LOUISVILLE (July 25, 2017) — A recent acquisition by Louisville-based Manufacturing Consultants International LLC has the multi-faceted, woman-owned manufacturing consulting company taking on a new role in the logistics and packaging arena.
MCI, which provides consulting services related to material handling, packaging fulfillment and facility cleanliness, launched MCI Packaging Group in June. The new division will provide custom packaging services to the automotive, heavy manufacturing, chemical, e-commerce and consumer goods industries.
MCI entered the packaging services business by acquiring a 50,000-s.f. facility in Berea from Chillicothe, Ohio-based Advanced Industrial Sorting. MCI Packaging retained the 25 employees who worked for Advanced Industrial Sorting in Berea.
MCI and its new division, MCI Packaging, are 100 percent owned by Tiffanie Ashley, an immigrant from Laos who moved to Georgia with her family as a child near the end of the Vietnam War. She moved to Louisville in 2004 when the manufacturing consulting firm was certified as a minority business enterprise.
“We thought this was the right time to take our consulting work and know-how in the returnable and expendable packaging industry and actually provide the type of packaging process we advise our clients to use,” Tiffanie Ashley said.
“More companies are looking to outside sources to help manage inventory,” she added. “Our services save on freight and inventory costs because we work with our customers’ vendors in the management process. In the long run, this process is more green in that the efficiencies lead to reduced emissions.”
Through the Berea acquisition, MCI Packaging already is handling packaging services for Hitachi Automotive.
“We’re fulfilling three shipments per day by consolidating and repacking shipments from 25 of their tier one suppliers,” said Bill Ashley, Tiffanie Ashley’s husband, who has 30 years of experience in the packaging industry.
MCI Packaging is considering adding facilities near other Hitachi operations, he said, adding that he envisions those facilities being large enough to accommodate work for other customers as well, he said.
Part of the efficiency related to their service is the “milk route” process of packaging, warehousing and delivering ready-to-assemble parts, Bill Ashley explained.
“We go through the parts and sometimes re-pack them,” he said. The parts are put in custom-designed, protective packaging designed by MCI Packaging. “It’s a nice niche and one that I’m familiar with from past experience,” he added.
The process simplifies and accelerates manufacturers’ operations with multiple parts repackaged for ease of access by assembly workers, Bill Ashley said. “It takes expenses off the books and consolidates shipments while providing quality assurance through our handling and packaging of the parts.”
Both Ashleys are confident in the fact that their new packaging division will be successful.
“We have worked hard and learned a lot through the years,” Tiffanie Ashley said. “So we’re now using our expertise in several areas to provide our customers with a variety of complementary services.”
Tiffanie Ashley also is a 51 percent owner of MCI-AST, a manufacturing services company with more than 700 employees. MCI-AST provides services such as facility cleaning, quality sorting and containment, vendor managed inventory, assemblies and production labor.
Customers include Hitachi in Berea and Harrodsburg; Toyo Seat in Flemingsburg, Ky.; , IBCC, in Wisconsin; DENSO in Mt. Sterling, Ky.; Summit Polymers in Mt. Sterling, Ky.; and Curtis Maruyasu America in Lebanon, Ky.
The services offered by Tiffanie Ashley’s companies complement each other well. For example, MCI-AST employees can handle outsourced work from MCI Packaging’s customers to further streamline their operations and reduce operations headaches and expense.
That is particularly true when MCI-AST provides production labor services. MCI-AST has mastered a production labor hiring and training process that results in higher rates of worker retention in an industry typically plagued by turnover problems, Bill Ashley explained. “Clients have been very pleased with how we’ve turned around their turnover challenges,” he said.
All three of Tiffanie Ashley’s businesses are certified as Minority & Women Business Enterprises through the state of Kentucky and are certified as Minority Business Enterprises through the National Minority Supplier Development Council. In recognition of her success as a minority-owned business, Tiffanie Ashley received a 2016 Agave Cornerstone Award for MBE Supplier Excellence from the TriState Minority Supplier Development Council.
“I was very honored to receive the award from the TSMSDC,” Tiffanie Ashley said. “Awards are not what we work for. We work to satisfy our customers and to provide employment for our workers. But it is so nice to be acknowledged for building a successful and proactive business.”