Sunday, November 10, 2002

Floturn flourishes as others fall

Anything over 10 percent net profit goes back to customers

By Mike Boyer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FAIRFIELD - Floturn Inc. has managed to flourish despite a recession that's taken a toll on many manufacturers.

[photo] Paul Booth, an anodizing inspector at Floturn in Springdale, looks over a photoreceptor.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
The company, which first developed a proprietary process to produce photoreceptors for copiers in the mid-1950s, increased its sales by more than 20 percent last year.

The growth in sales to $56.8 million, fed in part by the company's second acquisition since 1998, pushed Floturn up 10 spots to 78th on the Greater Cincinnati 100 list of largest privately held companies.

"Our philosophy is once we make 10 percent net profit, anything over that goes back to our customers, whether they want it or not,'' said Robert Glutting, chairman of the employee-owned company.

That and an unrelenting focus on cutting costs have helped Floturn extend its market leadership while others have struggled.

Floturn, which started life as a subsidiary of the Lodge & Shipley machine tool company, has prospered since an employee stock ownership plan acquired the business in 1988.

Back then, Floturn produced about 200,000 photoreceptors annually using its diamond-turning process on aluminum copier drums.

This year the company will produce about 30 million.

Where once Floturn had five U.S. competitors, today it has none.

"We are the world's leader in photoreceptor production'' for copiers and laser-printers Mr. Glutting said.

Competition from Japan and Europe isn't an issue.

"We can ship our product to Japan cheaper than they can make it there,'' he said.

Since 1988, Mr. Glutting said, Floturn has cut its costs by 50 percent.

"You can't rape the customer; if you do you end up dead,'' he said.

Floturn's 300 employees have plenty of incentive to keep costs down because that keeps their quarterly profit-sharing checks going up, said Michael North, Floturn's president and CEO.

"Our approach is, every dollar of profit is shared equally by all employees,'' Mr. Glutting said.

The company estimates that profit sharing averages 82 percent of each employee's base salary, he said.

Last year's revenues were helped by the company's acquisition of Magnus Precision Mfg. Inc., a Phelps, N.Y., metal-cutting job shop that does precision work for a variety of customers in the aerospace, medical and recreation industries.

Magnus, which has 60 employees, has moved into a new 55,000-square-foot plant since Floturn acquired the privately held business in mid-2000.

Two years earlier, Floturn acquired Printer Components Inc., a Victor, N.Y., supplier of diamond-turned photoreceptors for the laser copier market.

Magnus, which has the capability to make anything from medical instruments to golf putters, diversifies revenues.

Photoreceptors represent about 90 percent of Floturn's sales, which are expected to top $60 million this year.

Mr. Glutting said Floturn continues to look for potential acquisitions to expand its contract metalworking business but remains selective.


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