Zion Industries is a leading induction heat treating company who has been a trusted source for high-quality parts since 1977.
Started by Bob Puls Sr. and his wife Dorothy Puls, Zion is now run by their son, Bob Puls Jr. Today, Zion’s employees serve customers nationwide with facilities in Valley City, Ohio, as well as North Carolina and Michigan.
Bob Puls Jr. sat down with Made in Medina County to discuss Zion’s past, present, and future within our community.
Q: Can you tell us how Zion Industries got its start?
A: My father was working for a highly respected machine shop in the 1970s. While he enjoyed the work, he aspired to be his own boss. As part of his job he often outsourced induction heat treating services but struggled to find anyone in the Cleveland area that could turnaround high production work.
My dad decided to tell his boss about possibly starting his own business, and two weeks later he was let go from the company. He always said that if he had not told his boss and was not let go, he probably never would have started Zion.
They bought a little induction machine for $2500, and it was housed on the shop floor of a friend’s business here in Valley City. In the beginning, while my dad was getting the company going, he also did some consulting work. My mom was also involved in the business running the induction machine.
As business picked up, they eventually leased a building, put more machines in and hired workers, other than my mom, to run jobs.
Q: Has Zion always been located in Medina County?
Since the beginning, Zion has been headquartered in Valley City. We even had our first company, picnics, and clambakes at my parent’s home in Valley City.
We love our location here in Valley City because it is centrally located to many of our customers and has excellent access to highways, both north/south and east/west.
Zion has grown over the years, and we have around 100 employees now in three different locations, including Michigan and North Carolina.
The nature of our business is what lead us to open other locations around the country. Because we do not manufacture anything, people send us their steel parts, we heat treat them and send them back to them. Proximity to our customers is important. Both of our other locations started because we had customers in those area’s and felt we could grow our sales if we were closer to those customers and markets.
Q: What services do you offer?
As a heat-treating provider, we focus on induction heat treating. Induction heat treating allows us to focus the heat-treating operations on key areas of parts such as gear teeth, bearing journals, and shaft sections. Induction hardening, induction tempering, Induction annealing (softening), Induction brazing, and custom Induction tooling are just some of the core service that we offer. In addition to these core service, we offer a variety of supporting services such as inspection and 100% gaging, rust proofing, packaging to customer specifications, and drop shipping to improve supply chain lead times.
From project inception, we offer full engineering support and process development to help customers launch new products with optimized materials and processes. Ongoing production with strict adherence to our quality and industry-specific quality standards such as IATF-16949 and CQI-9 ensure ongoing product quality and reliability!
Q: What industries does Zion serve?
Induction heat treated parts can be found in many industries including Aerospace, Automotive, Outdoor Power Equipment, Commercial Trucking and Transportation, and more. A good example of parts that often require induction hardening would include automotive axles, bearings, breaks, drive trains.
Q: What challenges does Zion face? How do you overcome them?
Finding and hiring the right people is the biggest challenge the company faces.
Several years ago, we established some best practices in our recruiting and hiring processes. Some of those things include hiring for a culture fit. We have found that it is imperative to find people that are a good match for our culture. Interviewing for a fit to our core values helps us stay on track with that match.
Q: Zion Industries is clearly a business rooted in deep faith. Can you discuss how your family’s strong belief has impacted the business?
Before my parents started the business, they knew that they wanted to glorify God in both the name of the company and how it was operated.
The name Zion in the bible is often referred to as the “dwelling place of God.” As my parents prayed about the name, they really liked this concept of having the name of the company have a deeper meaning.
Operating the company on “biblical principles” has been a focus for us since we started. When we talk about these biblical principles, they are really just good sound business practices. Things like how we treat our employees, customers, and vendors. How we go about making decisions and how we get advice. There are many good sound principles found in the bible that can help guide us.
Q: What else sets Zion apart?
At Zion, we like to think of ourselves as being the “GPS” of the heat-treating industry. Many of our customers are unfamiliar with heat treating when they first meet us. We work with them and their customers to help navigate them through the questions and concerns regarding heat treating. Through this process, we provide “turn by turn” directions and input to help reach the destination of a successfully launched and produced product.
We work through this process with a dedicated team that is here to serve customers through adherence to our core values.
Our core values:
- Devoted to Honesty
- Passionate for the Customer
- Committed to Quality
- Dedicated to Family
Q: What’s a big priority for you this year?
Like many businesses in the area, recruiting is a big focus. We are always looking for the right people who are a good fit culturally. We love workers who accept a challenge and take pride in working alongside other passionate and dedicated team members.
For more information about Zion Industries, visit the website: www.zioninduction.com