Jumpsource’s joint venture with Union Special delivers more sewing equipment to mattress industry
BY DOROTHY WHITCOMB
Jumpsource, a supplier of “original-quality” replacement parts for machinery used in a variety of industries, is expanding its international distribution and forming logical partnerships to create a solid platform for the growth company executives want to see in the next five years. Some of that growth, they say, will come from a new joint venture with Union Special, an industrial sewing machine manufacturer based in Huntley, Illinois. The two companies joined forces earlier this year to produce sewing equipment for the bedding industry.
Headquartered in Delray Beach, Florida, Jumpsource was founded in 2000 by Michael Porter Sr., who serves as chief executive officer. Prior to launching the company, Porter owned and operated bedding machinery company Porter International, which was founded in 1948 by his father, Robert Porter, and sold to Carthage, Missouri-based Leggett & Platt Inc. in 1997. Porter International, which produces industrial sewing machines, is now part of L&P’s Global Systems Group.
Perfecting the parts
Transitioning from building complete machines for the bedding industry to manufacturing replacement parts for equipment used by multiple industries was an eye-opening experience for Porter, say his sons, Michael Porter Jr. and Sam Porter, who both are involved in the business. Sam Porter, who is vice president of operations, explains: “Our father was reborn when we started manufacturing parts. He thought we understood the parts business, but it wasn’t until he worked with companies like Caterpillar, Parker Hannifin and Oshkosh Corp. that he learned what quality really is and how to manufacture products with uniformity.”
The company’s customer base is, indeed, diverse, with rigorous requirements. Caterpillar, based in Peoria, Illinois, is a leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives. Cleveland-based, Parker Hannifin manufactures motion-control products, fluid power systems and electromechanical controls. Oshkosh, headquartered in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, designs and builds specialty trucks, military vehicles, truck bodies, airport fire apparatus and other equipment.
“Dad knew that we could make a huge impact by becoming a one-stop shop for original-quality replacement parts for all machines for all kinds of companies. What we learned was that these big companies expected tight tolerances and close quality control,” says Michael Porter Jr., Jumpsource vice president of sales.
To create a solid platform for manufacturing parts that meets the exacting specifications such companies demand, Jumpsource invested significant time and capital. The younger Porters both lived in China for several years while seeking out the best suppliers, setting up strong supply chains and establishing offices in Ningbo and Shanghai.
“Because manual manufacturing isn’t repeatable enough for machinery (replacement parts), we needed to invest in proper machinery and tooling,” Sam Porter says. “It took time and a lot of investment to get to where we needed to be.”
Ultimately, Jumpsource entered into agreements with factories in the Chinese cities of Ningbo and Shanghai. Together, these factories have 75,000 square feet of production space and are overseen by Shanghai-based Jumpsource employees. “Our Shanghai team manages quality control of production, materials and delivery,” Michael Porter Jr. says.
Jumpsource also has 12 U.S.-based employees, including six full-time sales representatives, plus four independent sales reps who work on behalf of the company. The team is experienced, with most staff having worked in the mattress machinery sector for years, Sam Porter says.
In addition to its headquarters in Delray Beach, Jumpsource has operated an office in Beverly, Massachusetts, but will close it at the end of the year “because Florida offers closer proximity to the South American market and is a better state to be in for a small business,” Michael Porter Jr. says.
The company also has a 20,000-square-foot distribution center in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The standard order-to-delivery time runs zero to two days, with overnight shipping available, company officials say.
Jumpsource has about 1,500 accounts and sells parts to companies around the globe—in fact, on every continent except Antarctica, Sam Porter says. Because international shipping sometimes takes longer than company executives would like, plans are underway to open additional distribution centers in Brazil, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.
Jumpsource manufactures more than 8 million parts annually, with about 6,000 types produced for machinery used specifically in the bedding industry. “We are the largest supplier of original-quality replacement parts for mattress machinery in the world,” Michael Porter Jr. says. And producing those parts on their own allows Jumpsource to have a significant leg up on its competition: “We’re offering American quality at very competitive prices,” he says.
Selling parts into multiple industries has led to a cross-pollination effect that the brothers see as a strategic advantage benefiting every customer they serve. For example, “from working in the aerospace industry, we were able to bring a special process that coats parts, hardening the outer surface but not the entirety of the metal,” Sam Porter says. “This process increases the durability of our parts.”
Going to the mattresses
Jumpsource has made a strategic decision to focus many of its future efforts on the mattress industry. “There are literally thousands of mattress manufacturers in the world and, based on population growth statistics, the amount of product they produce can only increase,” Michael Porter Jr. says.
The joint venture with Union Special is part of this mattress-centric strategy. “When we visited parts customers, they all knew my dad and would ask when the Porter family was going to make machines again,” Michael Porter Jr. says. “We heard it a lot and decided that it was time to put his ‘tribal knowledge’ to good use and start to compete with machinery again.”
Sam Porter adds: “We thought about going into machines for years, but didn’t want to make them unless they had discernable differences and were better than what was already on the market. You have to give the other guys credit. They make good machines, and there’s no point copying them.”
The first Jumpsource-developed and Union Special-branded machines were introduced at ISPA EXPO 2016 in March. Initial offerings include tape-edge, flange, binding and panel-binding machinery, all produced at Union Special’s Huntley facility. Jumpsource handles all sales.
Ambitious growth plans
Jumpsource is family owned and doesn’t reveal annual sales figures. However, company executives expect the company’s sales to grow dramatically, in part thanks to outside investment, which the company is seeking.
“We had 15% growth in annual sales this year over last and know that we can substantially grow future sales,” Michael Porter Jr. says. “We’re projecting a 50% increase in sales each year going forward.”
With that, Sam Porter says, Jumpsource “plans to triple the size of the original Porter company when my family owned it.”
Managing rapid growth is the biggest challenge the brothers expect to face. But Jumpsource’s manufacturing facilities currently are at only “25% to 30% of their production capacity” so there is ample room for expansion, Sam Porter adds.
Staying apace of machinery sales provides additional challenges. “Right now we have a 90-day delivery time and we need to make that faster,” Sam Porter says. “It’s important to execute perfectly, however, and have on-time delivery. We want growth without compromising quality.”
Other ambitious plans include adding customers in the Middle East and “selling machinery to everyone we sell parts to,” Sam Porter says.
Michael Porter Jr. sums it up this way: “We want to be the No. 1 mattress machinery company in the world and be recognized as the best in the industry.”