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Horn Blog

Horn USA Plans for Future Growth with New Facility

December 2020
Author: paulhorn
Company: Hartmetall-Werkzeugfabrik Paul Horn GmbH

As a subsidiary, HORN USA has found its greatest successes by mimicking the positive examples of its parent company. Just as Paul Horn GmbH has increased its manufacturing capacity for faster delivery and to better meet its customers’ requirements, HORN USA has also kept its finger on the pulse of customer needs while looking towards expansion.

Strategic growth has long been a part of the success of Paul Horn GmbH.  Since its founding in 1969, the company established its reputation for innovative solutions and quality workmanship in the production of high precision grooving, side turning, and slot milling tools for demanding metalworking users. While supplying customers with the finest cutting tool products has always been at the forefront of company culture, progress has been measured by company expansion, whether through product development, company size, or geographic reach.

By 1993, Paul Horn GmbH had begun opening subsidiaries to expand sales, manufacturing, and support capabilities to international markets. One of those subsidiaries, HORN USA Inc., was incorporated in 1997, beginning business operations in a modest office suite location in Franklin, Tennessee, and taking advantage of the 1998 edition of the International Manufacturing Technology Show to announce its official opening. Product specialists and sales managers traveled from Germany to Chicago to support their new colleagues in the United States during the exhibition. The trade show, promoted as the largest manufacturing trade show in North America, proved to be the prime location to introduce HORN’s precision tools and technical capabilities to the region.

Growing to Better Serve the Customer

With the same eye towards growth as its parent company, HORN USA has steadily increased its presence in North America, expanding multiple times through the years by providing customer-centric service. National Sales Manager Duane Drape recalls that when he came on board in 1998, the company was poised for tremendous growth. “It felt a bit eerie as the facility was mostly empty and the space quite vast for the limited number of employees.” But it didn’t take long for that space to be filled and expansion to become necessary.

In 2001, the company increased the size of its facility and installed its first CNC grinding machines to emulate German production. The manufacture of precision cutting tools in the U.S. allowed for shorter delivery times of imperial sized product, metric items, and custom tooling, contributing to HORN USA’s tremendous sales growth.

HORN USA’s second expansion increased its footprint in 2005. The space acquisition gave HORN USA room to double its manufacturing capacity to support the growing business across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

The third expansion, in 2013, increased the total area to approximately 40,000 square feet (3,715 square meters) under one roof. A modern training facility with ample seating capacity was included in the extension and became a focal point for future progress.

Today, HORN USA manufactures standard and special products from the Supermini®, Mini, Mini Milling, DR Reaming lines as well as the 312/315/314 range of products. Production consists of more than 25 CNC grinding machines as well as support equipment. The continued increase in demand for the products in North and Central America has led to further need for expansion.

Locking in the Ideal Location

In the third quarter of 2020, all of the company’s production capabilities will be relocated to a new facility 0.5 miles (0.8 km) from the original office suite. Interestingly, this substantial expansion has been on the company’s radar for many years. In 2002, a new management team was established. One of the goals the team set during its first few months was to find a permanent location for HORN USA.

Large buildings in the light industrial zone are not commonplace in the immediate area of HORN USA, so it took a while to find the ideal opportunity. Finally, in 2016, 10.76 acres (43,544 square meters) with a 101,000-square-foot (9,383-square-meter) light industrial building became available. In typical HORN fashion, the management team reviewed and evaluated the property and determined that because of its proximity to the existing plant, it provided the ideal solution to the next stage of expansion.

“Not only are we able to stay in the same general location, but it also allows us to keep all of our employees and maintain two-day delivery by UPS Ground to more than seventy percent of our customers,” Mr. Drape says. A modest administration area and warehouse areas were temporarily reconfigured and leased to smaller companies until HORN USA was prepared to undertake the much needed renovation to the facility.

In the third quarter of 2019, construction began to bring the facility to the standards expected of HORN USA. On top of the initial investment of $10,000,000 (EUR 8,798,000) for the land and existing structure, $16,000,000 (EUR 14,077,000) was directed toward building improvement and furnishings, along with $4,000,000 (EUR 3,519,000) in equipment. Nearly 400 people in all have been involved in the 14-month construction project.

Mr. Drape says, “The new HORN USA North American Headquarter building is a state-of-the-art facility that provides us with the space and capabilities for at least 15 years of growth. It allows us to be a valuable contributor to the local economy and provides for HORN to have a full manufacturing position in North America for holders, grinding, and coating.” With the customer at the heart of all company development, providing the highest quality product and maintaining the best level of service and support has been the driving force for this move.

Advanced Training Facilities

Access to comprehensive training has been a long-standing key to the success of both HORN USA and its customers. The new facility offers substantially increased training capabilities. All of the meeting and training rooms have been designed for flexibility beyond the classroom setting. These rooms are well suited for group training. Tables and seating can be rearranged to promote interactive learning, with screens easily viewable from any position in the room.

The training rooms have been set up to take full advantage of HORN Academy – an initiative of parent company Paul Horn GmbH, designed for both internal training and external training for distribution networks and end users. The internal training focuses mostly on applications or even basic learning such as how to use Excel. External training is geared more towards tool usage, proper application, and choosing feeds and speeds.

The AV system allows live streaming of demo cuts and demonstrations of new product releases. Remote learning sessions allow live demonstrations to be viewed anywhere, broadcasted to any display device that can connect to the network. Demonstrations and training classes can be held live on site with as many as 240 people and can be shared via Zoom or any other meeting platform as well.

With an eye to the future, even before the impact of Covid-19, the company saw the need for strong remote training capabilities. Now, with the uncertainty of how face-to-face interaction may be affected moving forward, the new facilities help to alleviate any concerns. Mr. Drape explains, “We may never again get to the level of customer visits that we have had in the past, but the need for effective training never goes away. The remote capabilities fill that void without missing a beat.”

Over a recent three-month span, HORN USA has held 40 online training sessions that have been attended by as many as 200 or more people at a time. Nearly 500 different attendees have already taken advantage of these training opportunities. The company holds three training sessions each week in the building. External team members are also providing individualized training, either on site or remotely through the same platform that is used in house.

Always Forward Thinking

Even as HORN USA makes the move to its new facility, the company will continue to drive home the principles that have helped it to prosper. First and foremost, it will serve the needs of its customers through top-notch training and support and the best quality products.

With the implementation of the new production area, once it reaches full capacity, HORN USA will be able to roughly triple the amount of product that it grinds in the U.S. It will also have the capability of in-house coating as well as toolholder manufacturing. The warehouse will have the capability to immediately ramp up to 350 picked line items per hour (from the existing full capacity of 175).

Even with 44,600 square feet (4,143 square meters) of production space, the facility holds an additional 27,000 square feet (2,508 square meters) for future growth in that area. The future is bright for this North American subsidiary, and it is prepared for the road ahead.

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