Radians: Genuine Company Pride in America’s Heartland
As Radians CEO and a Memphis, Tennessee native, Mike Tutor not only loves his hometown but his country as well. He and the Radians team work hard at keeping business local and believe that “Made in the USA” is more than just a slogan but a commitment to excellence. That genuine pride is present in all aspects of this suppliers’ business of providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and has helped the company achieve great success in a short period of time.
Less than 20 years ago, Tutor founded Radians in 1997 after helping a landscaping professional patent a combination safety glass and earplug product. During this process, Tutor attended several safety shows and could sense the opportunities prevalent in the health and safety industry. Today, Radians has a comprehensive line of quality safety products with more than 110 styles of ANSI Z87.1+ eyewear, electronic and passive hearing protection devices, disposable foam earplugs, high visibility safety apparel including rainwear and cold weather gear, head gear, performance gloves, work boots, cooling/warming products, and accessories.
How did this Southern business man and entrepreneur turn one product into a multi-million dollar enterprise? With the two words that best describe the founder and the company’s culture: aggressive and dynamic.
Case in point, within a few years after starting the company, Radians signed a global licensing agreement with DEWALT in the year 2004. DEWALT, a subsidiary of Black & Decker, is a worldwide brand of power tools and hand tools for the construction, manufacturing, and woodworking industries.
Radians growth is a combination of innovation, skillful acquisition of companies, and dedication to developing opportunities within existing product lines. While Radians first products centered around hearing and eye protection, in 2008 the company entered into the high visibility safety apparel market with their own Radwear ™ brand. These products expanded the Radians offerings and shifted the company’s focus more toward the government and industrial markets. To further enhance the value of its products to its customers, Radians offers custom design and imprinting which allow the company to gain a greater market share in the high-visibility safety sector.
Forging new partnerships and growth
In addition to aggressively pursuing licensing agreements and developing products, Radians has also acquired other companies to further grow the business. Radians has carefully selected other companies that allow them to expand product lines and capability quickly to provide more products to existing and new customers. For example, in January 2013, Radians acquired Crossfire Safety Eyewear, a premium brand of safety eyewear known for its cutting edge styles and sports appeal. Crossfire’s pioneering of task-specific eyewear has resulted in several patented designs. With the addition of Crossfire, Radians boosted its presence in the police and military segments while continuing to grow its industrial and sporting goods eyewear capabilities.
Over the years, Radians has acquired other companies to expand its product lines into footwear, ear plugs, and sports apparel. Along with DEWALT, the company also has licensing agreements with such household names as Black & Decker and Bone Collector.
The industrial safety industry has boomed during the last 20 years and Radians has been at the forefront of that expansion. Bill England, President of Radians, explains: “We believe that the growth in industrial safety will continue to be dramatic because personal protective equipment equals better health. Americans are more and more health conscious and at the same time a whole new generation has grown up more focused on their health and well-being than ever. And, because of the internet, this generation is much more educated about safety products than previous generations. Safety at work is not just a buzzword anymore especially with the costs of accidents. Additionally, the litigious nature of the U.S. continues to contribute to the growth of PPE as companies invest more in safety programs and products to protect them and their employees on the job.”
Listening to customers pays off in Award-Winning Results
Throughout its growth, Radians has made sure to keep listening to its customers. The company strives to develop and produce the highest quality PPE products with efficient manufacturing in order to offer a value proposition to their customers. England describes this as Radians commitment to being a top tier, single source provider of safety gear for the industrial markets. “Customer service and satisfaction are extremely important to us. One of our biggest strengths is that we listen to end-users and respond to market demands. We develop and design new products to satisfy our customers’ unique and changing safety needs and to stay abreast of marketing trends. We are always trying to upgrade our customers’ experiences through automation, technology, investments, flexible policies, great people, and innovative products,” England said.
Radians’ customers have responded to the company’s philosophy allowing Radians to receive recognition and numerous awards both in Tennessee and on the national stage, including:
- 2005 Business Tennessee – 50 Fastest Growing Companies in Tennessee
- 2006 Safety Marketing Group – Rich Harper Commitment to Excellence
- 2007 Professional Builder Magazine – Remington RG-10 Glove named one of 100 Best New Products
- 2007 Tools of the Trade Magazine – DEWALT DPG20 Glove – Top 10 Work Glove
- 2008 and 2009 Safety Marketing Group – Rich Harper Commitment to Excellence and Join Marketing Award for exceptional supplier commitment
- 2010 Safety Marketing Group Presidents Choice Award
- 2010 Distributor Partners of America Safety Award – Marketing Outside of the Box
- 2010 Orr Safety Award – Largest Percentage Sales Growth
- 2012 Safety Marketing Group Peak Performer of the Year Award
- 2013 Safety Marketing Group Peak Performer of the Year Award
- 2013 Distributor Partners of America Distributor of the Year Award
Made in the USA the Radians Way
Back in Memphis, Radians employees at the corporate headquarters work each day in operations, manufacturing, assembly, customer service, inside sales, accounting, marketing, custom imprinting, IT, new product development, and management to help keep the company on its dynamic path of growth. Although the center of the company is in Tennessee, Radians has a manufacturing facility in North Carolina and a distribution/operations facility in Nevada as well.
Radians plans on manufacturing more products in the USA as part of its commitment to providing customers with more choice in buying quality and affordable safety products. England said: “Manufacturing in the USA gives Radians greater control, faster turnaround times within the country, and helps improve the U.S. economy.”
The company will also continue to look for other quality companies to acquire that manufacture innovative safety gear especially those that incorporate “smart” technology to manage temperature control and comfort. “Technology is key to our long-term growth strategy,” explained England. “We recently automated our warehouse operations and seek additional opportunities in automation wherever possible to allow for higher production rates, increased productivity, more efficient use of materials, better product quality, improved safety, and enhanced levels of customer service.” Prior to installing Radians automation system, Tutor and England visited with known business leaders, including AutomationDirect, to discuss efficiencies and best practices in automation.
As for the next 20 years, Radians will continue growing and exploring new markets, companies, and technology, but its pride will remain in the USA and its heart in Memphis.