"Your Story Made Here": Indiana Marine Products (VIDEO)

By Melissa Long - 21Alive

March 11, 2014 Updated Mar 11, 2014 at 5:19 PM EDT

This is lake country so it only makes sense that Northeast Indiana is a boat manufacturing hub. At it's 55 thousand square foot Steuben County facility, Indiana Marine Products hums with activity.

Mike Peters says: We're a manufacturer of dash panels and wiring harnesses for the boating industry, so just about any boat that you see manufactured in North East Indiana has our dash with a variety of panels on it and then the harness that feeds all the electrical components.

When Peters took over the company, he changed both the process and the product. Peters took a page from top tier automotive suppliers and instituted a lean and flexible system, His business model drew notice from the boat manufacturing industry and the company eventually started to grow.
They used to supply the dash panel and the customers, boat manufacturers, had to buy lots of different components to plug into it…now, IMP gathers and installs the components itself, making for a much more desirable product.

Mike Peters says: We actually load the complete stand that gets put on a pontoon…so we're supplying radios and steering wheels and those things.

AT the height of the recession, the workforce here dwindled to 35 but with a streamlined supply chain and a premier product, the company has grown to 225 workers. The company hires workers who are efficiency minded.

Mike Peters Says: We test them for manual dexterity, all of our folks here are working with small parts…lots of colors of things so we are testing them for their ability to differentiate color. Ability to read prints, which can be taught….basic reading skills.

The company has a strong in-house training program.

Mike Peters Says: If you look around, you'll see the folks in the yellow vests…we actually have a staff of trainers, full-time and everyone who comes through has to go through a standard training process in addition to the initiation stuff they have to go through so uh, yeah, we're training all the time.

Training, and growing. Indiana Marine Products has navigated some rough waters but thanks to some good piloting, this premier boating industry supplier is still creating quite a wake.




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