When Bose Corp. of Framingham, Mass., on Aug. 9 announced the closing of its Westboro, Mass., plant, it surprised a lot of people - except one of its largest plastics parts suppliers. Although G&F Industries Inc. took the bold step to set up a custom injection molding operation inside Bose's plant just two years ago, the molder was not left out in the cold by the shutdown.
``The best thing that happened to us is that we worked closely with [Bose] and nothing came as a surprise,'' said John J. Argitis, account manager for G&F. ``Through our working relationship, we were able to adapt with anything that happened and deal with it in a proactive manner rather than a reactive one.''
G&F, based in Sturbridge, Mass., will continue to supply parts to Bose, but now they will be shipped to different Bose locations. Argitis, who still has an office in Bose's Westboro facility, said that despite the changes within the Bose organization during the past two years, G&F has been relatively unaffected.
Bose began a program two years ago to vertically integrate its manufacturing operations, including installing molding presses to make some plastic parts at its Westboro plant. Bose also has presses at its maquiladora operations in Yuma, Ariz., and San Luis R¡o Colorado, Mexico; and in Columbia, S.C. A spokeswoman for Bose said the company only molds selected parts that meet specific criteria, but it expects that its overall business with its custom molding vendors will grow.
The Westboro plant will start to phase out operations in January with the transition of the work and employees to other Bose facilities. The plant will be shut down by March 1998. It employs about 500, and makes car audio systems. The transition represents a shift of Bose manufacturing out of the Northeast for ``cost savings and competitive reasons,'' the company said.
Argitis said Bose's vertical integration into molding affected G&F's business only in that some of the new products that might have been farmed out to custom molders were designed for cell manufacturing at Bose.
However, Argitis said G&F's business continues to grow. It employs 235, and has 41 injection presses with clamping forces as great as 450 tons. Argitis attributes much of G&F's growth to the model established with Bose.
``If you just supply parts and never talk to your customer, you're setting yourself up for disaster,'' said Argitis, whose new office probably will be at Bose's Framingham facility.
``One thing I've learned is that change is bound to happen, and if you don't change you don't grow,'' he said.