Made in the USA

Mark Mohr, the recently appointed president of DMG/Mori Seiki USA, provided Production Machining with some thoughtful answers to questions about his role with the company and the new North American manufacturing plant scheduled to open in the fall of 2012.Production Machining: What is your background that led to your position as president of DMG/Mori Seiki USA?Mark Mohr: After 15 years of prior experience in the machine tool business, I joined Mori Seiki in 2002 as sales manager in the Chicago Technical Center.

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Mark Mohr, the recently appointed president of DMG/Mori Seiki USA, provided Production Machining with some thoughtful answers to questions about his role with the company and the new North American manufacturing plant scheduled to open in the fall of 2012.

Production Machining: What is your background that led to your position as president of DMG/Mori Seiki USA?
Mark Mohr: After 15 years of prior experience in the machine tool business, I joined Mori Seiki in 2002 as sales manager in the Chicago Technical Center. Leading up to the collaboration between Gildemeister and Mori Seiki in April 2010, I held positions as both vice president, engineering of Mori Seiki USA and president of the former Mori Seiki Mid-American Sales Group. I then served as executive vice president, service and parts for DMG/Mori Seiki USA. 

PM: What are your specific short-term goals in your new position?
Mr. Mohr: I will oversee operations of all technical centers across the U.S. to optimize the value of the DMG and Mori Seiki collaboration in America. We will continue to focus on the importance of total customer care and the advantages of DMG/Mori Seiki 360 Support. Our operation’s priority of customer satisfaction remains the same. The entire organization is focused on continuing the development of the collaboration in all areas—R&D, technology, education, service, parts and partner products.

PM: What are the driving factors for opening the new North American manufacturing plant?
Mr. Mohr: The decision to add the new manufacturing facility in the U.S. was based on the possibility of the continuing decrease in the exchange rate between the U.S. and Japan. Coinciding with the decline of the value of the U.S. dollar, manufacture of machine tools in North America becomes more fiscally advantageous. The addition of the new factory is expected to offset any disparity in the exchange rate between the two currencies and provide the opportunity to eliminate the cost of importing from Japan.

PM: What is the significance of the facility’s location in Davis, Calif.?
Mr. Mohr: We chose the California location for a number of reasons. By manufacturing in the U.S., we can be very competitive on price, since import costs will be reduced. The Davis site offers several other advantages, as well. The West Coast location makes it easy to work with our Japanese colleagues. Also, the nearby UC-Davis and Berkeley campuses provide a great opportunity for Mori Seiki to ensure that the factory workforce is top-quality.

But one of the prime advantages of placing the new facility in Davis is the proximity of our U.S. R&D center—Digital Technology Laboratory (DTL). At DTL, a team of more than 80 design, engineering and software experts work with customers and peripheral equipment companies to develop machining technologies such as auxiliary software, CAD/CAM systems and accuracy-compensation software. We have already identified numerous opportunities for collaboration between DTL and the new facility.

PM: How do you see the company contributing to the growth of American manufacturing in general?
Mr. Mohr: The proximity of the new facility to DTL means it’s not only a manufacturing facility, but also an incubator for designers. It will help us breed the next generation of application engineers, service engineers and sales engineers. In today’s manufacturing environment, this is a must for many machine tool users. Most of our customers no longer have the engineers on staff to do this work at their own facility and, by growing our capabilities in the U.S., we are also allowing our customers to grow.

PM: Do you see this as a boost to the general economic situation?
Mr. Mohr: We are optimistic that the new plant will support continued economic recovery in the U.S. The first step toward economic recovery is adding capacity, but some companies are wary about adding personnel. The answer for many of our customers is to make the investment in higher technology.

We are building for the future, based on the economy. We are setting ourselves up to self-teach, to build the next generation of engineers and customer support personnel. Because we build our machines to last, we need to guarantee tomorrow’s support. Finally, we are going to be able to use and test the technologies we invent.