When Prime Advantage stepped onto the manufacturing scene 14 years ago, its group-buying approach helped small and mid-sized companies achieve savings and form relationships even the most veteran of these companies had never before seen. It’s not a manufacturer itself, but like an industry co-op, Prime Advantage’s insights and re­sources have become invaluable for its clients looking to save time and money while strengthening supplier relationships.

A lot has changed in the past 30 years for Prima Power Laserdyne, which, until April of this year, was known as PRIMA North America Inc.’s Laserdyne Systems Division. New markets, new customers, new leadership and a new parent corporation all have played a hand in the Champlin, Minn.-based company’s evolution. One thing that hasn’t changed, according to President Terry VanderWert, is its commitment to building quality, high-performance industrial laser systems for cutting, drilling and welding.

When Paul Neri started Neri Bakery in Port Chester, N.Y., in 1910, he probably did not expect the business to grow into the largest employer in town. With 311 employees on 24/7 shifts in a 240,000-square-foot facility, it is. And in the past three years, the company has invested more than $5 million in improvements to its plant. “It’s an enormous investment to stay up in this industry with the latest equipment, but if you do it, usually the payback is pretty good,” Vice President of Operations C. Domenick Cicatelli declares.

Tucked away in Stafford, Texas, just south and west of Houston, is a small manufacturing and technology company that has spent the last 35 years providing state-of-the-art connection gear and high-tech solutions for the subsea oil and gas industry. National Coupling Co. (NCC) has three main product lines: metal seal hydraulic couplings, hydraulic valves and chemical injection systems. These products are used in various areas of subsea oil and gas development throughout the world.

Some manufacturers make widgets. Others produce components for complex machinery. Then there are those that create mind-boggling works of art. From its elaborate stage set at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards to its spectacular visual displays at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, it is obvious which category Moss Inc. represents. The Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based company specializes in tension fabric structures for applications ranging from retail stores and arenas to conferences, trade shows and special events. 

A strategic focus on quality and customer service has made Mills Man­u­­facturing Corp. a global leader in manufacturing military parachute systems and components since World War II, according to President John H. Oswald. Ernest A. Mills founded the family owned company in 1935 as a women’s undergarment producer in New York City, but started making cut-and-sew military items, such as parachutes, tents and mosquito netting, as part of the war effort.

Aside from the nation’s breadwinners, few deserve more credit for putting a roof over Americans’ heads than Metal Sales Manufacturing Corp­or­ation. For more than 45 years, the company has been providing metal building products for residential, architectural, commercial and agricultural custom­ers with an emphasis on selection and service. According to President Jim Waldron, the company has the manufacturing capabilities and the know-how to hold onto its position in the marketplace while many of its competitors continue to struggle through the recession.

It’s not so much the physical instrument control panel that is important in vehicles nowadays, but the software behind the panel. “As the product lines evolve and become higher-end electronics, the hardware be­comes less important and the software becomes more important,” Max­ima Marketing Manager Kerry Lanza notes. “So the software applications which run it and have the direct interface with the user many times are unique and specific to Maxima.

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