By: Hilary Dickinson – June 29, 2015, 12:00 AM
General Plastics Inc.
2609 W. Mill Road, Glendale
When General Plastics Inc. president Robert Porsche bought the Glendale-based company in 1987, it had eight full-time employees, two customers and an 11,000-square-foot facility.
Fast forward about three decades, and General Plastics has 70 employees, more than 100 customers, and a third expansion in the works that will bring the production facility from 51,000 square feet to 93,000 square feet.
The $3 million expansion will add 42,000 square feet of space onto the back of the building that will allow the manufacturer of custom plastics products to spread out equipment and run more efficiently, according to Porsche. Construction began in May on the addition, which is expected to be operational by October.
This newest expansion follows two 20,000-square-foot additions, in 1991 and in 2000.
“Several years ago, we made quality and customer service the focal points of everything we do at General Plastics. As a result, we’ve experienced double-digit growth in sales during the last few years,” Porsche said.
“Recently, a number of our largest customers came to us and asked if we could keep pace with the significant growth they were experiencing. Obviously, we’re committed to our customers so we answered the bell and said, ‘Yes.’”
General Plastics also invested $1 million in new manufacturing equipment last year, and plans to hire 15 employees over the next 18 months. Porsche said the company is also currently hiring for multiple positions, including CNC and robotic equipment programmers.
Porsche said the company’s annual revenue is $12 million, and it has achieved double-digit growth for the last three-and-a-half years. He expects it to continue at that rate in the coming years due to the growth of its customers and the growth of the company’s medical and transportation markets.
In addition to this year’s expansion and hiring news, 2015 has been a big year for General Plastics as in February it won the 2014 Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Grand Award in the small company category.
“The Manufacturer of the Year award really belongs to all our employees,” Porsche said. “This is a total team effort. General Plastics is continually focused on the growing and evolving needs of our customers. Our employees have really embraced this approach.”
General Plastics was recognized for growing its business by almost 21 percent over the past three years and for improving delivery performance to more than 98 percent on time and complete.
Additionally, General Plastics was commended for reducing its landfill waste by 50 percent since 2010. It also reclaims and re-extrudes 99 percent of its scrap raw material back into utility products.
General Plastics became ISO 9001:2008 certified in 2013, and Porsche expects the company to receive ISO 14001 environmental certification in January.
General Plastics, which also serves the construction, gaming and point-of-purchase industries, operates on three shifts, five days a week.
It specializes in thermoforming, a manufacturing process in which a plastic sheet is heated to a pliable forming temperature, formed to a specific part shape in a mold, and trimmed to create a usable product.
Examples of its thermoformed products are rail seat backs, tray tables, medical housings, vehicle panels and roof liners, point-of-purchase displays and truck bed liners.