With capacity of more than 500 million pounds per year, the firm is one of the largest family owned custom mix providers in the U.S., the sales manager said. “Along with capacity, we bring scalability and flexibility options to our customers. There are companies that produce end products on a scale that will warrant our capacity, while other customers can benefit from our flexibility to produce smaller amounts of different compounds.”
Although it began operating in February 2012, HTS Mixing has more than 100 years of combined expertise in key compounding positions—including Johnson with 35 years in the business—and a maintenance crew and operators with another 100 years, Essary said.
Johnson formed the company after Goodyear, his former employer, closed a plant and left the area. A large number of employees who worked at the facility joined him. With a work force of 115, it has plans to add to that number, Essary said.
The owners and operations managers of each of the five companies in the complex meet daily in the early morning to discuss schedules, shipments, orders, concerns and other business matters for the day. “Together they function as a well-oiled machine,” he said, adding that HTS Mixing gets third party approval on everything it ships.
For instance, the lab will not approve any shipment that does not meet specifications regardless of the ship date or time, Essary said. “There is no boss in the corner office to approve throughput and shipments over quality. The L.L.C, format that thrives in our facility is an acceleration mechanism for growth.” He calls the whole operation “total solution model.”
“Working as a team strengthens our market position,” Essary maintained.
With all of the growing pains associated with starting a new business in the past, it has attained industry leading quality, production and on-time delivery levels while sitting on 300 million pounds of excess capacity, he said.
“The uncertainty of market conditions with the initial customer base created swings in our business,” Essary said. “Peaks and valleys within our base caused employee levels to swing. Our decision to grow the business not only made good business sense but also created a stable environment for our work force, which in turn made our community a more attractive place to live and raise a family.
“The owner has lived here and raised his family here. It's a chance to give back to the community.”
HTS Mixing's initial customer base was located in the Midwest, but the company has expanded that reach to include the South and Southeast regions. Its goal is to cover all of the U.S.
Essary said with the firm's present strategy, it could end up using all of its capacity in 2016. “That's our goal. We want to build our company on long-term partnerships. Our culture lends itself to becoming a partner. We can respond to short-term needs and small orders, but we are built for long-term partnerships.”
He cited a highly experienced work force in the rubber mixing industry along with fast reaction to customer requests, industry leading dispersion rates, high quality, the ability to provide solutions not just products, a whatever-it-takes employee attitude, and being unafraid of changes and challenges as reasons HTS Mixing has retained a solid customer base that continues to grow.