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A Partnership of Success… Nercon Eng. and Mfg., Inc., Baldor Electric and Kurz Electric Solutions

Thirty-four years ago, James L. Nerenhausen started his process and packaging conveyor engineering and manufacturing business, Nercon Eng. & Mfg., Inc., in an empty gas station in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Rick Nowak with Kurz Electric Solutions in Neenah, Wisconsin, called on the account from day one, standardizing them on Baldor-Reliance® motors and drives and Baldor-Dodge® power transmission products.

From that humble beginning, Nercon has grown into a full-service engineering company with two large manufacturing facilities located in Wisconsin. It designs and manufactures custom conveyor systems and related material handling equipment, primarily serving Fortune 500 consumer packaged goods companies.

Nercon’s engineers are proficient at designing fully integrated and automated conveyor lines for handling food packaging, process ingredients, bulk food, frozen food, beverages, dairy products, pharmaceuticals, health and nutritional items, tissue products, and personal care merchandise. Simply stated, Nercon’s expertise includes handling just about any type of product found in a typical grocery store.

The company, still headquartered in Oshkosh, continues to purchase product from Nowak, now the CEO and president of Kurz, and they remain loyal to the Baldor products that have helped them become successful.

Faith Bauch, Nercon’s senior purchasing manager, has been with the company since 1981. Over the years, she says it has looked at other distributors and other products but has always decided to stay with Kurz and with Baldor.

“Because we are a custom house, we have dealt with other companies and other brands,” says Bauch. “What we’ve discovered is that others can’t always give us the backup and the support we need. The service that we get from Kurz is terrific, and Baldor stands behind its product. We know it, and our customers know it.”

A proven track record of quick support is a key factor in a purchasing decision. But Dean Highdale, Nercon’s purchasing director, says standardizing on the Baldor brand also helps them with its overall costs.

“Standardization means we need less inventory, fewer spare parts and less time for training because our employees are familiar with Baldor products,” explains Highdale. “The breadth of product that we can get from Baldor is also important to us. We can get everything from motors to mechanical, from explosion proof to stainless steel. Since we do custom work, we need to work with a company that can provide a wide variety of products to meet our customers’ needs.”

Not only does Baldor offer the depth of product needed, it can also support the products no matter where they end up. Nowak says it’s just one more reason why Baldor is Nercon’s number one choice. “Nercon understands that regardless of where they ship their equipment, there will be support offered on a local level in terms of warranty issues, replacement parts, service, spares or application help,” explains Nowak. “Baldor will always be there to support them because of their international network of district offices, warehouses and distributors, which is unsurpassed by anyone else in the industry.”

Nercon is regarded as a high-end conveyor manufacturer, and its equipment is considered industry leading from a quality perspective. Mike Weickert, Nercon’s director of engineering, says while he was not involved in the company’s early decision to standardize on Baldor products, he understands why it did and why it continues to use them. He says the bottom line is product quality.

“Part of our equipment quality comes from the components we choose to install on our conveyors,” explains Weickert. “We build our conveyors to last well past the life of the warranty, and we choose Baldor products because we know they are reliable. For example, Baldor’s washdown and stainless motors hold up under high-pressure cleaning because of their sealing system, and because their bearing systems are lubed for life, they last longer.”

Nercon feels so strongly about the quality of Baldor products that when a customer requests another brand be used, Nercon engineers will talk with the customer about considering using their Baldor options instead.

“We let them know that we can offer them a better solution,” says Weickert. “It’s our job to help guide them to what we think is the best long-term product option – one that will last well beyond the warranty period.”

Weickert understands the need to keep costs down but believes trying to save money by choosing lesser-quality motors, gearing and bearings is not the right thing to do – for the company or for its customers. Instead, Weickert says, it takes a total cost of ownership approach on the conveyors it supplies because Nercon’s continued success is based on repeat business.

“We understand that our customers only make money when they have a product moving down their line,” says Weickert. “We understand the cost of downtime, and that’s why we choose to use Baldor products. It’s our job to do everything we can to make sure our customers' equipment is up and running continuously. It’s all about reliability.”

Providing superior products and responsive service has been key in establishing the relationship Nercon has with Baldor and Kurz. But for a business relationship to grow into a partnership, Weickert says there has to be something more.

“When I have a question or need some help, it’s nice to be able to talk with talented people who really understand their product,” says Weickert. “Baldor has even offered to look at some of our designs and conduct metallurgical tests on some of our shafting and components. This long-standing partnership of product, service and support is something we want to continue because we believe it helps us be more successful.”