Mennie Machine Company started as a tool and die maker in the founder's garage. Now it is a major parts manufacturer for numerous large companies such as Caterpillar and Cummins. The problem with only being a part maker is that your company is at the mercy of other company's success or lack thereof.
One way to protect your company is to diversify. As Bloomberg News reports, Mennie Machine Company is doing just that but not in way that most companies might go. They are beginning to make their own AR-15s in their plant in Mark, Illinois which is about 100 miles southwest of Chicago. They have been an AR component manufacturer for a number of years now and already have their FFL. Mennie believes that going into arms manufacturing will give it more reliable revenues.
(David)Mennie expects firearms to generate more reliable revenue that would insulate it from economic downturns. Eventually, they could account for as much as 25 percent of its business, he said.
The factory cut its workforce of 330 in half after the recession that began in December 2007. The company, with $45 million in sales last year, was looking for steady income, “something to have some long-term growth,” Mennie said. “That’s what pushed us into this.”
Their new division is called MMC Armory. According to their website, MMC Armory has three versions of their AR-15 ready to go. As the interview below makes clear, MMC Armory will be making their own barrels, receivers, and bolt carrier groups.
It is this last part that really intrigues me as, from what I've heard and read, they have been in short supply and are a major sticking point in production schedules. Making their own full-auto rated nickel-boron coated BCGs will certainly give them a competitive advantage. A lot of companies make AR lowers; not a lot make bolt carrier groups.
The company also has plans to design and manufacture their own handgun in 9mm. I think they may find this a bit more difficult than ARs given the component nature of ARs and the loyalty that many gun owners feel towards their particular handgun.
This will be interesting to watch. As it is, I wouldn't mind trying out their MA 15 Tactical which guarantees .75 MOA and weighs only 6.1 lbs.