Lisa Jennings and her team at PMC SMART Solutions LLC are the latest group to build on the long legacy of manufacturing quality high-temperature plastic materials and precise molded parts for the automotive industry.
Though the company has a long history of success operating in this market, industry challenges have regularly spurred the company to break new ground.
“Being an 84-year-old company, we’ve obviously had to continually reinvent ourselves many times over the years to stay relevant in whatever industry we were serving,” says Jennings, the company’s president and CEO. “And then what we would do is we would become the leader in the special niche space each time.”
The fourth-generation family business, founded during the Great Depression in Cincinnati, was the first company in the 1920s to use thermoset plastics, polymer materials that are malleable at low temperatures and at high temperatures can change irreversibly to become hard.
PMC also led the charge in converting metal parts to plastic for weight savings and other efficiencies when more electronics were introduced to the automotive industry in the 1980s.
While PMC had proven its ability to thrive in the automotive industry, its tough regulation process encouraged the company to begin exploring other opportunities. PMC broke into the medical implant device manufacturing industry shortly before the Great Recession, working against larger market challenges, much like when it was founded.
But unlike the past, when new ventures proved to be short-lived, the company had hopes that this one would be both successful and sustainable.
Help from friends
Time and again, PMC’s focus on high-quality standards has allowed it to succeed. And its close watch of broader industry trends has helped it find complementary technological capabilities it could develop.
That outward eye paid off when an advisory board member with experience in plastics observed growth in that industry and encouraged PMC to move into the medical device market.
“He was so confident that because of our skill set and the quality systems and the manufacturing systems we had in place to serve this highly regulated and safety oriented segment of automotive, we would blow away many of the people that were in the medical device industry,” Jennings says.