About Us

The begining

 

Once a neighborhood machine shop in a leased 5000-square foot building, VMP now dominates the market from its 25,000-square foot corporate headquarters located north of Los Angeles.



Click here for company photos...Rewind, if you would, to 1958: Bob Schreiner, Sr., a screw machinist with a reputation as something of an innovator within his industry, joins the Van Dalsen & Poquette Screw Machine Shop. Two years later, partners Harry Van Dalsen and John Poquette take on Ernest Moe as a third partner, an event commemorated by the renaming and incorporation of the business to VMP, Inc. Bob, Sr., runs the machines; the partners oversee the administrative concerns. Although a small operation, the company's reputation as a shop that delivers high quality service and products is born. And begins to grow.

 

Today

Now, fast forward to 1990: The three original partners have retired or passed away. Thirty years post-founding, VMP's growth is reflected in its customer base (roughly 500) and the 14,000 square-foot plant it bought in 1984. Bob Schreiner, Sr., president of VMP, Inc. since 1969, issues a challenge to his children (and coworkers) Bob, Jr., Sue and Steve: Surpass the $1 million mark and I'll buy you each a new car.

Bob, Sr., passed away in 1991; two years later, his challenge was met. And, in the ensuing eight years, met again. Many times over.

VMP, Inc. today is a family-owned company that has grown and changed with the world around it, from humble beginnings to industry leader, through occasional lean years and ever-increasing flush times. Under the auspices of the Schreiner children, Bob, Jr., 46, Sue St. George, 42, and Steve, 44, (Bob Sr.'s wife, Betty, holds the honorary title of president), VMP has cemented its place in the competitive inserts market due to a business dynamic that unites customer service, product quality and razor-sharp strategic thinking.

Our numbers

First, consider the changes: once a neighborhood machine shop in a leased 5000-square foot building, VMP now dominates the market from its 25,000-square foot corporate headquarters located north of Los Angeles in the burgeoning Santa Clarita Valley in developing inserts and spacers for rotational and injection molding, inserts for the sheet metal industry, and custom inserts for the automotive and recreational industries. Once a three-man, three-machine operation, VMP today boasts 50+ automatic screw machines and an environmentally safe parts cleaning system (see accompanying story), and keeps more than 40 people employed during peak operating periods. Once supported by 30 local customers, VMP's 2001 database proffers a customer population of approximately 2000, and includes Boeing, Gregstrom, Rotonics Manufacturing Inc., Dakota Molding, Aggressive Molding and General Electric.

Now, consider the numbers: between 1995 and 1996, sales doubled ($1.2 million to $2.2 million); in 2000, sales increased 20 percent from 1999. Overall, VMP, Inc. enjoys an exponential increase of 15 to 20 percent in sales and volume annually. When VMP purchased its Santa Clarita facility in 1996, the shop was designed to accommodate an anticipated three-time growth. Five years later, the company is nearly there in terms of manufacturing, having doubled its original numbers; inventory-wise, VMP has not only tripled its original numbers but surpassed them twice.

An impressive history, yes - but to the people who comprise VMP, Inc., these numbers take on greater significance. The numbers are a legacy that unites hard work with a commitment to service, a legacy established more than 40 years ago, carried forward by the children of its former president.

"Much of our success comes from the fact that we're always thinking ahead of the industry," explains Bob, Jr., whose VMP business card reads Vice President/General Manager, but who also serves the company as advertising director, spokesman, troubleshooter, and shop straw boss. "Factor into this our reputation for the quality and cleanliness of our products, the technical expertise of our engineering staff and our ability to accommodate the delivery needs of our customers. Our philosophy is "if we've got it, you get it'.

Sue and Steve, chief financial officer and senior financial officer, respectively, agree, In theory, they serve as VMP's numbers gurus, overseeing the general ledger, payables and receivables and pension plan; in practice, like all VMP administrators, they have the ability to oversee activities throughout the company. Says Steve, "We put our life and our blood into this company. And it's paid off. I've seen a substantial increase in overall growth since taking over as SFO in 1991."

Meeting industry demands

"VMP has grown tremendously over the years," notes Jeff Carley, 48, senior operations manager, "and it's been fascinating to observe the changes. What hasn't changed is our focus to keep lead times down and product volume up, an approach that I feel is inherent to VMP's ongoing profitability."

Jeff's company tenure began in 1979 when he joined the VMP team as a machinist, a position for which he had only a rudimentary knowledge. The training he received from Bob, Sr., created the foundation for learning the broad-based demands of his present appointment. As senior operations manager, Jeff changes hats several times a day, moving from production to shipping to parts inspection (or as he may remark, "everything that Bob does not.") He also trains new shop employees to ensure VMP's proven method of production remains unhindered, although the company's turnover rate is less than dramatic. "In my time here," Jeff notes, "I'd estimate we've seen not more than five employees leave."

Indeed, VMP does enjoy a remarkably low personnel turnover, particularly for an industry where competing shops often woo experienced machinists with the lure of overtime and double shifts. Bob feels part of VMP's success at keeping its turnover down is grounded in the company's emphasis on employees having rewarding personal lives.

Click here for company photos..."Giving employees a sense of the respect we as employers feel for them is key," explains Bob, "and that is achieved in expected ways, such as overtime, and holiday parties and bonuses, as well as spur-of-the-moment events like a Friday barbecue. It's important that our employees know they are appreciated - not merely needed."

Another perque for VMP personnel is the plant's location. Santa Clarita is recognized as among the safest cities in the United States; also, many employees live in the area or its immediate environs. These points were taken into consideration when the company began planning its 1996 relocation, and remain a powerful incentive for commuters and families seeking relief from Los Angeles' notorious freeway gridlock and crime rate.

