Automation Solution Provider: Weathering the Tough Times

Jan. 1, 2004
Gene Kalhorn fondly remembers the day four years ago that he and his wife purchased TAPCO, a Cincinnati- based Automation Solution Provider

Gene Kalhorn fondly remembers the day four years ago that he and his wife purchased TAPCO, a Cincinnati- based Automation Solution Provider. “It fulfilled a lifelong dream of owning my own company,” he said.

His company, which now has 28 employees, has major offices in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. TAPCO is one of only 100 members of the Association of High Technology Distributors. AHTD members are certified automation solution providers and have more than 60% of their sales in high-tech factory automation products.

TAPCO serves a broad industry base, including automotive (as a Tier One supplier for Honda), packaging, plastics, chemical, petrochemical, conveyor systems, semiconductor, printing, and consumer product automation. They are also a major Proctor & Gamble automation solution provider.

Challenges

There are a lot of challenges facing industry at this moment in time, according to Kalhorn. “Other than slow economic growth, the move of manufacturing jobs to China, Mexico, etc. is of major concern. We need manufacturers who are committed to automating their processes to be competitive, rather than moving their manufacturing offshore.”

At TAPCO, Kalhorn is focused on getting the company’s associates to buy into their solution selling strategy rather than continuing to simply sell parts. “In addition,” he says, “we have the challenge of selling our customers on coming to TAPCO for complete solutions rather than going to multiple traditional suppliers.”

Trends

Kalhorn feels that a major trend today is integrating vision inspection into motion solutions. TAPCO has created a core competence in the vision solution area and is skilled in providing turnkey solutions. Kalhorn notes this “saves significant labor costs and improves overall quality.”

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