North American Lighting web photo

NAL focuses on staying dependable to clients that include Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Ford.

By Alan Dorich

If you have driven a car in North America, you have encountered the work of North American Lighting (NAL) Inc. without even realizing it. “If it’s on the outside of the car and it reflects and emits light, it’s our product,” Director of Sales and Marketing Ron Wheat declares.

Paris, Ill.-based NAL designs and manufactures automotive exterior lighting for all North American automakers, including Toyota, Honda, Ford, Nissan and Cadillac. The company started operations in 1983 as a joint venture between Koito Manufacturing Corporation, a Japan-based lighting manufacturer, and two other firms.

NAL began with only nine employees and a taillight order from Toyota. Today, “We are the largest Tier I supplier of exterior automotive lighting in North America,” President and COO Kirk Gadberry says, adding that NAL is 100 percent owned by Koito Manufacturing Corporation.

The company serves a client base that holds it to high standards for quality, cost, development and delivery. “They define how we are judged as a supplier,” Wheat says. “We have to succeed on all fronts to be a supplier of choice.”

NAL maintains its quality through Koito Manufacturing Corporation’s world-class production system, which was inspired by its work with Toyota. “Our pull system creates a very efficient manufacturing system that gives NAL quite an advantage,” he states.

Paslin web photo

Paslin’s supply chain staff plays a critical role in the automation integrator’s success.

By Jim Harris

Paslin’s supply chain professionals play a critical role in the company’s success. “We have a great group of professionals who have a passion for the business and embrace teamwork and strategic thinking,” says Jason Hardy, executive vice president of supply chain management and information technology. “They win as a team.”

The supply chain team utilizes a number of best practices that make it a highly effective partner to its customers and suppliers.

“Everything here revolves about being proactive and planning accordingly as well as understanding key milestones, market conditions and constraints and developing a plan around those,” he adds. “Our supply chain team is very methodical and strategic and predicates itself on having great relationships with our supply base to meet the needs of our business and that of our customers.”

Fujitec web photo

Fujitec continues to improve the way its elevator projects are sourced and staged.

By Jim Harris

For more than 60 years, Fujitec has set an industry standard in the manufacturing, installation, modernization and service of specialized vertical elevator systems.

In recent years, the companys North American operation has improved on its history of quality and integrity by revamping the way it manufactures and delivers its systems.

Im proud of the inventory control and efficiency weve created not only for manufacturing and logistics, but most importantly for installation, says Joseph Smith, vice president of the companys New York regional office.

Tecma Group of Companies web photo

Tecma Group of Companies offers supply chain management and other services to U.S. manufacturers operating in Mexico.

By Jim Harris

Many U.S.-based manufacturers look to Mexico as a place to produce their goods for a number of reasons. Mexicos proximity to the United States as well as its low overhead costs, among other factors, all contribute to making it an attractive offshoring option.

In recent years, Mexico has proven to be even more desirable as a manufacturing hotbed than China and other Asian countries that traditionally housed factories and exported goods to the United States. The countrys lower taxes and tariffs, more favorable wage structure, economic status and shorter transit times have convinced many to do business there instead of across the Pacific Ocean.

For more than 30 years, the Tecma Group of Companies has made it easy for manufacturers to set up shop in the United States southern neighbor. The El Paso, Texas-based company offers shelter partnership services to U.S. manufacturers.

Columbus Craft Meats web photo

Columbus Craft Meats improves customer satisfaction by increasing transparency and collaboration in the supply chain.

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

Columbus Craft Meats is celebrating its 100th anniversary of providing authentic, premium Italian salami and deli meats in addition to finding a permanent home with Hormel Foods Corp. “We were founded by Italian immigrants who moved to San Francisco and began by producing salami in their apartment,” Vice President of Supply Chain Cassandra Todd says. “From there, the business grew and continued to be a family-owned business until the early 2000s when it was sold to a private equity company.”

Hormel Foods’ acquisition of Columbus from Chicago-based Arbor Investments was announced in October. “What the acquisition means for Columbus is that we are now in a permanent home with a long-term owner,” Todd says. “Hormel is a great partner and cultural fit and we are excited to have been brought into the business.”

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