Bettendorf, Iowa-based JMF Company is celebrating 65 years in business as a provider of an expansive line of rough plumbing products through plumbing and HVAC wholesale distribution channels. The company also is a preferred vendor in retail and to industry-leading OEM’s that require products and services offered by JMF. It also has been the leading vendor of major appliance installation kits and products for nearly six decades. The company continues to grow with the expansion of its line set manufacturing plant in East Moline, Ill., and its new 30,000-sq.-ft. West Coast production facility and offices in Corona, Calif. JMF Chairman and CEO Max Hansen took time to talk to Supply House Times about the company’s recent additions.
Supply House Times: What has the line set expansion project done for the company?
Max Hansen: We invested $3 million in the project, which makes the (100,000-sq.-ft.) facility the largest in the country with eight production lines. The expansion has doubled our production capacity. This allows us to be much more responsive to our customers. We’re focused on maintaining industry-leading 100% fill rates and the shortest production lead times. This expansion will help us continue to grow market share.
Supply House Times: What has fueled your growth in the HVAC line set business over the years?
MH: We entered the HVAC line set product category in 2002 and have earned our leading market share position through hard work and exceeding customer demands and expectations. We have a total commitment to superior product quality, exceptional responsiveness and customer support. No one offers more standard and custom products. We have worked hard to gain commitments from the most demanding and quality-conscious customers, both from the OEM and wholesale channels of distribution. We offer more than 12,000 SKUs, which allows us to provide our customer base with single-source solutions.
Supply House Times: What led to the decision to open your West Coast operation in California?
MH: The West Coast market and customer base in HVAC and plumbing is underserviced by many national companies. No line set competitor has full line production facilities required to service customers west of the Rockies. We are responding to our present and future customers in real terms with capital and employees in their market and servicing their needs locally.
To service the West Coast market, adding production there resolved freight expense and logistics by minimizing time in transit. With West Coast production, costs are reduced and the supply chain is shortened. That’s critically important and valued by our customers. In order to maximize our national brand and gain customer loyalty from important West Coast customers and customers who have a national reach, this is something we had to do. It was a no-brainer.
Supply House Times: Are there any new line set product opportunities for JMF in the near future?
MH: JMF is expanding its product offering, responding to an overseas competitor who currently is providing a limited line of ductless line sets using a “white tough skin” insulation product. Rather than matching competition with an identical product, we will be introducing JMF ductless line sets that are superior to foreign competition using what we are calling “EZ Pull” insulation. Customers who order this insulation will get industry-standard heavier “wall” copper tubing. We want customers to compare wall thickness rather than the insulation. Our tough skin EZ Pull will meet ASTM-E84 (Class A) and will be UL-listed. We’re committed to meeting or exceeding standards that should be met by all vendors.
Supply House Times: What’s in the company’s future?
MH: Aluminum line sets are coming. Rather than fight it, we embrace the future demands of our customers. We have produced aluminum line sets and will continue working with customers, aluminum producers and those with joining solutions in an effort to conclude “open issues.” We already have plans to segregate production and will eventually offer a full line of copper and aluminum line sets as demanded by OEM’s and wholesale distribution. There’s a lot going on right now at JMF. We’re in a growth mode and that’s something we’re very thankful for. We couldn’t do this without our loyal customers.