WIth about 300 employees in the lakes area, the Acrometal Family of Companies plans to reorganize ATEK, Acrometal and Larco.
Larco, a division of Acrometal, will operate as a stand-alone firm and continue to operate under the Larco name. And Acrometal will become a division of ATEK.
ATEK and Acrometal, both contract manufacturing firms, will be headquartered in Acrometal's facility in northeast Brainerd. Larco will stay in the Brainerd Industrial Park.
Peter Nelson, Acrometal president, said the company is evaluating space needs for a combined ATEK and Acrometal and no decisions have been made at this point.
He said both ATEK and Acrometal are involved in contract manufacturing and rather than pursue that business as two separate organizations it made more sense to do that under one with one set of infrastructure, greater efficiency and better results. Nelson said the companies have also done a tremendous amount of crosstraining with employees.
Nelson said they have not identified any job layoffs or job cuts and while there may be redundancies, changing that could free up resources to devote to other areas.
Nelson said he expects any job changes to be minimal and a realignment of what the companies have now. Acrometal and ATEK employ about 120 people. Larco employs about 40 and Acrotech Midwest, Crosby, employs about 150.
ATEK and Acrometal both have customers in New England. Previously Nelson said sales staff going to see those customers would not see them on the same trip. He said the idea in the reorganization is a sales force designed to understand each company could be more effective.
Nelson said the reorganization should not be interpreted as a change in the status of the Brainerd area companies.
"We are committed to staying in the Brainerd area -- no question about that," he said.
And the move to create Larco as a more independent organization comes from Larco's growth prospects. Nelson said the goal is to have the company reach its potential. He said the companies' process of evaluation will take the rest of the year.
Acrometal and ATEK do a lot of assembly work and make parts for other customers. Their biggest single customer is 3M and they do contract assembly for firearms. Multimillion dollar contracts are involved with thousands of parts or assemblies on a monthly basis. Customers include Pitney Bowes, Hewlett Packard and Quantegy as well as firms in the medical and semiconductor fields and pharmaceuticals.
Nelson said as contract manufacturers they act as a procurement and materials management as well as manufacturing arm for customers.
According to a news release, the reorganization plans are part of "the company's strategy to focus on business growth and better align business strengths. In addition, the plans support ATEK's mission of becoming a more diverse contract-manufacturing firm by combining Acrometal's strengths in metal products manufacturing and assembly with ATEK's current manufacturing capabilities in electro-mechanical products, telecom products and medical devices."
The Acrometal Family of Companies is a diverse group of manufacturing firms based in Plymouth. The company has operations in Brainerd, Crosby, Plymouth, Albert Lea, Grand Rapids, Mich. and Kerrville, Texas. The companies specialize in aluminum casting, plastic injection molding, plastic blow molding, contract assembly and presence-sensing mat system.
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