JMMS Inc. is getting ready for the next generation of toolmakers.
The company has invested $1.8 million in new equipment during the past 16 months, adopted a new name, made new business contacts within an expanding corner of the auto industry and set up a new leadership team that will take the firm forward.
In 2005, my father turned 60, and he said it was time to look at our succession plans, said CEO David M. Bowers II.
His father, David M. Bowers, had taken full ownership of the mold-making company from the partnership that had first launched the business in Easley, S.C., as an expansion of JM Mold Inc. of Piqua, Ohio. The business was originally called JM Mold South.
The firm makes tooling for a variety of processes extrusion blow molding, thermoset molding, thermoforming and injection molding for single- and two-shot production as well as molds for metal processing.
In 2008, the family met with consultants to lay out expectations for the company and the family's role. The elder Bowers transferred control to his son and daughter, Michelle Powell, who is chief operating officer for the 30-employee company.
The younger Bowers said his father still keeps contact with the business, providing a solid foundation even as the company moves forward.
That forward momentum includes new machining centers that give it capacity to make tools for large automotive parts such as instrument panels, hoods, doors and fenders promising markets now that the North American auto industry has been moving closer to JMMS.
BMW AG's U.S. auto assembly plant in Spartanburg, S.C., is just 35 miles from JMMS. In addition, the Southeast has been attracting more car companies, putting JMMS in the right place at the right time.
Germany's Volkswagen AG just started construction on an assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Alabama is home to a new Honda Motor Co. Ltd. operation and a Kia Motors Corp. plant. Hyundai Motor Co.'s new factory is in Georgia.
JMMS recently won a contract to make 18 tools for an upcoming vehicle and is working for first- tier suppliers moving into the region as well.
We're very pleased to be in the position where we are, Bowers said.
The company is doing more than welcoming the world to its neighborhood, though. JMMS has a three-person office in Dongguan, China, that can manage supply from Asia. The Chinese operation also works hand-in-hand with the South Carolina site to provide nearly around-the-clock design and engineering on future projects.
The firm exhibited at NPE2009, held June 22-26 in Chicago.