Volume 15 | Issue 2 | Year 2012

Existing clients already realized the company’s value. But the Illinois-based enterprise wants potential clients to better realize what it offers, reports Dan Harvey.

It happened in February 2012 and it involved a significant name change: MacLean Vehicle Systems – a division of the 87-year-old MacLean-Fogg Company, a leading manufacturer of vehicle and industrial components – became MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions.

The retitling was more than cosmetic: It redefined the Mundelein, Ill.-based organization’s expansion and diversification, as well as a unification of production facilities. It also cleared up a misunderstanding. “We’re more than just about vehicle parts,” explains Bradley Southwood, director of sales and marketing. “Revenue is split – 70 percent is automotive, and 30 percent is non-automotive.”

And that 30 percent has become increasingly important to profitability – hence, the name change. “Going to market with our previous name proved a hindrance,” describes Southwood. “Non-vehicle markets didn’t quite understand our name, or what we offered. We needed a new name that best reflected what we are doing.”

And, of course, to attract new customers.

Indeed, the strategic direction has carried it into different markets, each requiring a distinctive approach. All markets have one thing in common – need for a solution. And that’s what MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions is: a problem solver.

MARKETS AND PRODUCTS
The industry range it serves is broad and no longer includes just the automotive industry. It grew to include the heavy duty truck, trailer, industrial engine, off-road equipment, recreational vehicle, military and defense, aerospace, electronics, wind power, mining, hand tool, appliance, fire safety and road construction industries. This is a diverse lot, and “vehicle” just didn’t cut it anymore.

For entities in these sectors, MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions provides products in three areas: fastener components, engineered components, and linkage and suspension components. “We have a broad range of capabilities, and the name change needed to better communicate what we offer,” says Southwood.

The company felt it critical to get the message out. We’re talking about a win-win situation: “By supporting customer growth with high-value parts, we bolster our own growth,” says Southwood.

KEY EXPERTISE AREAS
In its three product areas, MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions offers core process expertise and technology in hot forging, cold extrusion, cold forming, secondary metal operations, automated assembly and injection and insert molding. These processes are spread throughout an enterprise that is as wide ranging as its capabilities.

“In the fastener components arena, we have decorative stainless steel wheel fasteners, and in this area, we are the market leader,” says Southwood. “We also lead with our high-temperature, high-vibration fasteners.”

Indeed, MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions is at the top of its game. Consider internally threaded fasteners – that’s another area where it leads, Southwood indicates. “In addition, we’re one of the largest suppliers of internally threaded lock nuts of all ranges and sizes that serve the automotive and heavy truck industry segments,” he mentions.

In its engineered components segment, products include horizontal hot forged products, cold forged products, machined products and engineered functional plastics.

The linkage and suspension segment offers aluminum control arms, ball studs, housings and plastics.

STRONG HERITAGE
As a division of MacLean-Fogg Company – an independently operating legal entity – MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions is part of an 87-year business heritage. MacLean-Fogg Company was founded in 1925 by John MacLean Sr. At that time, it offered one lock nut to North America’s railroads. Through product development and acquisition, the business grew into a worldwide enterprise that offers vehicle and industrial components. Now it provides high-performance fastener and component systems, forgings, precision machined parts, suspension and transmission components to automotive, truck, trailer, off road vehicles, recreational vehicles, farm equipment, military vehicle and aerospace markets. In addition, it provides automatic splices and bolted connectors, silicone rubber non-ceramic insulators, hollow core insulators, surge arresters, guy and foundation anchors, pole line hardware, aluminum and ductile clamps, fiberglass brackets and guy strains, steel fabrications, and grounding equipment to the world-leading power and telecommunications companies.

Today MacLean-Fogg Company has 25 global manufacturing facilities, annual sales in excess of $800 million and a worldwide workforce of more than 3,000 people. (MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions is also part of a strong family heritage; division President Duncan MacLean is the founder’s great grandson).

