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How Oriskany, Endicott manufacturers connected through FuzeHub program

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

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An employee at Square One Coating Systems in Oriskany focuses on his work duties. Square One Coating Systems and Endicott–based Amphenol IPC both credit their meeting though a virtual program that Albany–based FuzeHub hosted for their relationship which has helped both companies as the pandemic continues. (PHOTO CREDIT: FUZEHUB)

An Oneida County manufacturer and a Broome County firm forged a relationship after they met through a virtual program organized by Albany–based FuzeHub.

The nonprofit FuzeHub is the statewide center for the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NY MEP).

NY MEP is a network of 11 organizations — 10 regional centers and FuzeHub, the statewide center. The NY MEP network helps manufacturers “solve problems, accelerate growth, and create jobs,” FuzeHub said.

NY MEP is supported by NYSTAR, Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation. 

Square One Coating Systems — an Oriskany–based manufacturer that specializes in quick-turn deliveries of high-quality coating solutions — connected with Amphenol IPC, an Endicott–based provider of power distribution and interconnected products with applications across several industries, FuzeHub said in a March 30 news release.

Square One was looking for customers and Amphenol was trying to find a supplier.

As a result, Square One Coating has since hired three people and retained about 22 jobs that “may have been threatened” by customer issues amid the pandemic. The company is currently looking to hire for about five jobs to fill a variety of needs, FuzeHub said.

Amphenol IPC is a division of Wallingford, Connecticut–based Amphenol Corporation (NYSE: APH), “a Fortune 500 company with over 70 years of experience in providing total interconnect solutions to customers throughout the world,” per the Amphenol IPC website.

FuzeHub often works with small and mid-sized manufacturers to “provide referrals, make supply chain connections and facilitate introductions that could lead to business opportunities,” the organization said.

How FuzeHub meeting helped

In 2020, FuzeHub says it had to pause all its live, in-person event programming. The pandemic-induced cancelations of trade shows and events like FuzeHub’s solutions forums “created a gap” for many manufacturers, which often rely on in-person meetings and networking to develop new relationships with customers and suppliers. 

FuzeHub says it continued to provide direct services to manufacturers, but the organization also “recognized the need to develop digital solutions” that could fill the need for events and spontaneous interaction. 

It held its first-ever virtual-solutions forum last summer, creating a few new connections for manufacturers across the state, including the one involving Square One Coating Systems and Amphenol IPC.

When FuzeHub saw both Square One and Amphenol IPC had registered for the forum, it reached out to both companies in advance of the event to facilitate an introduction. 

“Based on our knowledge of what both manufacturers do and the information they provided when registering for the event, our team recognized an opportunity to build a relationship that would be beneficial to Square One and Amphenol IPC,” Elena Garuc, executive director of FuzeHub, said.

Square One was looking for manufacturers in need of its products and expert capabilities in specialized coating for metal products. The pandemic — and economic conditions preceding it — had “negatively affected” some of its large customers, FuzeHub said. 

At the same time. Amphenol IPC was interested in finding regional-supplier options that could provide “fast product deliveries to keep pace” with its manufacturing needs. Disruptions caused by the pandemic had “become a challenge” for some of its suppliers.

Since their introduction, Square One and Amphenol IPC have built a relationship that has “lifted both companies,” FuzeHub contended. 

Square One has seen “significant growth” because of its ability to meet Amphenol IPC’s supply needs, and Amphenol IPC has strengthened its supply chain by working with a regional manufacturer that is located nearby. “The introduction [with Amphenol IPC] through FuzeHub has led to a relationship that has helped drive our growth,” Lloyd Ploof, president of Square One Coating Systems, said. “We work hard to prove our capabilities, meet the needs of our customers and exceed their expectations. However, before we can show our partners what we can do, it needs to start with a door opening — and that’s why FuzeHub’s support has been so important.” 

“In my role with Amphenol IPC, I’m constantly looking for solutions to make our company stronger and help it grow,” Jeffrey Knight, director of operations for Amphenol Interconnect Products, said. “Recognizing the value FuzeHub provides manufacturers in New York State, we were excited about the Virtual Solutions Forum and learning about more ways they might be able to assist. We didn’t expect it would so quickly result in a reliable supplier relationship — but we’re grateful it did. The relationship with Square One Coating has been a big help, especially for our facilities in New York.”         

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