Noblesville company gets mention on Forbes list

SMC was named one of the top 50 innovative companies in the world by Forbes Magazine.
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As many businesses struggle in this economy, one local, Japanese-owned company is growing.

Auto components maker SMC was named one of the top 50 innovative companies in the world by Forbes Magazine. The company is expanding and hiring, but the big question is: "What's the secret behind their success?"

SMC could be one of Indiana's best kept secrets. But word is getting out about its headquarters in Noblesville.

"It's a pretty good feeling," said Kelley Stacy, the Director of Operations for North America. "We create about 140 new products every year."

It's not the company's only boast. SMC hasn't had a price increase in 15 years.

"We have never raised our price to our customers since 1997. The way we do that is by streamlining," said Stacy.

She led the company's gutsy move from the eastside of Indianapolis to the sprawling location off 146th and Cumberland Road three years ago. The move came during the height of the meltdown of the auto industry, one of SMC's largest customers.

"We're so diversified, we're in every other industry. So even when the auto industry was having issues, we supported so many other industries that we were okay," explained Stacy.

SMC was off to the races creating cylinders and valves tailored to its customers demands. Six hundred thousand base products, with millions of variations, are now at the center of food packaging, medical manufacturing.

"This was actually a design from scratch kind of thing," said Chad Bosler, the company's production director as he showed Eyewitness News one of the products his engineers created.

The facility is a million square feet right now, that's 28 acres under the roof, and enough to house as many as 22 football fields, according to company estimates.

And it's growing.

Next month, another 600,000 square feet will open up for more manufacturing and warehouse space. On the jobs front, SMC is on the hunt.

"We really have difficulty recruiting and getting engineers. With this expansion, that's one of the things we hope to do is to be able to get more engineers here," said Stacy, who also says there's always a need to add to their 600-member direct sales staff.

Next month, the company's chairman, who is in his 80s and based in Japan, will visit the Noblesville headquarters for the first time.

The Noblesville Chamber of Commerce says SMC, its largest employer, donates on many levels, including an engineering program at Noblesville High School.