TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN) — Johnny Lin has been busy since returning to the family business in 2010. As Promax’s general manager he is just finishing up a new wing of the factory devoted to CNC machines and he is already designing an expansion onto a neighboring lot the company hopes to finish in three years.
Even those areas of the factory that are not seeing an outright remake are still remade internally as machines have been moved around to speed manufacturing flow.
“We have to bring production up as well as lift our quality level. Making sure the work moves smoothly around the factory does both of those things,” Lin said. Lin and his brother Sam, who handles marketing, are taking a stronger role in the business started by their father, “AP” Lin, in 1972.
There are ways the business hasn’t changed much in the past 40 years. Early on Promax outsourced finish work because it felt the water and air discharge associated with anodizing, painting and powder coating was not in line with being a good neighbor to people living nearby. And today’s plant has qualified for the government’s minimal environmental impact status, its water and air exhaust is considered clean, and it still outsources finish work.
The company also focused early on being good at specialized processes, like its cold, hot and 3-D forging, and diecasting capabilities. And these processes mean derailleur, suspension and brake suppliers contract many of their small parts from the company. Its wheel business, all hand-built high-end wheels using the company’s rims and hubs, are private label. Slightly more than half of Promax’s output is private-label production for other brands.
But about the time Lin rejoined Promax after more than a decade working for Cisco Systems in San Jose, California, the company decided to invest in growing its own Promax brand. They granted worldwide distribution rights to Toby Henderson at Cycle Group, as well as tapping Cycle Group for design work and new product development.
“The investment in the company and the new focus on growing our Promax brand has given our employees a new sense of pride. They are behind our quality push, and are helping us find better ways of doing things,” Lin said.
The effort is beginning to pay off and product managers are paying more attention to Promax-branded components as well as expressing interest in Promax building private-label OE components.