Six companies earn category awards at NJMEP’s Manufacturing Day

For Sam Thevanayagam, CEO of Parts Life Inc., success is based on anticipation — and making sure the competition is in position to serve the needs of its customers today and in the future.

That’s how the head of the Moorestown-based defense contractor approaches his work serving the U.S. military, making sure the company’s replacement parts are available as the supply chain needs them — all while helping existing equipment last longer in the process.

“In today’s changing business climate, mission-critical assets must be maintained beyond their expected life span,” he said. “To that end we developed the 5R program to offer remanufacturing, repair, recertification, replication or reverse engineering in order to address the various needs of customers.”

This effort is just one of the reasons Parts Life Inc. was named Innovator of the Year at the seventh annual Made in New Jersey event run by New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program on National Manufacturing Day last week.

Five other manufacturing companies won their categories:

Manufacturer of the Year (large, 251 or more employees): Naturex

The company, with North American headquarters in South Hackensack, is a global leader in specialty plant-based natural ingredients, with dedicated business units focusing on the food and beverage, nutrition, and health and personal care markets.

Manufacturer of the Year (medium, 51-250 employees): Edmund Optics

The Barrington-based company, founded in 1942, offers thousands of unique optical components available for next-day delivery, including optics, optomechanics, imaging lenses, microscopy components, cameras, lasers and test targets, as well as offering custom solutions.

Manufacturer of the Year (small, up to 50 employees): Wexco Industries

The Pine Brook-based company, founded in 1991, makes wiper systems for the heavy-duty market (think huge vehicles). Products include all makes of wiper blade programs. Its customer base is Class 6, 7, 8 and specialty vehicles.

Manufacturer of the Year (startup, in business less than 5 years): Designs by Kait & Mike

The Flemington-based company, founded in 2016, is run by a pair of 22-year-olds, known as Kait and Mike. They create 7-inch crates, filled with mini-succulents — trendy, low-maintenance plants that are natural air purifiers. The pallets are built from recycled materials to reduce waste and promote a healthier environment.

Raymond Hopp Award for Excellence: Tropical Cheese Industries

The Perth Amboy-based company, founded in 1983, is one of the leading producers and distributors of Latino-targeted dairy products. The company has expanded its business beyond the United States, serving the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Europe.

Read more from ROI-NJ on Manufacturing Day: