41 YEARS AND FACING THE FUTURE: Moseys Production Machinists

By December 20, 2016Articles

Bob Mosey, second generation owner in front of their Mori Seiki NH5000 DCG with 24 pallets.

Moseys Production Machinists is a family owned and run business that dates back 41 years. Second generation owner Bob Mosey is capitalizing on their successful four decades of manufacturing and setting in motion plans for the next 40 years and beyond.

Fred & Nedra Mosey started Moseys with a single Mori Seiki engine lathe in 1975. “Much to my mom’s dismay, dad leveraged their home to buy that first machine,” tells Bob Mosey. “He worked evenings after work with the goal of not making one of anything anymore.” Fred was a tool and die maker and the prospect of production runs appealed to him. So much so that even the company’s name reflects his desire, Moseys Production Machinists. “We are a production machine shop and have been since the beginning,” describes Bob. “We work mostly in medical, medical laboratory, medical device, hydraulics, laser, natural gas, aerospace, and oil/gas. The first 4 or 5 customers we ever had were oil related, but the embargo in the 80s nearly killed us.” Diversification kept them going. In those days they machined everything they could get their hands on, including fiberglass just to stay alive. It was a lesson learned and one of the reasons they now have a more diverse customer base. Their focus is working with and creating relationships with OEMs in all industries.

Fred was able to quit his day job and work full time for himself. He picked up a used Bridgeport mill from his former employer and away they went. Mom was the first employee, but 15-year-old son David started working after school right away. It took Bob six months on and off before he joined the company full time. “I went from high school to the Air Force, then right to the workforce,” details Bob. “My sister Sheila got involved doing the books when it became necessary that accounting was a full time job. Together mom, dad, brother, sister and I grew the business from a little 2400 sq.ft. industrial unit in Fullerton, CA.” As neighboring units became available Moseys would punch through a wall and expand the company. It was a disconnected way to the run the shop and Bob knew it was time for a move. “In 1994, a broker found us a larger building for less money than we were paying in rent,” tells Bob. “I only needed to come up with the down payment.” Bob followed in his father’s footsteps and leveraged all he had to buy their first building. “We cashed in everything to buy our first 11,500 sq.ft. building. We felt like we would never outgrow it, but 8 years later we were elbow to elbow again and in search of larger accommodations. In 2002 we moved to our present 32,000 sq.ft. manufacturing facility in Anaheim and have room to grow. We have nice wide aisles and with the right combination of machines could double our manufacturing without the need to expand our footprint.” Their growth goal is just that, to double revenue in next five years.

NTMA has been a large part of Bob’s life. He is a big proponent of the organization and has been since attending his first meeting. Bob’s dad and sister joined NTMA in 1992 for their insurance program. Almost ironically they didn’t end up using it and were just going to let the membership expire. “My dad was not a joiner, not into networking, didn’t want to go to meetings, he saw no real value in the membership,” explains Bob. “One day we got a flyer faxed to us to tour the local C-17 plant. My brother and I asked if we could go and dad let us. We had never been outside these four walls so this was a new experience.” The tour was fantastic, but it was the lunch after that that opened Bob’s eyes. Bob found himself sitting next to John and Bert Belzer of TCI Precision Metals. He knew them because Moseys bought blanks from their company. “I was so impressed that I was eating lunch with these two guys,” describes Bob. “John was the NTMA Los Angeles chapter president and there he was eating lunch with me. He was just a regular guy like I am. He invited me to come check out their monthly meeting with a round table discussion. I walked into the meeting and didn’t know anyone. Once the roundtable started people began throwing out problems and the collective group helped solve them. They even solved an issue I was having. I was hooked after that.” Bob went to all the meetings, met new people, learned new things and his involvement escalated quickly. He joined the board of directors and went through all the chair positions in the LA chapter before doing the exact same thing at the national level. He spent six years going through the chairs at National and in his chairman year, he visited 20+ different chapters of NTMA. “In one year I toured 80 different shops around the country,” explains Bob. “People with huge operations were willing to share information, it was enlightening. I saw things I strived to be, and things I never want to do. That first NTMA meeting changed me, and changed this company for the better. I never went to college, NTMA was my schooling and I hope I can pass some of my knowledge on to the future leaders of this industry.”

2013 was a crossroads personally and professionally for Bob. It marked a point in time where honoring the past needed to be replaced by looking towards the future. “My brother changed careers before dad died,” tells Bob. “Then after dad passed in 2000 my sister Sheila and I ran the company.”  Sheila battled health issues and passed away in 2010. Like so many family run businesses Bob was tasked with taking care of his aging mom and Moseys. “After my mom passed in 2013, I looked at the company with a new set of eyes,” he explains. “It wasn’t dad’s business any more, it wasn’t about keeping things going to take care of mom, it was about JoAnn and I. What did we want to do with this asset?” They were faced with a situation that many companies similar to theirs are faced with every day. What did we want the company to be?

