Jay Industries is a manufacturer whose roots stretch all the way back to 1917, evolving over the years to become one of North America’s premium industrial suppliers to its automotive industry and beyond. In this article we take a specific look at their plastics division, and the factors behind their consistent growth and success in the arena. Josh Taylor, division manager and great grandson of the company’s founder, Glen Taylor, sits down to discuss the precision and quality behind each and every one of their plastic components, and how a vertically-integrated approach allows them to continuously differentiate themselves amongst a crowded and competitive market. Steve Engelhardt reports.
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When looking back on the history of Jay Industries, there are clear moments in its past that defined and influenced the current identity it enjoys today. The first of such came in 1917, when the company was initially founded by Glen Taylor in Mansfield, Ohio, under the name Taylor Dise Company. “At the time, they were making radiant gas heaters for local markets in the area, and this business allowed us to really become skilled in manufacturing and processing metal,” says Taylor, adding, “In fact, so much so, that eleven years later the company expanded its offering into other products and formally changed its name to Taylor Metal Products in 1928.”
For the next 40 years the company was run by Glen and his son Dick, who eventually decided that, given the company’s manufacturing experience and hard-working mentality it had developed up to this point, the potential to expand the business even more was too great to pass up. “However, instead of investing in another metal facility, my grandfather, seeing the rapid emergence of plastics within the automotive industry during this time, decided to invest in a molding facility to begin producing plastic parts to meet such needs.”
Molding a Business
It turned out to be quite the prudent decision, as the plastics division—known as Jay Plastics—grew itself so much over the next 20 years that it eventually became its own entity in 1989, and six years later evolved into Jay Industries to incorporate the six different divisions within the company,” says Taylor, whose father Rick currently runs the company as CEO, making Jay a fourth generation, family-owned business as it stands here in 2015.
It was during these last 20 years that the company also made the decision to become vertically integrated, allowing them full control over their material and production processes from the very beginning of the job to the end. “Quality is a huge part of our identity, and being able to control the resin we buy along with the presence of compounding facilities amongst other capabilities is key to that,” says Taylor, adding, “We can provide our customers with a comprehensive service that many others simply can’t offer.”
But let’s take a closer look at just how impressive the company’s commitment to quality and process efficiency is, and how they’re able to effectively service the North American automotive industry—one of the most demanding markets in the world—on an annual basis.
Maintaining their presence in Mansfield, Jay Plastics today operates out of a facility that is capable of performing raw material development, injection molding, coating, and assembly of products. “We have 35 injection molders under our roof, ten of which are bulk molding compound (BMC) thermoset presses ranging from 200-400 tons used to make reflectors for forward lighting,” he says, adding, “The rest of them are thermoplastic molding presses, whose capacities range from 150 tons to 1,250 tons.”
With respect to their coating services, Jay Plastics possesses four state-of-the-art paint lines with conventional oven and infrared capabilities. “All four lines can apply 1k and 2k paint with fully automated delivery and robotic spray equipment,” says Taylor, adding, “We also have 7 metallization lines which supports automotive lighting products. These PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) lines can also provide environmentally friendly alternatives to chrome plating on interior products and offer a wider range of appearances.” He continues, saying that a single mold at Jay Plastics can now produce all of the desired finishes rather than multiple tools using different materials for the various coating processes which is typically done by more than one supplier. “We can do it here, all under one roof!”
As further evidence of this commitment to the present and future of their markets, Taylor says that in response to paint and equipment taking on a more “high-end” nature within the interiors of automotives, the company has recently renovated three of their paint lines to meet the emerging engineering trends from the industry’s OEM’s and is in the final stages of building a 13,000-square-foot addition for the additional capital equipment this year.
Jay Plastics’ ability to meet and exceed the needs of their customers largely stems from their impressive, thorough manufacturing presence, but another part of their culture is equally important to their sustained success as a company. “Supporting our quality and efficiency is the fact that our company leaders and overall workforce bring an inherent passion and dedication to finishing the job each and every day,” says Taylor. In fact, remember his grandfather, Dick, son of the original founder? “My grandfather Dick is 99 years old this year, and while his age has long permitted him a well-earned retirement, he still churns out 40-hour work weeks each and every year,” says Taylor, adding, “Running this business is really a pleasure for all of us, and we see the same attitude reflected in our employees on the shop floor as well, which is extremely beneficial to the company’s culture and overall health.”
Hard work and quality typically go hand-in-hand, but Jay Plastics has made it a bit of a standard for their customers, no matter the situation. Taylor recalls back during the 2008-2009 economic collapse when a large automotive supplier from Canada instantly went out of business, leaving a huge void in service for one of its chief partners, General Motors. “We received a phone call from GM soon after, asking us if we would be capable of and interested in supporting one of their larger programs—the GMT900—and basically turn-keying it as fast as possible for them,” he says.
Jay Plastics went right to work, driving up to Canada to retrieve nearly two dozen molds and shipping them back down to their facility in Mansfield within two days of their initial phone call with GM. “We were up and running and shipping product back out to them within two weeks, which really helped them avoid having to shut down additional plants as well, something they were extremely appreciative of.”
It’s this kind of complete package of business that has led to Jay Plastics enjoying the strong reputation and increasingly bigger market share it’s achieving today. “We are a fully-integrated molded and finisher of automotive interiors and we’re expanding beyond that as well, including the appliance industry,” says Taylor, adding, “But none of this is possible without our longstanding culture of quality and reliability or the workforce which ultimately makes such a reality.”