Injection molder Texas Jacobson Co. and metal stamper Parkview Metal Stamping Inc. are expanding a relationship to make parts and assemblies principally for electronics and computer equipment makers.
The companies agreed in mid-November to establish an integrated plastics and metals marketing operation, and they are linking arms in operations in San Marcos, Texas, and Las Cruces, N.M.
``Our sales managers and Parkview's are making joint calls to meet each other's customers,'' said Harvey Jacobson, chairman, chief executive officer and owner of parent firm Jacobson Group of New Braunfels, Texas.
The firms' joint venture, known as Parkview/Jacobson, already has merged sales and some finance functions, Jacobson said in a telephone interview.
The agreement ``may evolve into a merger or something bigger,'' Nels R. Leutwiler, Parkview CEO, said in a telephone interview from his Chicago office.
Currently, Texas Jacobson employs 250-300 in New Braunfels. It operates 40 injection presses with clamping forces of 55-1,000 tons and occupies a 116,000-square-foot facility.
About 10 miles away in San Marcos, Texas Jacobson expects in the spring to begin building a 100,000-square-foot structure on part of a 15-acre site where Parkview operates an 80,000-square-foot plant that employs 180. The New Braunfels operations will continue.
Customers such as Compaq Computer Corp. and Dell Computer Corp. want suppliers close by to supply molding, stamping and assembly under one roof, Jacobson said, adding, ``We're increasing the amount of assembly we do.''
Parkview has a different market mix than Jacobson, so the agreement helps both firms diversify their customer base. Customers want to ``limit their supplier base and give suppliers greater responsibility,'' Leutwiler said.
Jacobson said labor availability near New Braunfels is ``getting like an auction,'' with employers boosting hourly wages and benefits to capture talent.
In New Mexico, Parkview will complete construction in March of a 115,000-square-foot building to make automotive audio products and serve high-technology customers, principally in El Paso, Texas, and Ju rez, Mexico.
Jacobson will install a yet-to-be-determined number of injection presses in the Las Cruces facility.
In addition to New Braunfels, Jacobson Group operates injection molding facilities in Tempe, Ariz., with 22 machines, and Sanford, N.C., with 20 machines.
The group also manufactures metal fasteners, largely for automotive customers, in Medina, Ohio; Altoona, Pa.; and Kenilworth, N.J.
Jacobson said the Arizona plant was ISO 9001 certified in November and the Texas facility in December.
Jacobson Group had 1997 sales of about $135 million and has no debt, according to Jacobson, who began the metal operations in 1950 and plastics molding in 1989.
In addition to San Marcos and the Las Cruces development, Parkview operates two plants in Chicago and anticipates building a facility at Jacobson's North Carolina site eventually.
Parkview employs 480 and generated 1997 sales of $52 million. Leutwiler forecasts 1998 sales of $60 million. Parkview is certified for QS 9000, ISO 9002 and Ford Q-1.