When it comes to exploring new business opportunities by expanding your customer base, perhaps the first thought that comes to mind is not one of purchasing new equipment—especially during these challenging economic times. However, equipment expansion should be seriously considered as a way to tap into new markets—and thus find new customers.
MGS Mfg. Group (Germantown, WI)—a full-service provider of manufacturing solutions to the plastics industry—recently purchased a new Mori Seiki NL1500SY CNC lathe and a Fanuc six-axis robot that was installed on the company’s röders RXP 500 DS 5-axis machine. The 5-axis machine was incorporated on the shop floor last July for its electrode manufacturing cell. MGS Group Marketing Director John Berg points out that these equipment purchases are a “valuable and resourceful addition for the company and its customers”—improving leadtimes and overall efficiencies.
Other recent equipment purchases include Work NC (machining software for 5-axis) and CamWorks (plate machining software that runs inside SolidWorks). A Kitamura machining center also has been added to MGS Mfg.’s Prototypes, Molds, & Design (PMD) business group. “In our preventive maintenance tool shop (which supports our custom molding business divisions, we installed new 10-ton capacity cranes to enable our ability to service larger tooling systems,” Berg notes. “We continue to train personnel to reach the highest levels of tool development, maintenance and repairs. We also continue to develop updates in our computer data systems to achieve more accurate and complete records for tool development and preventive maintenance.”
According to Berg, the decision to buy new equipment was a smart business decision that coincided with customer demand. “Two markets/industries have been growth sectors for us with regard to tooling: medical/healthcare and packaging/caps/closures—both of which demand the ability to produce rounds with consistent accuracy,” he explains. “We plan for the future.”
Dan Anderson, MGS High-Speed Machine Specialist, notes that tool shop efficiencies have shown marked improvement since the 5-axis machine was installed, and the addition of the robot has increased efficiencies through automation. “It allows us to cut more accurately, rigidly and at a faster pace.”
Berg adds that this new equipment “provides the ability to do more work in-house and better control the build schedules and assure timely delivery. The ability to tour customers and prospective customers through our shop and have them see—firsthand—the company’s investment in manufacturing technologies lends credence to our position of engineered quality and on-time delivery.”
Reaching New Markets
MGS uses a variety of methods to ensure the company’s capabilities are properly publicized and reaching the right audience. “We normally issue press releases when we make any type of investment that is attributable to increased service and efficiencies,” says Rebecca Reed, Marketing Manager for MGS. “We also give the technologies premium space on our Web site; and we have recently launched a new Web site (www.fiveaxismachining.com) that focuses on our machining capabilities using this technology. We also have revised our tooling group’s collateral material to reflect these expanded capabilities.”
Berg adds that the company’s increases in machining capacity and capabilities with these new systems have enabled MGS to attract new business from non-plastic injection mold customers. “It gives us additional opportunities with companies that were not our targets a year ago,” he emphasizes. “Thus, we are in a position to market ourselves to any company needing precisely engineered steel with integrated quality control.”
In conclusion, Berg shares the following pearls of wisdom. “Equipment is purchased to accommodate existing customer needs and as an investment in securing work from potential customers/industries,” he comments. “We are always evaluating our workflow in an effort to gain efficiencies and increase capacities without expanding floor space. Mold manufacturers must be keenly aware of all the related services they can provide to their customers. As companies consolidate their vendor base, it is imperative that we provide as many services as we can effectively manage to fulfill their needs.”