Loading Dock Equipment and Products
In October 2006 Wynnchurch Capital (“Wynnchurch”) acquired SPX Dock Products from SPX Corporation and renamed it 4Front Engineered Solutions, Inc. ("4Front"). 4Front, a leading manufacturer of loading dock equipment, resulted from the combination of two companies (Kelly and Serco) that started in the 1950s. Kelley started in Milwaukee and Serco has its roots in Canada.
In the period from 2000 until 2006, the business underwent a number of changes including a significant reduction in market demand, numerous factory closings and key personnel changes. As a result of poor performance, SPX hired new management in 2006 to turn the business around with the goal of disposing of the “corporate orphan.”
After a modest turnaround in 2005, the Dock Products business was determined to be a non-core asset for SPX and as such was targeted for divestiture. Historical results for the business were mixed and did not provide a great deal of comfort for Company’s future business prospects. Wynnchurch was impressed with management progress in implementing its strategic improvement plan and that this plan would reap long-term dividends which drove Wynnchurch’s decision to buy the business. Wynnchurch and management acquired the business in October 2006 believing that the investment would create extraordinary value as the market leader of the forefront of the dock equipment industry - thus the name 4Front Engineered Solutions.
4Front instilled a “Zero Defects” quality culture across the business. The Kelley and Serco brands were re-established as the premier brands in the industry with an uncompromising commitment to quality. In partnership with management, Wynnchurch stream lined operations, introduced new products and improved quality and delivery.
In mid 2012, 4Front retained Houlihan Lokey to explore a sale of the business. 4Front’s performance and growth history attracted a global strategic buyer, Assa Abloy, who was looking to expand its presence in North America. Assa Abloy completed its acquisition in December 2012.