JOPLIN, Mo. — How does a manufacturing company stay in business for more than 60 years? The answer is through diversification.
Able Manufacturing in Joplin has been in business since 1954. At one time, the vast majority of the items the company made where metal products like truck cabs, but in recent decades the vast majority of their contracts have been of a different fabrication, namely fiberglass.
And while many of the companies they’ve worked with may not sound familiar, that’s not always the case.
“So uh we’ve been a partner with Kawasaki for 24 years now, uh we’ve made train interiors and exteriors, and we’ve made Jet Skis and various other things,” said Able Manufacturing’s Vice President of Operations, Dean Kinzer.
Able manufacturing also makes fiberglass exterior front and rear parts for agricultural companies like case-new Holland. And in recent years, they’ve been producing front sections of light rail systems called bonnetts.
“Uh we have built bonnets by the thousands over the course of the year, uh and we have done, we have new contracts that will build for the New York City Subway Line over the next five years,” said Kinzer.
This represents one of the company’s potentially biggest new product lines, items that go into water slides.
The company currently employs 180 people, but Kinzer says they have openings for as many as 40 more. Kinzer is one of 28 veterans that work for the company.
The facility sets on a 39 acre plot near 7th and Schifferdecker and has a total manufacturing space of 326,000 sq. ft.