“Most of our medical device customers view our long history and experience and the type of parts we do in automotive as a huge advantage,” Jennings says. “And now some of the processes that we used to validate parts, we can apply those into the medical device industry.”
Setting in place those building blocks paid off. According to Jennings, most molders avoid medical implant molding because of the risks associated with implants staying in the body, making PMC an industry leader shortly after entering this new market.
“We knew because of our experience, that (medical implant molding) was a niche place where we could truly show off technology that wasn’t even really being used in some cases in the medical industry,” says Jennings.
Currently, PMC is exploring new electrosurgery and cardiovascular market segments. The company is also looking at technology development and new application areas, initiatives that Jennings feels PMC can truly innovate in the medical space.
Maintaining the success of its automotive business while growing the new medical device department had its challenges. Annually deciding where investments should go always remains a priority for Jennings, though she is pleased that PMC’s investments have led to growth in both departments.
PMC, despite the challenge, has had success both winning new medical device customers and winning respect from its automotive customers. Knowing that PMC has another market to serve, automotive customers viewed this growth as a positive sign of PMC’s overall health.
“We have tremendous capabilities beyond our size,” Jennings says. “We’ll be at about a 15 percent growth rate, which in the manufacturing space, in these markets, is fantastic.”
Doing what is best for her customers is nothing new for Jennings. Encouraged by both automotive and medical customers, PMC earned a Women’s Business Enterprise certification. In turn, this presented opportunities for business growth for both PMC and its customers.
“If we can do something to help our customers with their needs to fulfill their obligations and at the same time we can leverage that to grow our business, that’s really been why we’ve done it and how I believe it’s going (to) contribute to the continued significant growth,” she says.
Jennings and her team were successful in establishing a new department for the company because they were able to recognize the company’s strengths. That’s why Jennings says it’s important to have a good group of advisers who have experience in the field. They can assist the company in understanding potential markets by researching the competition.
Asking critical questions is also central to exploring new market opportunities. It’s essential to determine, “Is there room for another player?” “If the market is expanding, are those customers still open to bringing on new suppliers?” and “What would your company need to do in order to be relevant?”
Answers to those questions can only be realized if the company and its leaders are true to themselves. That comes as a result of knowing the company’s strengths and making the most of its assets.
“Look at the businesses that you’re already in … identify what your true differentiators are and the things that are really the essence of your success,” Jennings says.
Investing in experts can take the uncertainty out of entering a new market space, so it’s helpful to bring in outside experienced talent to further educate your team. Training employees helps them share in the new business opportunity, assisting them to grow and thrive within the company.
“As the leadership of the company, the first balance you have to strike is internally with your people,” Jennings says. “So lots of communication, lots of work internally with the team to have them cross-pollinate ideas and to feel that we’re truly operating as one business.”
- Build high standards from the beginning.
- Do thorough research before entering a new marketplace.
- Stay true to your company’s strengths.