Beating the Timer

Recognizing change, Midwest Timer works with Lectro to get a jump

Midwest Timer‘s acquisition of Lectro demonstrates how a company that knows its product is going obsolete can save its business.

Midwest manufactures electromechanical timers in western Michigan. These instruments are used in home appliances. The company didn’t want to admit its once-essential product was becoming obsolete, but losing one of its longest and most cherished contracts with Whirlpool—a hard tremor of the U.S. tariffs on Whirlpool’s own products, its dishwashers—hammered the urgency home.

At crunch time with its own timer running out, Midwest’s ownership made a bold but savvy pivot, acquiring Lectro Components, which makes the newer product that drove its own to obscurity.

In an interview with MiBiz, the Michigan business publication, co-owners and brothers Keith and Bruce Chapman discussed how making the most difficult decision of their career became the one that saved it:

“We needed a different product. Electromechanical timers are more or less going away. They’re going to continue to decline,” Bruce Champan said of the industry that, in the past, generated ten million dollars a year for his company’s operation. He goes on to describe the mindset, saying Midwest was forced to get creative and adapt, accept difficult truths and industry changes, and ultimately identify that a company many saw as infiltrators was really a potential partner.

“We saw they were outsourcing their manufacturing. We thought, we could do that…it’s a good fit,” Chapman said in the MiBiz interview.

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