MACEDONIA, OHIO (Jan. 9, 3:45 p.m. ET) — Design Molded Plastics will break ground on a 20,000-square-foot expansion this spring — a fitting start to what company officials say will be their best year yet.
The custom injection molder occupies two adjacent buildings in Macedonia: a 62,000-square-foot plant and headquarters, and a 48,000-square-foot warehouse that also houses the company's engineering offices. DMP bought the warehouse in late 2011 after running out of room for expansion at the original facility.
The warehouse was a “strategic buy,” not just for the building but also the property, co-owner and President Jay Honsaker said in an interview at DMP's Macedonia plant.
Combined, the two properties encompass about 10 acres. DMP will add 20,000 square feet to the warehouse as well as relocate all parking to that property, freeing up land at its headquarters plant to expand manufacturing operations. The entire project will take a couple years.
In 2012, the firm added six new injection molding machines: a two-shot 500-ton hydraulic press from Wittmann Battenfeld and five Toshiba presses — two all-electric 110-tonners and three 500-ton hydraulic presses, Honsaker said. The plant now operates 33 machines, ranging from 88-950 tons of clamping force.
To support that new capacity, DMP boosted its workforce to 200 people. That move included upping the number of entry-level machine operators from 30 to 65, said Diane Hanson, co-owner and company treasurer.
DMP did more than $23 million in business in 2012, its second year of record sales, Honaker said. He expects the firm to log a 10-20 percent sales increase in 2013, he added.
As a custom thermoplastic injection molder, DMP makes parts for markets that include home and kitchen appliances, protective equipment, automotive and medical equipment.
In recent years, the company has benefited from reshoring from Asia. DMP is one of a few U.S. manufacturers that still produce parts for vacuum cleaners, said sales manager Jim George. A maker of portable heaters recently returned production to Ohio and DMP also molds parts for that firm's products, he added.
The company has strategically aligned itself with customers in high-end markets that offer U.S.-made products and only buy U.S.-made parts, according to Honsaker. “Those customers have grown even through the weak economy and our business has grown as a result of that,” he said.
DMP has also attracted, and retained, business by offering more than injection molding. “A big part of our business growth is [from offering] our engineering capabilities upfront with our customers,” Honsaker said.
The firm began offering full-service tooling — building, repair and maintenance — several years ago. It also has a team of engineers working in product design.
“[A customer] can design just about any part they want, but it has to come out of the mold. That's where we come in to play,” Honsaker said. DMP can collaborate with its customers to design moldable parts that meet their criteria, including aesthetic requirements, at the lowest possible price. The company makes the tooling for the part in-house or outsources it, depending on how quickly the part is needed.
Honsaker also credited the company's commitment to quality and cleanliness.
“We're an exception in the industry when it comes to plant cleanliness and organization and efficiency. You see that immediately when you walk into the plant. … A very common phrase is: ‘In all the plants I've been in, this is the cleanest,'” Honsaker said. “Everyone says that, from the ISO auditor to the postman.”
The entire workforce contributes to keeping the plant in top form. Maintenance workers on each shift are charged with keeping the plant clean, and every mold goes through a rigorous cleaning and repairing process before being used, he said.
The plant sells itself, George said. “If we can get [prospective customers] into the door and into the plant, that's half the job done already, without even supplying them a quote.”
DMP ships in white containers — not a common color for shipping materials — because, Honsaker said, it makes the product stand out. Customers say that when they see DMP's white boxes, they know they're not going to have any problems with that product, he said.