HIGHLANDS – One of the oldest and largest businesses in Highlands is operating under new ownership and management, according to James Taylor, the new CEO. The company is now known as ZXP Technologies, and has a history of over 80 years in Highlands, when it was originally a canning factory for figs and fruit.
Taylor spoke at a recent Rotary Club meeting, talking about the business success, and the work culture at the company.
Taylor said that since his group took ownership in February 2018, they have seen business revenues increase by 50%. One key to this is focusing on their best customers. At one time they had 290 customers, and now they concentrate on only the top 10.
Taylor spoke about the size of the business, which has 206 employees, and now has no “temporary” workers, a major change from previous policy. He said this has improved attitudes and work efficiency. The company also has instituted continuing education opportunities for all employees, and raised pay for everyone. Taylor has instilled the workers with a sense of responsibility for their work product.
The company’s products include lubricants, transmission fluids, and antifreeze. 60% of their products are exported in bulk, he noted.
Since Taylor and his investment partners took over in 2018, they have invested $6.5 million in capital expenditures, and plan on spending that much more in 2019.
The plant now occupies 41.7 acres, and has buildings that encompass 450,000 square feet. The property has 210 storage tanks. They have 28 rail sidings, room for 72 rail cars and they expect to expand on this. The volume is 20,000 trucks per year, and 12,000 rail cards. Taylor said that one tank car equals 4 trucks in volume, and they are trying to use more rail cars for this reason.
They are aware of traffic problems on Wallisville with their volume of trucks, and are working with they county for a better solution. They have added a second weight scale to keep traffic moving, he said.
Taylor mentions that he is learning the oil business, since his training was in technology, having spent 10 years in Chicago with Sear’s IT department. Taylor originally was from Missouri, then went to Chicago, and came to Texas in 1981.