Custom injection molding company Guttenberg Industries Inc. (Garnavillo, IA) reported today completion of a plant expansion announced in late 2016. This $1 million investment was just a portion of the overall investment the company has made throughout 2016, which proved to be a banner year for sales.
The company registered approximately $20 million in sales in 2016, representing 20% growth over 2015. Hiring has also experienced a growth spurt: In 12 months, employment has grown from just under 100 to nearly 150. All of this growth, with more to come, enabled investment in the company’s equipment, facilities and employees.
During the past year, the company invested nearly $2 million in equipment and construction, including a 385-ton Niigata injection press and 940-ton Toyo machine. A building expansion included 12,000 square feet of additional warehouse space and a new 15,000-square-foot parking lot.
“We have also been investing in our workforce,” explained Dave Kreul, Corporate President. “In the past 12 months, we have increased our labor force by 65% and our support staff for that labor by 7%. We also increased our entry level wages by 20%.”
“Some of our growth is due to our commitment to customer service,” said Deb Moser, Corporate Treasurer and Secretary. “We are very lucky to partner with customers who do the same, and we are blessed with an excellent workforce.”
A change in world markets is also having an impact.
“One major benefit to our company is that some customers have been bringing work here from China,” said Kreul. “One of our closest customers brought back one major product line in 2016 and is bringing back another major project in 2017. Combined sales for these products approach $3 million annually for our company.”
There was also a dual benefit for adding the warehouse space.
“While the building expansion was for warehousing, it also opened up space in the existing areas to expand our manufacturing capabilities, especially with the large presses,” stated Moser. “Both new presses are expected to be completely utilized this year, with the largest one making agricultural flooring panels, among other parts.
“Guttenberg Industries is part of a new, advanced manufacturing movement in the U.S.,” explained Kreul. “Many people are surprised to see this high tech machinery and robotics producing such precision products right here in their backyard. While our focus is mainly regional, we ship products to Mexico, UK and Australia. Our molds come from the U.S., Canada and China.”
Moser added that area residents are usually surprised to hear that the company not only does business in China, but that it has a regular presence there.
“Just this past December,” related Moser, “three of us went to China to confirm the work that was being done and to approve samples from new molds, assuring the capabilities of our vendors for acceptable quality before shipment to the U.S. for the manufacturing of parts for our customers.”
Kreul concluded, “We are very optimistic about the future of our company and our employees. Our business forecast for 2017 shows continued double-digit growth.”