While custom injection molders continue to face challenges, particularly in the labor market, PlastiCert President and owner Craig Porter is feeling pretty confident about 2020. The Lewiston, MN–based injection molder is ready to close the books on a successful 2019 and begin expansion plans in 2020.
Porter does admit to some skepticism concerning the dichotomies in the overall economy. Manufacturing appears to be “backing off from previously aggressive expansion plans,” he noted, while consumer spending appears to be strong.
“With wages at a higher rate than historical averages, consumers are flush with a little more cash,” Porter wrote recently in his company blog. “We need to look a little deeper as to why those wages are up. Are employers just feeling that more generous these days? At PlastiCert, maybe, but otherwise I don’t think so.”
“I’ve been pretty aggressive about bringing people up to what I believe is a decent wage,” Porter told PlasticsToday in a phone interview. “I’ve been ahead of the curve compared to what others in the area are offering—1.5 % increases in the area and we’re about 3% over what others are paying. My goal is to make sure the grass is greener on our side of the fence. Our employees like being here, they like where they work and who they work for. I haven’t lost any of my long-term employees.”
Porter admits that it is not easy to find skilled, qualified employees, but there are ways that a company can achieve its goals. “I’ve spent a lot of time raising our profile in the community, and over the last six months we’ve seen more people coming in asking about employment opportunities,” he said, adding that retaining current employees and making the most of the people you have now is better than trying to acquire new employees.
PlastiCert is a full-service injection molding company offering mold design and build, insert molding, decorating and electro-mechanical assembly. It serves the telecommunications, industrial, computer, avionics, and medical markets. Porter said that he needs to expand his facility, but economic uncertainties are giving him pause. “I’d like to add 7,000 square feet to accommodate new equipment,” Porter said. “I have a new press being delivered in January and will add another one in 2020 that will be the fifth new piece of equipment we’ve added in the last few years.”
Porter said the company’s financial metrics are healthy and the internal economic indicators tell him that he can go ahead with the expansion and not be overly leveraged. “We set out on a plan to update and revitalize PlastiCert, and we will continue to do so,” Porter added. “The primary driver for this is gauging our ability to serve our customers as well as we have in the past.”
Economic conditions aside, Porter said PlastiCert is up 16% year over year. “We have our customers to thank for that,” he said. “The most we can do is look out for their best interests and assure them we’ll be here when they need us now and well into the future.”
Image: Prostock Studio/Adobe Stock