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PK USA, Blue River Stamping plans to merge
By B.J. FAIRCHILD-NEWMAN
Two of Shelbyville’s most successful factory operations — PK USA and Blue River Stamping Inc. — are planning to merge, effective Sept. 1. Blue River Stamping will now be a division of PK.
PK president Eiji Umabayashi said that the consolidation “will eliminate the redundancies.”
He said that combining the companies will be a cost-saving measure, but Umabayashi added, “No employees will lose their jobs, and both facilities will continue to operate.”
PK currently employs 500, and Blue River Stamping has 100 workers.
According to Bill Kent, vice president of human resources and administrative affairs at PK for the last 10 years, Blue River Stamping was originally built as a separate facility because its market was so different from PK’s. The stamping machines at PK range from 500 to 1,500 tons, while the machines at Blue River Stamping are only 200 to 300 tons.
PK USA, 600 Northridge Drive, started operations in Shelbyville in 1989 and provides parts for the auto industry, producing 500 different components and consuming more than 35,000 tons of steel annually. PK’s primary clients are Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Toyota and Honda, and the company has annual sales of more than $100 million.
Blue River Stamping, 1755 McCall Drive, was built in 1997 as a subsidiary of PK USA. Blue River Stamping was built to produce small automotive stamping and accessories, and it sells most of its production of 530,000 pieces weekly directly to PK.
However, Kent said that the relationship between the two factories has caused some confusion over the years, and PK believes that using the same name for both factories will help the local community as well as customers of the two facilities to better understand that the two companies are connected.
PK will continue to operate the same factories at the two separate locations, but Blue River Stamping will change its name to a variation of PK — perhaps PK 2 or PK, Plant B.
“There will really be no change in the actual manufacturing of either plant,” Kent said, “but we will save administrative costs by not having to duplicate paperwork.”
Kent commented that Blue River workers will not lose their jobs, and they will actually come out ahead through a different compensation and benefit program.
He added that one of the biggest changes is that the Blue River employees will receive more vacation time to make this benefit equal to that enjoyed by PK workers.
PK USA in Shelbyville was recently recognized by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for its initiatives that promote fair and open competition in the workplace.
Blue River recently purchased new manufacturing equipment at an estimated cost of $258,000 and received a 10-year property-tax abatement in May from the Shelbyville Common Council for the purchase.
The parent company of PK USA in Shelbyville is the Japanese company of Press Kogyo, which has more than $820 million in assets and employs more than 2,000 people. The global giant has five facilities in Japan, and it is one of that country’s largest independent automotive parts manufacturers.
Press Kogyo operates 13 locations worldwide, and PK USA in Tennessee is the only plant in the United States, other than the two Shelbyville facilities, with connections to the large Japanese company.
Umabayashi also wants to make it clear that the consolidation reflects nothing negative about Shelbyville.
“We will continue to enjoy a positive working relationship with our Shelbyville community,” he added.
Copyright 2018 PKUSA Inc.