2020 was a year of integration for Westfall Technik Inc., a Las Vegas-based injection molder and toolmaker that made an eye-popping 14 acquisitions between October 2017 and April 2019.
Now, as the company kicks off 2021, it's no longer a collection of medical and consumer packaging suppliers with common ownership.
"We just rebranded all the companies. They all have new signage. They're all one company now," Westfall founder Brian Jones said in a telephone interview.
Jones, the former CEO of Nypro Inc., said the companies integrated their systems too, using IQMS and Epicor software, upgraded employee benefits and stepped up marketing for the Westfall brand.
While industry watchers have been aware of Westfall's aggressive acquisition strategy, he acknowledged that some may have thought of it as an investment company.
Now Westfall is going to suddenly jump into the top 50 in Plastics News' ranking of North American injection molders and the top 20 ranking of mold makers.
"There's been a lot of work, as you can imagine, when you buy that many entities and you try to put things under one brand, under one umbrella, under one culture," Merritt Williams, chief sales and marketing officer, said.
"Now, our capabilities, our culture and where we want to go with our customers is starting to resonate," Williams said.
The company is following what it calls a stacked integration model, meant to work with customers from design all the way through prototyping and tooling to commercialization. When it comes to end markets, Westfall's focus is on health care and consumer packaged goods.
Along with integration, 2020 was also a year of investing in more capacity.
"We've doubled our clean room capacity in the last eight months, and we're going to double that again," Mark Gomulka, chief operating officer, said. That includes opening six new clean rooms in just a few months, in California, Mexico, the Twin Cities and the newest investment in the Chicago area.
"We've purchased upwards of 30 brand-new injection molding machines, and not many people do that, especially in a COVID year. We're really showing the strength of the vertical integration model," Gomulka said.
By the numbers, Westfall in 2020 posted annual sales of about $250 million, with $200 million in injection molding and $50 million in tooling, Jones said. Current headcount is about 1,800.
COVID-19 related diagnostic and disposable products have been a big part of the company's growth, including rapid testing and vaccine delivery components, Jones said.
Gomulka, who worked with Jones at Nypro, is focusing on talent development too, including apprenticeships in toolrooms and on the molding floor, and training throughout the company.
"The platform is now there. It's now been integrated," Williams said. "You'll see us continue to add capabilities and geographies, and you'll see us to go back on the acquisition trail. But I think it's going to be extremely strategic and it is going to be steeped in capability. We're not interested in just buying up revenue."
Both Williams and Gomulka expect Westfall to double in value within two years, through a combination of acquisitions and by becoming more of a partner with its customers, rather than a vendor relationship.
"And I think I'd like to see our geography expand a little bit, whether that's in Europe, or more in North America," Williams said.