2013 was a big year for MPS with the restructuring of its Franklin Park, Illinois operations.
In April, MPS launched the relocation of one of its longest tenured operations to a new, recently refurbished facility in Trenton, Tennessee. Trenton, located about 30 miles north of Jackson, Tennessee, is halfway between Nashville and Memphis. Over 350 pieces of equipment, thousands of piece parts and finished goods were transferred. The first equipment move took place at the beginning of April 2013, and all equipment and materials were transferred by the end of September 2013.
Finding a New Home
The Franklin Park, Illinois location was the previous business headquarters and housed connector and pole line hardware operations, sales, marketing, and most engineering and finance operations. Over the last several years, operating the business from the Franklin Park location became challenging. A team set out to find a new facility where land was more available, less expensive, and more robust. MPS looked in Illinois, Indiana, Alabama, and Tennessee. In the end, the fit of the facility in Trenton to MPS needs and the incentives afforded by the State of Tennessee made it a perfect location. MPS made Trenton, Tennessee the new home of its connector and pole line hardware plant.
A project is only as good as its plan, and for a project of this magnitude, a great deal of time and effort was spent planning and preparing. Acquiring a good building was the start. Plans included:
- Utility up fit (electricity, water, natural gas, compressed air, etc.) necessary to ensure safe and productive operation.
- Concrete work to ensure adequate support of heavy industrial equipment used in the production of connectors and pole line hardware.
- Hiring and training of the employee base at the precise time needed to ensure safe and effective production.
- Material sourcing to coincide with shutdown in Franklin Park and startup in Trenton.
- Build out of an adequate buffer stock – or Bank Build – to accommodate the period of downtime during equipment relocation and startup.
- Complete all of the above with full attention to the project budget and timeline.
The project team received the go ahead to execute the plan from the project Steering Committee after nine months of planning, building up fit, and buffer stock build was completed in March 2013.
Through a solid planning process, the execution stage was a success. The move schedule was reviewed and updated to coincide with Bank Build and relocation timing. Once the equipment was up and running, the Trenton Operations Team assumed responsibility for getting production up and running, ensuring safe operation, verifying quality, and improving productivity.
Today, there are over 180 full-time employees dedicated to making the operation a success. A full operations team is in place: Manufacturing, Quality Assurance, Engineering, Planning, Purchasing, Finance, and Human Resources. All departments have distinct roles and work together to focus on serving the customer and addressing issues as they arise. MPS has every confidence that the team, and the facility, will enjoy great success for many years to come.
At the end of October 2013, the Governor of the State of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, paid a visit to the facility to see the operation and all of the work that had been completed to get the business off the ground. Barry MacLean, MacLean-Fogg President and CEO, and Tom Smith, MacLean Power President, were in attendance for the “Grand Opening” of the MPS Trenton facility. The Governor spoke to the entire factory contingent, expressing his gratitude to MPS for making the decision to start up operations in Western Tennessee.