Masengill Machinery Co., Inc.: Making a Mark in the Woodworking Industry
“We are a machinery dealer,” stated Wayne Masengill, owner of Masengill Machinery Co., Inc. He is proud to say, “We’ve been in business since 1963 selling new and used equipment and we are one of the Southeast’s largest reconditioners and warehousers of used machinery.” The company is located in Morristown, Tennessee with a 50,000-square-foot warehouse and another warehouse nearby where additional machines and parts are stored.
“Our market area is primarily the Southeastern United States with limited new products due to manufacturer’s territory agreements, although we have shipped new machinery to Hawaii. We work primarily with the secondary woodworking markets. Everything from pallets, cabinets, furniture, musical instruments, and building products manufacturers.”
In addition, 1969 marked a partnership between Bill Masengill and Don Cully who both started a metal stamping company, Cherokee Metal Products. By the early 1970s, the Masengills purchased the entire company. Metal stamping is used in the manufacturing of trusses, the manufacturing of some upholstered furniture, the making of railroad ties, and the making and repair of pallets.
Masengill also has a machine shop with the capacity to do tool and die work. He hires outside factory and ex-factory technicians to assist them on some machines they recondition.
As a charter member of the United Woodworking Machinery Exchange (UWME), an active member of WMIA, vice-president of Truss Plate Institute, secretary/treasurer of the Tennessee Truss Manufacturers Association (TTMA), and a member of the Structural Building Components Association (SBCA), Masengill stays busy and tuned in on the industries he serves. “With all my involvement, I have to remind myself we are a sales organization and we need to maintain sales for both companies. I split my time between visiting customers and manning the office.
To the question of what makes Masengill Machinery so unique, Wayne commented, “We are not brand specific. We don’t sell just the red ones, blue ones, or white ones. We look for that machine best suited for the customer’s application.” Masengill makes every effort to ship reconditioned machines on time but if a machine is not ready he would rather have the customer mad at him for being late than send him a machine that did not meet the customer’s quality standards. “The customer will forget being late but never forget an incomplete machine.”
Masengill has customers that he has been working with for the past 20 and 30 years and they call him to help solve machinery problems. In many cases, he suggests the right fix. In other cases, he knows someone in the industry that has the answer. “I may not know the answer, but I usually know someone who does,” said Masengill.
As for the future, Masengill believes the internet has opened up opportunities for all distributors. However, he has also seen some manufacturers trying to sell machinery direct, side-stepping the distributor. He stated that when equipment manufacturers work with dealers, they can rely on the distributor to know the customers and their business. The distributor knows the customers’ products and is in the trenches getting the information needed to help make the right purchase by the customer. When a buyer purchases machinery over the internet, it’s an uncertain scenario: “what you see is what you get.”
Masengill says to get involved if a customer shops on the internet. A good dealer can help the customer look in to what is best for the customer; look at the machine under consideration, its hours of operation, parts availability, history of the machine, information on the manufacturer. Be a source. You will have additional avenues to sell if the customer feels open to talk to you.
As the future brings more technology, Masengill recommended that with the evolution of new CNC equipment customers should use a 10-year cycle period. Even the newest technology is soon replacing itself as the new servos and controllers push the old ones out.
Masengill sees the future bright for new equipment and technology. The main problem facing manufacturers in the future will be labor.
In 2007 through 2011, Masengill stated his business struggled. All manufacturing struggled during that period. The economy closed the doors on bad customers as well as some good customers. “We did buy machinery when the economy was bad but had to manage our purchases as not to put our company in jeopardy. We have since done well selling those machines but now our concerns are of finding other good used machinery for our customers.”
When asked about Masengill’s WMIA membership, he is the first to say that he has not taken advantage of all benefits offered to him. As a past Board member of the WMDA, he was there just before the two associations merged. Masengill was happy to see the Importer Manufacturers and Dealer Associations merge. “I personally know several of its past presidents and board members and can confirm they are some of the best business minds I know,” says Masengill. He is looking forward to new and stronger relationships between equipment manufacturers and the dealers, both foreign and domestic in the future. He believes the Association’s future is in very good hands.
Today, Masengill said that it is difficult to weigh out which side of his dealership business, used machinery versus new machinery, is the stronger of the two. He stated, “Technology and labor will either be our friend or our foe. To compete in a world market manufacturers are always searching for that step ahead of the competition. We have to work with customers that are either restricted by funds or labor and sometimes both. It is our job to understand the rules the customer establishes and address them the best we can.”