Carlton Harris, former president of ATP Engineered Rubber and Plastics Group, said he will never lose his business ties with Asia.
After forming two joint ventures in China in 2005 during his term with ATP, Harris founded Narberth, Pa.-based Asia Tool Source LLC early this year. The new firm was created to ``help toolmakers, molders and [original equipment manufacturers] in North America find qualified tool suppliers in China and India,'' said Harris, ATS president.
ATS works with Asian toolmakers to improve their capabilities, Harris said. He has visited more than 50 toolmakers in China.
In addition to injection mold procurement, the firm has set up a program management system.
``We take a complete turnkey approach with a tooling program, so that our customers need to be involved in the process only as much as they wish,'' said ATS sourcing director Ji Mu. ``They provide the part specifications, and we handle the details to ensure they receive high-quality Asian tools, on time.''
She said ATS has a U.S.-based tool shop for warranty and revision work.
Harris added: ``Our positioning in the market is unique ... we are not tied to in-house capacity or to any one supplier. On the other hand, we are able to provide real warranties with teeth to our customers in North America.''
Harris expects the newly formed company to end 2006 with about $2 million in sales, hit $4 million in 2007 ``and grow significantly in subsequent years.''
ATS also has set up a sister company to help North American firms establish operations in China.
``It used to be the conventional wisdom that a foreign investor had to enter China through a [joint venture],'' Harris said, ``That's no longer the case. Even a China novice can secure the assistance needed to navigate the complex political and regulatory situation in China.''