An American Manufacturing Success Story

SSP
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

Founded in 1926, SSP has always been a company with a focus on complex, specialty industrial manufacturing. Though the company started as a contract manufacturer, it has evolved into a product manufacturer, and has continued to grow by developing, improving and innovating upon its product lines and continuing to expand its product offerings to become one of America’s manufacturing success stories.
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As Reed Stith, Director of Marketing for SSP explains, “The story really begins in the 1970s when we introduced our first catalogue of fitting products for the industrial high performance hydraulic market.” From the 1990s and into the new millennium, SSP launched an entirely new and complete line of instrumentation fittings, while ensuring its focus remained on the precision manufacturing of products made out of stainless steel and other exotic metals.

Headquartered in Twinsburg, Ohio, SSP and its 200+ employees work hard to bring their quality lines of innovative products and tools to customers in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

With the company’s entire operations located under one roof in its 165,000 square foot headquarters, SSP can ensure smooth, effective communication and output across the entire organization. SSP boasts additional acreage available to accommodate future growth.

“Everything from product design to tool design and manufacturing, forging to machining, assembly and testing to packaging and shipping– everything is done under one roof,” explains Stith. SSP serves all industrial markets, oil and gas (upstream, midstream and downstream operations), petrochemical and chemical processing, power generation, utilities, and compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station construction.

SSP has found a number of ways to differentiate itself from other product manufacturers. In addition to being 100 percent made in the USA, the company finds new ways to add value for its customers. “What we like to say is, we take industry standard products and make them better. We are fully committed to supporting the standards that our industrial customers have already established.” SSP adheres to these standards and enhances them where possible.

More than Just Fittings
With extra user oriented enhancements, SSP makes its products and tools easier to use and more reliable to operate. In the past, SSP was known as SSP Fittings, but has evolved to become so much more than simply fittings. In addition to fittings, SSP manufactures a broad line of valves, tubing and tools; using innovation to improve their product offerings.

SSP and its employees are fully committed to improving the products they offer through innovative product design improvements, packaging and product markings, adding little extras that help to minimize accidents and mistakes made in both the assembly and use of products. Understanding that product availability and performance are of prime importance to customers, SSP has found ways to employ innovation to increase the quality and speed of output, including investments and upgrades in new technology and equipment, increasing automation and semi-automation where possible, and adopting lean systems focused on continuous improvement.

In decreasing the labor content required to operate its systems, SSP can better focus on employing skilled individuals who can take advantage of the company’s training and development programs to ensure their skill sets are fully utilized and enhanced. SSP works with local schools and universities to advance the company’s workforce development goals; SSP is always looking for skilled labor for positions such as machining, equipment maintenance and engineering.

Through its commitment to workforce development and process improvement, the company is able to respond to customers’ needs. As Stith explains, SSP has “an attitude of pride and commitment to what we’re doing, taking care of you as a customer because you are just like us, trying to do your job. We don’t treat you like a number or just another unit to be sold.”

The SSP Way
According to Stith, The SSP Way is how SSP gets things done, including the value and respect shown to individuals in the company as well as the customers they serve. The SSP Way focuses on creating value for SSP customers; and improving the overall experience for end-users.

“We are really never done. It started with our commitment to lean manufacturing. We see it as a journey, always getting better. We have a whole system of values that we follow that really make it more than just talk, but a way of living,” Stith describes. This statement makes clear the company’s commitment to its employees, achieving this through a number of wellness initiatives.

Some of the wellness initiatives adopted by SSP include an on-site Clinic Doctor a half-day every week, free flu shots for associates and their spouses, free biometric testing for associates, generic prescription reimbursement, an on-site fitness center and health coach, a subsidized gym membership for all employees and spouses, as well as workshops to reinforce positive wellbeing and health issues.

In addition to wellness initiatives, SSP offers a 401(k) plan encouraging employees to plan for their retirement and a recognition program for Associates who achieve milestone anniversaries. Programs from profit sharing, to referral programs, to holiday gifts all focus on the importance and value SSP places on all Associates.

In addition to the positive attitudes of Associates and a commitment to a strong work culture – which has proven to be successful, with improved attendance and productivity as tangible examples of this success – The SSP Way extends to the greater community.,.

SSP makes a commitment to a number of causes through employee volunteer initiatives and donations; each quarter, SSP is committed to a new charity effort. This year, SSP committed to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in the first quarter, Relay for Life in the second quarter, Habitat for Humanity in the third quarter and finally the Akron Food Bank in the fourth quarter.

As Stith explains, “Success is The SSP Way.” As a company, the team wants to continue to find new and innovative initiatives that will continue to improve processes and capabilities in order to extend and transfer these gains to its customer base around the world.

“We are definitely on a steady, very intentional growth path. We have a long term focus in terms of increasing our financial strength, investment and capacity, in addition to planning and building an executive team over the years which really enables us to transform into the next level of our growth,” shares Stith.

Though it is a relatively small yet continuously growing company, there is no shortage of opportunity for SSP, in North American markets and around the world. Company leadership is working to ensure this growth is scalable and continuous, ever elevating SSP’s already established reputation for quality, innovation and excellence.

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