Transforming into Hot Commodity
Meramec Instrument Transformer produces the highest quality instrument current transformers for the high-and-medium-voltage circuit breaker, power transformer, and power generation markets. The company has gained recognition in the electrical and manufacturing industry, in addition to earning state and national recognition for its work and upstanding business practices.
Founded in 1969 in Cuba, Mo, by Andrew Sanazaro Sr., Meramec Instrument Transformer, originally known as Meramec Electrical Products, is the preeminent manufacturer of Instrument Current Transformers to the electric power industry. It produces the highest quality instrument current transformers for the high-and-medium-voltage circuit breaker, power transformer, and power generation markets. The company has gained recognition in the electrical and manufacturing industry, in addition to earning state and national recognition for its work and upstanding business practices. Meramec has earned several awards including; the Triple Diamond Supplier Award from Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Supplier of the Year from ABB, the Show-Me Heroes Employer award from the State of Missouri for hiring veterans, and Missouri Enterprise’s IMPACT! Award for excelling in the areas of continuous improvement.
The company was acquired in late 2017 by Hubbell Power Systems, who represents over 130,000 products with 19,0000 employees worldwide, and is a part of Hubbell Incorporated, an international manufacturer with revenues reaching $4.5 billion.
Situation: When the 2008/2009 recession began to rock the manufacturing industry on a global scale, Meramec Instrument Transformer found itself on the other side of the spectrum with sales increasing by 250 percent. The company knew to sustain this growth and stay ahead of the competition in the future, it had to reduce the price of its products. Constructing a larger and more efficient facility to ramp up capacity was only the beginning to Meramec’s journey towards transforming into a global commodity.
Meramec had worked with Missouri Enterprise throughout the years on smaller scale projects. It was after construction began when the company realized it needed some additional expertise in the area of continuous improvement.
Solution: The company opened the first part of its new facility in 2009 and added equipment to justify the demand for its product. Two years later, it added 15,000 sq ft. dedicated to manufacturing. Market research conducted by Missouri Enterprise verified the company’s decision to move forward with new product development and plans to add more space yet again. Building a newer, bigger facility, was the first step, ensuring it was as lean as possible -- paired with making high-quality products—was the critical next step.
Meramec began working with the Missouri Enterprise team on its quality management systems. The company pursued ISO registration because it was growing at such a fast pace and it knew it needed more process controls in place to ensure a high standard of work. It wanted to move from an outdated system that was created years ago. Missouri Enterprise helped the company obtain ISO registration within 10 months.
As the company continued to grow, it was more frequently being targeted by phishing scams. It also experienced a few fraud attempts. One example was when the finance department received an email from CEO Nick Sanarazo asking them to wire $500K to another company. It knew it needed to beef up monitoring, increase protection inside its systems, and train its number one defense-- its employees. Missouri Enterprise helped assess areas of cybersecurity weaknesses and point the company to solutions that would protect the company.
CEO Nick Sanazaro said, “We knew that we were highly vulnerable—and cyber criminals will stop at nothing to prey on companies that do not have protection. We’ve invested too much into this company and into our people for us to be victimized by cyber attacks. We appreciate Missouri Enterprise’s assistance in solidifying our defenses.”
Results: In its entirety, the expansion since 2009 is well over the $6 million mark and more than half of the project was paid for in two years with cash flow. The previous plant was 20,000 sq. ft. and the current plant sits at 109,000 sq. ft. and growing.
As a result of its new state-of-the-facility, lean processes, competitive prices, an increase in capacity, and assistance from Missouri Enterprise, the company more than captured the market. It currently has three new products and several more in the works. It is also waiting on funding approval from corporate to finish out another ~$3 million section of the facility dedicated to space and new equipment for a new product project. It has already added three new staff members to its team and anticipates growing by another 30-35 employees over the next two to three years.
More than anything else, the indicator of success arrived a few years ago when Meramec was approached by not one, but four companies interested in purchasing the business.
In the Numbers:
Cost Savings $20,000
Retained Jobs 28
New Jobs 3 with 30-35 more to come (85 in total since working with Missouri Enterprise)
Testimonial: “Because of all the projects we did with Missouri Enterprise over the years, we were able to increase efficiency and productivity and remove non-value added costs. The insight we received from Missouri Enterprise also helped us arrive at the realization that to reach our highest potential, we needed to develop our own manufacturing software in house. Thanks to the consulting provided by Missouri Enterprise and what we learned, we have grown into the company we are today.” -- Nick Sanazaro, CEO