Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - 104

Hopkins Manufacturing Co.
www.hopkinsmfg.com / HQ:Emporia, Kan. / Specialty: Automotive aftermarket / David
Moore, senior VP of operations: "Hopkins is known as the innovator in the categories we serve."

Midwest

every task hopkins undertakes is
done with the mantra of "exceeding
customer expectations" in mind.

Creative Culture

hopkins invests its own resources into
research and development. by tim o'connor

One of the key ways Hopkins Manufacturing Co. separates itself from
other automotive aftermarket manufacturers is that its innovation takes
place in-house. While some competitors outsource their R&D, Hopkins
continues to make large investments
in innovation.
In May, the Kansas-based company
opened its new innovation lab, called
"The Foundry." "We were looking for
something that set it apart and crated
a clear label for the activities," Senior
Vice President of Operations David
Moore says of the name. The company
repurposed a storage space at its Emporia, Kan., campus and created new
offices and a lab area with prototyping
104

manufacturing-today.com SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016

equipment. The renovation granted the
Hopkins R&D team an innovation space
away from the main facility so engineers
wouldn't as easily get swept up in the
day-to-day manufacturing process.

Investing in Innovation
Innovation has been one of Hopkins'
core principles since the company's
beginning in the 1950s. During the
past six decades, Hopkins evolved
from a small family-owned manufacturer to one of the dominant brands
in the North American automotive
aftermarket industry, with four manufacturing facilities and six distribution centers on the continent and an
extensive footprint in Asia.

Much of that growth occurred in the
past 16 years following the arrival of
President and CEO Brad Kraft. Since
his arrival, Kraft spearheaded acquisitions and product advancements that
took the company from a $20 million
business to a major player with more
than $200 million in annual revenues
and 75,000 distribution and retail customers. "There is a sustained investment both organically and through
acquisitions to drive the organization
to where it is now," says Rick O'Leary,
vice president and general manager.
Hopkins is continually introducing
new products to the market. This year,
the company is launching new scrapers, ice brushes, brake controls and
cleaning products. "Hopkins is known
as the innovator in the categories that
we serve," Moore says. Those innovative and new products are critical to
Hopkins' strategy.
The company uses a metric called
the "product vitality index" to mea-


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016

Contents
Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - 1
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Manufacturing Today - September/October 2016 - Contents
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