Keihin Award

The Muncie Star Press

Keihin AwardMUNCIE — A longtime local company has won top honors — from among a field of 33 competitors — from a Japan-based auto parts company.

TomKen Tool & Engineering was last week given the QCD Award by Keihin Aircon North America. Keihin Aircon makes heating, air conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) systems for Honda. TomKen makes air duct parts for Keihin.

Although TomKen and Keihin Aircon operate locally, this isn’t a “cross town” honor.

“We have 33 suppliers [around the country],” said Angie Bragg, an analyst in Keihin’s strategic planning group. “[TomKen] has done an outstanding job for us.”

Bruce Carmichael, one of the owners of TomKen — a company founded in 1960 by Tom Shields and Ken Yount — said the 45-employee workforce at his company was pleased to hear about the Keihin honor.

“Almost everybody in our company has to take some credit for it,” Carmichael said. “It’s nice to get a pat on the back.”

Keihin’s QCD award honors TomKen for outstanding quality, cost and delivery performance, Bragg said. The company establishes annual targets for suppliers in those categories. They’re not easy goals to meet, she noted.

“Every year we request annual cost reductions,” Bragg said. “So does all of the automotive market.”

At the end of the fiscal year — known as a ki among Japan-based businesses like Keihin — how the suppliers perform is evaluated. The company was honored during an April 30 Keihin supplier conference and again Friday at the northside Muncie plant, in a ceremony attended by Keihin Aircon North America president Takao Mori and vice president Mike Mitsch.

Keihin Aircon’s local plant makes parts for Honda Accords, Elements, Civics and other models.

TomKen began as a tool and die company and has gradually added more services, including creation of molds and assembly and delivery of parts.

Carmichael said that Keihin is poised to become TomKen’s largest customer.

“They’re very good to local vendors,” he said.