As a company grows, it can grow up, or it can grow out. To expand operations, manufacturers often need to rely on multiple parties to complete their product lines and serve their customers. That’s growing out. It can be effective, but it misses some key benefits of growing up, which involves vertical integration.
Over the last decade, Finish Thompson has focused on this type of growth. By bringing much of its manufacturing in-house, Finish Thompson has significantly expanded its capabilities. Now, customers and distributors are reaping the benefits.
“We’re much more vertically integrated than we were ten years ago,” says Casey Bowes, CEO. “There’s very little we can’t do in-house now. We’ve invested heavily in state-of-the-art equipment and expansion of our Erie, Pennsylvania, facility. Now, we can design a product, prototype it, make tooling for it, complete the injection molding process, paint it, and ship it.”
What It Takes
What does it take to achieve this level of vertical integration? Machinery. Space. Workforce. Finish Thompson has expanded all three.
Equipment upgrades in recent years have included seven new, state-of-the-art injection molding presses. To support this process, and to keep their mold tooling U.S.-based, Finish Thompson also invested in a tooling room and tooling production equipment. “This allows us to speed up production,” explains Bowes. “Certain processes that would have taken two to three weeks in the past with outsourcing can now be accomplished in three to four days in-house.”
For further vertical integration, Finish Thompson invested in a 3-D printer. “This enhances our R&D,” says Bowes. “Previously, we had to outsource prototyping. Now, we can run a part overnight, and the next day our engineers can test it. We have a team of eight engineers dedicated to R&D of new products, and we’re proud to say all of our products are designed and engineered right here in Erie.”
Of course, all of this new equipment requires space—and employees to run it. Over the past eight years, Finish Thompson has doubled its capacity, buying up neighboring land and expanding its facility from around 30,000 to nearly 80,000 square feet. As for the workforce – that has grown by 300%.
Why Vertical Integration?
These investments allow Finish Thompson continued growth potential as a company, but, more importantly, the vertical integration creates customer benefits.
- Speed and efficiency: Distributors and customers enjoy faster delivery, due to shorter run times and fewer supply-chain issues.
- Quality control: Products are more reliable because everything is subject to consistent quality control processes, rather than multiple vendors.
- Responsiveness: With in-house tooling, machining, and prototyping, the Finish Thompson team can respond quickly to specific customer needs and dynamic industry demands.
Are you ready to start reaping the benefits of Finish Thompson’s customer-focused vertical integration? Contact us today for assistance with your application.