Over the last couple of years, one of the things that we've seen in the company change greatly is our ability to react to problems and to be more agile and creative in the process. And come together as a team to solve problems. A-dec has always been an innovative company and mostly innovative on the design side. Ken (Austin) created many unique things that the dental industry uses today. And that has been a pillar of A-dec as being an innovative company. What we've seen over the last couple years, that innovation has taken a different look. We're innovative in new products and we're innovative in how we're accomplishing the products we make every day now, which is something we haven't had to do in the past. So to give context to our growth A-dec's demand on our product really exploded in the summer of 2020. And we went probably from a point where we were five to seven times higher in the orders that we were taking in from our customers. So, the demand has been huge, which has driven the need for excess equipment buying of equipment, hiring of people, adding shifts throughout the company to accommodate that demand. So we've seen a huge growth spike and that equipment could be mills and lathes, uh, different processes and assembly, robots in some cases to make things more efficient, but also more ergonomic for the employees.
With the increase in our production, over the last few years, we are forced to rethink the way it's always been done for years and years. It's it's worked and it got us to where we are, which is exciting, but to continue to move forward and to increase what we can put out, we can't keep doing it the same way. So we have to start innovating and thinking of different ways to utilize the same equipment, maybe, but utilizing it in a different way. And removing some of the restrictions or the barriers that were created by the way it was done. And what worked for us at that time, so that we create more capability within our own organization. By making the investments in the machines that we have over the last few years, these are now more robust, more technically advanced machines that add capability, they add efficiency and they just add a level of stability so that we're able to produce and provide for our customers. And they're not gonna be negatively impacted by a machine that just couldn't produce to the volume that we're at and it sets us up so that we can continue to increase the volume, as we continue to make these changes, and additions in our shop.
With that investment of capital, it required us to, to have more people to run that equipment, to assemble product. Over the last couple years, the employee growth has just exploded. Just in the manufacturing environment, we've had nearly a doubling of our employees today at A-dec, to keep the production line going. So by bringing in the additional employees, we've had to accommodate that through different shifts, for example. So in assembly, we used to assemble on a single shift Monday through Thursday, and now we're assembling seven days a week. And there's a few areas that we've had to add what we call a fourth shift, which is a shift that allows us to run the operation nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And many of our pieces of equipment actually run what we call unattended, which is lights out. We go home at night and they keep making parts through the night until the next shift comes in the next morning. So that's the, the power of some of the capital we've purchased.
From the very beginning of this. We knew that we could never sacrifice our quality. So what we had to look at and the changes we had to make were to maintain or improve that quality while also significantly increasing the amount of production that we were able to complete.
Over the past couple years, the growth of the company is something we've never seen in the company's history. As the demand for our product has grown. It has required us to quickly respond to that growth and find ways to achieve that growth throughout the company. That's why we spent millions of dollars. We've added people, we've added shifts, we've bought warehousing space, we've added equipment. All of these things are to build the best quality dental equipment, in the dental industry and help our customer. So we've met these challenges head on. Day after day, every single day. And through that, I think it's changed the company forever at how we work and how we build product for our customers.