There's more to the puzzle

February 1, 2009
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In its 90th year, Addy Machinery has put some of its eggs in the West Michigan basket — and has seen some quick success.

Addy Machinery is a machine tool distributor serving the metalworking industry with the majority of its businesses coming from new Computer Numerical Control, or CNC, equipment and representing the Mazak brand. Addy Machinery’s primary location is in Clinton Township on the east side of the state. Last March, the company opened Addy West in Kentwood’s Broadmoor Business Center, using the space for offices until it could move in the necessary machinery. It held a grand opening Dec. 10 and 11 as a technical center.

“Now it’s a full tech center, which means we can have our customers come in and bring their parts they need to manufacture, and we can help them figure out the best way to machine them on our machines,” said Peter Addy, vice president, who will head the Kentwood location.

“October, November, December — just all bad news for the economy, and we were happy to get who we did (to the opening),” said Addy, marking roughly 20 visitors each day. “We received two nice machine orders from the show: one from a Kalamazoo customer and another from just north of the Grand Rapids area.”

Mazak Corp., the North American manufacturing, sales and support arm of international machine tool builder Yamazaki Mazak Corp., awarded the West Michigan territory to Addy Machinery in November 2006, when the former Mazak rep decided to move into robotics. Addy Machinery put together a business plan and presented it to Mazak, which then awarded it the territory.

“We started promoting our company and Mazak machines back in November (2006). We were looking for offices anywhere between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids as the center point of our customer base, and we couldn’t find a suitable place in Kalamazoo. We’re glad we went to Grand Rapids, because it’s more central to our customer base,” said Addy.

“It’s a big manufacturing city and they’re well diversified in defense work, tool and die, some automotive, some aerospace — so it’s quite a diverse mix in Grand Rapids.”

Along with the Grand Rapids area being the geographical center point of the territory the company serves, Addy said the company saw the need to diversify beyond its mostly automotive base in the Southeast region of the state.

Addy Machinery plans to use the Kentwood building to train customers in how to use the machines and to hold special events for various industries.

“Prior to that office being there, our customers would have to go to Chicago or Florence, Kentucky, for training,” said Addy.

The center will also offer a turnkey function: Customers can bring in a product and use the machines on the floor to make the product.

“It’s going to be very convenient for our customer base to use the Grand Rapids center for training, for turnkeys, and we’re hoping to have every second or third month a demonstration day where we specify a certain manufacturing group … just for those industries.”

In 2007 and 2008, Addy Machinery hit annual sales numbers between $10 million and $13 million in West Michigan and is aiming for around $15 million. Addy said that the economic decline has caused a projected drop in the industry, which may delay the company’s sales goals until 2010, but is still optimistic.

“Again, that’s why we spread around our risk,” said Addy. “We’re enjoying the fruits of having the West Michigan diversity.”

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