Formula Plastics Inc. of Tecate, Mexico, has added quality equipment, boosted philanthropy and reported a 2009 customer-returned defect rate of less than 500 parts per million shipped.
The injection molder has invested more than $200,000 in further equipping a metrology laboratory. The equipment includes a Ram Optical Instrumentation manual measurement unit and a Brown & Sharp coordinate-measuring machine.
We have the best equipped and a more modern metrology lab than any other molder in Mexico, said Alex Mora, president.
In late February, Formula hired a director of community relations to continue the company's corporate citizenship efforts that are budgeted at $50,000 per year. Formula operates a day-care center and a medical clinic, provides its 300-seat auditorium and other space for civic and educational events and participates through a Rotary Foundation club to provide academic scholarships for capable children in poverty.
I am a Rotarian and a major donor to the Rotary foundation, Mora said.
ISO 2001:2008-certified Formula operates through six legally separate plants and plans by mid-2011 to add a seventh plant. The operational separation recognizes the value of each group having its own control and works within Mexican tax laws favoring small plants.
Collectively known as the Formula plastics complex, the operations employ 400 with little turnover, occupy more than 130,000 square feet and uses 50 injection molding machines of 30-550 tons. Half of the machines are all-electrics, Mora said. So far, we have bought [all-electric] Toshibas, but we are quoting with two other suppliers.
A Class 100,000 clean room that opened in December 2005 is now rated at Class 15,000.
We own our [long-haul] trucking company and have 100 percent on-time delivery, he said. Our continuous-improvement learning program is second to none in Mexico, and we own our construction company.
Representatives from four companies and two high schools attended in-house educational seminars that Formula conducted on four days in early 2010. We open the conferences to the public as a community service, noted Mora, a recognized educator within the plastics industry.
An employee cafeteria is fashioned after a traditional colonial Mexican town square with a waterfall and fireplace. Separately, Formula built and operates an on-site gourmet restaurant, the Plaza Santa Monica, for the general public, customers and visitors.
Formula Plastics had 2009 sales of $14.7 million vs. the previous year's $14.5 million. The largest end markets are components for power tools, medical devices and toilets.
Formula was launched in 1984 in leased space in Ontario, Calif. In 1987, with assistance from now-retired industry veteran Edward Fleming, the company established a Tecate operation that has grown in dramatic fashion.
In September 2004, Formula began operations in a newly constructed Ontario facility that it purchased for its headquarters, injection molding and warehousing functions.
Now as landlord, Formula leases that site to a tenant. We closed the Ontario facility in 2006, Mora said. There was not enough business to justify keeping it open.
Meanwhile in Tecate, management believes Formula has surpassed a pledge to share its business success with the local community.
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