Avalon & Tahoe Manufacturing Inc. would like to reduce the lead times for its pontoon boats to get its products to its customers in time for the summer, but don’t expect the competition to be too sympathetic to its troubles. Not many manufacturers can complain about a backlog of 500 boats, but the Alma, Mich.-based manufacturer is in the enviable position of just trying to keep up with demand for its products.

From holding fences and signs to serving as tree stakes and woodpile holders, steel u-posts are a major – if unheralded – part of the American landscape. However, as with many similar items used in everyday life in the United States, most of the manufacturing of the posts is performed in China, with one notable exception: American Posts LLC.

The most highly valued baseball players are said to be “five-tool” players – those who have speed, a powerful throwing arm, good fielding skills, the ability to hit for average and the ability to hit the ball out of the park. To be one of the leaders in the sportswear-manufacturing sector, a company also has to excel in multiple areas. This is why Rochester, N.Y.-based Alleson Athletic has become one of the largest makers of stock athletic uniforms and apparel in the country, and Vice President of Manufacturing Steve Schwarz says the fourth-generation family business continues to lead the market because of the tools it brings to the playing field every day.

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