The Minco Group, consisting of Minco Tool and Mold, Inc. and All Service Plastic Molding, Inc. (ASPM), is located in Dayton, Ohio, currently employs 300+ dedicated people, and is growing. They have a basic philosophy that has kept them agile and healthy: Whatever is needed for completion of a task, from product development through point-of-sale shipment, or any segment of activity in-between, The Minco Group is the source for resolving project requirements through its time-tested combination of technology and dedicated personnel. While a can-do attitude is not always the magic bullet for a company’s success, the 50-year-old Minco Group has turned that philosophy into action.
The Minco Group made a strategic decision a dozen years ago to distance themselves from the traditional Big Three and to focus on the “new domestic” auto companies like Honda and Toyota. Today, performance pressures have migrated to all manufacturing companies. Not long ago there was a theme that a customer could have any two of the following three criteria: Quality, Price, and Delivery! Today each of those is required along with flexibility – R & D support, etc. History has always validated as the auto initiatives go; other market segments follow. Minco is seeing this presently. However, at present, Minco is working PolymerOhio, and ODOD Edison Center, on a new automotive technology that is still in development and designed to fit a market niche that is evolving within the industry.
“Our success during the economic time of crisis can be attributed greatly to one thing,” said Gary Deaton, Manager - Marketing and Manufacturing, “Our persistence to actively find new customers. We secured 18 new customers in a recent 14-month period. This along with more conventional belt tightening financial activity got us through the most difficult of times.” He added, “We also put additional focus on training during this difficult time to prepare for the turn-around.” The Minco Group has a healthy state approved apprenticeship program in conjunction with its local Sinclair Community College.
By focusing on providing a strong capability in one area of expertise, mold making, The Minco Group has been able to drill deep into a diversity of markets that include automotive, appliances, consumer, electrical, medical, office and business equipment, and telecommunications. So when one market starts to “soften” or shift gears either temporarily or permanently, The Minco Group has remained agile and responded to other market needs. For example, one current business goal is to improve quality while decreasing time-to-finished-product, because this can provide value to a customer.
Several of Minco’s strategic moves of the past are still paying great dividends today. Recognizing the “need for speed,” they began a shift to a 24-hour mold making operation in 1984 when they started ASPM. Many mold shops are not operating around the clock today.
The Minco Group also maintains good communications with Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) Edison Centers, such as Polymer Ohio, to keep business connections active and always on alert for opportunities with other companies and organizations around the State. Deaton said, “We have brought opportunities to PolymerOhio for consideration…and they have brought opportunities for business to us to pursue.”
“Our successful support of Early Supplier Involvement (ESI) plays a critical role in this strategy,” said Joe Minneman, president and CEO of The Minco Group. ESI provides the means to significantly enhance quality and reduce lead time. “Our focus on design-for-manufacturability reduces the subsequent need for costly and time-consuming changes, not only during tooling, but throughout all stages of the manufacturing process. By working together closely with our customers and suppliers, we can leverage our combined strengths to better accomplish the task of successfully bringing a product to market.”
“We never miss a delivery date,” said Minneman. By making good on that promise since 1954, the company has built an impressive customer base and is hiring, not firing employees as it expands from its historical position as a mold builder into a total injection molding (contract manufacturing) resource organization. Presently, we are in the process of another massive capital investment to support new business launching this year! “Delivering a mold on time means making it right the first time,” Minneman said. To accomplish that, Minco has structured its operations to produce molds “with minimal benching required” using integrated CAD/CAM technologies to assure proper geometries and fits before cutting metal, then CNC machining to precisely control of surface accuracies and finishes. “We don’t ever want to touch up a mold,” he adds. “Our schedules and estimates only leave room for doing a job once.”
Deaton said that the ODOD and Ohio Frontier have benefitted The Minco Group in many ways, “from educational opportunities to providing a conduit of communication to our state legislature and to new business opportunities.” “We have acquired business directly related to the Ohio Third Frontier project, we follow up, they follow up, and all the while, lots of networking is going on.” At present, Minco works with several Third Frontier-funded companies housed at the National Composites Center in Dayton. Joe Kavalauskas, Minco Vice President, has served on the board of trustees for PolymerOhio and is currently working with PolymerOhio to advance Minco forthcoming automotive technology.
The Minco Group provides services to the plastics industry ranging from product design, mold design, mold build, tool validation, and an array of secondary operations to support its contract manufacturing capabilities. Minco Tool and Mold utilizes 40+ workstations, inclusive of Siemens NX (Unigraphics) and Catia 5 and Pro-E dedicated to 3-D/solids. ASPM has 50+ presses ranging from 50 to 950 tons. Offering around-the-clock operation, along with an aggressive approach to manufacturing and proven support of Early Supplier Involvement has made The Minco Group a recognized leader in time-based manufacturing for the plastics industry. The Minco Group is certified to ISO 9001:2000 and TS 16949 standards.
Ohio’s Edison Centers are a benchmark for technology based economic development programs for many states in the US because of what we have done so successfully in the past. But in Ohio, the Edison Centers are becoming more recognized for our contribution in laying the groundwork for the future. The Edison Centers have become the nucleus for the commercialization of technology, private investment and for industry advancement in the key technology areas in the state; biosciences, information technology, advanced materials and advanced manufacturing, and food production and processing technologies. With more than 5,000 private sector clients, the Centers not only have an intimate knowledge of the cutting edge technology of many industries but also are positioned to be the optimal partners for Ohio’s inventors and creators such as the Wright Centers of Innovation.
PolymerOhio, Inc. is a polymer industry-specific Ohio Edison Technology Center, which is funded by the Ohio Department of Development. PolymerOhio focuses on enhancing the global competitiveness of the polymer industry, including companies from the plastics, rubber, bioproducts, and advanced materials segments. For more information, polymerohio.org