Michael Kitching, president and CEO of GB Remanufacturing, and his mother, Pat, say they have seen their company grow into the largest remanufacturer of fuel injectors in the U.S. since its founding in 1986.
Long Beach, Calif.-When William Kitching and his
, started GB Remanufacturing
in a 1,100-square-foot business suite in Signal Hill, Calif., in 1986, they had no idea that the company would become the largest remanufacturer of fuel injectors in the U.S.
"When we started the business, we supplied carburetor rebuilders with various components, including choke pull-offs, throttle position sensors, and mixture control solenoids," President and CEO Michael Kitching said.
said the cost of those parts new was a significant percentage of a rebuilder's overall cost.
"We knew that if we could supply a quality remanufactured part at a fraction of the cost of similar new parts, we would be successful."
worked side by side with his
father until his
death in 2008.
"Now, there are three family members working at GB
- my mom, Pat, my wife, Lisa, and myself," he
The business had a rocky start, Kitching
said, plagued by expensive tooling that kept breaking after a short period, and little funding for replacements.
"We eventually found the right technique and the correct material for the tooling, and everything worked out fine," he
"We gained acceptance in the marketplace, and soon the business was doing well."
The company has grown significantly over the last several years, Kitching
said, with a five-year average annual growth of 28 percent and a year-to-date growth of 22 percent over 2012.
"We attribute this growth to several factors," he
"Of course, product offering and value are the primary drivers of our success.
And product quality is the most important factor in determining 'value,' so we put a lot of focus and effort into that area."
In 1991, Kitching
learned of an Australian company that manufactured fuel-injector service and diagnostic equipment, which he
said changed the course of GB
"The company was looking for a U.S.-based distributor for their equipment," he
said, "so we began distributing the equipment to carburetor rebuilders in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico."
started getting calls from companies all over the U.S. wanting to buy remanufactured fuel injectors, Kitching
"Eventually, we started supplying injectors to our local market, and that gradually spread to include all of North America, parts of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America," he
still offers carburetor parts, but the bulk of its business is remanufacturing fuel injectors, both gasoline and diesel, as well as injector driver modules (IDMs) and fuel injector control modules (FICMs).
"All of our fuel injector products are 100-percent flow-tested to OEM specifications prior to shipment," Kitching
has specialized test equipment for both gasoline and diesel injectors, including several New Age and Hartridge flow benches, and its own GB
Fuel Injection Technologies brand flow bench, which Kitching
said GB has sold to other companies.
"We have several diesel injector flow benches that cost between $50,000 and $100,000 each that test only one type of injector," he
"It is not practical for an independent facility to purchase this equipment."
remanufactures a product, it carefully analyzes all of the failure modes and makes upgrades to prevent future failure of the part whenever possible, Kitching
"One example of this is the upgraded coil wire we use in several Nissan
injectors we remanufacture.
This required a significant investment in R&D and tooling, but the original design flaw with the injector dictated that we had to improve on it," he
expands its coverage of gasoline and diesel injectors every year, Kitching
"With our upcoming Fuel Injection 2014 catalog, we offer more than 1,050 SKUs that cover 45,600 unique vehicle applications for vehicles produced from 1968 to 2014," he
In addition to its complete line of diesel injectors for GM Duramax
, Ford Powerstroke, and Dodge Cummins, Kitching
recently expanded its diesel coverage to include high-pressure oil pumps for Powerstroke applications and high-pressure fuel pumps for Duramax and Cummins applications.
said the company has seen significant growth in the diesel market in recent years.
"In the past, the diesel market in the U.S. was frowned upon due to the reputation it earned as a result of first-generation diesel applications in the early to mid-1980s.
These engines were noisy, unreliable, and offered low power output," he
But that perception of diesel has changed significantly in the past several years, Kitching
"Light-duty truck engines led the innovation as a result of strict emission requirements," he
"These new engines are very quiet, reliable, and offer good fuel economy while providing excellent power and torque.
It has taken some time, but consumer opinion of diesel is changing very quickly - and in a positive way.
The consumer is excited about the benefits diesel offers in regards to fuel economy."
noted that luxury car manufacturers such as BMW
"are marketing diesel as a green alternative and their ads are educating consumers on the benefits of clean diesel technology."
said remanufactured parts offer the best value for both the repair facility and the consumer.
"The value comes from reusing the parts of the component that don't wear out, and replacing or remanufacturing all of the items that wear or fail, to restore the part to a condition that is as good as, or often better than, that of a new OEM part."
Since the part being remanufactured is an OEM part, the technician can have confidence that the part will fit in the vehicle properly, Kitching
"Because it has been remanufactured to OEM specifications and fully tested, the part comes with a 12-month/15,000-mile warranty, which most of the time is the same as or better than the new OEM equivalent, at a cost significantly less than a new OEM part," he