LIVONIA, MICH. — Some people say they think globally. Chain Sandhu lives it. It starts with Sandhu's background: Sandhu, majority owner of automotive plastics processor NYX Inc. of Livonia, is an Indian immigrant. And it extends to the NYX work force: a United Nations for plastics, with immigrants from China, Russia, Europe, Pakistan and India.
About 80 percent of NYX's 800 employees come from other countries, Sandhu said.
The global mind-set also finds itself in the work. NYX has newly formed development centers spanning the globe, from Thailand and Japan to Windsor, Ontario. All are interconnected by computers, and engineers often work on the same jobs.
Sandhu does that to serve his automotive customers worldwide, but also for more-practical reasons.
"We can be a 24-hour engineering center," Sandhu said. "While we stop work here, they are just beginning the day in Asia. It puts us in competition with the world."
Sandhu also is giving back. NYX recently opened a small design and engineering center in Sandhu's hometown of Chandigarh, India, about 250 miles northwest of New Delhi. The center currently has six engineers but plans to expand.
Sandhu, head of one of the plastics industry's larger minority-owned companies, wants to create more opportunities in India.
He came to America in 1963. After 18 years with General Motors Corp. in a variety of management positions, Sandhu struck out on his own with NYX in 1989. He had worked on its predecessor, Color Custom Compounding of Warren, Mich., as a turnaround project with GM before buying the business.
Now NYX includes nine plants that perform compounding, steel stamping, pipe and profile extrusion and even tooling.
The latter is a recent NYX acquisition. The company bought injection toolmaker Wixom Products Inc. of Wixom, Mich., in June, helping NYX reduce product cycle times and control tooling costs, Sandhu said. The news was kept close to the vest while the 46-person company made the transition.
The 40,000-square-foot shop specializes in molds for interior trim products, one of NYX's main areas. NYX will use the tool shop's 10 computer numerically controlled machining centers to assist in its projects.
With the acquisition, NYX hopes to reach a goal of $100 million in sales in 2000.
"True minorities must look globally to be successful in the new world order," he said. "Hopefully, our sales growth will reflect that."