“Another reason for the name change was that we wanted to establish a stronger link to our historical brand,” says Southwood. “It cleared up market-place confusion and better reflected our identity.”

MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions comprises about half of the MacLean-Fogg Company business: It records robust revenues (annual sales beyond $375 million), has a large workforce (about 1,250 worldwide), and has opened a large umbrella that includes numerous production facilities. In Michigan, in the Detroit metro area, the company has facilities in Chesterfield Township and Royal Oak. The first is a recognized global leader in the manufacture of bolts and studs for high-temperature and high-vibration applications. Its roots date back to 1947 as Maynard Manufacturing. It became part of the MacLean-Fogg family of companies in 1997. The second facility is the recognized global leader in the manufacture of decorative capped wheel nuts. Indeed, the concept of stainless steel capped wheel nut arose from here in 1968. Productivity is prodigious: it turns out more than 180,000,000 Decorex ™ decorative capped wheel nuts each year. As such, the division is a leading supplier of decorative fasteners to automotive OEMs in markets throughout the world. Shifting to Illinois, the division’s Mundelein facility supplies more than 500 million internally threaded fasteners per year for automotive, heavy duty and other industrial markets. The division has a second facility in Richmond, also in Illinois. In Pocahontas, Ark. sits MacLean’s ESNA, a division focused on internally threaded solutions for industrial, military and aerospace applications. These five facilities are part of MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions’ Fastener Group.

Production facilities included in the Engineered Components Groups include:
MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions Saegertown – established in 1965, it is a leading supplier of cold formed products. The Pennsylvania business became part of MacLean-Fogg in 2008.

The Metform facilities – consisting of three Illinois locations (two in Savanna and one in Mount Carroll), which focus on hot forging, machining and light assembly of components, primarily for transportation industries.

MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions Whitewater (Polymer Technologies) – located in Wisconsin, it specializes in close tolerance engineered functional plastics, working with customers to reduce cost and, in turn, increase their value. Expertise involves practical plastics design, tooling, processing, and engineered materials, as well as several leading predictive analysis tools available for extreme accuracy.

MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions’ Engineered Plastics division was recently created by merging MacLean’s Whitewater plastics facility with Engineered Plastic Corp of Menomonee Falls, Wis. Both sites specialize in close tolerance functional engineered plastics. The two sits complement each other with little overlap in markets, customers or product sizes. The new merged company will operate as one company from two sites with improved product offerings and service to all customers.

The linkage and suspension segment consists of MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions Krefeld (Presswerk Krefeld) – located in Germany and founded in 1898. Presswerk Krefeld has long been a leading supplier of hi-tech linkage and suspension components for the automotive industry. It became part of MacLean-Fogg in 2004. Since September 2006, all activities related to the automotive linkage and suspension business are coordinated at Presswerk Krefeld, which provides cutting edge technology in the areas of hot forging, cold forming, plastic injection molding and machining. Car manufacturers across the world trust this entity to supply the highest quality and safest critical components.

HIGH VALUE
At each location, MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions offers customers high value. Take, for instance, the Chesterfield Township location (MacLean-Maynard), a leading manufacturer of bolts and studs for high temperature and high vibration applications. “Within that facility, our engineers work closely with customers,” says Southwood. “Our people work with joints that are notoriously hard to hold together over the lifetime of an application.”

True to its new name, the organization provides the most appropriate solution. “Our engineers collaborate with client engineers,” say Southwood. “We help them determine the right fastener – and in the right quantity – and the right clamp load made from the right material.”

This is a complex process, but MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions carries service even further. “Our next step involves testing, to verify the application,” Southwood indicates.

That way, MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions positioned itself as an enterprise that clients, in numerous industries, can count on. An entrepreneurial culture that engages all employees, combined with vibrant performance management processes – that indicate a unified enterprise – and commitment to operational excellence, makes for that aforementioned win-win situation.

The pieces were all in place, but now potential clients can better understand all of the company’s capabilities – thanks to the name change.

Previous articleTop Management
Next articleSmart Company, Smart Machines, Smart Customers