From outdated to state-of-the-art: Master Precision Machining brings heritage Kingsport tool and die operation up to speed
Photo above: Tim Stanley and Adam Newsome Photos by Gabriel Logan
By Gabriel Logan
Taking a look at Master Precision Machining (Master) today, it’s hard to recognize the 30-year-old tool and die operation that was slogging along in Kingsport’s Regional Park just a few months ago. “This place has been here since 1988” Tim Stanley, COO says. “We came in last year, bought it, closed in August and made a bunch of improvements to the shop. We put in a lot of processes that we never had before. So, we were able to schedule staff quicker and get better, faster lead times and get product out. We spent close to $350,000 in the first couple months on new equipment and tooling.
“What we do here is machine work. We have vertical and horizontal capabilities for any kind of tooling work. Everybody we work with now is a huge manufacturer. So, we make and create the tooling they need to run their machines with and to check parts with” says Stanley, who worked in production manufacturing for 22 years before entering the partnership at Master.
The new owners, President Anthony Newsome, Vice President Michael Trout, Partners Robert and Donny Newsome, COO Tim Stanley and Managing Director Adam Newsome, might never have known of the opportunity the former Master Tool & Die represented if not for a sale call promoting another business.
“One of our partners (Trout), does health insurance and owns his own business. He was actually going to call on this place and see if they were interested in doing some employee benefits,” Stanley says. “After he got to talking to them for about four or five minutes, the daughter said that her father would probably sell it. I am kin to her father so, when it presented itself the first thing (Trout) did was call me to come check it out. That is kind of where it ended up. We looked at the facility and observed the process and we just moved forward from there.”
The business had “good bones.” Many of the employees at Master Tool & Die have worked for the company 20-25 years. The current facility is around 17,000 square feet and should suffice as enough space even with the hopes of hiring 25 new employees and running two shifts over the next five years.
Right away the new owners saw opportunities to grow the business, but only if outdated, time-consuming practices were replaced with faster, more efficient ones. The new mindset for the company meant that state-of-the-art equipment must be bought to meet the demands of the customers. A new scheduling system had to be implemented and new customers must be located. In six months Master Tool & Die broadened its customer base almost 50 percent.
“We are branching out into other industries” Adam Newsome, managing director, says. “Before they mostly did just automotive. We are getting heavy into the aerospace industry, especially with this new potential aerospace park. We are trying to get in on that. Really just any industry.”