Oh No, Call MRO

By Lizzie Williams

Everything is chugging along perfectly at a seatbelt manufacturing plant, until a machine stops working. Suddenly seatbelt parts are piling up everywhere. The plant manager is unable to solve the problem so she picks up the phone and calls Manufacturing Repair and Overstock, Inc. (MRO).

MRO, Inc. specializes in the repair and sales of industrial equipment and automated industrial parts used in manufacturing. Their growing staff of over 50 employees includes sales, bench technicians, engineers, solution providers, part suppliers, on-site technicians and more.

MRO, Inc. provides refurbishment and/or replacement options for circuit boards, controls, drives, HMIs, monitors, motors, PLCs, power supplies, pumps, safety equipment, touchscreens and more.

“Imagine a General Motors or Volkswagen vehicle and all of the machinery they use to build a car,” says Justin Wilson, co-founder of MRO. “We don’t actually manufacture anything. We partner with those businesses to repair their broken equipment.”

Automotive isn’t the only industry using machinery to create their products ― aerospace, construction, food, pharmaceutical, plastic, paper, textile and steel industries do as well.

Popular brands MRO services are ABB, Allen Bradley, Baldor, Bosch Rexroth, Fanuc, General Electric, Indramat, Mitsubishi, Schneider, Siemens and Yaskawa. MRO, Inc. has remedied solutions for over 3,000 customers around the globe, from two person shops to Fortune 500 companies. With growth of over 600 new customers annually, MRO, Inc. continually improves their process with the utmost technology and convenience.

Customer feedback and MRO, Inc.’s entrepreneurial attitude have led to new departments and growth. Their robotics rebuilding program launched when automotive customers needed broken-down equipment refurbished.

”We try to learn and grow based on our customers' needs and incorporate them into our services. If customers experience a growing need for gear boxes or safety equipment repaired or replaced, we will create a department in order to handle that for them,” says Hayley Knowles, MRO, Inc.’s Human Resources Manager.

The mass of moving pieces involved in manufacturing means a lot can go wrong or break throughout the process. MRO, Inc. tackles everything from circuit boards to complete robot refurbishments. 

The many nuances of manufacturing make repairing equipment a specialized, unique endeavor. For example, refurbishing and soldering a circuit board requires a different set of skills than welding disconnected metals or general plant maintenance.

“We will hire someone for what we need. It would be great if we could hire all our employees at our Tech Level 7 (highly advanced) experience, but that’s not possible,” Wilson says. “We are willing to hire people with an aptitude and train them into our very specific industry.”

With all of the services MRO, Inc. provides it’d be easy to assume they’ve been solving equipment malfunctions for decades. Co-founders Russell Looper and Justin Wilson have been in the industry that long, but opened MRO in 2012, in the INCubator in the Hamilton County Business Development Center.

“We [Looper and Wilson] started working at the same company and decided we could take care of customers and employees better than we could at the company we previously worked for,” Looper says.

Once they decided to launch a company, Looper and Wilson spent 11 weekends driving to Chattanooga from their home base of Atlanta, got their business license and found homes for their families and business. 

“We targeted Chattanooga because it’s located between four major manufacturing markets ― Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and Knoxville,” Wilson says. “Plus we were living in metro Atlanta with young families. From a quality of life standpoint, Chattanooga made more sense.”

Looper and Wilson were drawn to Chattanooga because of its strong ties to manufacturing. But, the question remains: why do manufacturers repair something they could replace?

“The deal is, 70 years ago a machine could cost $5,000; today it may cost 200 times that to replace it,” Wilson says. “A full machine replacement cost could run a customer upwards of $1,000,000. If we identify the broken units on the machine, we may only charge $500 to get the equipment back up and running.”

It’s cheaper for manufacturers to repair worn out or broken down equipment than to replace it. MRO, Inc. provides quality solutions in an average 10-day turn around at a cost that companies of all sizes can afford.

Make MRO, Inc. your first call when a machine breaks down because it was doused with water while powered up or when a lizard mistakenly thinks a wire will make a good snack (yes, this happened and caused a machine breakdown).

Remember the seatbelt factory from our intro? The plant manager is met with a friendly voice on the other side of the line. One breathless explanation later, MRO, Inc. knows how to provide a solution and within days, the machine is back at full capacity on the floor, working like nothing went wrong in the first place.


Learn more about MRO and the solutions they provide here.