Growth Manufacturers Case Study
CeraNova Realigns to Support Manufacturing and Find New Markets
By Kathie Mahoney, Marketing and Administration Director, MassMEP
Since its inception in 1992, CeraNova (Marlborough, Massachusetts) has been an industry leader in product/process development of advanced ceramic materials for the Department of Defense. The company was first approached by MassMEP in 2011 and later re-introduced in 2014 when the company attended a MassMEP ISO training event. At the time, the company has been working with a large defense contractor and was advised that they should establish and build a quality management system. With the assistance of the MassMEP, the company pursued an Express Grant from the state's Workforce Training Fund, which helped them to start down the path to ISO registration. Shortly thereafter, the company determined that they needed assistance developing a business strategy that would take them from being a pure R&D/research company to a more vertically integrated manufacturing company. As a result of this decision, ISO registration was put on hold until they could further investigate what their next steps should be.
In 2014, Since its inception in 1992, CeraNova (Marlborough, Massachusetts) has been an industry leader in product/process development of advanced ceramic materials for the Department of Defense. A grant was provided by the DOD's Office of Economic Development (OEA) through MassDevelopment, to identify potential commercial paths, as well as other defense-related applications where their advanced ceramic materials could be applied. A Technology Driven Market Intelligence (TDMI) Assessment was conducted by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) to provide the critical detail for potential commercialization opportunities. It was determined that CeraNova's advanced ceramics could provide a better level of windshield/window protection for not only military vehicles, such as military's HUMVEEs and helicopters, but it also had a place with commercial applications that required translucent durable materials.
Most recently, Cera Nova changed the top level reporting structure, reassigning operational responsibility in order to create a better framework for growth. Bob Miller, a MassMEP resource, has been working with CeraNova to create a business framework that establishes a foundation for where they are now and a plan for where they want to be in the future. This realignment of the business strategy is important for the growth of the company in both the defense and the commercial sectors. It also reinforced the need for ISO registration, which the company has since reinstated.
Finally, MassMEP just completed a Manufacturing Readiness Assessment (MRA) that evaluated Cera Nova's current manufacturing readiness level (MRL) capabilities and provided recommendations to improve that MRL. One such recommendation was to clean out the clutter, establish dedicated work areas and reorganize the shop floor, which the company immediately acted on.
The combination of developing a strategy for growth in two major markets, and acting on the recommendations to improve manufacturing capability, have provided CeraNova with a solid roadmap for the next three years.
As the project moves forward, CeraNova's management plans to take the company into new territories that it had not considered, even two years ago. The future is looking very bright for CeraNova.