was kind enough to stay after hours to meet the senator and talk with him and Chuck Dardas out on the floor. 

 Senator Anderson’s photographer snapped official photos while Rob and I caught some on the sidelines (thanks, Rob!). 

Senator Anderson's group and a few of our own


Alpha's Darwin Kennedy in the limelight



Left to right: Senator Anderson, COO Chuck Dardas and Darwin Kennedy talk shop


The Next Generation of Alpha

17 Jun

Breaking news!  A shiny preview of Alpha’s upcoming website is up and running.  Take a look here at

The team’s been working daily on getting the new company website ready for launch.  In the meantime, we’ve taken down the old “red dot” (did you see that thing?) and replaced it with a teaser of what’s to come.  Keep an eye out for the full monty, coming later this summer.

Speak English, already

9 Jun

Sesquipedalian: ses-kwi-pi-dey-lee-uhn (adj) given to using long words; (of a word) containing many syllables.  (n) a sesquipedalian word.

This word, and the words it describes, are like Slinkies to me: expandable, retractable, generally functionless but altogether fun-to-play-with toys.  Today, however, I was (gently) reminded that my fascination resides somewhere out on the margins of general interest.  So my new goal is to avoid these literary critters, and stick to good ol’ fashion English.  Or rather, new English.

To facilitate this, I’ll be implementing a “Sesquipedalian Violations” counter, so that sentences like this one will earn me two, maybe even three (?) demerits.  As for what that means, I’m inviting suggestions from you.  Nickel in a jar?  No ice cream?  Facebook privileges revoked?  I’m looking forward to your comments.  But please, be gentle.

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