Toyotomi expanding, adding equipment

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By Geoff Hamill

Toyotomi first arrived in Washington County nearly 10 years ago, and for the past eight years, the company has been producing automotive products in the community while providing employment to local workers. Despite tough times in the economy locally and globally, the company has announced a $1 million expansion of its current facilities, as well as the purchase of a new $7 million transfer press to be used in the manufacture of some of its products.

“We have an office expansion which is almost 10,000 square feet, and we also have a maintenance expansion that will house our 12-person maintenance staff,” said Randy Nance, vice president of administration for Toyotomi. “The office expansion will allow us to consolidate our engineering staff as well as other mangement staff currently located throughout the facility. Plus it’s going to give us an additional seating capacity for 36 staff. That’s a big plus for us, and it shows we’re getting ready for the future. Despite the current state of the economy, growth and expansion are taking place in Washington County.”

In addition to growth in building size, Toyotomi is also adding production equipment. A new transfer press that has been recently purchased is expected to nearly double production of some parts.

“That machine is for OEM (original equipment manufacturer) production. In order to make one part of what we make, there are several processes,” said Yukihiko Ushiro, president of Toyotomi. “The current machine we have needs one machine for one process. The machine we have newly installed can handle several processes. This new one moves a lot faster than what we have currently. That means with this new machine, it will make the same products 1.7 times faster than the current machine. In other words, it can make the good quality parts cheaper. With cheaper pricing, we can be more competitive and get more new business. As you know, under the current situation, all of the automobile companies are very competitive right now, and in order to gain that new business, we have to win that competition.”

Toyotomi currently has about 250 employees, according to Nance, and he said other jobs are expected to be added in the future. He said the new jobs will be highly skilled positions that will require education and training.

“All of the jobs we will be hiring for in the future are not inexpensive positions. They are expensive, professional-type jobs that require good skills and education. We’re talking about engineering, and production-type people, and that’s what you want to bring to the community,” Nance said.

As the current fiscal year’s hiring stands, the company has hired about 56 new employees.

Hal Goode, executive director of the Springfield-Washington County Economic Development Authority (SWEDA), said the positions that will be needed at Toyotomi could be filled by students from the new technical college currently under construction in Springfield.

“Toyotomi has been big supporters of the new technical school and what it can mean to our community. We hope the location of the school and the needs of local industries will be a nice combination,” Goode said.

Ushiro said the growth of Toyotomi is a result of the company’s partnership with local agencies that have welcomed it to the community and offered support.

“In order to achieve this, we have had support from Springfield, Washington County and SWEDA. Without that support, and also the people from the community, I don’t think we would be able to achieve this much growth, so we are very grateful for all of your support,” he said.