Salinas, Calif. — Green Rubber-Kennedy Ag sees the acquisition of Urethane Specialists Inc., a maker of precision parts for a variety of industries, as both a way to branch out and improve its existing operations.
USI serves the food processing, pharmaceutical, printing, packaging, manufacturing, assembly, and shipping and distribution sectors.
It's a small operation compared to Green Rubber–Kennedy Ag of Salinas, but one that brings manufacturing expertise in the urethane sector.
"I think what USI brings to our operation is high precision," said John Green, vice president and operations manager at Green Rubber–Kennedy Ag. "It's very fine, very precise and, admittedly, the Green Rubber urethane products are quick and dirty, more industrial grade.
"We really had to re-learn to do things in a much better way. What we thought was a good thing is going to get better with the knowledge USI brings to us," Green said.
At 30 years old, Green Rubber–Kennedy Ag has grown and diversified throughout the years and now employs about 130 workers, including 10 in its urethane division. Another important part of the business makes conveyor belting.
The deal combines two family-owned operations that specialize in "durable, high-tolerance parts manufacturing," Green Rubber–Kennedy Ag said.
USI complements Green Rubber–Kennedy Ag's urethane division that makes rollers and parts for conveyor systems, heavy equipment and machine components, the company said.
USI was founded in 1990 by Mike and Kathy Hodge when they assumed control of the former Sierra Elastomerics in Sonora, Calif. USI manufacturing is now at a Green Rubber–Kennedy Ag location in Salinas.
The Hodges, the only two full-time workers at USI, are working with the new owners to ensure a smooth transition and eventually will retire from the operation, Green said. Equipment has been relocated from Sonora to Salinas, about three hours away.
Mike Hodge, Green said, is a former tool-and-die maker and has developed manufacturing processes and techniques "that really blow us away."
The business owners have known each other for years, and the Hodges contacted Green about a transaction when it came time to sell. The companies have been friendly toward one another throughout the years, taking care not to infringe on each other's turf. USI also, at one point, was a supplier to Green Rubber–Kennedy Ag.
Green Rubber's belting division fabricates all types of belting. "Our major industry is food processing, packaging, what is typically called lightweight belting," Green said. USI once provided urethane conveyor rollers that were sold in conjunction with the belting.
Green said the acquisition of USI was a two-year process, and both sides have been working to transition the business and ownership during the past year. This includes training and "making sure that our people know how to process their orders so their customers see complete continuity in the transition."
"Our goal is to improve the overall customer experience. We're a much bigger company, so we have the horsepower to really step up the processing, improve lead times and really communicate with customers in a more proactive way," Green said.