The medical molding now makes up 90 percent of the business for Red Star. And the company has grown by 30 percent in both 2016 and 2017.
"The medical molding side of the business has grown very well. But we've never thrown away the machine thing. We continue to make machines for people. But we've never been in the public eye. We just continue to go with our existing customers. It wasn't until this year when I hired my first sales guy that we decided to go out and start doing that," he said.
Werstler is proud that Red Star uses its own machines that make the plastic parts it sells.
"I was a little hesitant to promote both because I was afraid some of our machinery buyers might see us as competition. But it's actually been the opposite; they embrace it. They say, 'You know exactly what we need.' And it's been very helpful. We actually sold a molding machine to a large medical device company this year, and I think one of the reasons we got the sale was because they know we know medical. We were able to help them calibrate the machine and make their installation qualification move along a lot smoother," he said.
Red Star employs 22 in Larwill, Ind., using 10 injection molding machines — seven vertical, three horizontal — with 12,000 square feet of manufacturing space dedicated to molding and 5,000 square feet for machine building.
Staffing has doubled in the last year with the addition of key positions such as director of quality, supply chain manager and sales and marketing director.
"We're going from a tiny startup to midsized company," Werstler said.
The biggest challenge in this transformation?
"Taking things that are tribal knowledge and making it intracompany communication. Personally, I'm an engineer. I'm not a sales guy. Business has been very good since 2009 without one. But how do we develop a sales and marketing group and make a splash," he said.