Discover Global Distributes Components Worldwide
NORTH LIMA, Ohio — A small company founded 10 years ago has become three and expanded its reach across the globe.
Discover Global Inc. – a distribution, engineering and logistics business that sources metal components from manufacturers mostly overseas – started in 2007 by leasing warehouse space in Mineral Ridge and sharing that warehouse with several other companies.
Today, the venture operates from a 40,000-square-foot complex in North Lima that serves as a distribution hub, design office and a small manufacturing center for three enterprises.
“Each year, we’ve grown at a rate of 10% to 15% per year,” says Greg Toporcer, president of Discover Global Inc., Kentrol Inc. and Fishbone Offroad Inc.
Two-and-a-half years ago, Toporcer purchased Kentrol, a struggling company that provides fiberglass parts for the Jeep brand.
Toporcer and his team transformed the warehouse into a multi-use facility that houses all three companies. “It was getting so jammed up in the old warehouse that I would have to wait until the other companies were done in order to get my stuff out,” he says.
Discover Global sources and ships mostly metal components such as extrusions, stampings, assemblies and castings to customers in the auto, solar power and building industries.
Kentrol sources and designs aftermarket stainless steel parts for the Jeep Wrangler, while a sister company, Fishbone Offroad, supplies nonstainless parts for Jeep.
“It’s important to make sure we have a qualified source to produce a particular part,” Toporcer says.
Discover Global handles parts produced by manufacturers in China, India, Taiwan and Vietnam, as well as domestic producers. When a U.S. customer contacts the company, Discover Global connects with its manufacturers overseas.
“We’ve partnered with 50 manufacturers around the world,” Toporcer says. “We’re a solution for a company that [allows them to] keep their inventory levels down because they know they have a product here that’s been inspected. All of this inventory will go to customers mostly on the East Coast,” he says, pointing to tall racks containing boxes filled with parts prepared to be shipped out.
Most customers on the West Coast are served directly from the ports of Long Beach and Seattle, Toporcer says. “We find the best solution [is] to source the part. It might be domestic or it might be overseas.”
The company is careful not to access parts liable to strict tariff penalties. “There are several anti-dumping cases, so you have to watch that,” Toporcer says. Standard tariffs range between 2% and 5%, depending on the product or country from which it’s shipped.
Even so, domestic manufacturers still realize savings despite the tax on imports and overseas shipping costs, Toporcer says. And, a large number of products Discover Global ships – most of them are smaller components – aren’t produced in the United States. “It might make more sense for a company to source a larger part domestically,” he says.
This year, Toporcer says, Discover Global should see $7 million in revenues.
“We manage all the logistics,” he says. “When a customer orders from us, it shows up at their door.”
Megan Malone, Discover Global’s business coordinator, says that much of the logistics work is done in the evening.
“One of the countries we work with is China, and they’re 12 hours ahead of us,” she says. “So, I’m usually emailing our contacts in China at seven or eight at night as they’re getting into work.”
Direct Global handles everything for customers from the start of the quoting process to delivery, Malone says. “It’s almost as if they’re not even dealing with overseas. They’re dealing with a domestic company.”
Customers stay informed through a tracking system that follows the product from its manufacture to delivery. “We also take care of customs issues so there are no delays,” Malone adds.
Meanwhile, a small design and engineering office hums with activity as a 3-D printer forms a small part bound for a Jeep Wrangler, two of which are parked inside the building.
Jason Markijohn, the engineering and quality manager for Kentrol, is designing a new prototype bracket for the Wrangler.
“I designed it in CAD [computer assisted design] here, did a first-round sample and made some changes to make it look better,” he says.
Once the plastic prototype is printed, Markijohn places the piece into its proper location – just under the wheel rim of the vehicle.
Should the part fit, the design is sent directly to the manufacturer and a metallic part is produced. “We’ll 3-D print it to make sure I know exactly how it’s going to fit before I send it to the manufacturer,” he says.
Kentrol supplies replacement parts for the Wrangler and works closely with Discover Global to source these components, says Jamey Paine, director of sales and marketing for Kentrol and Fishbone. “I think this will be a big year for us,” he says. “For the first three quarters, we’re up 100%.”
The company sources and designs numerous stainless steel components for the Wrangler.
“We make foot hinges, door hinges, windshield hinges, bumpers, fenders and some rocker protection,” Paine says. “Now, we’re looking to do work on the Cherokee – we’re working on a front bumper for that – and in the future, some truck business.”
Stainless steel parts can be costly, and there was an opportunity in the market to supply Jeeps with those metal parts that are nonstainless. That led to launching Fishbone Offroad earlier this year. “Bumpers, armor, skid plates and accessories for all the Jeep vehicles that need a steel or aluminum item,” Paine says.
Toporcer says the Fishbone and Kentrol business has far exceeded expectations and the complex is looking to expand to meet growing demand.
“We’ll be expanding our offices and adding nine more employees over time,” he says. “This has really taken off.”
Pictured at top: Metal components distributed by Discover Global Inc. include extrusions, stampings, assemblies and casting.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.