In order to fend off the impact of the economic downturn, Oconomowoc, Wis.-based injection molder Tailor Made Products Inc. has beefed up its new-product development effort for housewares, its primary end market, as well as the growing medical sector.
President and CEO John Wilde said the company keeps developing new items for retailers such as Wal-Mart and Family Dollar. Most customers have been on the good side, he said. However, customers are not carrying as much inventory. It's hard to put your fingers on, but things are not moving as fast.
At the International Housewares Show, held March 22-24 in Chicago, the company unveiled its first national brand: Curious Chef, a food-preparation utensil line for kids 3-10 years old. Consisting of more than 50 items designed in the U.S. and imported from China, Curious Chef is the first complete utensil line for kids, according to the company.
On the medical side, the company is co-engineering a knee-coil product for magnetic resonance imaging devices with partner Strohwig Industries Inc. of Richfield, Wis. Strohwig makes the mold, and we make the plastic parts, Wilde said. Molding is only the little part. It's important to develop new products with partners. The product will be commercialized in late 2009.
With a workforce of 67, 15-year-old Tailor Made operates 17 injection presses in Oconomowoc, 11 of which are equipped with automation. We pay attention to overhead and we are financially healthy, Wilde said.