Arthur Products is a small manufacturer in the city of Medina, but what they do touches all our lives every day. Producing nozzles for both the sewer cleaning and industrial cleaning industries and filler/vent tubes for beverage bottling companies, Arthur Products can customize solutions for customers to fit just about any need.
Launched in a garage in 1946, the company has changed hands a couple times to end up located in Medina and in the hands of Judy Coffman and Richard Rauckhorst III in 2006.
Made in Medina County sat down with Judy to learn her secrets to success.
Q: How did you get into manufacturing and come to Medina County?
A: I started working in a tennis shoe factory when I was 17 years old because I needed part time work for college expenses. I found I loved taking raw materials and turning them into something useful. After completing my Business Administration Degree, I worked for BF Goodrich, SMR Aerospace, and BE Aerospace for 29 years because manufacturing is what made sense to me.
When Richard and I bought the business, it was located in Medina and we had easy access to our suppliers and customers. We also found a great pool of workers here so we kept the business in place. Some of our suppliers have been with us for 30-40 years so there is a trust factor there we didn’t want to lose.
At the end of the day in a small business, it is your name that goes on the products. ISO certifications and things are fine, but in a company that is small like ours, our reputation is more important than any certification could indicate.
Q: How has county resources made a difference in finding employees?
A: We have six full time employees and one part time and then two working owners so we are a small team. We have to make sure the fit is right before we hire so we work with a temporary service. We try to plan and manage our workforce – so for instance we had an employee we knew would be retiring in two years. We hired a new person to train with him, so we don’t lose that tribal knowledge.
We love Made in Medina County and the work being done to get young people to understand the importance of manufacturing jobs. There are a lot of misperceptions out there and we need people to know this is clean, safe work that pays well and comes with good benefits. In our business, we don’t bring people in unless we know we can commit. If you come in as a temp, you know how long you will be a temp. We are right up front with everyone.
Q: It feels like that philosophy colors much of what you do here?
A: Absolutely! We do what we say, tell the truth and if we have a problem, we tell the customer or employee. Everyone here works under those guidelines.
Q: Why do customers stay with you?
A: Customers stay because we customize solutions. Companies call us with the off-the-wall problems and Richard can solve them. We also work hard to differentiate ourselves. A competitor charges a drop ship fee which we don’t because we’d have to ship it regardless. Our customers know that they can count on us to do what they need. They know we have real pride in what we do.
Q: Can you give us an example?
Our customers in the cleaning and sanitation industries send cameras down sewer lines and clean them when needed. The customer had just purchased an expensive new camera and got it stuck in a line once and called for help. Richard analyzed the problem and within 3 hours had a device that could fish out the camera. It was outside the norm of what we do but they knew if anyone could help, it was us.
Q: What does the future hold for Arthur Products?
We are working to expand into other markets with our nozzles, add to vent tube line or possibly in the medical industry. We are targeting Canadian and US Equipment dealers as well as providing private label. We have also made a nozzle for a 3D printer so that may turn into a market for us.
We also maintain the files on everything we have ever produced. Our customers know they can call us and we can find the design of a part they used 30 years ago and now need again.
We will keep being a great place to work and people can have a real career here. Every part we make should be something you would give as a gift. And that pride and attention to detail is good for business!