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The fortunes of Nymat Machine Tool Corp. have risen with those of U.S. manufacturing, the industry it serves.
“We’re seeing more and more manufacturing business return,” CEO Brian Cregg said.
He identified quality concerns and rising wages in developing countries as factors in the improvement.
Nymat is not a manufacturer. It sells computer numerical control machines to tool-and-die firms, which supply manufacturers, and to manufacturing firms, including major automakers.
Cregg credits much of his firm’s success to its close affiliation with Haas Automation Inc. All of the vertical and horizontal CNC machines and CNC lathes the Perinton-based Nymat sells are from Haas.
That the California-based manufacturer’s products are entirely made in the United States is a selling point in an industry that in the 1980s and 1990s was driven nearly to extinction by foreign competition.
But Cregg sees the Haas line’s real selling point as its middle-of-the-market price combined with optimum value. Its machines promise greater reliability and longevity than less expensive models but are versatile enough to meet the needs of customers who do not require costly custom features, he said.
Becoming a Haas distributor in the 1990s was a watershed event for the company, concurs Cregg’s father, Mark. The elder Cregg started the business with two partners in 1981 and turned the CEO position over to his son a little more than three years ago. He still works part time for the company.
The Haas business model was unique in the industry when President Gene Haas started the company in 1983, and it is still rare, Mark Cregg said. Before then, CNC machine distributors typically offered as many as 25 brands. Nymat did too in its early years, but Mark Cregg saw Haas’ approach as the future.
In the old model, he said, if a shop or manufacturing concern needed a CNC machine serviced, it usually faced a wait for parts and had to pay for travel expenses and accommodations to fly in a technician.
Haas sets up distributors in exclusive territories. It provides them with extensive parts inventories but bills them only as parts are used. Distributors keep factory-trained mechanics on staff. The model eliminates long waits for parts and cuts out travel and accommodation fees. Nymat offers front-end support also, helping its customers set up machines.
Greater customer focus worked for Nymat even before it was tied to Haas, Mark Cregg said. The company was profitable on some $1 million in sales during its first year and has run in the black since. The company has 40 employees and plans to hire four more.
An exclusive distributor of Haas-brand machines in Upstate New York east of Albany, southern Illinois, Missouri and Kansas, Nymat maintains sales and service centers in St. Louis and Olathe, Kan.
During early years of the alliance, most of the U.S. machine tool industry was foundering. Much of the defense work was drying up while Chinese, Japanese and Korean competitors were heavily undercutting U.S. prices.
Starting in the 1980s, U.S. manufacturing largely moved to Asia. Haas and its distributors were exceptions.
Today, Brian Cregg said, Nymat is the market-share leader in its territories in sales of horizontal CNC machines. He declined to state numbers but portrayed the gap between it and its nearest competitors, which are virtually all Chinese or Japanese firms, as comfortably wide.
Nymat’s lead in the CNC lathe market is smaller, Cregg said. One of his main goals is to widen the company’s lead in the lathe market while keeping its more substantial advantage in the horizontal CNC market.
Because Haas offers distributors exclusive territories, geographic expansion or significant widening of its customer base is not likely for Nymat, Cregg said. But if Haas offers a new territory, he added, “We’d definitely consider it.”
The Rochester Top 100 program is presented by the Rochester Business Alliance Inc. and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. This year’s Rochester Top 100 event will be held Nov. 5. For more information, go to rochesterbusinessalliance.com.
Nymat Machine Tool Corp.
Seller and distributor of computer numerical control machines
Top executive: Brian Cregg, CEO
2013 ranking: 23
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