In April 2013, the Mississippi-based Hol-Mac Corporation celebrated its 50th anniversary. Its longevity is attributable to the founder’s vision – as well developing a reputation for reliability, quality, innovation, and a mutually beneficial relationship with its community, reports Dan Harvey about this company that has found its niche.
Hol-Mac Corporation is headquartered in a small industrial town (Bay Springs, Miss.) but it has an enormous presence and impact – thanks to its continuous expansion and acquisition activities, and its diversification. A job-creating company, Hol-Mac currently employs 680 people, and it will add to its roster with its latest expansion.
Founded in 1963, by Charles B. Holder, Jr., the organization engages in steel fabrication and production of hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders, and fuel tanks. Its capabilities include product design, prototype development and testing, custom tooling, laser cutting, robotic welding, skived and roller burnishing, painting, sub/final assembly, and contract manufacturing. Hol-Mac also manufactures two proprietary products: Pac-Mac Refuse Equipment and Hammerhead Off-Road Armor.
It boasts five major Mississippi manufacturing facilities (based in Bay Springs, Winona and Gulfport). That’s a huge jump from its modest beginning. “Mr. Holder began his company in a dirt-floor barn,” describes Director of Public Relations Kellum Kim.
Started By A Visionary
That was back in 1963, and at that beginning, Holder’s company was known as Southern Welding and Machine. “It provided welding and machine shop services to local timber, oil field, construction, and farming customers,” relates Kim.
She adds that Holder was a business visionary. Holder knew how to work the financial game and to recruit the right people – those that possessed the appropriate technical expertise. Long story made short, the enterprise grew from a two-employee, one-facility operation into one that now includes four state-of-the-art production facilities. Holder wanted nothing less than for his company to become a world-class manufacturing operation. Today, that operation encompasses more than 600,000 square feet (which includes its research and development center). Each plant specializes in specific applications. “As his business evolved, so did his vision,” Kim says. “Expanding vision meant growth and success. Expansion extended into hydraulic cylinders – not something you can do in a barn.”
All the while, the privately owned company has remained in family hands. Jamie Holder is the current president and COO. Also, the founder remains actively engaged in the operation. “Currently, Charles Holder concentrates on research and development. He’s also heavily involved in training and educating people in the Bay Springs region,” reports Kim.
What Hol-Mac calls Plant 1 is located in Bay Springs. “That’s our heavy steel fabrication facility,” says Kim, “and that means we are a supplier to OEMs. The site includes three manufacturing buildings.”
Within this campus, Hol-Mac Corporation offers 50 years’ progressive performance, supplying customers with welded steel fabrications, contract machining, and assembly services. From here, the company offers a broad range of metalworking and machining services, from burning to shape to turnkey production of products. Capabilities include: in-house tooling design, manufacturing (for weld, machining, and assembly tooling), and cost efficiency. Technology includes CNC plasma burning, laser cutting, roll forming, multiple CNC horizontal and vertical machining centers, robotic welding – as well as multiple CNC press brakes, and CNC punch and plasma machines.
Steel materials processed include carbon, alloy, stainless and aluminum.
Moving into Cylinders
The company entered the cylinder market in the late 1960s, and it has dramatically increased size and efforts in this area.
One of the company’s many expansions – there are about 16 in all, according to Kim – began in 1970. By 1982, the facility had become modernized to focus on production of hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders. This second facility – which encompasses more than 120,000 square feet – specializes in custom cylinders, using the industry’s finest components. “Our plant 2 facility, also located in Bay Springs, is the hydraulic and pneumatic cylinder division. It was started in the 1980s,” relates Kim, relating that the company recognized the need for a modernized facility dedicated to producing hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders.
Hol-Mac builds and designs cylinders for specific use, to assure full potential and economic efficiency. Further, products are designed to customers’ specific needs: This is no “off the shelf” company. A designed cylinder will demonstrate the most economical benefits, not to mention durability. An engineering team improves quality. “That’s one of our major differentiators,” comments Kim. “Our motto is ‘Do it Right.’ If we perceive a problem with any product, we won’t let it get out of the door, even if it means missing a deadline. We will correct the issue at the front end.”
The third plant, gained through smart acquisitions, involves the Pac-Mac and Hammerhead product line.
“These are proprietary products sold directly to end users, which are primarily municipalities and other government agencies,” explains Kim. “Pac-Mac products are large vehicles used for clean up after a disaster, such as a hurricane or other natural disaster. Also, this division produces rear-loader garbage trucks. The Hammerhead line manufactures premium front and rear truck bumpers.”
Crafted from heavy-duty steel plate, Hammerhead bumpers offer the greatest protection to customers in any application.
Further, Hol-Mac extended into Winona, Miss., with the acquisition Anel Corporation, a supplier of steel fabrications and hydraulic fuel tanks. Purchased by Holder in 1996, Anel – an OEM supplier – brought into the organization nearly 100,000 square feet of production space.
Most recently, the Holder family acquired Keith Huber Corporation (KHC) in April 2013. The newest facility, based in Gulfport, specializes in the production of mobile vacuum loading equipment, transport trailers and industrial water jetting machines. KHC was founded in 1982 and has grown into a reputable industry leader and pioneer in the mobile vacuum equipment market.
To ensure quality in all facilities – “That’s probably our major differentiator,” says Kim – the company deploys Lean Manufacturing principles such as 8 Wastes, 5S, Kaizen, Poka Yoke, POUS, Kanban. “Our clients require the most advanced practices as well as facilities,” she points out.
Investments have led to state-of-the-art robotic welding, as well as CNC machining and CAM technology.
Most Recent Expansion
In the early part of 2013, Hol-Mac announced the accomplishment of its latest expansion. “This included two buildings on the plant 1 site in Bay Springs, and it added 40,000 square feet of space to accommodate new production,” reports Kim, adding that the investment amounted to $3.8 million.
The sizeable investment benefits both the company and the community. “We anticipated creating 150 new jobs. Already, 100 of those jobs have been filled,” says Kim.
Hol-Mac was supported in this endeavor by the Mississippi Development Authority – indeed, Mississippi is a business-friendly state – which assisted in the project via the Existing Industry Productivity Loan program, which helps with the purchase of new equipment. The MDA also provided help with its Development Infrastructure Program (geared to construction of building additions.) Jasper County and the City of Bay Springs provided assistance for the project, as well.
This most recent expansion came close on the heels of a 2010 growth project. “That $2.5 million investment created 35 new jobs,” says Kim. “So far, in our history, we’ve engaged in 16 major facility expansion projects.”
Hol-Mac has a vibrant past hallmarked by significant milestones; it envisions a prosperous future. “We aggressively seek to further our reputation as a world-class manufacturer by providing the highest quality and engineering design, by continuing to investigate and deploy state-of-the-art equipment, and by employing superior process control,” says Kim.
In this way, Hol-Mac’s role in the US manufacturing renaissance will be firmly implanted.