Options included closing Moseys down, build it up and sell it, auction it off, retire now or retire later. Bob and JoAnn took their time and decided what they really wanted was to keep Moseys going. “Moseys is in a trust for our children,” continues Bob. “But that’s not it. We want it to keep growing into whatever it is meant to be, and keep supporting the families of our 30 employees. We want Moseys to go on being successful long after we’re gone.” To do that Bob needed to change the core culture of the company with everyone on the same page. It was evident how difficult decisions like these are just listening to Bob detail his journey. “You ask around and it is something most of us in this industry haven’t thought about, let alone have a definitive plan. Maybe retirement is 5 or 10 years off, but grooming leaders today will pay dividends in the future. Everyone in the company knows the plan, and is doing their part to help us succeed. We set about putting things in place for us to be able to sustain and go through a succession. Our primary focus has been geared towards that for the last three years.”

Changing the culture started with strategic goals, leadership development, and lean manufacturing. Bob learned about lean in the 90’s and fully bought into it. He read the books, followed the guidelines and even incorporated the 4 arrows of process improvement into their logo. The problem was when Bob learned about lean he failed to instill it as a culture in the company. Management knew about it, but it never became a way of life on the shop floor. “Dad had taught us a lot about production processes and we were already running in cells back in the 70’s,” explains Bob. “It made sense then to have machines close to each other.” They would move an engine lathe, a turret lathe, a drill press and a Bridgeport next to each other depending on what the processes required on each part. Moseys was constantly moving equipment until they got to CNC. “Somehow we went from having the machines together for production, to having milling and turning departments. We got away from departments when we moved to this building. You see in the shop we have cells of two lathes and a mill because a large portion of the parts we manufacture require those 3 ops.”

The first CNC machine Fred bought was a Nakamura lathe. His son inherited Fred’s love of Japanese machines and Moseys is full of them. Bob appreciates their precision and their long service life. “We buy the right machine to meet a specific need,” tells Bob. “They don’t all have to be the same brand but we only run Japanese machines in this shop. We have modernized with DMG Mori, Okuma, Matsuura, Kira.” Part of the lean culture of the shop is to maximize everything from floor space to spindles. “We have 21 spindles running right now spread between a little over 18 machines. We have two Mori Seiki LPP (Linear Pallet Pool), one with two DMG Mori Seiki NH5000 DCG and 24 pallets and one with two Mori Seiki NH5000 and 32 pallets. We also have a DMG Mori NTX 2000 mill-turn. This machine is fantastic. It has two lathes and 5-axis mill in a single unit with a robot arm. We run those machines lights out. People ask how many shifts I have and I say three, but only one with people.”

To make the company more sustainable everyone had to be engaged. Everyone from Bob to Fernando, their custodian, were part of the process improvement. They brought in CMTC to do a company wide 26-week lean training program. It was a big commitment, but every Friday they shut down and went through lean training together. “It was an evolution and is still evolving,” touts Bob. “By changing the culture and getting everyone on board they all know that they have part in the success of the company. We never had a good set of metrics to measure how we are doing, but now we are mining our data and making it available to all our people.” Moseys has had an ERP system since 1989, but up until recently they didn’t extract the data for anything other than replicating what they were doing manually. “We have bright young minds that are doing an incredible job generating reports and spread sheets,” continues Bob. “More importantly the reports are actually useful.” The people on the floor are eating up the information. They don’t see it as a person with a stopwatch and clipboard measuring what they do, but as a way to maximize performance. Moseys’ sales goal metric sits on the shop floor for everyone to see. When they meet that goal they get Panera Bread for breakfast. “It is making a world of difference in how this company is run and how we are performing,” tells Bob. “The employee engagement, not the Panera.”

Moseys is two years into their five year plan of doubling revenue. They need the growth to support the continued development of their leadership team and for sustainability through a succession. “We have great leaders now,” details Bob. “The problem is I want to pay them more, and we will eventually need a president. To make that a reality our revenue needs to increase. We’ve made great strides so far at accomplishing that goal, but we still have a ways to go.” Bob’s son Nick has joined the company doing the bookkeeping, and his other son Patrick is also dabbling in the industry. It brings Bob solace knowing that if they want to be part of the business they can, but if they don’t that’s fine too. Moseys was built on relationships. Forty-one years garnishing relationships with customers, with employees, with family. “We’ve always had great quality, always had good delivery and we have the best group of customers,” concludes Bob. “We have customers that have been with us since day one and they need to know we will be here for decades to come. Moseys is here to stay and with our strategy in place Moseys will outlive us all.”