Custom Collaboration

American industry relies on specialty parts for manufacturing, which makes companies like Mursix essential partners, collaborating with tier 1 suppliers to create custom parts that keep the assembly lines moving. To learn more about Mursix, we spoke with Susan Murray Carlock, Executive Vice President of the company.

Located just outside Muncie, Indiana, Mursix specializes in making custom components for different industrial sectors. Most of the company’s business, approximately 75%, is in manufacturing safety-critical automobile components, such as brake components and seatbelt locks. The company also has several medical device customers and manufactures security components, such as door components and key-card locks for hotels. Mursix can manufacture precision metal parts as well as plastic overmold and injection-molded plastic parts. 

We do a lot of different things under one roof as a value-add to our customers 

Building a Family Legacy

Mursix was started in 1990, but the company’s history goes back to 1945 when the company was Twoson and Tool. Legend has it that James Dean quit his job at Twoson Tool to find fame in Hollywood. The company moved to Muncie in 1954 and was acquired by Stephen F. Murray and his wife in 1990. (The name Mursix is an homage to the six Murray children.) Today, CEO Todd Murray runs the company with assistance from his sister Susan, who gave up a career in nursing to join the company.

When Stephen Murray bought the company, most of its work was in appliance manufacturing. As electronics technology started to take over the appliance industry, Mursix began manufacturing components for the automotive industry and has since expanded to support other sectors.

“I joined the family business 14 years ago, and it was really important to me to bring diversification to the business,” said Carlock. “It was important to go beyond what we saw as the dying appliance industry into a growing automotive industry. But, in times of economic hardship, automotive is going to be one of the first to get hit, so we needed to broaden our business.”

The company has been actively expanding, including the 2023 acquisition of Aul Brothers Tool and Die, known for making automotive aftermarket components. Mursix Corporation also has an investment group, SFM Holdings, investing in companies like PolyCharge America, which makes high-density, high-temperature capacitors for electric vehicles and related applications.

Reviving American Manufacturing

Mursix has 200 employees working together in a 250,000-square-foot building strategically located at the intersection of major highways, making it easy to ship parts to Detroit, Ohio, and other parts of the United States. The company currently has more than 2,000 part numbers and about 40 to 50 customers.

Mursix has versatile manufacturing capabilities. For example, when the company’s automotive lines started shutting down during the COVID-19 pandemic, it switched to manufacturing face shields. Mursix hired 300 additional temporary workers to help produce millions of face shields for healthcare providers. Mursix could have substantially increased face shield production if it weren’t for supply chain shortages.

Because of supply-chain disruptions, Carlock is seeing a lot of overseas business return to the United States, contributing to Mursix’s growth. “We are seeing growth from reshoring, specifically with current customers,” she said. “We booked our highest sales in company history in 2023, and we are really going to see the boom toward the end of the year for automotive platforms. By the time you build the tools and start production, you are about a year-and-a-half out, so we are really seeing a lot of customers coming back to North America.”

Personalized Production

Carlock attributes Mursix’s success to several things. Mursix is a one-stop shop with design, engineering, and production capabilities. The company offers tool design as well as manufacturing and works closely with customers on parts design. The Mursix team works with customers from initial design through prototyping to ensure manufacturability.

The company also prides itself on maintaining a close working relationship with every customer and ensuring they get customer feedback. “We get to know each customer on a personal level as we can, and they know we are available 24/7,” said Carlock. 

Since Mursix is a family-owned company, it also prides itself on community involvement.

“Our dad always taught us you need the community to be there for you, and you have to engage, not just from a city and county level but on a regional and state level,” said Carlock. “It’s really important for us to have those relationships and that kind of one-on-one accessibility.”

Automating to Compete in the Future

Mursix continues to embrace new technologies and manufacturing processes to remain competitive. Automation is helping to improve production. The company has an in-house control engineering team dedicated to implementing new automated processes.

Mursix is using technology to address the labor shortage as well. Like most manufacturers, the company recruits new trainees from local schools, bringing them in as apprentices to work with seasoned workers. They also use artificial intelligence (AI) to capture the tribal knowledge that usually departs with retiring employees.

Murray (named after the company’s founder) is Mursix’s AI bot that captures skills from the experienced staff. Murray observes the experts performing routine tasks and stores the information. Then, anyone can put on headphones and ask Murray about a specific procedure or how to run a piece of machinery, and the bot will provide step-by-step instructions. Murray also uses machine learning to refine responses and offer alternate solutions. Thanks to Murray, much of the tribal knowledge is captured for incoming employees.

Mursix is working with Purdue University to develop similar AI strategies for other manufacturers.

“We’re trying to think outside the box,” Carlock said. “I really feel we have identified a very plausible affordable solution for small to mid-size manufacturers to help them deal with a lack of skills.”

Innovation and continued expansion are the foundation of Mursix’s success. The company has completed two acquisitions over the last eight years and expects to see year-over-year double-digit growth over the next five years. And the Murray family intends to continue investing in the company to ensure they achieve those aggressive growth goals.