Our commitment

 

A commitment to customers pays off

Among VMP's core values: assuring that its products and services exceed customer expectations. In the late 1980s, VMP introduced MIL specifications for all its products (whether or not the items were intended for military or defense department use) as added assurance of high standards. The company is also ISO-compliant. Says Bob, "We are not ISO-certified in the sense that we lack the internal audit process that comes with certification. This doesn't affect the quality of VMP's products, however, which is already established."

Click here for company photos...Lisa Romero, 36, a 15-year VMP veteran, exemplifies the company's synergistic relationship with its customers. Lisa joined VMP in 1986 as a machine shop employee, over the years rising through company ranks in both shop and administrative positions. Today, as sales manager, she oversees all orders and pricing, and manages customer service and customer relations.

"We have an excellent rapport with our customers," she explains, "one that reflects an ideal blend of professionalism with a personal touch. This is how it was when I started here 15 years ago. This method of connecting with our customer base is a precedent established by Bob, Sr. and one that I know will continue."

Knowing each customer's needs and educating the customer, she believes, are paramount to VMP's continued success.

"Obviously, customers rely on us to help them meet their deadlines and work requirements," she says, "However, we don't simply write up orders; rather, we emphasize the specifics of each job, particularly for custom orders, by defining dimensional limitations, timelines and overall customer expectations. Once customers are aware of the requisite timelines, they can address other business needs while VMP completes the order."

The result? Says Lisa, "Our rejection ratio is extremely low."

 

Forward thinking

 

Forward thinking proves an ideal equation for continued business



"With VMP, you get the sense that they will grow with you . . .VMP recognizes the process as well as the limitations of our industry and understands, often before we do, what products will prove beneficial."



According to John Hammond, vice president of Mainland Products (a custom rotational mold maker), VMP's responsiveness to its customers and knack for targeting potential product needs has cemented his company's 16-year relationship with VMP.

"With VMP, you get the sense that they will grow with you," he says. "In addition to key factors - always getting a return phone call, for example, or being informed of the options when we require a rush job - VMP takes business to the next level. VMP recognizes the process as well as the limitations of our industry and understands, often before we do, what products will prove beneficial."

Such a situation occurred last year. Mainland personnel had discussed the need for a special fitting for an automotive thread with Bob Schreiner. Mainland had no planned sales or defined goals for such a product; VMP, however, recognized the potential, did the research and development and brought the item to Mainland's attention. The Ontario, California-based Mainland (the biggest maker of rotational molds on the West Coast) has since designed the product into application.

"Essentially, VMP offers the assurance of receiving the ultimate in service," notes John. "We might find a less expensive supplier but not a better one."

 

Internet and international

VMP's immediate and long-term strategic objectives include reaching a wider customer base through online sales. The company's Web page www.vmpinc.com, operational since 1997, offers visitors access to VMP's complete product line and custom-order options. Jeff Carley feels this is the next logical step in VMP's growth.

"We are continually expanding," he says, "and our numbers reflect this. Twenty years ago our rotational molding share was, perhaps, $2,500 annually; today it accounts for 60 percent of our business. Among my short-term goals is to explore the blow and vacuum molding industries and determine if VMP can expand into that market, too."

VMP also has plans that carry beyond the North American borders. An online order system is being developed to accommodate wire transfers from around the world, and is expected to be up and running by the end of 2001. Bob Schreiner believes that VMP has the potential to dominate the international inserts industry.

"I ask the question 'Is Egypt or Kenya getting a quality product?'" he explains. "I've seen the products currently in use internationally and I feel they lack what is acceptable in terms of design. VMP has the ability to provide the global market with a product not available from anyone else."

Agrees Jeff, "Moving into the international market will prove extraordinarily valuable once the logistics are worked out. Beyond that, I feel we can tap more market, domestically. Ideally, we will retain our share - plus a little more.

Rewind, once more, to the past: A screw machine shop is established under the guiding principle of high quality in service and product. And fast forward to 2001 . . . where some things remain constant.

Taking compliance a step beyond

In 1989, the State of California established rigid standards for manufacturers to follow when eliminating toxic chemical waste from their plants. Although VMP already adhered to a stringent cleaning process, it was evident that the company's current unit (a vapor degreaser built by Bob, Sr., in 1960) needed updating. Bob and Jeff, unable to find an acceptable parts cleaning system on the market, engineered a unit that would meet VMP's needs of temperature, correct cleansers, rotation, agitation, and durability.

"We attended the WesTec show that year," recalls Bob, "and met a sales representative from Magnus Equipment, an Ohio manufacturer of standard and custom washing systems. At the time, Magnus had a system that met some but not all our criteria. We required a system that offered minimal rinsing, left parts free of chips and prohibited parts oxidation. Several months later, they called on us and introduced us to a system that met these needs exactly."

Beyond meeting Bob and Jeff's original criteria, the Magnus system also provides timesaving benefits. On an average, more than 150,000 OEM and distributor parts routinely pass through the washer in fewer than three hours every day; the previously used vapor degreaser would require two operators and need to be in service 24 hours a day to complete the same product load. This element of speed without sacrificing quality has permitted VMP to increase its large-volume customer base.

Ultimately, the updated washer system enabled VMP to not only comply with State agency expectations but take them beyond by virtually eliminating waste (a key fact that is recognized by both Cal-OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency). In the two-and-a-half years VMP has used the Magnus washer, approximately 110 gallons of waste have resulted providing a dramatic decrease in disposal costs.