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Rathburn Tool & Manufacturing

Auburn, Indiana

Founded in 1983, Rathburn Tool offers contract CNC precision machining of metal components in a variety of industries. Quality-focused with compliance to ISO 9001, IATF 16949, and AS9100D, Rathburn Tool utilizes a combination of technology and experienced teams for companies that need their products and equipment to work well every time.  


Rathburn Tool & Manufacturing was facing the sunset of its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, originally implemented in 2012, and had begun researching alternative ERP options by visiting trade shows, attending webinars, and networking. However, Rathburn found that it was very difficult to adequately research all of the ERP options available, and they didn’t have the bandwidth to do it well. Rathburn had recently used Purdue MEP with great success in the areas of cybersecurity and quality, so they were thrilled to learn that Purdue MEP also offered ERP consulting services.


Exploring ERP options can be a challenging and expensive task, but with grant funding from the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC), Purdue MEP helped Rathburn Tool map out their current processes and develop a vision for a future state in order to detail the scope of an ERP system that would serve them now and for many years to come. Purdue MEP also helped them create an RFQ scope document, identify and narrow down a list of ERP solutions and providers in their budget that met their objectives, and evaluate all of the proposals. Purdue MEP assisted in the development of a short list, facilitated software demonstrations, and provided technical and operational insight to help Rathburn make their final decision.


The results can be separated into two categories that were supported by the Indiana DIB Capability Accelerator Program (IDCAP) grant that is funded by the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC).

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) suitability/needs analysis, selection, and implementation:

  • The IDCAP grant support enabled Rathburn Tool to confidently select the best and most robust ERP to meet the quality and metrics required of the automotive and aerospace industries. This selection facilitated the long-term reduction of Rathburn’s annual costs by over 35%.
  • The unbiased support during the ERP needs analysis and selection process saved Rathburn $20,000 annually for new ERP software due to negotiation assistance, and estimated savings of $20,000 in ERP implementation costs.
  • One of the main focuses of the IDCAP grant is to enable the digital transformation of companies in the DIB. In the case of Rathburn Tool, the ERP transition is estimated to reduce management and administrative staff costs through improved productivity of $50,000 annually.

Lean (AS9100) training and consulting, and network security improvements:

  • IDCAP supported AS 9100 training and consulting, which saved Rathburn Tool $12,000. Additionally, and more importantly, the support expanded Rathburn’s opportunities to quote to the aerospace divisions of two current customers and enabled proposals to five aerospace/DoD companies previously off-limits.
  • The increased aerospace/DoD opportunities led to investment in equipment/technology that Rathburn will use in this industry.
  • The network security support is a foundational pillar for digital transformation and protecting sensitive DoD aerospace industry technical information.

“As a small manufacturer, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to find the trusted expertise and funding to help you grow and develop your business. I’ve found that, through multiple engagements with Purdue MEP across a variety of business areas, they have brought the experience and knowledge to help Rathburn perform at a higher level to better serve our customers. Additionally, the grant support from OLDCC has enhanced our production capability and strengthened our ability to serve the defense industrial base.”

- Angie Holt, President, Rathburn Tool & Manufacturing


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