Engineered Products meets customer needs with internal innovation
Some slow down as they approach age 60. Others remain spry and vibrant.
The Greenville, S.C.-based entity known as Engineered Products LLC is decidedly the latter.
Just one year shy of its 60-year milestone, the company that got its start in the mid-1950s has continued into its second century thanks to a still-evident ability to create application-specific storage solutions that fit the individual needs and budget of each respective client.
The one-size-does-not-fit-all approach begins with the mantra that because no two problems are identical, the remedies created to handle them shouldn’t be either. Ideally, the mindset instantly creates a level of trust with clients, which has served the company well even in its graying years.
“We work with our customers so, as they innovate new products, we design our systems to meet both their needs and the needs of their customers, too,” said Scott Hall, vice president of operations. “Because everything we do is a custom-built system, we don’t stock inventory to quick ship. We build to meet our customers’ needs.”
The approach necessitates staying ahead of the curve on the inside, too.
“We have to continually maintain and upgrade our assets to make our company more efficient and meet our quality standards as the demand on that continues to grow,” he said. “The one thing that has changed and is not going away is that lead times are critical. So we have to be innovative in a way that we can manage large projects with a great size and still be able to meet lead times and critical milestones.”
Engineered Products began as a metal-fabricating company in 1955 and designed systems back then and through its initial decades largely for a textile industry that was booming in the Southern states.
As domestically produced textiles declined, the company began looking into other industry segments where it could be viable and have the best opportunities to continue its growth. Those scenarios came in distribution and warehousing spaces, which, Hall said, allowed Engineered Products to continue producing the same type of materials, though they were ultimately utilized for a different type of application.
Operations these days include a combined work force of just past 100 employees, who work either as part of the company’s manufacturing capability or in administrative roles. All operations remain in Greenville, with a pair of manufacturing facilities sized at 80,000 and 60,000 square feet, respectively, alongside the main headquarters office.
The service footprint stretches across the 48 continental U.S. states, in addition to international work in Latin America and Canada.
The company’s automated storage and retrieval rack systems (ASRS) are typically marketed toward integrators that participate in the order-fulfillment and distribution functions, while its structural racking systems can be found in high-throughput warehouses. It also sells pallet flow and carton flow systems through an extensive network of material handling equipment dealers.
“We are working diligently on our dealer network,” Hall said. “We want to be very intentional in how we grow, so that the existing network is well supported while we increase our presence in areas where our product is not currently represented. Our ASRS rack business continues to grow as well. The market for ASRS seems to be growing generally and as we have continued to add capacity, our ability to support the needs of the integrators has grown with it.
“Handling the growth intelligently and being careful so it’s not an extreme boom – being able to manage the growth – is what we’re looking to accomplish.”
Among the entities with which Engineered Products over the years has worked is Boss Bolt and Tool – another Greenville-based operation that specializes in fasteners, cutting tools and abrasives.
“We at Boss Bolt and Tool are proud of our relationship with Engineered Products,” owner Bobby Gauthier said. “Their success and growth is a reflection of their dedication to quality products and customer service, and we know they appreciate the same from their suppliers. We look forward to continuing to grow with them for years to come.”
Lest anyone think Engineered Products’ growth is tied solely to ASRS work, Hall said demand has also increased for other products and services, a phenomenon he attributes to a strengthening economy over the last few years. The downturn was a difficult stretch, he said, but the long-term pedigree of the company as well as its conservative financial approach were instrumental in making sure it endured.
“Everyone was affected,” he said. “But there is strength in how we operate. Financially speaking, we are in a strong position. This allows us to strategically select how we will grow. We have been intentional to develop our business in structural rack, ASRS rack and carton and pallet flow products. We have built a sales and support staff around those product segments and sought out strong partnerships with a customer-centric approach. And because we are the manufacturer we can ensure the performance that the market expects.”
Going forward, innovations will remain the mandate as customer needs evolve.
“Our innovations really start with the customer, and then we’ve got to figure out a way to make it work,” Hall said. “Through automated systems, we’ve seen a lot of changes take place as they get more complex and tolerances are held even tighter. We have to upgrade our technology to be able to handle that.”
Also on the future-focused agenda is the perpetual dedication to “smart growth.”
“Smart growth is the target in the market segments that we support in ASRS systems, the structural rack systems and carton and pallet flow,” Hall said. “Smart growth also requires that we continually match the appropriate solution to the application. It requires that we invest in our team so that we can support the needs of the application and the customer that will utilize it.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Engineered Products LLC
WHAT: Manufacturer of storage racks, structural pallet racks, flow racks, automated storage and retrieval systems, rack-supported buildings and material handling systems
WHERE: Greenville, S.C.