By Mike Vieira | Mar 23, 2018
Composite molded parts
Industry: Industrial and Equipment, Electronics and Aerospace
Products: Composite molded parts
Roy and Marion Cramer founded Globe Plastics in 1958 after Roy retired as an engineer at General Dynamics. The business provided composite parts to the aerospace industry early on, and later diversified into other industries that benefited from the properties of the materials they developed (including Phenix Technologies' market-leading fire helmets).
Today, after an ownership change, roll-ups and growth, Globe Plastics is a division of PRC Composites, located just a few miles from the original location in Ontario, CA. PRC is a Native American-owned business of the Rincon and Colusa Tribes, and employs 100 workers, in addition to the 25 at Globe.
But for Reggie Alphin, the Director of Operations and a twenty-year employee of Globe, success still comes from the company’s legacy of quality compounds and manufacturing expertise.
"We focus on the performance characteristics of the materials and offer it as an advantage to our customers," says Alphin. "That’s why we’re in so many different industries. The materials themselves have become the advantage. We looked out beyond the aerospace industry, and saw where else we can utilize these materials to supply commercial projects."
Feedback on what to make comes directly from the customer. "They will come to us with their part prints and a 3D file, and we will then take that and create tooling," says Alphin. "We manufacture tooling in both the U.S.A. and China, and then we will manufacture the parts in the U.S."
The collaboration with customers can’t be over emphasized. "We’re heavy into engineering support and customer service," says Alphin. "We try to create a partnership. We’re not looking for just a customer; we’re looking for a partnership so that we can grow together. When we find companies that are willing to become partners, we give it our all to help them succeed. In the end term, that makes us successful. We’re not looking to be the cheapest guy; we’re looking to provide the most value to our customers."
It’s also a formula for competing with manufacturers offshore; for returning manufacturing jobs and work to California and the U.S.
Branching into diverse businesses and finding new customers has been a relatively straightforward path for Globe. "Most of the time, they seek us out based on the performance characteristics of the materials," says Alphin. "That doesn’t mean it’s easy. We do multiple trade-shows a year and multiple technical conferences. This helps us stay abreast of the current technology, to see what opportunities are out there. If you just sit back and wait for customers to come, you’ll probably end up going out of business. You want to constantly grow and get better as a company to provide that technical expertise and service to your customers."
The acquisition has allowed the company to begin sourcing many of its raw materials through PRC’s network, a plus in that PRC is one of the few providers of composite materials in the region. "Today, a big portion of our material comes from the Midwest, but our goal is to grow our compounding, so we can actually sell compounding, as well as molded parts," says Alphin.
Needs: According to Alphin, the need for updated equipment with the recent acquisition by PRC, can give Globe access to greater flexibility and capabilities for manufacturing and expansion; leaving them poised to move forward for more success.
Challenges: "Getting our name out there as a supplier of compounds," says Alphin. "There’s not a lot of competition for compounds on the West Coast, yet there’s a lot of demand for materials on the West Coast. We have that technology in-house, so creating our catalog of materials will be an investment to get out there to the market and let them know what we have to offer."
Opportunities: Growth in the compounds business – and along with a higher business profile, growth and demand for core capabilities. "With the many and varied processes that we offer in-house, getting the word out on our capabilities is a powerful sales tool," says Alphin.