Established in 2005, the Michigan Tooling Group (MTG) was formed to be a Best in Class, total solutions provider for tooling and related services. Fourteen companies strong, they work together as one—thus making each individual company stronger by sharing the best techniques and practices of each member, and to combine common purchases to leverage better pricing. This also makes them very efficient and increases each company’s capacity to take on larger projects.
he 14 member companies (see Michigan Tooling Group Members Sidebar below) consist of four moldmakers, a specialty cutter grinder, a gage maker, an automation specialist, a custom wire EDM company, a specialty machinist and five die makers. “This unique makeup of companies gives us a competitive edge in today’s global marketplace,” states MTG President Michael Haws, who also is the General Manager of CG Automation & Fixture, Inc. “Altogether we employ more than 200 well-trained individuals with a vast knowledge of the complete spectrum of tooling.”
According to Haws, in 2004 the state of Michigan passed new legislation to create certain renaissance zones to foster economic opportunities in Michigan for small manufacturing companies. As a direct result of this bill the MTG was formed in 2005. Services offered include injection mold building, die making, automation and fabrication—as well as specialized shops, including gage making, water jet, wire burn, laser cutting and custom carbide and PCD tooling.
The collaborative’s early days were not easy, acknowledges MTG Secretary Andy Baker, who also is Project Manager of Byrne Tool & Die Inc. “To take a group of 14 companies, who for the most part did not know each other and who came from different backgrounds, and blend them into one entity while keeping them separate organizations—each with their own agenda—was very challenging,” Byrne Baker recalls. “One of our many achievements was being able to collectively buy group health insurance, which saved some of our members tens of thousands of dollars. Being able to leverage our buying power has been a difficult task, but continues to be on the top of our agenda as we continue to look for ways to benefit the MTG as a whole.”
Haws adds that another challenge the MTG is tackling is how to market the group as a whole while still remaining separate organizations. “It has taken a lot of thought, research and time from each member to come up with an organized job sharing plan, sales brochure and group Web site,” Haws notes. “The MTG has worked collectively on many different projects and customer visits, and we will be attending our first trade show this month at PDx/amerimold in Cincinnati (Booths 334 and 336). We understand the old saying, ‘The sum of the components is greater than the whole.’”
Room to Grow
Haws and Baker see plenty of growth opportunities for the MTG. “Our biggest goal is to use our marketing techniques and manufacturing expertise to obtain a package of tooling that no one individual member would be able to land on their own,” Baker comments. “We know that because of the trust and confidence built by the MTG we can achieve this together. Many of our members work with each other on their projects and have continuously strengthened their relationships. We have helped each other finish many projects on time.”
Haws expands on Baker’s thoughts, adding, “We would like to expand our political involvement in order to level our global competitiveness and educate people that manufacturing is the only way to create wealth,” he notes. “It is not a dirty old job that we want to give away to another country, but in fact it’s a very cutting-edge, highly technological industry that’s critical to our economy and our national security. The false image that surrounds manufacturing needs to change, and it needs to change quickly.”