CAVALIER EXPANDS WITH ACQUISITION
By Nick Krewen/ Business Writer
The addition of Mold Services International (MSI) located in Oldcastle, Ontario to the #CavalierArmy marks the continuation of ongoing growth for Cavalier Tool into 2021.
“We want to keep the momentum and continue to build on the success we had in 2020,” says president Brian Bendig.“With MSI’s innovative technology and 22,000 sq. ft Oldcastle facility complementing our own, we increased capacity in gun-drilling, EDM (electrical discharge machining), plate milling, large roughing, large 5-axis and toolmaking. This also allows us to capitalize on greater volume opportunities.
With strong strategic planning and hard work, Cavalier is in the midst of celebrating its 45th anniversary, winning a health and safety award, expanding its sales team and engineering department, breaking sales records and now purchasing Oldcastle-based MSI.
“We’re a machine shop that can build everything under one roof – but as we continue to grow, we’re exceeding that capacity,” says Bendig, whose company is world renowned for creating mid-to-large-size molds for plastic injection molding.
INCREASED VOLUME OPPORTUNITIES
“With MSI’s innovative technology and 22,000 sq. ft Oldcastle facility complementing our own, we can now directly offer gun-drilling, EDM (electrical discharge machining), plate milling, large roughing, large 5-axis and toolmaking – all the things we usually outsource. This also allows us to fulfill volume opportunities that we couldn’t offer earlier due to limited capacity.”
Clearly impressed by MSI’s bottom line, Bendig says the company will continue to operate as a standalone business.
“Our intention is not to go in and pull the place apart,” says Bendig. “We want the business to run as it is. It’s profitable: it stands on its own two legs. It runs the way it runs now. We want to learn that and understand that.
“Our number one focus during these discussions has been that we take care of our employees and customers. It was crucial that we partner with someone who can appreciate and carry on our legacy of over two decades in business,” says Jim Damphouse, MSI GM/Owner.
“Cavalier provides that comfort and we are excited to see how much can be achieved in joining forces.”
CAVALIER: GREAT CORPORATE CITIZEN
Stephen MacKenzie, president and CEO, Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation, says this news speaks volumes about Cavalier’s dedication to continuous improvement.
“It is about two great companies coming under one corporate umbrella,” says MacKenzie.
“Cavalier’s accomplishments in the midst of a pandemic and a general industry slowdown have been impressive. It is an incredibly innovative and successful company as well as a great corporate citizen. We are fortunate to have them as part of our advanced manufacturing ecosystem here in Windsor-Essex.”
It is a momentum that is not necessarily experienced by other moldmakers.
In a mid-2020 survey conducted by Michigan-based consulting firm Harbour Results Inc., HRI president Laurie Harbour discovered that 35% of tool shops and 47% of production shops are either struggling or concerned about the future, with moldmakers overall forecasting a 25% drop in revenues from their original 2020 forecasts.
Bendig says Cavalier is bucking the trend because he doesn’t buy into doomsday predictions and prefers to focus on diversity and mindset in injection molding and beyond.
Cavalier has worked with Fortune 500 companies and forged relationships in Plastic Injection Molding with molders and suppliers on a global basis.
“All of our decisions are made in the best interest of the client – which, in turn, is best for us as moldmakers as well,” Bendig says. “We build relationships and in turn we can focus on how to get both our customers and us to the finish line in the quickest and most effective way possible.”
INVESTMENT IN PEOPLE. PROCESS. EQUIPMENT.
Tim Galbraith, Cavalier sales manager and long-time board member of Canadian Association of MoldMakers, says the secret sauce for Cavalier is the investment in people, process and equipment.
“We also have a strong leader who does run the company like a sports team where he is the coach and our team does put in the work and our leadership is here to guide and motivate,” says Galbraith. “And we reinvest back into the business.”
There are a number of aspects in which MSI, a world class manufacturer of production injection and compression molds with headquarters in Windsor, complements Cavalier. However, diversity is something they have in common.
While automotive is important in moldmaking, Cavalier – and now MSI – will continue to focus on commercial, agriculture, heavy truck and recreational industries and molds.
