Across the engineered material handling solutions sector, Myers Industries Inc. (Myers) is helping leverage a spectrum of major plastic production technologies. The business boasts proficiency in injection molding, blow-molding, rotational molding, and thermo-formed solutions, and has solidified its reputation as a leader in delivering innovative and high-quality products for the tire, wheel, and vehicle service industry in the US.
As also one of the largest tire repair distributors, Myers strategically positions itself within the evolving landscape shaped by industry consolidation, while navigating the growing demand for electric vehicles.
This year, the company celebrates its 90th anniversary in the industry, and, in recognition of its achievements, those in the team are reflecting on the business’ journey, growth strategy, and corporate culture. In an exclusive interview with Grant Fitz, the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and Mike McGaugh, President & CEO, we take a look at the distinct facets that define the company’s legacy.
To get the conversation started, Grant provides some insight into the composition of Myers, outlining the two major business units that underpin its operations. “We have a material handling segment, which constitutes approximately 70 percent of our business. This segment focuses on producing typically large, branded plastic material handling products used in storage, handling and protection, leveraging our unique engineering skill sets. We are one of the few companies in our industry that utilizes all plastic forming technologies. This helps position Myers uniquely in the market,” Grant begins.
Myers also has a second arm of the company with its Myers Tire Supply distribution business. With distribution centers strategically located, this business is positioned to provide tire repair centers across the US with everything they need from repair materials to under carriage repair equipment. Myers has great pride in working to fulfill delivery of customer orders within 24 hours. With an aging car fleet and tailwinds from the growth of sales of electric vehicles, which wear out tires 20 percent faster than conventional vehicles, the company is well positioned to capture this auto-aftermarket growth opportunity.
Both business segments have been impressively profitable, which has opened opportunities for the company to take on organic growth, as well as growth through acquisitions.
Grant notes the current challenges in the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) landscape stating: “The industry experienced a significant boom in acquisitions following the pandemic. This trend was was driven largely by low-interest rates. Now, with higher interest rates, sellers have been reluctant to move from inflated prices, which buyers are not willing to pay.” Grant adds that at Myers, there is a ‘very strong balance sheet’ and that the business is disciplined and patient for acquisition prices to stabilize. “When they do, we will be ready to move quickly.”
He further emphasizes the company’s active pipeline of acquisition opportunities, underscoring Myers’ commitment to exploring strategic growth avenues. This matches with the leaders’ vision of scaling the company’s operations.
To make its growth strategies plausible, Myers places significant importance on its company culture. From what we learn, the business adopts a servant leadership approach, as highlighted by both Grant and Mike. “The culture was one of the aspects that attracted me to Myers when I joined six months ago. Mike’s focus is on how we can support our employees. When we do our job well, and help support each other, it encourages those in our team to improve their own contributions. This then ripples across the organization, and ultimately contributes to the greater good to the community in which we operate.” This culture, according to Grant, resonates with employees, and fosters a sense of purpose and belief in the company’s mission.
Mike emphasizes the intrinsic satisfaction derived from this approach. For him, supporting employees translates into higher quality products and better service for the company’s customers. “There’s a lot of innate satisfaction that comes from doing that well; it has much more of an impact and connection to who you are than more dollars in your bank account,” he says, adding that aligning people through servant leadership creates a cohesive work environment that really goes beyond financial compensation.
Mike further stipulates the company’s unique position and strategy. As a 90-year-old startup business, he is immensely proud of the strengths of the company. Over the past several years, Mike has brought in multiple seasoned leaders from large cap companies who “know what good looks like and want to leave a legacy. The leadership team strives to implement the best practices while discarding aspects that may hinder progress. This blend of experience and innovation positions us as a dynamic player in the industry.”
Looking to the future, Myers is eager to stay ahead of the market curve and maintain its leadership in the manufacturing industry. As Mike mentions, “We are transforming the company with the One Myers Business System that provides us with a framework to improve how we do work by simplifying and standardizing our company, as we move from a de-centralized to a centralized company. Prior to 2019, Myers was largely decentralized, with different processes and business units. Now, four years into this transformation, Myers is a company that has grown over 60 percent or $300 million in revenue at nearly a 13 percent CAGR, while generating strong free-cashflow, and an improvement in earnings per share of over 80 percent.”
Grant also shares the need for the right infrastructure, leveraging the Myers Business System to operate at a larger scale, and helping to drive both organic growth and strategic acquisitions. He outlines a measured approach to growth, acknowledging the importance of maintaining a reasonable level of debt on the balance sheet, especially in the current higher interest rate environment.
From what the two leaders have shared, Myers emerges as a trailblazer in the engineered material handling solutions sector by combining technological expertise with a commitment to servant leadership and corporate culture. With a robust growth strategy, active pursuit of acquisitions, and a focus on scalability, Myers positions itself as a dynamic force in the evolving landscape of the manufacturing industry. “We don’t need to think about becoming a four- or five-billion-dollar company; let’s just take the steps we need right now to get to the next milestone. After each step, we’ll look back, reassess our strategy, and leverage the opportunities that acquisitions may bring to explore new markets and technology innovations across the sector,” Mike states, while concluding that the business is just getting started. His considered and strategic approach demonstrates the company’s adaptability and commitment to sustained growth.