Company Profile:  Advanced Harness

Advanced Harness is a new business that has been around for a while. You read that right, and David McCloskey, Plant Manager at Advanced explained more in an interview with WHN. You see, David has been building harnesses in the same building in Logansport, Indiana for 26 years. He started with T.M. Morris, which was sold to another company. More recently, it changed ownership again and became Advanced Harness.

T.M Morris had been in business since 1965 supplying harnesses, mostly to the automotive industry. “When I started, there were about 900 people total across multiple facilities with multiple shifts and about $40 million worth of business in Logansport alone.” David recalled. Tom Morris Jr. was ready to retire and play more golf. Another harness manufacturer had been looking to expand its footprint through acquisition and became interested in purchasing the company. So, in 2005, T.M Morris completed the sale of the business. 

This was the first acquisition they had made, and David reflected in more detail. “We were never going up against them at T. M. Morris because they were quoting HVAC customers and we were quoting automotive and heavy truck; so, two different animals.”

A few things happened around September of 2022 that changed the landscape for the second owners of the Logansport facility. Their number one customer was faltering, and management decided they were moving away from their number two automotive customer. Shifts in demand made the Logansport facility less viable for them. It made sense for them to move most of the production to other facilities and close Logansport. “We were losing 53% of our revenue, so I knew that was going to put the nail in the coffin for us.” David thought he would have more time and was surprised when the company announced the closing of the plant shortly thereafter.

Charged with helping wind down the facility, he began fielding inquiries about everything from the machinery to the office furniture. “I talked with a few other companies here in Logansport who actually had some interest in me coming to work for them.” Based on a discussion he had with someone interested in the furniture, he was also following a lead on a small manufacturing company that he considered purchasing. He was even developing a business plan and identified two acquaintances he thought might be interested in supporting him in that endeavor. There were a lot of opportunities for him, and things were happening fast.

Then a serendipitous meeting changed everything. Not long after the closure announcement, the buildings went up for sale. “I got a call from the broker the company chose to sell the building who said he had a couple guys coming to look at it. I asked him what they did, and he said mostly just warehousing.” David figured he could certainly run a warehouse and that could be another possible opportunity for him. It might also save a few jobs at the facility. Ironically, the gentlemen who showed up were the same two he was considering approaching about the business venture. “I thought, wait a second, the first two people that show up at my plant are probably the ones I would’ve gone to once things started lining up to do my own thing. That’s more than coincidence.”

It was an unusual situation for the guys interested in purchasing the building. Typically, when they looked at buildings in the past, operations had ceased, and the equipment was gone. But they got an opportunity to see things in action and learn about the wire harness business from David. It became quickly obvious that there was a great deal of synergy. After a long meeting, the group agreed to put together some investors to keep things rolling as a harness shop. They made a plan to buy the building along with some of the equipment and began as Advanced Harness in April of 2023.

Advanced Harness was able to retain many of the key employees. “When we finished up we had about 100 employees. I was able to employ 45 of them and they literally went home on Friday and came in Monday as Advanced Harness employees.” David feels very fortunate to have been able to retain many of these great employees. “I had one lady that was threatening to sleep on my lawn if I didn’t bring her over to the new company. Well, you just really want folks like that on your team, and our workforce has just been great. It’s also nice to have employees come to you and say, ‘I really enjoy coming to work.’”

David also managed to lasso an engineer from a circuit board facility who had experience with cable assemblies. His team has over 450 years of combined experience in wire harnesses, battery cables, and electronic assembly manufacturing.

As mentioned, the company was able to make a deal for most of the important equipment. “We have one dedicated cell producing the ground straps. We maintained enough of the equipment that we needed to process wires. We recently purchased a Komax Zeta machine, and that should be here the first week of March. I’ve been looking at that machine for a number of years as an investment opportunity in continuous improvement, and to reduce our labor cost, so that will really help us grow.”

They had been using Zuken E3.series wire harness design software prior to the changeover, and have decided to reinvest in that product to carry them through. “The software will help us continue to get drawings and complete quotes more efficiently. It will also allow us get some of the scripts reestablished so that we can generate our internal documentation.” David feels confident that the efficiency gains they are investing in will give them a strong controlled growth. “We’re not just going out and trying to bring in as much business as fast as we can. We want to make sure we manage it so we’re not dropping the ball with customers on orders.”

The new investors all have day jobs, but David pointed out that they have funneled many opportunities through their varied industry contacts. They have been instrumental in talking to their friends and business associates and have uncovered some great new opportunities. “We have said that if there’s wheels on it, there’s probably a wire harness in it.” One of the owners is in the solid waste business and learned of a garbage truck manufacturer that was having issues with wire harnesses. “Within a few hours they sent over four drawings and then another one of their facilities sent over four more drawings. That was in November and they have been placing more orders with us and it just continues to grow.”

Marketing has been largely word-of-mouth. “We’ve had a few people reach out through the website, both for inquiries on working here as well as others for quote opportunities.” There are some customers over the past years that the previous company was forced to walk away from as they didn’t fit their business model. David and his team are working successfully to bring some of that business back. They also managed to retain production of ground straps for a big three auto manufacturer. He noted that even though it wasn’t in their wheelhouse as a wire harness manufacturer, they had been building them for 35 years. They have the tools and expertise and it certainly helps with cash flow.

Other legacy products produced through the years with previous owners have left David and his team with unique equipment and expertise. “We do metal stamping for ring terminals, and for the most part that’s for the grounding straps. But there are other things we’ve produced over the years like custom terminal designs.” The ability to do custom metal stamping opens up some unique doors for them. “I have suppliers locally for multi-slide operations, and some loose piece terminals and custom metal stampings.” Advanced is also bringing in more box builds and integrated assembly work to compliment these capabilities.

Right now, Advanced is targeting customers in and around Indiana. They have customers in Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio. “We’ve focused more on the agricultural market, especially in autonomous tractors and agricultural robotics. We think those kinds of projects are in the development stages and we will be able to work with them on an entry-level. Then, as that product line develops, will be able to grow with them.”

The facility was ISO certified by the previous owners. David and his crew have seamlessly continued all ISO processes and documentation. They have completed the Stage 1 audit and ISO registration is pending Stage 2 approval in the coming weeks.

David is hearing from many prospective customers telling him their current harness suppliers are quoting 8 to 12 weeks and then delivering in 20. “A lot of the smaller companies end up falling through the cracks at large suppliers, and that’s where Advanced Harness comes in. We are small enough to accommodate small orders, changeovers, and any revisions.”

David doesn’t believe in coincidences and there were many times he contemplated leaving over the past 26 years. But something always pulled him back in. He is complementary of his two previous employers and appreciates the vast knowledge he has gained. The new owners, while offering a lot of constructive coaching, give him a lot of autonomy with the business. “I’ve been learning quite a bit about business strategy from these guys, and it’s been very enlightening. My wife definitely appreciates it because I come home much happier.”

We wish Advanced Harness the best of luck in their new endeavors. If you’d like to know more about the company, you can visit their website at or contact David directly at [email protected]

*GXL wire refers to a type of automotive wire commonly used for low-tension electrical systems in vehicles. It has a cross-linked polyethylene insulation, providing durability and resistance to heat, abrasion, and chemicals.