The Fabricator Podcast: The shifting manufacturing landscape with The Partner Companies

The Partner Companies CFO Christian Streu and Fotofab President Charles Cohen joined The Fabricator Podcast to talk about the growth of TPC and how TPC’s business model fits into the shifting landscape of advanced manufacturing. With co-hosts Dan Davis and Lincoln Brunner, the group enjoyed a compelling discussion on the current challenges and opportunities facing advanced manufacturers, M&A strategy, and how TPC and its advanced manufacturers engineer mission-critical solutions to serve customers across the aerospace, defense, energy, medical, technology, EV & auto, and telecom industries.  

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Curious about the conversation? Here’s an overview of what was discussed: 

  • Overview of TPC: The company was founded in 2010 with a goal of making mission-critical solutions designed to change the world across aerospace, defense, energy, medical, technology, EV & auto, and telecom industries. 
  • Nearshoring and reshoring trends: The industry is moving towards disinvesting in overseas manufacturing to simplify the supply chain, as well as reduce costs and lead times. 
  • M&A in Manufacturing: There’s a growing trend of mergers and acquisitions in manufacturing. The discussion digs further into TPC’s long-term M&A strategy including their approach to identifying, evaluating and acquiring companies to expand the company’s capabilities and solutions. 
    • “Our customers inform our acquisition strategy to a large degree. They tell us what capabilities they’re either having a hard time sourcing and we try to bring more efficiency to that market by bringing it inside the TPC network.” – Christian Streu, CFO – The Partner Companies 
    • “One of my philosophies is that all companies started out small in your proverbial garage, right? So, we try not to turn away from those because you never know who is going to be the next very large company.” – Charles Cohen, President – Fotofab 
    • “The evolution [of TPC] has been substantial, especially in the last few years, with the acceleration of acquisitions. Going back five years ago, ten years ago, we were all on an island running independently. [Today, TPC has] multiple companies dealing in the same marketspace, same operational type, manufacturing process, so we’re leveraging that knowledge to improve.” – Charles Cohen, President – Fotofab 
  • TPC’s Network of Advanced Manufacturers: TPC is made up of 10 advanced manufacturers from 13 locations around the globe, all of which are experts in niche processes, creating answers to the biggest challenges innovators are facing. From photochemical etching to support rapid prototyping, to clean energy solutions like hydrogen electrolyzers, these manufacturers tap into the current cycle of innovation across industries to solve their clients’ unvoiced needs. They work collaboratively to create a natural synergy across the network through the types of products and services they sell. 
    • “Each company has its own way of ticking and has its own customer base that has its own unique characteristics, and so [TPC continuously is] figuring out how that works and how we can bring value to those conversations.” – Christian Streu, CFO – The Partner Companies 
    • “We break it down into four key categories – Aerospace & Defense, Medical, Clean Energy, and Technology – and so that creates a natural synergy in the types of products that we’re selling.” – Christian Streu, CFO – The Partner Companies 
    • “It’s easier to sell our customers what they want rather than what we want to sell.” – Christian Streu, CFO – The Partner Companies 

About The Fabricator Podcast 

The Fabricator Podcast brings listeners conversations with people in manufacturing who make things out of metal. Hosts Dan Davis and Lincoln Brunner speak with metal fabricators, welders, job shop owners, small business entrepreneurs, artists, marketers, educators, and more. They go beyond discussing just manufacturing and the skilled trades, and chats about pop culture, current events, food, music, movies, comedy, and robots. The Fabricator Podcast is presented by the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association.  

About The Partner Companies 

The Partner Companies (TPC), a global diversified manufacturing company that creates mission-critical solutions for innovators in the aerospace, defense, clean energy, medical, and technology industries.  Founded in 2010, TPC has grown into an international leader with 10 specialty manufacturers in the United States, China Wales, and Mexico: E-Fab, Elcon, Fotofab, Lattice Materials, LT Precision, Microphoto, Optiforms, PEI, Pinnacle Precision and UPG. TPC’s specialty manufacturers specialize in photochemical etching, ceramic metallization, crystal growth and electroforming along with core manufacturing capabilities such as injection molding, machining, metal fabrication and finishing. TPC supports each member entity with expertise in business growth, operations, finance, human resources, supply chain management and more.  

About Fotofab 

Fotofab manufactures high-precision metal components with short lead times and tight tolerances. The company etches custom parts in prototype and production quantities, including fuel cell plates, medical snares, RF/EMI shields, shims, and washers. Engineering leaders in aerospace, defense, electronics, and medical device/implant companies call on Fotofab for its expertise in photochemical etching, thin metal forming, and finishing services.