Uncle Bunk’s Condiments Innovates with Assistance from TechConnect
TechConnect West Virginia’s Innovation Adoption Program (IAP) is helping West Virginia’s small and mid-sized manufacturers gain a competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace.
Working in partnership with centers of excellence in the state, the IAP supports a manufacturer’s new product development, product redesign, new tooling design and development, process improvements, and other innovation-based needs.
Anne Barth, TechConnect’s executive director, said the Innovation Adoption Program is making a difference in how the state’s manufacturers look at opportunities to grow their businesses.
“For many small and mid-sized manufacturers, developing ideas for new products typically isn’t a challenge,” Barth said. “The real obstacle is in finding the time and expertise that can help move an idea forward. The IAP is specifically designed to connect innovation-minded companies with the people and resources that can help make them more competitive and, ultimately, hire more West Virginia workers.”
The first West Virginia company to take part in the IAP was Uncle Bunk’s LLC, an award-winning specialty food company in Sistersville that manufactures gourmet products using the freshest possible, locally grown produce and based on traditional Appalachian recipes.
The West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership at WVU assisted Uncle Bunk’s in identifying and implementing methods to optimize its available manufacturing space, increase manufacturing capacity, increase efficiencies in shipping and receiving, expand distribution to include large specialty food retailers, and bring more efficiencies to the company’s production processes. The goal is to help the company eventually create several new products of multiple varieties and sizes over the few years and, consequently, hire additional employees.
Prior to the project, Uncle Bunk’s ownership had concluded that a new, larger facility was necessary to enable the company’s growth. The IAP project helped the company discover ways to better utilize its existing space, improve its logistics, and refocus its resources toward new product design. Those adjustments are allowing the company to focus on its continued growth.
The IAP project also included a review of the company’s existing administrative processes, which uncovered new methods and tools that are resulting in a more effective accounts payable system. Those adjustments are expected to improve the company’s cash flow.
For more information on the Innovation Adoption Program, visit TechConnect West Virignia’s Innovation Adoption Program information sheet or call IAP director John Golden on 304-545-6963.