The MGS Group, located in Rome, NY, is a machinery and automation supplier to the wire, cable, and fiber optics industry. In 2003, it acquired Northampton Machinery, located in Northampton, UK. The company maintained its Northampton, UK, office for machinery spare parts, service, and procurement activities, but it moved the rotational equipment manufacturing to its Rome, NY, manufacturing facility.
However, MGS didn’t have the technical capabilities to manufacture the large guards that are part of the machines. Because the parts are so large, they knew they needed a local partner that they could trust. This was when they turned to Cameron Manufacturing and Design, located three hours away in Horseheads, NY.
Choosing a Partner
Cameron Manufacturing and Design is a leading producer of custom metal fabrications, machining, engineering, and installation services.
“We didn’t know of Cameron’s fabrication skills until we really started looking into it. The main reason we partnered with Cameron was their skill set and the fabrication area of their business,” said Brian Johnson, President, MGS Group. “Cameron has been a complete asset to our team. I’ve told them I didn’t want to be a customer; I wanted a partnership.”
The Partnership Grows
The partnership began with Cameron fabricating the machine guarding for MGS. The two companies’ engineering teams collaborated on some challenges with the drawing, which began a partnership that would flourish and lead to MGS asking Cameron to help with assembly.
“We had a large order we couldn’t keep up with and needed someone we could trust to help with the capacity problems. We went to them to have them build machines for us. We provided them with assembly drawing and the parts that they didn’t make,” said Johnson. “I never thought I would use them for an assembly house – we started with them as a fab house, but then we started giving them machines to assemble.”
Additionally, MGS found that Cameron was able to machine some components more efficiently because, at the time, some of MSG’s machine centers were outdated. Even though they have since updated them, they still rely on Cameron to do more than fabrication.
“We have a full complement of machine centers here, too. We are a one-stop-shop for our own equipment,” said Johnson. “We do our own machining, painting, welding, assembly, shipping from here – And now they can provide that for us, as well. And we can trust them.”
Another reason MSG relies on Cameron to assist with capacity is because of the difficulty they have finding good quality, skilled machinists and tradespeople. Many of MSG’s workforce has been with the company for more than 25 years, and as they retire, finding new skilled workers has been a challenge.
“We didn’t think of them as a machine shop that we wanted to sub work out to. It was about opening up doors for capacity. However, we are doing more and more — especially as my workforce ages,” he said. “Every week they are up here, and they have even hand-delivered parts. They have offered plenty of services, and we know if we need capacity, we can ask them to do just about anything.”
“We are going to continue doing more with Cameron. I’ve had three account managers, and I talk to them all to this day. The little things they do go a long way,” he said. “Right now, I am doing inventory, and I’ve asked them to hold off on shipping, and they will do that. If we have a problem with pricing, they work with us. We have done these parts ourselves already, so our rates are almost comparable – they are not the cheapest, but their quality is perfect. I can count on it.”