Abelardo Teran, Founder “Nothing in this world can take the place of good old persistence.”
These immortal words by “The Founder,” Ray Kroc, perhaps best sum up the grit and determination of yet another entrepreneur, Abelardo Teran—the founder of Manufacturing International Services (MAIS Industries LLC). As a cog in 90s corporate America, the young electronics and communications engineer Teran wanted out. He chose to bet on himself rather than live out his planned obsolescence within the grim corporate structure. So he set out, relying on his extensive industry knowledge to explore different business opportunities within the manufacturing sector, specifically in the CNC machining space. By 2005, Teran had tried his luck on multiple ventures, including exporting crashed vehicles for restoration and sale and setting up a spinning studio, among other things.
After many such business efforts, Teran realized that they had to get into manufacturing to take ownership and control of delivery, quality, and pricing. But with no funds or plans, or support from partners, this idea seemed farfetched at the time.
However, Teran did have an empty 6,000 sq ft building and $5,000 in savings, which he put to good use by buying a decommissioned Bridgeport Easy Track worth $12,000. Though this move put the passionate entrepreneur in debt for a brief period (which was repaid in no time), his ambition led him to quickly take ownership of the machine, install it, get the first job, set up the machine, make the program, and run the job. “It was difficult to get money for tools, materials and more equipment. So, I sold what I could spare, got a second mortgage on the house and asked a friend for a loan. Little by little, I was able to get my second machine,” says Teran. “With my earnings I paid labor, maintenance, tools, material, and invested whatever was left on the next piece of equipment.”
And success inevitably followed, as did his partners. They found and purchased an aerospace fastener drilling company closed for four years—to where Teran relocated and re-started the operation. Within a year, the company had better delivery and quality than its competitors, who were around for over 40 years. After resolving all debts and financial obligations, in 2010, MAIS Industries was born. “As soon as we started, we fought for every single part number that we got awarded, every penny we got was used to cover payroll, suppliers, debt, investment and my salary, in that order. I got involved with some commercial and trading activity to be able to get more money to pay our debts.
Taking one step at a time, we were able to pay everything—and eventually, we started to grow,” he prides.
And the rest, as they say, is history!
From Strength to Strength—the Battle-Hardened Perfectionists
We are flexible, dynamic, fast on decision making, customer-oriented, financially cautious with a continuous improvement mind
MAIS Industries has reached great heights since then. Today, they specialize in providing a wide range of part processing services and cost-effective labor solutions to the aerospace industry. “We are flexible, dynamic, fast on decision making, customer-oriented, financially cautious with a continuous improvement mind,” says Teran. This statement summarizes the company’s mission—to present the best solution to clients. But how does MAIS Industries achieve this? The products that MAIS Industries’ customers demand go through different processes, often at different locations, which are then vertically integrated. This results in reduced total lead time, lowered managing cost, and that too while there’s no compromise in quality.
At its core, MAIS Industries offers milling, turning, mechanical abrasion finishing, anodized type II, anodized type III, Chemfilm, Assembly, Laser engraving, and Ink marking, and are in the process of adding powder coating and screw machining capabilities as well. Simple or complex, low or high volumes, the company works from client designs and specifications to develop lines and hand labor processes that result in efficient, low-cost solutions. Furthermore, MAIS Industries’ staff works directly with clients to develop the appropriate production and stocking programs in a continuous effort to maximize cost savings while documented project management, quality, and general process standards ensure consistent product quality and on-time deliveries.
What differentiates MAIS Industries is its unwavering focus on listening to the clients. “When you have been on the other side of the fence and suffered the things that hurt your customers, it is easy to understand what they need and how they want it,” says Teran. For instance, the company helped a customer with two versions: the oldest version, a machined one with 13 different parts required assembly, and the newer version—this two-part die-cast needed to be powder coated to substitute the better-anodized process for the component. While the first design presented a cost constraint, the second faced a process issue. Powder coats will peel over time, creating dirt on medical devices. MAIS Industries designed a third version that achieved the best of the two previous versions. The company included its technology capabilities to make it on a single part with no assembly required at a lower cost. This success is a testament to MAIS Industries’ commitment towards maximizing client cost savings with intelligent machining services.
“Our reputation of delivering solutions that are customer-centric, efficient, and effective has the biggest influence on customers. Being a part of the sales force, I can assure you, our reputation sells more than I do,” asserts Teran.
An Employee-first Approach to Customer Success
MAIS Industries’ true strength stems from championing employees to become brand advocates and take charge in the way they serve customers. They understand the value of taking into account the different employee perspectives throughout the corporate ladder and then using it to help them feel heard and engaged.
“Every mind is different, but we try to help our employees look at the big picture, work for bigger things, and believe that they can achieve them,” says Teran. “We care! The bottom line is important but it isn’t the only aspect of business that’s significant. For me, it is more important to create and maintain opportunities for my employees and nurture strong long win-win relationships with our customers. And from personal experience I can say that a lot of good things come from working, abiding by this ideology.”
Renovate to Innovative—the “Future-proof” Mantra
With a firm belief in constant improvement, productivity, efficiency, and technology, MAIS Industries is re-structuring and getting a new plant manager. “I am removing myself from the daily operations to work on strategy and business direction. We are changing the organization chart to support cross-training and multiple function performance, renewing our equipment and software, and ensuring the new organization chart functions on the most important KPIs which we are redefining,” informs Teran. “We are not seeking immediate profits, and we are willing to sacrifice the bottom line to invest in the future.” Before COVID-19, the company has been developing a proprietary ERP system using robust automation tools to stay lean and flexible.
Further, they evaluate moving MAIS’s Tijuana manufacturing plant to its building instead of leasing since they are interested in getting involved in defense work. The company is adding a NADCAP certified powder coating process to its repertoire and will start a new screw machining division as well. MAIS envisions producing three times its current capacity within the same space, with the same number of machines and with the same number of people, while adding new processes for its customers’ benefit.
“The only thing that is constant is change. And to adapt or respond effectively to changes, you need to keep learning. My first course on how to buy machinery cost me around $40,000. Even though the machine was clean and good looking on the outside, it was in an almost disposable condition from within. Some of that cost was spent on fruitless efforts to repair it and selling it for scrap money. So we need to consider the cost of learning and be prepared to pay for it. As an entrepreneur, I’ve lived through this reality and continue to do with unbridled passion,” concludes Teran.