Seal & Design, a leading manufacturer and distributor of die cut gaskets, seals, o-rings, and molded rubber products, is one of the fastest growing companies in the industry. By pairing quality products with the promise of efficiency, Seal & Design is making its mark on North American manufacturing.
A closer look at the firm’s unique approach uncovers a legacy of customer service, which promises to keep the company at the forefront of the industrial sector for years to come.
A Simple Philosophy, A Major Return
Established in 1989, Seal & Design set out to be a world-class organization, a goal that has remained at the center of the company’s growth all these years later. The firm has undergone a major evolution in the last two and a half decades, but according to Dean Penman, President of Seal and Design, the company’s growth trajectory is nowhere near complete.
The founder of Seal & Design, the current President’s father, Dean T. Penman, came from a long career in the seal and gaskets industry. He made the decision to set out on his own, with one goal in mind: to become a manufacturing leader through hard work and quality products. The simple, but all too often overlooked ideology of customer-focused solutions ignited a wave of grass-roots growth, influencing the company to take on more equipment, more staff, and of course, a major facility.
Fast-forward almost 25 years to 2015 and Seal and Design is working with some of the biggest names in the medical, automotive, REM, aerospace and power generation sectors. Although many in the manufacturing and fabrication industry have felt the pangs of the recession over the last 10 years, Seal and Design has managed to expand substantially throughout.
Today, the ISO/TS 16949 certified company has locations in both Western New York and Toronto, Ontario, with additional expansion plans in the pipeline. Projecting to turn over 40 million dollars in sales this year, this homegrown operation has emerged as a major player in the highly competitive North American manufacturing sector.
Quality in Practice
Seal and Design’s customer-focused approach is built on a formula which includes not only quality products, but also efficient timelines and cost effective solutions. Seeing quality as a verb, the company has developed extensive in-house capabilities and quality systems, ensuring that it can deliver on the promises other contractors miss out on.
As Penman states, “One is no good without the other. You need to have the product offering, it has got to be there on time, and it has got to be right, and of course it all has to be cost effective. Those are the things we do really well here.”
Anyone in the industry knows that efficiency is desirable; but often, in major manufacturing works, the downfall comes in the form of a missed deadline. Quickly, a seemingly small component can cause a major hold up in development right down the line. To combat this, Seal & Design’s quality monitoring systems are backed by advanced information technology which allows clients and employees to track the progress of development on a minute-by-minute basis. As a result of this system, Seal & Design is able to provide detailed timelines and real-time monitoring to clients, resulting in substantial savings for businesses across the industrial spectrum.
When it comes to delivery and quality, Seal and Design’s offerings are hard to match, a feature which Penman believes continues to gain the firm highly coveted contracts. “We have best-in-class on-time delivery and quality, in everything we do,” he shares.
In today’s increasingly technologically driven manufacturing and fabrication markets, it is undeniable that in-house capabilities are an intrinsic part of a company’s success. Seal & Design has invested heavily in the development of its infrastructure, a segment of the business which continues to turn out major cost savings for clients.
For example, the company’s 91,000 square foot facility located in Western New York serves as an office, production facility and warehouse. In addition, its 15,000 square foot facility in Toronto carries out the bulk of the distribution for Canada. Together, these locations are home to some of the most advanced manufacturing, fabrication, distribution and testing equipment the industry has to offer.
A major point of difference for Seal and Design is its dedication to providing what Penman calls “Total Seal Capability.” When it comes to manufacturing and fabrication, many firms provide either distribution or die cutting, but as a result of Seal & Design’s extensive range, it is able to provide both. The team maintains nearly 30 pieces of equipment in-house dedicated to the fabrication, vulcanizing, and specialty die cutting of components. As a result, the company is consistently sought out for complex projects which require highly detailed work to spec. Additionally, Seal & Design’s services are often called upon to mitigate the faulty or inaccurate work of other providers.
These specialized services and in-house capabilities are key to the company’s quality production. As Seal & Design is able to monitor and manage every process of production from cradle to grave, the logistical errors that other providers face are prevented. Moreover, as an increasing number of firms move to limit vendors and centralize their processes, these vertically integrated services are priceless. “When billion dollar companies are trying to reduce vendors, we can handle everything; that’s something they really appreciate,” explains Penman.
The O-ring Innovator
O-rings are a crucial component of many critical devices we come across daily. Although you may have never considered the importance of an o-ring before, they are a significant piece of many devices the automotive, medical and life support industries rely on. These small but essential components can be found in items such as oxygen valves and hand-held fire extinguishers and gas valves, so for obvious reasons, there is no room for manufacturing error.
Seal & Design brings the knowledge, experience and technological efficiency necessary to facilitate the type of high-end production and inspection that these products demand. The company is one of the continent’s leading o-ring distributors, delivering zero defect parts 100 percent of the time. When it comes to vision systems, Seal & Design has one the most extensive capabilities on the continent. Vision systems are inspection machines with four to five cameras looking for any one of several programmable defects.
As a result of this unparalleled technology, clients in life-saving industries gain peace of mind as well as a central contact point for all of their o-ring needs. Says Penman, “From a vision systems standpoint there are a lot of competitors, but none do it as well as us.”
Although advanced processes and top-of-the-line equipment are essential, the people behind the equipment are where any firm’s true success lies. Since its inception Seal & Design has employed hundreds of skilled North American staff members, growing the employment base year on year. As many companies turn to outsourcing, Seal & Design has remained dedicated to growth at home.
It is obvious that Seal & Design has undergone a major transformation in the last 25 years, but its core values have withstood the test of time. For the last nine years in a row, Seal & Design has been cited as one of the “Top 100,” as well as one of the “Fastest Growing Companies” in Western New York. With a lot of hard work and an unwavering commitment to quality, Seal & Design is building an empire from the ground up.
Despite the firm’s clear success, the company’s President believes that Seal & Design’s development has only just begun. As the firm is aiming to ramp up its vertically integrated service offerings and undertake further acquisitions in the near future, the company’s footprint promises to only expand. “I think our reputation in the marketplace is the thing I am most proud of,” Penman shares. “Our people have done such a great job serving our customers and putting out a high-end quality product that everyone knows if they come to us they are going to get things done right and on time.”