Through this transaction, Cavalier can also offer a new product: Compression molds.
“That’s a side of the business we didn’t have until now,” Bendig says. “And we’re hoping to further expand that market.”
And the economies realized from reduced outsourcing will also bring immediate savings and efficiencies to Cavalier, further improving what could only be termed as a stellar year for the Windsor-based mold designer.
“There’s some efficiencies, both in the equipment utilization, as well as lower cost because we’re no longer paying a subcontractor’s price,” says Bendig. “We’re internally optimizing the assets, the resources to be as functional as possible.”
The purchase of MSI capitalizes on the momentum built over the last 12 months. Cavalier has made its presence known – locally and internationally – in spite of a pandemic. Investing in people, process and equipment is recognized as “The Cavalier Way” and in turn, it results in success for clients, staff and growth opportunities.
“We want that to continue. We need the capacity to be able to do that,” says Bendig. “And MSI will be another part of that growth strategy.
“We will need to grow and move to that next level. This purchase will allow us to reinvest those outsourcing costs back into the company.”
SERVE CLIENTS BETTER
The MSI addition will also allow Cavalier to serve their clients better through the streamlining of processing orders, enabling them to capitalize on the rapid turnarounds that have earned them a reputation for quick delivery.
“The way we’ve done it until now, is that when you outsource, you’re calling people, getting two or three quotes, trying to schedule deliveries and involving yourself in a bit of a gamble,” Bendig says. “What if they’re late?
“Now that we own MSI, we simply schedule it in – and that results in a win for us and a win for our clients.”
Like Cavalier, MSI also brings business that isn’t strictly reliant on the automotive industry.
“It’s not the dominant market for either company,” says Galbraith, Cavalier Sales Manager. “So, we can focus on our shared diversity.”
Another attractive aspect of the MSI purchase is the similar corporate cultures between the new acquisition and Cavalier.
“MSI is not an autocratic tool shop – their environment also caters to their people, whom they recognize as their most important asset,” says Galbraith.
“It’s created a strong team atmosphere that reinforces a key dynamic of the Cavalier philosophy…People…Process…Equipment.”
The Cavalier-MSI connection has been forged over two decades: MSI, founded in 1997 by Jim Damphouse and Mark LeBoeuf, have served as a key component of Cavalier’s supply chain since Bendig first reached out to them
“It made a lot of sense to make the move because we’ve been doing business with MSI for 20 years, so we know the owners, the people and the shop: we’ve got a level of trust there and they’ve done good quality work.”
It also reflects a unique mindset that was unusual back in the era when shops weren’t so co-operative: a president of a tool and manufacturing company reaching out to the competition for assistance.
“You realized the value of reaching out and finding common ground with people,” Bendig says. “We did not have the technology, the nice machines or all the things that we have today. So, I really needed to befriend people to be able to do some of those things that I couldn’t do in this building.”
“THIS BEGINS THE NEXT STAGE OF OUR COMPANY GROWTH”
Clearly impressed by MSI’s bottom line, Bendig is clear that the company will continue to operate as a standalone business.
“Our intention is not to go in and pull the place apart,” Bendig says.“We want the business to run as it is. It’s profitable: it stands on its own two legs. It runs the way it runs now. We want to learn that and understand that.”
The company’s commitment to invest in the latest equipment and technology also remains strong. Cavalier recently procured a new spotting press that helps validate a mold’s accuracy.
After kicking off 2020 with a Business Excellence Award nomination from the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce – and later, two gold medals – one for health and safety, the other for mental health. Cavalier is prepping for another banner year – and adding MSI is just the first step.
“This begins the next stage of our company growth,” says Brian Bendig. “We welcome MSI to the Cavalier family and look forward to the opportunities we’ll be able to create together to expand their business.”
Bendig says this latest achievement is a direct result of a collective mindset, where employees help him make key decisions for the betterment of the company.
“It’s a better way of getting to the finish line,” he says. “People know that they can always approach us. If the idea gets better, I’m all ears.
“At the end of the day if it’s good for Cavalier, I’m interested. That’s what I tell the managers: “if you’re making a decision, that’s good for Cavalier, then you proceed.