TOPEKA – When it comes to automotive product manufacturers in Kansas that excel in innovation, distribution, and quality, one would immediately think of BG Products, Inc.
BG Products was founded in 1971 by six WWII veterans and a land-speed record holder, all with years of prior experience in the automotive industry. Headquartered in Wichita, with locations also in El Dorado and Derby, BG is absolutely a Kansas company. According to Darin Greseth, CEO, President, and Chairman for BG, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Kansas provides a great place to live,” Greseth said. “Being in the center of the country is definitely an advantage for us. I’ve lived in multiple big cities over the years and this is my favorite place. I like it here better than anywhere.”
Greseth’s Chief of Staff, Meeghan Dunleavy, mentioned that she hopes the successes of BG Products will help challenge some of the stereotypes about Kansas.
“Kansas is a state that people might think of as a flyover state,” Dunleavy said. “But we’re a worldwide company and we’re headquartered here. We’ve found that this is a really wonderful place to grow.”
BG is on the rise in the industry, having nearly doubled their workforce in the past few years (now employing more than 300 people). According to Greseth, this is due in large part to the several technological innovations that BG has embraced in the past few years.
As of now, BG has implemented robotics, 3D technology, and several other automation features into their daily projects. While the common notion in terms of automation is that it is a recipe for lost jobs and layoffs, Greseth says this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“By no means has there been a decrease,” Greseth said. “The same guy who did all of our welding is now running the robot that does it. They’ve just transitioned into different positions.”
By investing in on-the-job training, BG has opted to teach workers new skills instead of replacing them with robotics.
The company has used the new technology to optimize the workforce, meaning productivity on the factory floor has increased significantly, and without the need for layoffs. Most of the jobs that have been automated are the more strenuous roles on the floor.
BG has been able to shift focus onto new initiatives with the time they’ve recovered from automation. According to Greseth, the company has added a second shift to the manufacturing workforce for the first time since 2012. According to Greseth, the name of the game is to get even bigger and even better in the future.
“We always strive to be first and best in everything we do,” Greseth said. “We’ve got some new big opportunities and the potential for significant growth in the next couple years.”
According to Chief of Staff Dunleavy, that growth will be in line with the spirit of the company and its strong connection to Kansas.
“For us,” Dunleavy said, “being where we are is vital to who we are.”
For information on BG Products, visit www.bgprod.com.