New Investments Launch Production for MERV Marine
by Casey Ellis
MERV Marine USA Inc. (MERV) is a US registered corporation providing Variable Beam Catamaran designed vessels incorporating multipurpose functionality and operating versatility into one unique hull design.
The MERV offers economical and viable solutions to the global maritime industry via interchangeable modules for the Emergency Response, Environmental Solutions, Life Safety and Work boat service sectors.
The company worked with Chris Gunter, marine architect, to help make the idea of a vessel that is “dedicated to life, safety, humanitarian and environmental response” a reality.
In 2016 and 2017, TMAC TEEX worked with MERV to review and evaluate market intelligence data, provide market intelligence to validate and prioritize the North American work-boat industry based on revenue accessibility, develop a North American competitive landscape assessment, and develop a pitch deck for the company to use to identify appropriate investor market channels.
Before working with TMAC, KW Industries manufacturing capability was limited to producing non-tapered square steel lighting standards. Their desire was to penetrate the roadway lighting market in the state of Texas, but the TxDOT specifications called for a steel tapered tube with stringent strength characteristics.
At that time, only two companies in the U.S. were capable of meeting these requirements. KW understood that penetrating this new market was going to be a significant project that required time, capital investment to include a new facility, and a great deal of manufacturing and tube mill expertise.
From the beginning, the owner of KW Industries reached out to TMAC for technical assistance in launching this project.
With the aid of the pitch deck produced by TMAC TEEX, MERV located the right boat builders and machine shops, and first production models are under construction and coming in under budget. The new boat builder has even invested in the company.
The prototype boat was used by Corpus Christi A&M for rescue and recovery efforts during Hurricane Harvey. After this successful demonstration, the Corpus Christi marina applied for a $699,000 grant for the MERV and five modules to meet immediate needs to improve their capabilities to respond to environmental, life safety, and humanitarian issues on a moment’s notice.
The TMAC team took a lean centric approach to helping KW. After working closely with KW to put a plan together, TMAC designed a layout and flow process for a new production plant that optimized lean principles to maximize productivity and minimize waste. TMAC then assisted in the equipment design of a state-of-the-art tapered tube mill with safety and quality as key elements. Guidance and recommendations were also provided by TMAC during the installation of the new equipment and initial operations.
In less than three years, KW Industries was able to penetrate the roadway lighting market with a steel tapered tube light standard that meet or exceeded ASTM and TxDOT specifications. In doing so, they became only the third company in the U.S. with this capability.
Married with their superior finish coating technology, KW Industries benefited from a significant competitive advantage resulting in $5,000,000 of new sales in just one year. In addition, KW Industries attributes $4,500,000 in cost savings to the assistance TMAC provided during this project. Just as significant, 27 jobs were either created or retained as a direct result of this new product line.
The National Institutes of Standards and Technology, NIST, has recognized the KW Industries/TMAC implementation project as an Innovation Engineering project due to the extraordinary product innovation/development, lean services, and strategic planning efforts.