The owners of Northeastern Electronics Co. can't say too much about what is made in its Elbridge facility.
But they can say that later this year, Northeastern will be making much more of it, and with more people.
With clients that include military contractors and companies like IBM and Toshiba, Northeastern has grown into a trusted manufacturer of electrical cables, wires and assemblies. In conversation Jan. 24, business development managers Stephen Peltz and Marcus Mindell said that growth has recently necessitated an expansion that will take place this spring or summer. The manufacturer will build a new 20,000-square-foot facility adjacent to its current 25,000 square feet of space, and expand its workforce by at least 20 to 25 people.
The expansion will cost $2 to $3 million, Peltz said, $700,000 of which will come from two Empire State Development grants. The rest will come from private sources. Mindell said Northeastern was originally hoping to break ground late last year, but the grant process forced them to delay construction. The expansion's budget also depends on the final design of the facility.
Stephen Peltz, who runs Northeastern with his brother, outside sales manager Brent Peltz, said the company needed to expand in part because it obtained AS9100 certification about six months ago. The certification makes it easier for Northeastern to work with major military contractors on projects that have aerospace applications, Stephen said.
"There's a quality management system we have to adhere to in order to work with these customers," he said. "We had to change a lot of security aspects of the facility and button up our processes."
Northeastern's growth was strong even before it obtained that certification. After the company was started in 1981 by Stephen and Brent's father, Steven, Northeastern made its name manufacturing power cords for IBM, and even expanded production to a second facility in North Carolina. When overseas competitors drove prices down, Northeastern shifted from strictly commercial clients to military ones as well, Stephen said. Today, he continued, the manufacturer does business with an equal amount of both — and that business is booming.
The reason that business is booming — and the reason Northeastern has a nearly 100-percent customer retention rate — is because the manufacturer is nimble enough to quickly meet needs that larger companies can't, Peltz said. It can provide point-by-point feedback on technical drawings, he said, and deliver thousands of cables on lead times as short as a few days.
"You're not going to find a lot of companies that can do large volumes of small, complex cables," he said.
Northeastern has also invested in specialized tooling that most other companies don't have, Peltz said. And the manufacturer will look to invest in more at its new facility. Peltz said will be state-of-the-art, allowing Northeastern to accommodate more individualized projects while adding resources to improve some areas of production. As such, Northeastern seeks to hire 15 to 20 new production workers with training and experience, and five or six engineers. The company shouldn't have to look far: Mindell said most of its current employees live in Auburn and Cayuga County.
"There's not that many people nowadays who work in manufacturing," he said. "We're doing something that winds up going into military applications, into cars, computers. It's nice to see the physical fruits of your labor actually going out and changing the world."