Invigorated by a recent expansion, C&J Industries aims to aggressively pursue new customers in the new year.
With new capabilities come new opportunities, and new capabilities are exactly what Meadville, PA-based specialty assembly and injection molding firm C&J Industries has been doing. As they look ahead to 2024, the company’s employee-owners look to capitalize on their expanded capacity and improved equipment.
During the third and fourth quarters of 2023, C&J renovated its plant with a 25,000-square-foot addition, including a new clean room. The firm has also invested heavily in automation solutions to streamline operations and allow for the execution of larger, more complex projects. These factors all add up to a company invigorated with new energy and the capacity to grow even further.
In light of the expansion, Regional Sales Manager Barry Stainbrook is looking forward to showcasing C&J’s new-and-improved facility to existing and potential clients.
“With this expansion, we’re going to be able to walk someone on the floor and say ‘we have an extra 5-10,000 feet here that we can offer you for your project.’ I think that will be a big selling point,” Stainbrook said. “Any time we’re expanding clean room capabilities, that’s a big deal too, because that is something medical manufacturers are looking for.”
A one-stop shop with local roots
The strong points that set C&J apart in the injection molding and specialty manufacturing spaces go beyond having the right equipment and expertise. Stainbrook, who was a toolmaker by trade before going into sales, personally values C&J’s dedication to utilizing local supply lines and subcontractors as much as possible – something customers value, as well.
“I love having everything here. I love not going offshore – not that we haven’t in the past when we needed to, but once we were dealing with COVID and all the deliveries and tariffs and things, we really pushed domestic (operations),” Stainbrook said. “Even if we don’t build it here, we still try to build domestic, and that can be local through sub-contractors. But being able to control the design, the build, the qualification, everything here – that’s definitely a big deal for customers.”
With integrated tooling and fabrication support on-site, C&J project engineers can reliably deliver for their clients with the knowledge that parts can be repaired or replaced as needed, without needing to heavily impact the client’s timeline.
“If (a customer) just goes to a molding provider that doesn’t have that tooling support, they’re going t
o pull that tool out, send it back to whoever built it, bring it back in again and load it, whereas we might be able to do something in a day,” Stainbrook added. “We can pull the mold over to the mold maintenance area and work on it. So, that’s a huge advantage when it comes to saving time.”
This flexibility is aided by C&J’s connections to industry partners throughout Pennsylvania and the surrounding region. Such roots in the community mean that even if C&J engineers don’t have a solution in-house, they know where to find one nearby.
“Local to us, within a few miles; we have heat treating here, we have plating for these tools, we can even do some welding here but we also have a welding shop in town. So, our subcontractor base is very strong around here,” Stainbrook said. “And that could also mean that for components or maybe a large mold base that might go to Erie (Pennsylvania) to get finished, we’ll do the interior.
Building a Smarter Warranty
Inevitably, things break. When they do, it pays to have a plan in place to replace or repair the affected component. Manufacturer warranties are nothing new, but C&J attempts to take an adaptable and transparent approach with its 10-year mold warranty, which covers any production tool operating within the C&J facility.
According to Stainbrook, the warranty replaces or repairs any covered machinery for up to ten years or for a predetermined number of parts fabricated – whichever comes first. The warranty is supported further by C&J’s in-house engineering support, capable of servicing warrantied parts on-site. The result is a safety net that keeps client projects on schedule without subjecting the customer to nickel-and-dime expenses.
“If you don’t have a warranty on a tool, and say it does go down and breaks something; now we have to quote it, go out to the customer, get the purchase order – and that can take a while – and then get back into production,” he said. “Whereas if it’s under us, we either have spares here ready for it that we can just change out and put in, or we just know we need to make them and we go right from there. It cuts weeks out of that tool being down, so that’s a big advantage.
“At the end of that mold warranty, we evaluate that tool and reach back out to the customer and say ‘we can put another warranty on this tool but we’re going to want to refresh it and bring it back up to where it originally was,’” Stainbrook added.
Although pursuing new business has always been a goal for C&J, the new year will see a renewed focus on prospecting thanks to the recent expansion, with target markets including the medical and telecom industries. Between the local resources at their disposal and other selling points such as the 10-year mold warranty, Stainbrook is confident that the company can go into 2024 on the right foot.