Posted by William Mullane | October 10, 2016
In the Ditch Towing Products (ITD)
Location: Mountain Home, Idaho Elmore County
Project Area: New Product Development
UPDATE – IWS & Chuck Ceccarelli featured in NBC’s Blue Collar Millionaire
Chuck Ceccarelli, who founded Idaho Wrecker Sales (IWS) in 1994, is a smart and inventive guy who leveraged his success at IWS to create two additional companies; In the Ditch
Towing Products (ITD) and Inventive Products. He built IWS around the idea that wreckers (tow trucks) should be built better and last longer. That philosophy helped IWS grow into the nation’s leader of custom-built tow trucks.
Although IWS has grown tremendously over the last 20 years, the company has not forgotten where it came from. The IWS team has a down-home mentality that focuses on quality, not quantity. IWS customers get the respect that they deserve, quality products and unparalleled customer service.
A chance call to TechHelp’s New Product Development (NPD) Team at the Boise State NPD Lab in 2005 helped Chuck solve a specific engineering problem with a new product and ignited an innovation explosion that would produce new products, companies, facilities, and jobs. IWS is a great example of what happens when an inventor/entrepreneur taps into the advanced engineering, product development, people and production resources available through the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
Chuck’s initial success with TechHelp opened his eyes to the wealth of solutions available at Idaho’s MEP. In addition to tapping TechHelp’s engineering expertise at the New Product Development Lab at Boise State, Chuck learned and applied the principles of Lean Manufacturing to great effect. Chuck had the vision to invent, develop and produce products in Mountain Home, Idaho and deliver them to the world. When the world took notice and began to ramp up orders, Chuck and his team turned to TechHelp and Export Excellence
- ITD put together a phenomenal team that successfully completed ExporTech 2012.
- ITD used the ExporTech Program to develop a proactive plan to accelerate exports to countries such as Germany and Korea.
- ITD met increased product demand by investing in people, plant, processes, software, hardware, machinery and equipment that allows the company to invent and produce locally, make innovative product changes on the fly and take control of the supply chain by bringing all facets of production in-house.
- ITD is able to deal with fluctuations in domestic and international demand by relying on an efficient and productive operation built on the principles of Lean Enterprise.
Survey Impact & Other Results:
- In the Ditch Towing Products has grown into three innovative companies that continue to develop and ship a myriad of new products.
- Since 2009, the workforce has grown from 15 to over 40 with another 20 employees set to come on board in the next two years.
- ITD recently purchased a second Trumpf Laser, second CNC Press Brake and a second lathe to meet growing product demand.
- ITD just finished a million dollar 20,000 square foot facility to accommodate new machinery and explosive growth.
- ITD developed a strong national & international network of 140 distributors.
- ITD has diversified into export markets with 20 percent of sales going to Asia and another 20 percent to Europe.
- ITD ExporTech team member Jake Reynolds became an International Business Specialist with Idaho Commerce and returned to ExporTech as a company coach in 2014.
- Chuck Ceccarelli is a vocal advocate for TechHelp, MEP and ExporTech and was a major hit as a speaker at Idaho World Trade Day 2013 and at the 2014 Western Regional Meeting of the American Society for Quality. Chuck addressed the Southwest Idaho Manufacturers Association on the importance of leadership and culture in February of 2015.