San Leandro, Calif. — Kennerley-Spratling Manufacturing Group opened a maquiladora in Tijuana, Mexico, and is elevating its quality-control focus.
For the Tijuana site's plastics processing, "we are buying equipment and moving some equipment," Nathan Chandler, chief information officer, said in an interview at KS headquarters in San Leandro. "The project has been in the works since 2016." Operations began in March.
KS took occupancy of an 80,000-square-foot Tijuana facility and currently employs about 30 there. It is ramping up production with new and used injection molding machines with a clamping force range of 80-1,400 tons.
KS envisions employing 100 in Tijuana in a year or two.
Production at the Tijuana site will "open some San Leandro plant capacity and allow KS to accept more local work," Chandler said.
The group was founded in 1955 in the northern California town of San Leandro with original Kennerley-Spratling Inc., now a division.
KS Group established a minority-controlled KS Automotive division in 1998 in a nearby San Leandro building, acquired medical device component maker MOS Plastics Inc. of San Jose in 2002 and purchased the customer base and certain assets of Henry Plastic Molding Inc. of Fremont in 2006.
For the Henry Plastic Molding transaction, Chandler was the seller. His grandfather, tool and die maker Ed Henry Sr., started Henry Plastic Molding in 1972 and was an original mold supplier to Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard Co.
"We sold some assets that were relocated to [KS] San Leandro and [MOS] San Jose over several years," he said.
Chandler retained Branford Group for a 2016 auction to sell remaining Henry assets and now works with KS under a management contract. He started in a senior business development position in November 2016 and became CIO in September 2017.