Manufacturer of the Year Award Winners Named

ZF Chassis Systems / Photos by Bob Farley

ZF Chassis Systems, Milo’s Tea Co. and OnPoint Manufacturing have captured 2019 Manufacturer of the Year awards presented by Alabama Technology Network and the Business Council of Alabama.

ZF Chassis, of Tuscaloosa, won in the large category; Milo’s, based in Bessemer, in the medium category, and OnPoint, based in Florence, in the small category.

Winners of the 20th anniversary MOTY awards, selected by an independent panel of judges, were announced May 1 during a luncheon at the Alabama Activity Center in Montgomery.

Since 2000, the awards have honored the state’s top manufacturers for their accomplishments. By applying for the award, manufacturers convey their story of financial growth, manufacturing leadership, market leadership, leadership development and workforce enhancement.

“Our state’s economy is powered in large part by our manufacturers from the Shoals to Gulf Shores,” said Katie Boyd Britt, president and CEO of the BCA. “Our annual Manufacturer of the Year Awards honor Alabama manufacturers from the largest industries to small businesses for displaying efficiency, safety and excellence in their products, and the process for making them, and for employing hundreds of thousands of Alabamians.”

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ATN Executive Director Keith Phillips said, “The Alabama Technology Network and the Business Council of Alabama are honored to salute Alabama’s best. Companies acknowledged today represent the best in Alabama manufacturing and the use of technology.”

MOTY awards are selected in three categories: 1 to 99 employees in the Small Manufacturer of the Year category; 100 to 399 employees in the Medium Manufacturer of the Year category, and 400 or more employees in the Large Manufacturer of the Year category.

ZF Chassis Systems, the 2019 Large Manufacturer of the Year, has achieved significant accomplishments, including excellent customer satisfaction performance, employee community involvement and company-wide efforts in developing and growing the workforce in West Alabama.

ZF Chassis Systems is a Tier 1 supplier of chassis modules to Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Vance. ZF produces its modules in the exact variation and order sequence as the vehicles being produced on MBUSI’s production line and delivers them usually within four to six hours of receiving an order. ZF has provided chassis modules for MBUSI since Mercedes SUVs were first produced in 1997.

ZF team members regularly engage in extensive initiatives in the West Alabama region, including a prison ministry to help inmates re-enter the workforce. They support charities and schools here and abroad.

Milo’s Tea Co.

Milo’s Tea Co., the 2019 Medium Manufacturer of the Year, is famous nationwide for its tea, lemonade, tea and lemonade, peach tea and a new frozen slushy.

Founded shortly after World War II, the company traces its roots to returning veteran Milo Carlton and his wife, Bea, who began serving tea in their hamburger shop in Bessemer. Milo’s is in its third generation of family ownership and is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise. CEO and Chair Tricia Wallwork is a granddaughter of the founders.

Milo’s enjoys a culture of innovation, continuous improvement and a strong commitment to providing an outstanding product across the United States. Milo’s focuses on inclusion and diversity, donates at least 1 percent of its profits to charity and is a leader in environmental and waste reduction manufacturing.

OnPoint Manufacturing

OnPoint Manufacturing, the 2019 Small Manufacturer of the Year, is an apparel manufacturing and distribution company that provides a social, business and technology benefit worldwide. Opened in 2014, OnPoint’s highly skilled and specialized seamstresses, cutter operators, engineers, software developers, and sales and marketing staff partner with more than 40 designers and brands across the globe, with products ranging from business dresses to skirts and gowns.

Brands are attracted to OnPoint because of the ability to sell direct-to-consumers online. A company goal is to bring jobs back to America and open a series of plants in the United States. OnPoint’s automated manufacturing technology delivers cut fabric to the correct sewer in the correct sequence, reducing inventory and enabling the production of unique products.

OPM perfected this automated manufacturing technology using software-driven, proprietary workflows that allow customers to reduce or eliminate their inventory as stock can be replenished overnight. This concept is revolutionizing apparel manufacturing here in Alabama and is bringing cut-and-sew jobs back to the United States.

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Dana Beyerle and Bob Farley are freelance contributors to Business Alabama.

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