The recession certainly took its toll on manufacturing, especially the automotive industry and the many suppliers, including the plastics processing and mold manufacturing companies. Wilbert Plastic Services (WPS), headquartered in Belmont, NC, also struggled as its Lebanon, KY, facility lost money during the downturn. That was 2009.
When WPS purchased the Lebanon injection molding facility in 2002, the plant was primarily dedicated to the appliance industry, said CEO Greg Botner in an interview with PlasticsToday. "That's what sustained the facility during the recession, but ultimately that business started to wane," he said. "That plant really was on our radar screen to close if we couldn't turn it around. There was lot of restructuring in the appliance industry and we just couldn't make money at that point."
However, things took a turn for the better when WPS began focusing on the automotive industry that was so prolific in Kentucky. WPS began proactively investing in the management teams, engineers, and manufacturing methods conducive to attracting automotive work.