Double-digit sales growth is the norm at Roembke Manufacturing & Design Inc., and the mold maker is determined to continue that trend by sticking to its proven game plan.
The strategy? Invest in the business, hire good people, utilize the advantages it has over its competitors and, most importantly, listen to its customers.
The mold maker also will gain some exposure at NPE 2015 where its tools are being used in two-shot production at two injection press makers' booths — for Milacron at W2703 and Engel at W1303.
Located in Ossian, south of Fort Wayne, Ind., Roembke spent more than $1 million last year on equipment to enhance or expand its capabilities, according to President Greg Roembke.
That included adding another Yasda mill for precision, high-speed hard milling to two existing machines at the site; replacing a graphite machine with a Roku high-speed mill to do all of its electro machining; and acquiring a Mitsubishi EDM to boost the firm's capacity.
Overall, the machinery purchases increased the mold maker's capacity and/or capabilities, Roembke and Global Sales Manager Troy Smith said.
Automotive used to account for a majority of its business, but medical and health care, including tooling for liquid silicone rubber, now represent about 60 percent of revenue.
Reasons for growth
They needed the equipment because business has been good, Roembke said, and for several reasons.
“One of our big advantages compared with our competition is our physical size and capabilities,” the company president said. The firm's growth forced it to extend its delivery periods slightly, he said, but feedback from customers indicate Roembke Manufacturing “still is better by several weeks from a delivery standpoint than any of our competition, that we are aware of.”
The location in Ossian also is a big plus for the business in North America versus its biggest competitors, which are based overseas. “There's a high expense for our customers here if they do decide to have tooling built overseas,” Roembke said, “and longer delivery since it has to come over the water.” Additional costs of travel and time add up, too, he said.
Ossian is just two hours from Indianapolis, and three hours from Detroit or Chicago.
John Roembke started the business in 1977 at a 2,500-square-foot site outside of Ossian. Last year the transition to Greg Roembke's ownership was completed, when the son became majority shareholder.
Greg Roembke said he doesn't know of a better state in which to conduct business than Indiana.
“Not only from a business friendly state, but the ethics of our employees and the ability to find new employees when we need them,” he said. “Everybody has the challenge of finding new employees in this industry, but the advantage we have is the culture of people raised here, raised to work extremely hard.”
He said Roembke Manufacturing's employees are very loyal. “Our average years of service here is around 18 years, and I think our average age is still in the 40s. So not only do we have a work force that is extremely experienced, we also have a younger, in comparison, work force.”
That's a real plus for his company, Roembke said, because many mold makers are staffed by people with 20 or more years of experience, and “over the next five years or so they are going to have a lot of them retiring.”
Roembke said Indiana offers a strong pool of young people, in high school and college, who are willing and interested in his company's type of business. The company has increased its staff by about 15 percent in the past few years, to 48 employees.
“We may not have the sunshine of California or the pork of Austria, but we have everything else,” Roembke said.