Big Changes At Midwest Composite Technologies
Once in a while a company makes a very strategic move. This is one of them.
Midwest Composite Technologies, “MCT”, is one of Fabbaloo’s premier sponsors. But this is not sponsored material as there is a very real story here.
The company has been run under the stewardship of Helmut Keidl and his family for many years. They provide a wide variety of manufacturing services, including a broad spectrum of 3D printing capabilities. We’ve dealt with them for several years and found them to be a well run and honorable organization.
But then something happened.
A majority stake in MCT was acquired by Chicago-based CORE Industrial Partners, a private equity firm specializing in investments in mid-sized manufacturing operations - such as MCT. They explain:
“CORE Industrial Partners is a Private Equity firm investing exclusively in Manufacturing and Industrial Technology companies in North America. We have deep experience with these types of companies in which our Partners have led the operations and been involved across more than 50 transactions representing over $2.5 billion in enterprise value.
Based out of Chicago, our team is comprised of highly experienced former CEOs and investment professionals with shared beliefs and a proven track record of delivering attractive financial returns. Together, we build best-in-class companies and lasting relationships with our partners.”
They have big plans for MCT, very big plans.
One of their first moves was to install a new CEO, Ryan Martin. Martin came from GE, where he had worked for 12 years, the latter two being in their new GE Additive division, helping set it up — and in the process, seeing the operations of many different 3D print service bureaus worldwide.
As far as we can tell, the Keidl family will still be deeply involved in daily MCT operations under the leadership of Martin. While MCT has been a very well run operation, Martin brings the capability for significant expansion in the next few years, well beyond anything MCT previously envisioned.
Martin explained to Fabbaloo that he was attracted to the MCT CEO role for two main reasons.
First, he was impressed with their ability to provide quality results to almost any incoming job request. MCT’s internal processes are said to be dependable and efficient, more so than other service operations seen by Martin. Martin says MCT “doesn’t over promise and doesn’t under deliver”, unlike some other services, particularly those that operate as a network connector, where the output quality depends entirely on the capabilities of the particular manufacturing participant.
Martin adds that he has “never seen one with as good expertise, deep and quality people and delivery.” He also said that their “NetPromoter scores were through the roof!”
Secondly, MCT provides an extremely wide range of services, well beyond 3D printing. Martin says MCT provides not only 3D printing services (where they offer SLS, MJF, DLMS, FDM, etc), but also “machining, injection molding, CNC, full finishing, assembly, painting and more.” All of these functions are performed entirely in-house; none are outsourced to subcontracting firms, as is commonly done by many other manufacturing services.
This means that MCT is in complete control of the customer’s job from end-to-end, and does not have to depend on the whims of an outsourcer for anything. This single factor is one of the main causes of unexpected delays with most other manufacturing services.
The wide range of services and equipment fleet from many different vendors (they currently operate around 40 3D printers) means they have a very unbiased view of technology and are thus able to direct clients toward the best possible solution.
It’s this secret sauce that Martin wishes to base MCT’s expansion on. They seem to have found a manufacturing formula that works for clients seeking manufacture of simple or complex products in low to medium unit quantities.
Martin hopes to leverage these capabilities to expand MCT dramatically over the next few years, something CORE Industrial Partners no doubt is hoping for as well. Martin explains that the expansion will occur in two ways.
First, he believes MCT will be able to grow organically by continuing to perform their good work for clients, but with added emphasis on marketing. It seems that MCT has mostly grown on the basis of word of mouth, rather than any splashy advertising campaigns — aside from their work with us, of course.
Secondly, Martin expects to grow MCT through acquisitions. They are set on purchasing other complementary and similar manufacturing firms in North America over the next few years. Martin feels they will seek in particular firms offering niche services not currently covered by MCT, as well as those offering broad ranges of manufacturing services.
The interesting angle is that because MCT has such a broad range of services, these can be used to “backstop” a niche acquisition, transforming them into a full service provider almost instantly.
Today MCT has around 60 staff, but it seems they may be growing that as they expand. Check their hiring page and you’ll see what they’re up to.
I believe this corporate move is highly strategic and it seems likely that MCT will, over the next 3-5 years become one of the larger manufacturing operations in North America, if Martin’s strategy succeeds.