Thursday, March 13, 2008
Lund off and running
By SUE WATSON
It has taken about a year to get settled into its new home, and now Lund Coating Technologies and Lund Precision Division have consolidated all U.S. operations in Holly Springs.
The company specializes in coating cutting parts and replacement wear parts to extend the life of the tool, said John Schwanbeck, president and owner.
“Everything is a replacement part,” he said. “We try to make the parts wear longer and provide better value.”
Lund’s primary market is in agricultural equipment but also has business in lawn and garden equipment and golf course maintenance equipment.
About 20 percent of Lund’s business goes into new equipment manufactured by companies like John Deere, Case and New Holland. But the bulk of the business is providing wear-resistant coatings on replacement parts either manufactured by the company or elsewhere.
Schwanbeck said his company would like to get some construction equipment business.
He is very pleased with the progress in getting up and operating in the 80,000 square foot industrial park facility.
Production is increasing every month without any visible ceiling on what the market can do, he said.
“I probably don’t know what the capacity is,” Schwanbeck said.
Currently two shifts work at the facility with 67 employees.
About 30 employees from the Collierville facility opted to stay with Lund when it consolidated its coating technology company there with its precision group under one roof.
“A lot of them lived here,” he said.
Then as the facility was set and ready to go to work, 45 new employees were hired.
Schwanbeck expects to have more job opportunities as the business grows.
Only one employee from the Hudson, Massachusetts, operation opted to move south, he said.
Lund was welcomed with open arms both locally and by the state, he said.
“We think it’s a good decision to come here and we’re very happy we did it,” Schwanbeck said.
He is satisfied with the employee pool and the good people.
“It’s like any other place,” he said. “It’s never easy to hire. I’ve gone through this process several times. You have to be careful, you have to have training and you have to be truthful.
“We make sure if we tell people we are going to do something, we do it.
“We owe a special thanks to Wanda Christian, Tracy Giles, Eddy Wood and a host of other people who helped immeasurably in the financial arrangements for the new facility, providing job candidates and training.”
Relocating in Holly Springs brought several advantages to the company. Manufacturing cost - energy, transportation, outsourcing and labor - are significant advantages. And the central location within the States improves turnaround and delivery times to most of Lund’s customers.
Schwanbeck lives in Kirkwood. He spends about half his time in Holly Springs and the rest on the road or in Massachusetts.
Getting back and forth is easy because of the Holly Springs airport. He owns a small airplane and is very pleased with John Jewell and his aircraft maintenance service. Flying into the local airport saves lots of time whereas airport traffic is heavy in Memphis.
“Thanks to Bill Renick, it’s awfully convenient to have the airport there,” he said. “We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Bill Renick. He was extremely helpful - introduced us to the town and the building.
“I’m saving my Renick for Governor T-shirt, because sooner or later it’s going to come in handy,” he quipped.
“And Don Hollingsworth has been extremely helpful in bringing our project to completion. We had to make a lot of improvements to the building and I don’t think we could have gotten it done without his help.”
Operating in Holly Springs has brought new freedom to Lund, he said.
“It’s like night and day, the amount of support we’ve gotten in Holly Springs and Mississippi,” he said. “Trying to do something like this in Massachusetts - you might as well just forget about it.
“We can grow into the facility with lots of space for large equipment, and a good location. I like the support from the town.”
Schwanbeck said as soon as the company gets settled he plans to have a ribbon cutting and grand opening and plans to participate in community events.
The Lund Precision Group operates as Lund Precision Products Division in Holly Springs and as Lund Precision Products Ltd. in Athlone, Ireland, and as Lund Coating Technologies in Holly Springs.
The company was established in 1947 by Swedish immigrant Gustave Lund and his son Roger, as Lund Products Inc. in Maynard, Mass.
Lund soon became the dominant supplier of cutting components to the U.S. agricultural market. The company was sold in 1965 to a larger company and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
By 1970, Rexnord Knife Division the new company name, penetrated the European market and in 1981 a new factory was built in Ireland.
Senior management bought Lund from Rexnord in 1985 and adopted the name Lund International Corporation.
The name was changed to Lund Precision Products to better reflect the company’s cutting systems and wear parts industry in Hudson and Athlone.
In 2004, Piper Industrial Coatings of Collierville, Tenn., was added to Lund Precision Group and its name was changed to Lund Coating Technologies.
In January 2007, Lund began its move to Holly Springs and finally consolidated its coating technologies and precision products under one roof at the Holly Springs Industrial Park.
The facility has plenty of space for Lund to operate and to grow its market.
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