Meyer Tool pinpoints workforce challenges and removal of EX-IM bank as key for state’s manufacturing growth in 2018

Recently, South Carolina Manufacturing (SCMFG) sat down with Chris Urban, the general manager of Meyer Tool in Greenville, to discuss the company’s growth and success in South Carolina. As companies grow or look to expand their footprint in state or out, it is critical these manufacturers create partnerships and locate available resources to assist growth.

  1. (SCMFG) What in-state organizations, fellow manufactures and business service providers did Meyer Tool utilize to achieve its current market standing?

(Chris Urban) In the gas turbine world, market standing is typically a byproduct of your product, service quality, delivery and price.

We’re currently part of multiple organizations – all of which bring value in different areas, some that come to mind are the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, GADC, Greenville Tech, Greenville County, SCMEP, CMI, Apprenticeship Carolina, GSP airport, Lee and Associates, Kidder Group, Trace Staffing, Aerotek, Roebuck builders and of course our customers.

  1. What could those external resources have done to speed up your growth?

Everyone in South Carolina has been a tremendous advocate to our business. Outside of multiple delays with Greenville County permitting for construction, we feel 100 percent supported.

One of the hurdles we face in Greenville County is workforce availability and development. With Greenville and Spartanburg growing manufacturing substantially, the availability of quality employees is a challenge.

Federal funding and grants have been a great way to complement our employee hiring and training programs. With the presence and continued support from the federal level, together we are more suited to grow the local workforce and put them in sustainable career paths.

  1. Looking back on Meyer Tool’s timeline, can you point to any internal or external resource that made your current success possible?

As the markets shift, businesses must adapt to stay aligned and continue to grow. Internally, the key to this mobility is our staff’s flexibility and dedication.

With 90 percent of our machinists being cross-trained, we can shift internally into different areas to decrease cycle time, reduce WIP and maintain sustainable margins. Externally, everything needs to align according to the plan. Timelines and schedules can be difficult in the real estate and construction world, finding the best partners in this segment is crucial.

Meyer Tool Greenville has been the recipient of blessings from each of our partners and we would not change any of them, looking forward to doing business together for many years to come.

  1. Going forward, what advice would you give fellow South Carolina manufacturers trying to move up the supply chain, obtain relative certifications or diversify their portfolio? (Oil and Gas to Aerospace for example)

The founder of Meyer Tool, Arlyn Easton, put it the best, “Service your customer or somebody else is going to”.

Time spent relationally on the business development side is of great value, but often overlooked today. A customer will work through problems with you if you have a relationship. If your business is transactional, then there is no reason to work through the issues – simply find another party to fulfill that need. Diversification can be found thru networking.

With all the networking events that are available in Greenville and Spartanburg, there is no excuse for not participating.

  1. At your current state, what South Carolina organizations, fellow manufactures, business service providers or in-house solutions will Meyer Tool utilize to grow?

From an internal business perspective, there is a lot of value in maximizing resource availability, and we have experienced this by adding complimentary businesses to our campus on Pelham road.

Reduced packaging, material handling and logistics through multiple services in a single location brings many benefits to all stakeholders. From a personnel perspective, we need to maintain the current business friendly environment and keep the antiquated union organizers absent whom are a detriment to our economy and rob our hard-working employees of their time and earnings.

Government officials writing and revising legislation will continue to play a role in our success. The removal of EX-IM bank financing has been a detriment to our business here in the U.S. and should continue to be on our radar.

All the aforementioned organizations whom actively participate in order to maintain and protect our businesses locally are of critical value, without their efforts we would be at a loss.

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