I respect the feelings and opinions expressed by letter writers Al Northouse, Skip Nevell, Gary Proctor, Bill Cermak and Sharon Patton (Mailbag, Feb. 17, reacting to an interview with me, Feb. 3). Yes, the United States must maintain its strong leadership role in technology and manufacturing. Equally, the U.S. role as defender of freedom, individual rights and the worth and value of all people, whether from the U.S., India, Mexico, China or elsewhere, is even more important.
Indeed, the Plastics News Executive Forum, at which I was quoted, presented lean manufacturing as a way of making North American plastics companies more competitive. And my presentation was designed to share Nypro's lean manufacturing initiatives with our industry's American colleagues.
I do regret the incorrect impression that by growing around the world, Nypro may have been neglecting the United States. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, over the past six years, 1996-2002, while we have added facilities all over the world, Nypro also has added four new molding facilities in the United States, while closing only one. Over the past six years, our U.S. sales have grown 88 percent, the number of Nypro molding machines in the U.S. has increased by 42 percent and our total U.S. employment has increased 62 percent, from 2,611 employees to 4,237.
We also have acquired partial interest in two other U.S. molding operations, have acquired a mold-making shop in Massachusetts and have added a Chicago product design company to complement our Massachusetts design company. Our global growth is just that — growth everywhere, including the United States.
The statement incorrectly attributed to me in the Feb. 3 article, “We could always shift and start up in a different place,” apparently alarmed some readers. We follow new market opportunities that are presented by our global customers, while continuing to expand in existing markets, like the United States. Nypro is currently investing in developed markets like the U.S., Europe and Singapore, while simultaneously investing in developing areas like Eastern Europe, India, Russia, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
It's all about servicing and responding to our global customers' needs as they seek to improve the quality of life around the world, including emerging and developing countries. That always has been Nypro's history and it will continue to be our plan.
The article accurately quotes me as saying that Nypro will invest about $50 million globally this year. What is not said is that $20 million of that will be in the United States, plus a Nypro joint venture is investing another $10 million at our headquarters site in Clinton, Mass., to build a worldwide technology center that will be the starting point for virtually all new global accounts.
Nypro is proud to be the 23rd-largest employee-owned company in the United States, with the vast majority of our employee/owners being American citizens. Since first following our customers offshore in 1973, we have grown around the world in response to our customers' needs.
There are more than 6 billion people in the world, of whom less than 300 million live in the United States. They all want to better themselves, and that is what American-based manufacturing has always been about. Nypro will produce more than 6 billion plastic parts this year, bringing our American-based technology to benefit the people of the world.
Brian S. Jones