MARCO ISLAND, Fla.—SRM Industries Inc., a supplier of protective products and accessories used in the hose industry, has introduced two new products as the company continues to see strong sales growth, according to a company executive.
Houston-based SRM unveiled both its Rhino Blue Vinyl Wrap and Rhino Orange Drip Proof Plugs during the recent NAHAD annual convention in Marco Island.
The vinyl wrap product—also available in green or yellow—is for use with layflat rubber hose for protection from hose blowouts, according to SRM Vice President Bernie Jacobsen. He said the layflat hoses can't be easily inserted into the protective sleeve products that SRM typically supplies, so the Velcro on the vinyl wrap can be opened and the hose easily fit in.
Jacobsen said the wrap can cut downtime for the end user by about 60 percent when replacing a hose that has failed. He added that the wrap can be custom-fit to hose sizes from 5-150 feet.
The new product came about when distributors asked if the firm's Rhino Wrap 1050 could be made with vinyl. "So we researched it, found a company that makes the vinyl, and then sent it to a fabricator of ours who cuts it, sews it, packages it and ships it to us," Jacobsen said.
Like all of its products, SRM has an outside manufacturer produce the wrap and then SRM stocks and ships it from its warehouse locations in Houston and California.
The layflat hoses the vinyl wrap is designed for generally are for outside applications such as with an industrial tank truck hose, or in chemical plants where hose protection is imperative, though it can be used with some hydraulic hose as well, Jacobsen said.
"Chemical plants like it because they get to color-code hoses for different chemicals that are going through it," he said. "With green, yellow and blue, they can identify what hose is in there."
SRM did some field testing on the wrap in March and distributors liked it, so it officially launched it during the NAHAD meeting.
"We have high expectations," Jacobsen said. "We're giving them all the information, we're giving them how it's made, all the chemical resistance that it has and the sizes that are available."
The drip proof plug replaces a product the firm previously had been supplying but that customers had some difficulties with, the SRM executive said. It is for use in plugging the end of blown or damaged hoses to contain remaining fluids until hose assembly fluid can be properly disposed.
Jacobsen said the product works much like Chinese finger grips. "You push it in and turn it and it locks," he said. "You push it and turn it the other way, it unlocks and comes out. "So it keeps the oil in, even if it's bouncing in the bed of a pickup truck."
He said it's a safety feature inside of a shop because it prevents oil from spilling, which easily could cause an accident. The plugs are made of nitrile rubber and produced with Food and Drug Administration-approved materials for use in water applications.
The new Rhino drip proof plugs—made from SRM's own design and tooling—improve on the previous product SRM sold in several ways, Jacobsen said. It comes in four sizes instead of three to more easily cover the range of needs; has a hexagon base instead of a rounded one to make it easier to handle; and is made in a safety orange color that is easily visible.
"We did a great job with the original product, but we think this one is better," he said. "It will tick more boxes, and so far it's been very well received by everybody who has seen it."
With the two new products, SRM—which launched in 2005 with one protective sleeve product—now has 14 standard products plus three custom ones in its catalog. In addition, the firm develops a lot of custom products for distributors or OEMs, as he said General Manager Kevin Jones embraces challenges.
"He loves to hear a distributor or user say, 'This is what I need,' " Jacobsen said. "He'll work it up with the distributor or OEM, come up with a prototype in a couple of days, send it to them, and then have pre-production parts in a week."
Since SRM started selling goods in 2005, Jacobsen said the firm has been profitable every year, even during the recession in 2007-08. Revenues did drop in 2015-16 with the difficulties in the oil, gas, fracking and mining industries, but during that time the firm brought on a number of new distributors not involved in those markets. That provided diversity throughout the maintenance and repair operations sector, he said, adding that the business also garnered new customers in Canada, South America and Australia for its range of goods.
The result was that 2017 was its best year ever, and the first two quarters of 2018 have set records, according to Jacobsen. Besides himself and Jones, the only other employees are his wife Mary Jacobsen, who is owner and president, and two full-time office/warehouse staff members who work under Jones in Houston. It is looking to expand its management team to assist Jones at the Houston distribution center.
With the exception of two products, SRM has multiple suppliers for all of its goods for backup in case one of the manufacturers has an issue that would disrupt supply. It sells 95 percent of its goods through distributors and 5 percent to OEMs.
SRM is pondering adding warehouse space next year on the East Coast in the U.S. and possibly a location in Canada, as it looks to boost its inventory levels.
"We have a very simple philosophy," Jacobsen said. "If we don't have it, we can't ship it. If we can't ship it, we can't invoice it, and we can't get paid."