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Business Roundtable: MPC develops solid growth plan

by TODD HERZOG

I had the opportunity to interview Dave Gaspar, vice president of human resources, and Chris Aleksich, manufacturing engineer at Miniature Precision Components, the newest plant in the Mountain View Industrial Park at Morrison.
MPC, as it is known, is not the MPC (Metal Products Corporation) of 300 Garfield Street or 202 Bell Street in McMinnville, although mail and deliveries have gotten occasionally mixed up between the two. 
MPC is in its 41st year of operations and is headquartered in Walworth, Wis., which is about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee near the Illinois border. MPC employs 1,500 people across seven manufacturing sites and two distribution centers. The Morrison plant performs both manufacturing and distribution functions. 
MPC-Morrison has released the construction orders to add 50,000 square feet of building space to its existing 50,000-square-foot building. Tri-State Development (Keith Bouldin) will do this construction with an expected finish date of July or August. 
MPC’s five-year plan calls for a third addition of 50,000 square feet, making the total plant size ultimately 150,000 square feet. That plant size would make MPC-Morrison the second largest MPC plant facility.
MPC maintains a sales office in Detroit, Mich., to cater to its important automotive market which represents about 80 percent of total company business. Other markets/ customers served include lawn and garden, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Caterpillar, and Cummins. 
MPC does three different manufacturing processes of plastics and reinforced plastics – injection molding, blow molding, and extrusion. MPC-Morrison is 100 percent injection molding and expected to stay that way. MPC is privately owned by the Brost family. The company was founded by Jay Brost. The industrial park street where the plant is located has been named Brost Street. Jay Brost started the company to make a plastic check valve for Ford.

The current corporate staff officers are:
• Dennis Konkol – CEO
• Vadim Yakubov – V.P. Operations
• Dave Gaspar – V.P. Human Resources
• Russ Bush – V.P. Sales and Marketing
• Nish Patel – CFO
MPC has invested $10 million in MPC-Morrison with much more planned and committed.  The plant operates three shifts per day, five days a week with a sixth day optional to its customer base to request. There are currently 15 employees with plans to go to 30 employees over the next month. 
Interested workers with MPC-Morrison need to come on-site or work with Workforce Solutions in McMinnville to fill out an application. The application is reviewed internally and forwarded to Corporate in Wis. Phone interviews then follow. Temps or temp agencies are not used. They direct hire from the local Morrison community. Fringe benefits become available the first of the month following date of employment. 
I asked Chris why someone should want to work at MPC-Morrison. He said new hires can be part of a start-up group with this newest location of an established company with nowhere to go but up as they anticipate high growth going forward. Everything at the plant currently is new including four high-tonnage injection molding presses – one 1,- ton press, one 1,500-ton press, and two 2,000-ton presses. A fifth press will be transferred from Wisconsin to Morrison in the next 30 days. There will be a sixth press transferred here in the foreseeable future to finish equipping the current plant.
Six more presses will be transferred here when the 50,000-square-foot addition is finished this summer. That will make ultimately 12 large-tonnage injection molding presses here within a year or two. There will be six more presses once Phase III is complete over the next five years, making a total then of 18. Chris also advised the company does offer a matching funds benefit for its 401(k) plan and will offer profit sharing as part of an annual incentive plan.
Chris advised the type of products MPC makes/can make. They include extruded tubes, engine covers, side shields, battery trays, cam covers, ducts, etc. These are for OEM automotive customers. Customers being served by MPC-Morrison include Nissan (Tenn.), Honda (Ala.), Ford (Ky.), GM (Mich.), and Chrysler (Mich., Ill., Kan.). 
Nothing is currently being done with Volkswagen in Chattanooga or expected anytime soon.  Chris did say the Morrison plant site has already allowed for new contracts from Honda in Alabama to be gained due to the favorable proximity.
MPC-Morrison specializes in large assembly plastics. The resin normally used is glass-filled nylon. MPC-Morrison is focused on gaining more business/ market share with Japanese and Korean automotive companies located in the Southeast. Chris mentioned European car companies import most of their engine components from Europe, making them less attractive as target customers. MPC Corporate follows the plan for each manufacturing site to be product specific. 
MPC-Morrison does have multiple competitors of note in the U.S., including one in Dayton, Tenn. MPC’s competitive strategy is to highly automate and closely follow its internal QC processes. Investing in automation is tied to its objective to be able to provide customers with zero defect products, a commitment taken very seriously even to the point of a customer guarantee.
MPC also invests in employee training to help ensure that commitment success. The company website is www.mpc-inc.com. 
Most customers submit blanket orders that corporate then releases weekly to each plant for production. Chris said MPC is particularly adept at converting customer metallic components over to scientifically molded plastic parts where the strength is maintained, but the product is lighter and less costly. 
Each of the four current large presses has an incorporated pick and place robot to move parts/ molds within the large machine. The 2,000-ton presses carried a capital cost of $1.2 million each. MPC-Morrison has a 25-ton overhead crane throughout the production area to move parts, molds, and machine components as needed. MPC does manufacture smaller injection molds, but subcontracts out the larger tonnage molds as this plant uses. 
The typical molding time for a press is 65 to 70 seconds. The plant is currently shipping out 6,500 customer parts per week with the four presses. Obviously that number will increase with more presses coming. The new presses all were made by Cincinnati Milacron. There will be some Van Dorn presses being transferred here from Wisconsin as well.
Two of the existing MPC-Morrison employees are graduates of Level One Mechatronics locally with another employee currently taking Mechatronics. Chris and Dave have toured Motlow-McMinnville and have viewed this local program personally. They plan to hire more employees with these desired skill sets.   
For the last two years, MPC has been a title sponsor for the annual WillowBrook Pro-Am Golf Classic, the premiere charity golf tournament between Coffee and Warren counties.  Their participation has been especially appreciated as it directly benefits Warren County education, creating approximately $35,000 a year each of the last two years. It is expected this share will increase with the June 3 Pro-Am this year. MPC chooses to invest in the communities where it has facilities.
BRAC congratulates this newest industrial member of our community. MPC’s growth plans and future will help to bring desired prosperity to our area. The 50-year anniversary as a company is 2022. MPC’s growth plans will make it the third largest plant in the Mountain View Industrial Park later this year. This is a needed success.


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