In Plastics Business’ 2023 article, Nicolet Plastics’ Tony Cavalco was featured with his thoughts about the road ahead for plastics manufacturers and specifically Nicolet Plastics:
Tony Cavalco, CEO of Nicolet Plastics LLC, reported a blend of sentiments. “We are a family-owned business and have been able to invest heavily in our people, equipment and facilities to allow us to meet our existing and new customer requirements,” said Cavalco. “Supply chain issues have stabilized, which is helping us be more proactive in the business. We are seeing a slowdown with several of our customers, but fortunately, we have a significant backlog of new tools coming into production. The key for 2023 will be leveraging our ability to bring new programs into production while balancing the shorter production runs based on reduced demand from some existing accounts. Our focus is on becoming more efficient from a labor standpoint, and to improve our machine utilization to make sure we reduce the impact of a slowdown.”
Part of Nicolet’s outlook can be credited to well-timed strategic planning. “We had started working on strategies to improve our response times to inquiries before COVID,” said Cavalco. “Once COVID hit in March of 2020, we needed to make decisions quickly and pivot our production to the few products that were in high demand. This quick response to opportunities helped Nicolet Plastics not only retain our main customers but helped us win significant new business with both existing accounts and new accounts.”
Nicolet also has invested in meaningful growth. The Wisconsin-based company has acquired a 60,000 sq. ft. building in Ripon, Wisconsin. “We have [already] made significant improvements to prepare this facility for future expansion. Our new building will allow us to nearly double our revenue organically, so we have plenty of space for expansion of our custom injection molding business,” said Cavalco.
The new building will integrate into Nicolet’s strategic use of its existing facilities in Mountain and Jackson, Wisconsin. “Our biggest opportunities for 2023, are based on several large new programs with new customers coupled with being awarded new programs with long-term customers,” said Cavalco. We leverage the capabilities of our two facilities, with our Mountain facility being very short- to medium-run, and our Jackson facility being medium- to long-run. We are implementing productivity improvement programs to optimize our changeover times and improve our secondary operations in our Assembly department. We have significantly increased the number of robots in our facility and will be adding additional automation this year.”
Growth and expansion are central to Nicolet’s five-year plan. “Our focus for the next five years will be on three main initiatives: Growth of our existing business, an investment in a Mantle 3D Manufacturing System to expand our tool room capabilities and we continue to explore strategic acquisitions to help us expand into new markets,” said Cavalco.