I’m sure this has happened to you…
You’re doing something and you wish somebody would invent a whatcha-ma-callit. And then you think you should invent it yourself and make the profits. But you don’t do anything about it… too complicated.
Well, Bill Pidlysny is a cut above most of us. Bill owns PAD Mechanical and The Polishing Centre. While his big passion is polishing aeroplanes, he’s also pretty handy at polishing huge rigs… the chrome bumpers and panels and wheel covers et al.
Now, polishing is kind of an art form and it takes an exacting eye as well as strong arms to move that buffer around large surfaces. Bill’s pretty keen about this; in fact, he’s in his fifth year of business.
When he was polishing the wheelrims on a Peterbilt, for instance, he’d have to use his thumb and hand work the metal polish around each of the 10 nuts on each wheel. Slow, painstaking work. It got Bill to thinking there must be a better way.
He designed a cup to fit on a drill and fit over the lug nut and polish around it, cutting hours off the cleaning of a truck, and subsequently, dollars off the cost for the customer. It felt like a win-win.
But there’s an enormous leap between idea and manufacturing and that’s where most of us walk. Bill patented his idea with patent lawyer Doug Eggins. Then he approached two young guys in a lowrise building on the fourth of Oro for help with the rest.
MPC, Molded Plastic Consultants, is the name of the company, and while it’s been around for two decades, its new owners are taking idea development as a serious part of their revenue stream. Bill saved his money and approached Tom Woegerer and David Yeaman with his idea.
David explains: “we took his idea and designed a cup that was 75% lighter with 25% fewer components and looked at cost effectiveness from a manufacturing point of view. Then we manufactured from the prototype and handed Bill 125 units to begin his marketing with.” Not only is Bill using his new invention for his own busiiness, but he’s going to launch it at the Shine & Show trade show for those in the polishing and detailing business.
Dave and Tom are product designers, using their mechanical engineering degrees from Queen’s and Western. With nearly a decade in CNC production in the automotive industry, they are buying MPC from its founder, Hans Hamm, and making the Oro facility a one-stop shop for product design, process development, research, advanced technology, manufacturing, packaging and shipping.
While their ‘big’ customers tend to be related to the auto industry (Dura, Magna, Capro, Black & Decker, SA Sport, Injectech Industries), their ‘small’ customers are often the challenging, exciting idea-driven individuals that most excites them.
David explains that many of their customers have their own design and production departments, but because they operate on such a large scale, it isn’t cost effective to shut down or slow down for a sample run. They turn it over to MPC.
Dave and Tom, childhood friends and engineering buddies, love the challenge of developing parts and producing them for domestic and international use. They also offer experience in off-shore tooling and manufacture. That means they can design and develop a prototype, produce the molds and manufacturing processes, AND coordinate manufacturing and shipping from China. “I set up Injectech in China and have lots of experience there, so we can really help with tool development and manufacturing in Asia,” says Dave.
It was a ‘chance’ happening that Dave met Hans Hamm and discovered that his business was for sale. As years had passed, Hans’ interest in retirement outstripped his interest in production and selling to two young, enthusiastic, capable fellows was exactly the solution he’d hoped for. Both partners say he has been invaluable in their learning curve as he moves from helm to floor and out the door.
Tom and Dave are experiencing that rush that fuels the entrepreneurial spirit. Financing this project from their personal resources (Tom contributed what he hoped would be a house down payment, and Dave mortgaged his to make their initial offering to Hans) they are also offering themselves as a one stop shop.
Their ‘bigger’ customers all seem to be related, as that domino effect caused by who deals with who in the auto industry. Fuelled by a reputation for excellence, Tom and Dave continue to call on and design and produce for some of the big players in Ontario. At the same time, they’re mowing the lawn, answering the phone, writing the invoices, and cashing the cheques.
They’ve also developed their own product, sled wheels, which allow a heavy object like a snowmobile to be pushed around comfortably by a six year old. They are manufacturing this universal dolly and directing sales through ebay. Dave is using his offshore contacts to lower the cost of their product and give them a competitive advantage. It’s going to make short work of my old solution when it comes time to move the freezer, or the piano… I’ve been using Kid One’s skateboard for years!
Their goals? It’s not size, that’s for sure. They want to remain owner operators. They want to continue to design and develop, to have an impact on ideas and make a living at the same time.
And for Bill? Once his orders start to come in, Dave and Tom will be manufacturing, packaging and shipping wherever Bill’s orders have to go. And Bill? He’ll be receiving the cheques and polishing wheels at the same time.
Sounds like a win-win-win to me…
Thanks, Tom. Thanks, Dave. And thanks, Bill.
MPC, 705 487-0244
239 4th Line Oro, Shanty Bay, ON L0L 2L0