BOSTON (July 1, 1 p.m. ET) — Mike Sansoucy, the new president of Netstal Machinery Inc., said the company is well-positioned to benefit from the recovery in manufacturing, thanks to its injection press technology aimed at packaging and medical.
Sansoucy said Netstal's business held up even in the recession-racked year of 2009, one of the worst-ever years for U.S. plastics machinery sales.
“If you look at the ‘economic winter' — if you want to call it that — it was difficult, for sure. But I think we were fortunate to have a product mix that wasn't as sensitive. We're not in automotive. We're not in construction,” he said.
Sansoucy was promoted from national sales manager to become president on Jan. 1, when Rick Shaffer left Netstal Machinery. Shaffer now is an independent consultant.
Based in Devens, Mass., Netstal Machinery is part of Swiss injection molding machinery maker Netstal-Maschinen AG. The operation covers the United States and Canada.
Sansoucy, 41, is new to the top spot, but he's a 19-year plastics industry veteran who has worked both in the machinery and processor sectors. After earning a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, he got a job in 1992 at Tech Group Inc. in Scottsdale, Ariz. At Tech, he started in customer service, then worked in several different departments before becoming plant manager in Scottsdale.
In 1998, Sansoucy became engineering and tooling manager at Seitz Corp., the custom injection molder in Torrington, Conn. Two years later, he moved over to machinery and became technical sales manager at Van Dorn Demag Corp. in Strongsville, Ohio.
He joined Netstal in 2003 as northeast regional manager, becoming national sales manager in 2007.
Sansoucy said his experience includes supporting sales people on technical issues, including applications engineering. That is a useful skill for packaging and medical, where customers want highly engineered machines and automation designed for their specific applications, he said.
“When you sell a Netstal machine, it's a consultative sale. You need to be an expert as much as you can,” he said.
Sansoucy explained Netstal Machinery's strategy during an interview in Boston in May.
Under Sansoucy, Netstal Machinery has restructured its sales force, moving away from regional sales managers and organizing along business units. The company's biggest market, packaging, is split between two people. A third salesman covers PET preforms and caps. Another person coordinates medical and other markets. That approach means customers can work with a single contact person across multiple plants.
“And the sales guys are now matched up with applications engineers from our side. So we've got a sales guy with an application engineer. They can go to a customer, look at a problem and be able to use all their experience to help that customer out,” Sansoucy said.
Netstal Machinery also recently hired two more service technicians.
Sansoucy said that, organizationally, Netstal breaks out caps and preforms from its general packaging unit because that business has its own special demands. For instance, the move to shorter, lighter weight caps on PET bottles has helped injection molding move into the cap market, which had been ruled by special high-output compression molding machines.
“Those caps pretty much have to be injection molded today,” Sansoucy said. Netstal makes cap injection molding presses with as many as 144 cavities, but he said 96-cavity cap machines are the most popular size in North America.
Sansoucy said the conversion in caps from compression to injection molding helped Netstal weather the recession.
Netstal pulled out of the 2009 NPE trade show, citing the weak global economic conditions. But the company is going to exhibit next year at NPE 2012 in Orlando, Fla. Sansoucy said the company plans to run two molding machines.
“We're very excited to be back,” he said.