November 15, 2011

DMN invests $2.5 million in West Memphis facility

Valves will be open in West Memphis
DMN Inc. grows distribution into manufacturing facility
by Michael Sheffield
(reprinted from Memphis Business Journal, Nov. 4-10, 2011)

DMN Inc. is investing more than $2.5 million to renovate 34,000 square feet of space and create a new manufacturing and distribution facility in West Memphis.

DMN is affiliated with DMN Valves of Brussels, Belgium, and makes valves used in the processing of dry goods such as powdered milk and sugar. Since 1995, DMN Inc. has been the North American distributor of the valves, which are manufactured at the companyai??i??s facilities in Holland and Germany and shipped to the companyai??i??s distribution facility in Marion, Ark. DMN moved to the region to take advantage of shipping opportunities through Memphis International Airport.

Chris Williams, the companyai??i??s general manager, has lobbied the board of directors for years to begin a manufacturing operation in the Memphis area to make it more competitive with the other 33 valve manufacturers in North America.

ai???Weai??i??re in the top eight, but we could be doing a lot better if we were producing here,ai??? Williams says. ai???We met with the board of directors in April and they agreed with our

Williams says once DMN Inc. hit the $4 million sales mark, DMN Valves began exploring the possibility of manufacturing locally. But U.S. economic conditions created concern about investing the money needed to get the facility up and running.

ai???Itai??i??s a tremendous investment, but we looked at the financing and we felt like nowai??i??s the time,ai??? he says.

Williams says the company began looking for an existing site to speed the beginning of production. It entered into an eight-year lease on its new site and has an option to buy the facility. It previously was the location of Universal Labs and had been empty for eight years.

DMN Inc. currently employs 10 people, but could grow that number to as many as 32 when the facility is up and running. Williams expects it to be completed by April 2012. The company is working with Mid-South Community College in West Memphis to train its manufacturing employees.

Williamsai??i?? goal is annual capacity of 1,700 valves and sales of $18 million.

Ward Wimbish, director of economic development for the city of West Memphis, says DMN could have chosen a site other than Arkansas, thanks to incentives from the state, including tax credits and infrastructure improvements, the company opted to stay put.

ai???It means a lot to West Memphis to have a new manufacturer, particularly one establishing a North American office,ai??? Wimbish says. ai???We will be working with DMN and the Arkansas World Trade Center to help DMN to also establish a presence in Latin

Williams says new manufacturing operation will eliminate the cost of paying freight costs from Europe and allow the company to add customers in Central and South America. It currently serves Canada, the U.S., Mexico and clients in Brazil, Argentina, Panama and Chile.

While the cost to get the facility up and running is steep in the current economy, Williams is confident the company will be successful.

ai???Weai??i??re investing an awful lot in it, but thereai??i??s only a set amount of dollars and 33 other companies vying for that business,ai??? Williams says. ai???In five years, Iai??i??ll either be a hero or the